Tingling hand (initially mainly thumb and forefinger)

by Giles
(Tipton, UK)

C6 dermatome

C6 dermatome

Tingling hand (initially mainly thumb and forefinger but now in all fingers)

I am an otherwise fit healthy 36 year old non-smoking male.

In October 2013 I moved house. My move involved a great deal of heavy lifting which I did a great deal of myself. In fact, as I had some friends helping me, I deliberately took up the heaviest boxes myself. Some of which my wife said she packed for 2 people to carry. I carried nearly all of these myself. During the end of the day I started stepping down from the tailgate of the truck without properly lowering it. So, in effect, I was dropping a short distance while carrying boxes. At the very end of the day my leg started to give way under me with the strain.

Shortly after this move I noticed a numb patch on my left arm and tingling in my left hand. The tingling was located in the thumb, and forefinger in the main with numb patched on my wrist and over my thumb too. I assumed it was as a result of my heavy lifting and waited 6 weeks for it to go away. It didn't disappear.

6 weeks later I visited my GP who x-rayed my neck (all fine), took bloods (all fine) and then sent me to a neurological consultant.

The neurological consultant conducted a Nerve Conduction Study Test which came back normal for a test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the nerves along my arm. The test results were all normal, however, the way the arm nerve test was carried out seemed to be conducted by a junior doctor/trainee who seemed unsure of herself as the senior nurse was constantly 'badgering' her to get things right. I am therefore uncertain of the reliability of these results in my mind. (This is not a gripe, but an observation of the way the test was conducted)

Slowly the numb patch on my arm receded and has now gone. The numbness on my wrist has gone and the numbness over my thumb has mainly disappeared with the odd reoccurrence.

However, the numbness and tingling in my fingers continues. It comes and goes in intensity. At best the symptoms are slight pins and needles at the end of my finger tips. At their very best they are nearly 100% fine, but not quite. They were very good after I went on holiday last summer, but quickly returned. They have also recently been very good, but have suddenly gone backward as well. I am in a cycle of 'its getting better' then - 'oh no, it isn't'.

Lifting seems to make the symptoms worse. At first, when I looked down, (chin on chest)
the tingling in the thumb and forefinger would get worse. That is still the case today as I type now, but less so than at first. When I run, after 30 mins of running, my symptoms worsen. After 45 mins running I know that they will be 'bad again'

Recently I have noticed some tingling in the ring and little finger with a recent 'bad' time. However, this has been the first time it had ever gone to my little finger and is virtually never tingling. Sometimes I find it hard to differentiate the tingle in my ring and index finger, but it is definitely primarily worse in my thumb and forefinger.

Heat pads on my neck seem to make it worse and I have noticed that the cold seems to help my symptoms. So, a walk in the cold, relieves the tingling in my hand. Walking seems to help it too.

Thank you for your help - it is really appreciated as this is starting to get me down as I have no diagnosis and no prospect of knowing how to help myself, or indeed, even if I can.

Hello Giles,
So, you've had this for 18 months now. I'd like you to start with three tests please.

1. Turn your head to the left, and then look up. Ask your wife to stand behind you, place both hands on your head and GENTLY press down. What happens? Please be as specific as you can in all your answers. A wonderful, concise report that you wrote, by the way.

2. Look up the Upper Limb Tension Test by using the search function at Chiropractic Help. Do the test with your wife's help.

3. Does placing your hand on your head, or working above your head, relieve or aggravate the tingling? Do this when it's very prominent, say after a 45 minute run.

Keep to this thread please.

Dr B

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May 11, 2018
by: Anonymous

Last week I had a pain right under my left edge of my shoulder blade. Since then it has tighten up the muscle but now the shoulder is tingling/numbness/pain right at the joint where the arm socket is. Then it skips to the elbow with the same symptoms as the shoulder and then the middle finger tip, the entire forefinger and thumb are just numb like when its first falls asleep. I'm 46 6'0 270 (yes over weight) but I don't look 270. Also I do have an upper spinal issue spinal stenosis and spurs on C2,C3 & C4. I have been stable with pain and no major pain like this. The severity goes up and down.

Apr 19, 2018
Nerve pain and joint pain spine related
by: Savannah

I am awaiting a mri . I have ostepenia in my spine . I have had two compression fracture in t11 and t12. I also have had a chip of my c6 . I have spine pain in cervical. And thorasic and lumber area. I currently have been diagnosed with double sciatica
I am gettt nerve pain. Through my face and neck
The back of my head sometimes feel numb. Today I could feel numbness when trying to cut potatoes. I also have tingling in my. Ladies area. I get my mri , I am worried on Tuesday the mri might not pick up the problem. I have also lost height and my hips are now out of alignment. So I looks like one leg is shorter. Anyone else had issues like mine .

Apr 17, 2018
Tingling in thumb and forefinger
by: Gareth

I recently had a shoulder problem which I visited the osteopath about. It was diagnosed as only muscular and due to tight pectoral muscles, so the osteopath gave me certain stretches to do.

One of the stretches was to lie on a long foam roller length wise down my spine, so that I could stretch my arms out to the side in a crucifix position. I could feel the stretch work well on my pectorals so did it for 15 minutes or so for three days, even though it was quite an uncomfortable position to be in.

I started feeling minor pins and needles in my thumb and my finger during the last stretch I did and even more so since. I went to the gym yesterday and my left arm felt as if it was weaker, and whilst doing cable bicep curls the tingling got worse and now has stayed.

Will this just be a case of a pinched nerve and with time and stretching it will go?

Hello Gareth, apologies for the long delay; you've tagged onto someone else's thread and I didn't see it.

That manoeuvre is very similar to the upper limb tension test that puts your brachial plexus under stress. The suggestion is that there may be an impingement or irritation, probably in the neck but under the pec minor tendon is also a possibility.

If you are still having tingling you certainly should persue it; numbness and paresis are to be avoided, and that weak feeling in biceps is a warning.

Dr B

Dec 16, 2017
Every night tingling in both hands
by: Renee

In the middle of the night I will wake up with my middle, ring, & pointer finger burning/numb/tingly & really hurts on both, sometimes one hand; especially if I’ve laid on it.

And when I’m busy setting up sometimes doing detailed work with my hands or even texting both my hands, will have tingling and numb sensations in my thumb, pointer and middle fingers. Help!

How do I get rid of this? Only happens when I’m laying down or sitting never when I’m standing. My history is that I have had some accidents and I’ve suffered from scoliosis and of course my jobs require a lot of handwork! Being a mom, I’m busy.

Thank you!

Hello Renee,
I see no quick fix here, for two reasons:
1. You are getting the tingling in both hands.

2. It crosses several dermatomes, affecting from the ring finger to the thumb.

Let's get two potential problems out of the way first; you don't hold the phone between your ear and shoulder, and you don't sleep on your tum? If so, that's the place to start.

Then I would have an x-ray taken of your neck, including oblique views. Let me know the result and we'll take this further.

Prod just below the elbow on the bellies of the pronator teres muscles (Google it); is it particularly tender? Is there any swelling in the fingers? Carpal tunnel syndrome should be considered too.

Dr B

Nov 01, 2017
Right hand thumb numb
by: Tony

While taking a bath I was leaning over the side of the tub to keep my phone from getting wet. I was reading articles so this was at least 8 to 10 minutes of leaning over the side of the tub. After which I felt a tingling sensation in my arm as if the blood was stopped and was trying to recirculate. However the feeling in my hand never came back to normal. It's been three days now and I've been taking 800 mg of ibuprofen. I've even had acupuncture to see if they can get the sensation back but to no avail. Just wondering if you have any suggestions.

Hello Tony, there has to be a moral to this story; it's a sad indictment of our life that we are unable to stop for long enough to sit on the loo or take a long hot bath and contemplate the meaning of life.

Seriously though, was your arm out to the right side of the bath, or crossed over to the left?

Stretching out to the right would put strain on the brachial plexus of nerves suggesting an impingement somewhere in the neck (turned to the right), or somewhere where this group of nerves passes under bones, around tendons, between muscle bellies or in the carpal tunnel.

If it was to the left, with the head turned to the left then I would be looking for an impingement of the nerve under the pec minor tendon or in the thoracic outlet.

Three tests for you to do.

1. When this tingling is strong raise your arm above your shoulder, and place your hand on your head. Does it relieve or increase the tingling?

2. Turn your head to the right and then simultaneously look up. What happens/

3. Using the Site Search function at Chiropractic Help find the 'upper limb tension test' and with the help of a friend perform the manoeuvre. Again what results do you get?

Let me know.

Dr B

Oct 20, 2017
severe numbness nightly in my thumb, index and middle fingers both hands when i am sleeping
by: Anonymous

I am a 54 years old male. I have been getting severe numbness nightly in my thumb, index and middle fingers both hands when I am sleeping horizontally, with much aching may I add, the only way to get them back to normal seems to be to point my arm vertically to the ground. This has been going on for 2 weeks, but I have had this happening a little on and off for 10 years. Please help me.

You almost certainly have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome affecting the median nerve. It's what is known as a double crush syndrome, often affected in several places like the lower neck, between the two bellies of the pronator teres and in the wrist.

This makes it very complex and why research shows that treatment addressing only the neck, or only the wrist, is usually not very effective.

A true 'cure', so that it goes away completely is unlikely no matter what the treatment; it's going to need ongoing management and care.

Sorry, but you're likely to be dissatisfied if you only have surgery to the wrist, or only have treatment of your neck; it usually takes a multi disciplinary approach.

Let me know how you get on.

Dr B

Jun 21, 2017
Thumb and forefinger numb, both hands
by: Anushca

Good day can you please help me. My thumb and forefinger (both hands) goes numb daily at least 3 times a day but there is no pain. This has been going on for about 2 months now. I am also loosing weight; not on purpose.

If you turn your head to the side and then look up, does it cause lower neck pain, or increase the numbness?

I would start with an x-ray of your lower neck.

Dr B

May 22, 2017
Tingling fingers
by: mike

I attempted to lift a heavy item into my car trunk; now I have pins and needles in my index finger?

It's probably a local problem. Ice and massage the finger and hand, perhaps even the forearm; do gentle stretches that don't provoke the tingling.

If it doesn't resolve within say a week, you'd better get some professional advice.

Dr b

Mar 13, 2017
Frustrated with wrist pain and cracking sounds from my spine
by: Anonymous

I'm an artist and I've been out of school for a few months and haven't drawn much. I always drew during my free time and I got wrist pains months later even though I don't really draw at home. I asked my doctor and she said maybe it was because of overuse?

I've had this pain for 6+ months. I also sometimes hear a cracking sound in my wrist. I think I have tendinitis. I rarely feel the thumb and pointing finger numbness.

I'm not sure what to ask my doctor, should I ask for an mri of my wrist and my spine? I have bad posture and I've heard like a weird crunching sound from my lower back and moderate from my neck area. I haven't injured myself or anything so I'm not sure if. Any suggestions? Thanks

This doesn't sound directly related to your neck but what's needed is a diagnosis and that means consulting someone who specialises in joints, and in this case the wrists; you'll need to your homework quite carefully to find the right person. Take your time, ask around.

You are young to be having these ominous signs from all your joints; it's obviously not regional. That to me means two things:

1. More exercise; how about starting to walk, or swim or cycle every day? Perhaps twenty minutes, could you manage that?

2. Take a good long look at your diet. If you're eating a lot of crap, and not getting the healthy coloured foods in your diet then you can't expect to have a strong and pain free body. Start with at least two fruits and a large mixed salad every day. Your own homemade hummus with the salad would be a great addition.

Dr B

» Frustrated with wrist pain and cracking sounds from my spine

Jan 24, 2017
Middle fingers both hands electric
by: Joice

Rearended in mar 2016,26 visits of chiro 3 times a week sonce july. concussion found in mei immediately after vechile hit us at a dead stand still.
Chiro released me, cant help get electric shocks from middle and ring fingers both hands. Nothing in pinkys. Wrist sends shocks up arm when bent down. Worse in right . Im left handed. Severe carpal was said, trying wrist splints at night. Discissing surgery both hands. Nervous. I do alot of laptop work on my lap. Dedign, spreadsheets, articles... Etc all micro office programs, maybe 4 to 10 hrs a day. For 5 years. Only afyer this accident have i ever had any finger ecelric feelings. I also create silk floral arrangements for 5 years now. Alot of tough cutting wires. Please advise... Surgery or ? Will it disolve. I always take flax oul pills but ran out in mid 2016and forgot anout it til i saw you recommed it. Also switched from olive oul to coconut oul. Any chance its a cause?

Hello Joice,
Please resubmit this as a new question at the bottom of one of the neck pain pages at chiropractic-help.com

In English; I don't respond to the kind of gibberish you've used above.

Dr B

Nov 28, 2016
Tingling fingers
by: Crystal

On October 24th I was in a minor auto accident, while driving a company vehicle; I was ok until later that night I started feeling sore, and the next few days worse.

I finally got into the doctor 3 days later, xrays were done and they said they seemed fine; I have been getting treated at a chiropractor for my lower back. It's horrible and makes me cry just about every time, it's not getting better at all.

Two weeks ago the Dr had to send a referral for authorization through workers' compensation to get my neck treated through the same chiro. They have YET to receive the info from workers comp to authorize the treatment; anyway, my neck, and left shoulder are killing me, I can barely move my neck to the left and can barely bend it looking down, and up, it hurts tremendously, the past week I've noticed some major tingling in my fingers, all of them on my left hand, but mostly my thumb and pointer, which goes down to the side of my hand; any answers?

I haven't gotten an MRI yet, asking for one tomorrow.

Hello Crystal,
Let's start with your lower back; when it's not responding then I recommend you start some lower back exercises; you'll find some at the chiropractic help site, but best to ask your chiropractor.

The thumb and pointer belong very specifically to the C6 dermatome; you've had a neck injury clearly. Obviously you have to go through the process of scans, a full examination and treatment; and, yes, neck pain hurts a lot.

Not sure what to add, except to say that MVAs almost always leave their mark; have you had any previous injuries?

Dr B

Jun 03, 2016
Numbness and tingling in left hand all day and right only when I wake up
by: Nick

I feel like I have the same problem in my left hand but when I wake up in the morning my right hand falls asleep for a couple of minutes but then is fine. Is this the same problem?

You'll need to give me a lot more details, Nick. Which fingers, for example, and do you have neck pain? How long, what caused it and what provokes the pain.

Dr B

Apr 17, 2015
MRI Result
by: Giles Coghlan

Thank you for your help -

I now have the results of the MRI scan which I received yesterday.

The scan result (skipping the normal bits) says 'Their are minor posterior disc bulges at levels C5/C6 and C6/C7, but there are no significant disc protrusions or osteophytic disc bars'.

The conclusion reads :' Multilevel cervical and upper thoracic mild disc degeneration, but no disc protrusions. No Nerve root or spinal canal compromise'.

My doctor has noted that the neck exercises I have been doing have been helping relieve symptoms of tingling, so has prescribed a muscle relaxant as an aid to this . ( Methocarbamol 750mg).

He says my outlook is unknown at this stage - could get better , could get worse. I feel relieved to have a cause for my tingling, but sad at the same time as my life has been affected by these symptoms.

I would like to thank you for your website and time, which led me to the exact cause of my complaint, and inspired me to start exercises which has lessened my symptoms.

Kind regards,


Hello Giles,
The MRI is better than expected, but nevertheless significant. What's good is there is no frank pinching of the nerve; the lack of movement between the joints is releasing noxious chemicals that are irritating the nerves.

Although the research is weak, I find that in combination with chiropractic treatment, a cervical traction unit will help. Get one that stretches your neck lying down, not sitting, and lie in it for about 20 minutes every day, slowly increasing the weight. They're not particularly expensive; your doctor might even prescribe it. It's not unpleasant; turn on some music and enjoy the relaxation.

Get onto an anti inflammatory diet; omega 3 and olive oil are a good place to start. Use the search function at Chiropractic Help. Hot peppers, including the seeds and placenta, are oddly anti inflammatory too.

Time to find a skilled and experienced local chiropractor?

Dr B

Feb 24, 2015
A further note
by: Anonymous

Apologies for the strung out nature of my reply, but I have one further observation to make -

About 2 months after I first noticed my symptoms I noticed that I would have a crunching sound that occasionally came from my neck. It sounded like grinding your teeth, but it came from my neck area.

This 'crunching' soon stopped, probably by about 4/5 months into my symptoms, and has never recurred since then...

I am not sure of any significance to this , if any, but I thought it was worth detailing down.

Thank you,


It probably is significant, Giles. It means that there is some osteoarthritis developing from an old injury. Read more about immobilisation arthritis at Chiropractic Help. Start by adding cold water fish like salmon regularly to the diet; freshly ground flaxseed is good too. See the anti inflammatory omega 3 page.

Dr B

Feb 22, 2015
Answers to questions 1 and 2
by: Anonymous

1. I noticed no increase in symptoms when I turn my head to the left and look up. When my wife added gentle pressure to my I similarly noticed no difference

2. I did the upper Limb extension test and similarly noticed no difference in symptoms.

Addendum : Since I have last posted I have been using some neck stretches, and shoulder blade 'stretches' - These seem to be helping as my symptoms are feeling 'very good' during the day , but returning during the night.

However, I visited my GP here who has now booked me in for an MRI scan of my neck.

I also further considered the one action that I have which creates a worsening and increase of my tingling, specifically, moving my head forward. I can report that moving my head down (chin towards chest ) and to the left - makes the symptoms much worse (loud nerve reaction in hand). Conversely, moving my head in the mirror opposite direction (up and to the right) brought some relief.

Hello again Giles,
It's good to hear you are going to have an MRI; that will probably reveal all. At this stage there's nothing clear to me.

One last test, and it's difficult. Find your wrist pulse in both arms with your other hand; if you turn your head and look up, and simultaneously take in a deep breath, does it change the strength of your pulse? It's called Adson's test.

It's most unlikely to be carpal tunnel syndrome by the way; that would also go into the middle finger and usually the ring too.

Would you type in the MRI report please when you have it.

Dr B

Feb 17, 2015
Answer to question 3
by: Anonymous

I have the answer to question 3 and I will wait for my wife to return from her parents this weekend to answer questions 1 and 2.

Went to gym with my symptoms feeling ‘good’, with only a slight tingle. After 30 mins running the tingling in my left hand became pronounced and after 45 mins running at 10.5 kph my left hand was ‘bad’ with tingling in my thumb, forefinger and numbness over my thumb and extending over the inside of my wrist and up the forearm. I then placed my hands above my head and there was no significant difference in my symptoms. There was certainly no relief and if it did get any worse it was difficult to notice much difference. It certainly wasn’t pronounced although when I did it earlier in the day, without running there did seem to be a very slight enhanced tingle, but this was leaving my hand up in the air for 30 + seconds.

About 60 mins after my run my hand was back to feeling ‘good’.

Other observations I have had - Sneezing and coughing does briefly enhance the symptoms.

Working above my head did seem to make it worse after I was helping push a christimas tree up in a loft around Christmas time. This triggered a ‘bad’ few days.

Also, I did some upper body weights including some bicep curls and pectoral work which made my symptoms ‘bad’ again (about 10 days ago now). I will not be repeating these upper body weights again.


I think it best to wait until we have the results of the other questions so we can see the whole picture. Again, please be specific as you were with these.

Dr B

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