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  #1  
Old 06-22-2012, 04:03 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
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Tell me about my numb finger

Firstly: I HAVE HAD MEDICAL ADVICE. I went to A&E today, after being told to do so by a pharmacist yesterday if it wasn't cleared up today, and essentially told to come back around Monday/Tuesday if it wasn't cleared up (with subtext of sod off we have more important injuries to be dealing with).

However I would still like some info on what dopers think I have (my wikipedia diagnosis is something up with my ulmar nerve but I may be wrong).

My symptoms are:
  • My left pinky, the tip especially, is numb
  • However it does feel pressure and it can feel pain
  • It's hard to do some stuff with my left hand like pop pills from blister packets (I understand these are rare in the US but they are the normal form for medicine here - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_pack for an example of what one is) and even holding my nose is difficult. I can't tell if the difficulty is just with the little finger or not. In any case every other finger feels normal.
  • There is no pain nor so far as I can tell limitation of movement, it just all feels really "weird" and that's what is stopping me doing things with my hand - it just doesn't "feel right"
  • I haven't got diabetes or circulation problems. The only place this is happening is my left pinky. And it's never happened before
  • It's been going on since yesterday morning. It's currently 10pm (wtf how did it get that late!?) on this side of the pond

Thanks. Does my amateur diagnosis make sense btw?
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2012, 04:10 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
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Blister packs are relatively common in the US.

No idea what's wrong with your finger. Its the wrong side of the hand for Carpal Tunnel, IIRC.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2012, 04:15 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post
Blister packs are relatively common in the US.
and in Canada for many OTC drugs, although I've never had in prescriptions in them (not saying anything about how often others get an Rx in a blister pack, just reporting on myself).
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:23 PM
Canadjun Canadjun is offline
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Further to my last message. My right hand goes tingly if I use my computer too much (I am the first to admit that I am NOT set up ergonomically) and the tingliness does seem to be worse towards my pinky. It's rather obvious in my case that it's just cut off circulation. Have you been lying on your arm funny?
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2012, 04:25 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
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I have not intentionally been lying on my arm funny but it is not impossible; indeed if it is the cause of this it is probable in that I woke up with this (and obviously I don't recall in what position I slept!)

In fact I've had numbness caused like that before but it would only last a few hours. For this to last so long is pretty odd for me, and it won't be aging I'm only 25!
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  #6  
Old 06-22-2012, 05:43 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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I've had fingers and toes go numb from backstrain and pinched nerves in my neck before. Do any heavy lifting or strain your neck or back recently?
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2012, 06:30 PM
Tamex Tamex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun View Post
and in Canada for many OTC drugs, although I've never had in prescriptions in them (not saying anything about how often others get an Rx in a blister pack, just reporting on myself).
Yep, they are pretty common for OTC drugs in the US, but not as much for prescriptions. However, I have had one prescription come that way--Imitrex, which is a migraine medication. Last thing you want to deal with at the onset of a migraine. F-ing blister packs!
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Old 06-22-2012, 06:44 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Now that we're all on the same page with blister packs, can we confirm that we're all on the same page about pinkies? I can't, for the life of me, figure out what the OP is doing with their pinky to pop pills out of a blister back. In fact, I'm pretty sure you could cut my pinkies off and I could still pop pills out of blister packs and hold my nose.

I wonder if he/she is using pinky in place of index?

Also, one of my (can't remember which) ring fingers goes a bit numb from time to time. It'll also get noticeably cold and a bit pale at the same time. But it always clears up after 20 minutes or so.

Last edited by Joey P; 06-22-2012 at 06:46 PM..
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2012, 06:44 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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The ulnar nerve enervates the 5th and 4th digits. Sure there aren't any issues with the ring finger?
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:01 PM
Jeep's Phoenix Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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Have you been leaning on that elbow a lot? If I put too much pressure on my left elbow -- say, by leaning on an armrest -- my pinky and ring fingers will get tingly or borderline numb.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2012, 12:38 AM
Rhaegar Rhaegar is offline
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Cubital tunnel syndrome. Compression or entrapment of the ulnar nerve, causing numbness in the 4th and 5th fingers usually. You might try wearing an elbow pad to avoid compressing the nerve, and don't rest your elbow against hard surfaces. If that doesn't work, then you should probably have an EMG test to confirm the diagnosis and then see an Orthopedist for possible cubital tunnel release surgery.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2012, 03:33 AM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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It could be a compressed ulnar nerve (IANAD - just a recent patient who had to have the nerve transposed). I'm told that PT often helps, and NSAIDs can be useful - no good in my case, but I wish you luck!
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2012, 03:47 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tamex View Post
Yep, they are pretty common for OTC drugs in the US, but not as much for prescriptions. However, I have had one prescription come that way--Imitrex, which is a migraine medication. Last thing you want to deal with at the onset of a migraine. F-ing blister packs!
According to a previous thread, European style blister packs are way easier to open than American ones. There's zero effort involved (in fact, the most common problem would be to accidentally open several blisters when you push on one)
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Old 06-23-2012, 04:23 PM
computergeek computergeek is offline
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Yeah, a compressed ulnar nerve in the elbow is a likely possibility. I had that a few years ago and had some numbness in my fingers for a few weeks. I saw my doctor about it, but since it was clearing up on its own, we decided she wouldn't do anything about it.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:13 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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I've said this before, and I'll say it again, but here goes....

... open blister packs with a pair of these. Stab through the paper backing next to a pill with one spike, pinch and twist to remove the backing. Pop out the pill. Easy peasy.

I used to have to open dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of these a day at work to do quality testing on them... it works, believe me, even with the thick cardboard-backed ones. It was faster and less frustrating than trying to push the tablet though.

I much prefer foil-backed blister packs, though even then, I'd use the tweezers too because I was so used to it.
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  #16  
Old 06-23-2012, 05:17 PM
Mdcastle Mdcastle is offline
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I had numbness in my fingers- a neck MRI revealed a C4-C5 herniation. Two spine surgeons recommended I have it fused and to set somthing up if it didn't get better. It improved a little and I haven't followed through since I don't have MRI vision to see if the herniation is improving by itself like they said it might.

Seroquel XR is one medication that comes in blister packs in the US. For a while the pharmacy stripped them for me and put them in a conventional pill bottle, but now they just shove a bunch of packages in the bag.
.

Last edited by Mdcastle; 06-23-2012 at 05:18 PM..
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  #17  
Old 06-23-2012, 05:43 PM
FeAudrey FeAudrey is offline
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Concur with my fellow self-appointed experts' diagnoses of ulnar nerve compression.

The cause is leaning on your elbow while working at the computer; the cure is to stop doing that. Putting a pad under your elbow will extend the time before you progress to permanent damage, but it's better to quit doing the damaging thing.

You can try the NSAIDs recommended by other posters, and icing the elbow (not the fingers) as you would any other inflammatory injury.

Good touch-typing technique counsels no leaning on elbows, so you may benefit from reviewing (or learning) that, too.

Frequent (every twenty minutes or so) breaks with a few stretching exercises can help avert a wide range of repetitive stress problems. You can also throw in a few eye-relief exercises.

If something is going to hurt, it's nice for it to be something easily remediable ...
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2012, 04:31 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
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This is actually, if anything, getting slightly worse in terms of the numbness. But I'm starting to learn how to do things with my left hand again so it's less inconvenient.

I shall arrange an appointment with a doctor tomorrow (not going to bother with A&E unless anyone here says I should) but in the meantime has anyone anything else to add? I took the advice above about NSAIDS and have been taking high dose ibuprofen, although I haven't noticed anything from it.
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  #19  
Old 06-26-2012, 04:36 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
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By the way I spoke to my Dad about it and he said it's part of "getting old". Is this true?
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  #20  
Old 06-26-2012, 05:39 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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For a couple years I had tingling sensations in my right arm and fingers. I noticed I could make it worse by turning my head to the right. I concluded it was likely a pinched nerve in my upper back/neck area.

I went to a doctor. He wanted to schedule a MRI. My co-pay was $300, and I decided against it for the time being.

I started going to the gym. I did military presses and bench presses with free weights. At first the tingling got worse. But I just kept going to the gym, and eventually the tingling went away. That was 8 months ago. I still go to the gym 2 to 3 times a week, and the tingling is now completely gone.
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  #21  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:18 PM
Simple Linctus Simple Linctus is offline
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In case anyone is keeping track, I went to a doctor today spur of the moment as I was passing the hospital anyway (lol socialised medicine lets you do that), had an x-ray which came back fine and they've given me diclofenac, to take 150mg of a day, and told me to go back on Friday for further investigations. And also my left hand is in a splint which made the drive back "interesting" in my manual transmission (stick shift) car.

They are going with the nerve problem idea mostly.

Last edited by Simple Linctus; 06-27-2012 at 02:19 PM..
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