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  #1  
Old 06-23-2004, 09:10 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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Why do my little fingers go numb when I'm in bed?

When I wake up in the ... well... after I've been asleep my little fingers on both hands are numb. I have to flex them and shake the hands to get the feeling back. And then unless I put my arm flat somehow they get numb again within about a minute.

It doesn't affect me during the day. It just stops me from getting back to sleep because I keep waking up with the numbness back worrying that with no feeling in the fingers I'll break them.
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2004, 09:32 PM
stuyguy stuyguy is offline
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Have you been biking a lot lately? Sounds like you've got "biker's palsey." Pressure and vibration on the outside of the hands from gripping the handlebars will make the pinkies go numb hours after you get off the bike. It's not as common as it used to be when drop handlebars were more common and cyclists rode "in the drops."
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Old 06-23-2004, 09:33 PM
Big Tom Big Tom is offline
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Can't offer an explanation, but will be waiting to hear one. I am plagued with the same problem. Only happens to me while in bed. If I fall asleep in the recliner, which is not that much different than bed, it never happens. I also somtimes have not only the little finger, but also the ring and middle fingers go numb as well. Usually only on one hand at a time, not both. In my case, it seems to be tied to which side of my body I'm laying on, but that's more a guess than fact.

Any one out there have any ideas?

Tom
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2004, 09:38 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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I have started riding my bike again recently. But nothing serious, just one or two trips to work and back. And now I've stopped again because the breaks need fixing.

Big Tom It seems to be related to which side I am lying on too. And I think gravity definately plays a part. Originally I thought lack of bloodflow to the finger was the cause, but bloodflow and the nervous system are different.
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2004, 09:41 PM
stuyguy stuyguy is offline
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I should have been more specific in my post. The pressure and vibration affects the nerve(s) in the outside finger(s). I suppose that biking isn't the only possible cause of "biker's palsey." Any other new nerve-pinching-and-vibrating activity can cause it.
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2004, 09:45 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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Probably my fault. My hand gets uncomfortable from using the mouse so occasionally I 'crack' the wrist to relieve the discomfort. I suppose this involves stretching the nerves. But it doesn't explain why I get the problem in both hands.
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:06 PM
GilaB GilaB is offline
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I sometimes sleep on my hand in a way that rotates the palm out (my thumb moves counterclockwise if we're talking about my right hand), and when I wake up, the pinky and ring finger are sometimes numb. Could you be sleeping on it twisted up? Probably this is impossible if you're a back sleeper, but if you sleep on your side or stomach it could be an explanation.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:07 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Are you overweight? I assume big Tom is overweight too. I weigh 258 or so and i used to get this condition alot (it seems to have stopped since i started exercising regularly). I don't know what causes it, maybe bodyweight putting pressure on your nerves.
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:14 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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Yes I am overweight. I think the way I sleep is known as the fetal position (on my side with my arms crossed. Sometimes I rest my head on my hand. But mostly my hands are not squashed under anything.
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:23 PM
KP KP is offline
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Tingling involving the small, ring and middle finger suggests the ulnar nerve.

Tingling in this area can be cause by many things, including easily remedied electrolyte imbalances (or vitamins) or physical impungements. It also shows up in several more involved conditions - too many to productively discuss here. I suggest looking up ulnar, and if the simplest solutions don't resolve it, consult you doctor

Keep track of it - a daily log is always a good idea for any recurring symptom. It is, however, a fairly common complaint, usually benign and temporary.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:31 PM
KP KP is offline
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I meant to add that the nighttime numbness, and your method of relieving it suggest a mild nerve entrapment. I'd look up and try the specific exercises, etc., listed for that condition, before considering medical/surgical alternatives. Of course, I don't know you history and never examined you.

I consider this period, when the symptoms resolve almost immediately, the golden window for diagnosing and correcting minor impingements
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2004, 10:32 PM
emarkp emarkp is offline
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When this started with me, it was the beginning of RSI. I have tendinitis in both arms, and what you're describing sounds like a problem with your ulnar nerve (goes outside the elbow), and is common in RSI cases. Definitely see a doctor, especially someone who knows about RSI.

If I were in the room I'd show you some stretches to help (if my unprofessional diagnosis is right). Here's a site with some diagrams. Try the forearm stretches. The pictures show it wrong (IMO) though. You've got to bend all 5 fingers when you stretch, including the thumb. It also helps to rotate the fingers of the hand being stretched away from the body as you're stretching. Also, try the "Pec Corner Stretch".

Try the stretches, but definitely see a doctor.

And get good ergonomics at the computer. Most important is to make sure your arms are not resting on anything while you're typing--especially your elbow, where the ulnar nerve is vulnerable.
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2004, 11:14 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I will see a doctor (when I can get registered).

I have been afraid to do the chair twist in your link emarkp ever since I fractured a vertebrae. Of course, they tell me it's healed and it's been like a year since, but I have this horrible vision of doing that twist (which I used to do often before the fracture) and snapping my spine.


BTW it never tingles (pins and needles?) it just regains feeling with no such discomfort.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2004, 12:11 AM
emarkp emarkp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobsang
I have been afraid to do the chair twist in your link emarkp ever since I fractured a vertebrae.
Then don't bother. I didn't even notice that one. The only ones I do regularly are the ones I mentioned. The arms and the pecs.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2004, 10:10 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I've had this same problem for years. Always both hands, usually both the pinkie and ring finger, sometimes the middle finger as well, plus that side of the hand. It usually last a few hours, but sometimes as long as a few days. There's never any tingling involved, just numbness.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2004, 10:20 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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I get this from time to time; my doctor said it was probably Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome, which is the opposite side of the hand from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (fear of fish in dark places).
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2004, 03:55 PM
Big Tom Big Tom is offline
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Yep, Big Tom is a big fella. As background, I am 6'3" and, up until 5 months ago, weighed 375#. I have been following the South Beach diet and am now approx. 284#. My numbness has been effecting me for years. It has not seemed to lessen with my weight loss. I also mostly sleep in the fetal position, but constantly toss from side to side, as I wake and find one or the other hand mostly numb.

Thanks for the ideas and sites. I'll give all thoughts a try.
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2004, 07:26 PM
pool pool is offline
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same thing happens to me literally every time I go to sleep I think while im asleep it put my hands under my body and sleep on my stomach, it freaks me out im scared im gonna cause some sort of nerve damage or something but I can't stop
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