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Numb Arm(7 posts)

Numb ArmGrand Pooh Bear
May 31, 2002 11:03 AM
I seem to have aggravated something in my left arm, which usually only occured from arm curling. Since I started riding over 40 miles a stretch, my left arm now has a persistent numb feeling in it. It is like lightly hitting the funny bone woithout the sensation disappearing. Anyone have a clue as to what it is and how to treat it? Any supports that can be worn? It seems to originate from the elbow area. HELP! It is annoying.
re: Numb Armamflyer
May 31, 2002 12:05 PM
Specifically, what part of your arm is numb?
re: Numb Armamflyer
May 31, 2002 12:08 PM
Also, what is your age? Are there any other symptoms or differences? How long has the arms been numb? When did you first notice it? Is the arm totally numb, or are the perceptions only altered? Do you have any muscular weakness in that arm? When was your last physical?

re: Numb ArmGrand Pooh Bear
May 31, 2002 3:40 PM
The whole arm has a pins and needles feeling, from just below the shoulder muscles all the way to the fingertips. "Numb" may not be the best word as I still have feeling. On the hand, it is most noticeable through the ring and little finger side. I first noticed this about two years ago when I over did it with bicep curls with free weights. After not working out, it eventually went away, which was the M.O. this past Fall as well. I noticed it within the last two weeks again after a long ride and more so after a 55 miler last weekend. There are no other symptoms or weakness in the muscles, other than being my naturally weaker side. I am 29 and my last physical was last summer.
re: Numb Armamflyer
May 31, 2002 7:48 PM
Well, the parathesis (altered perception) in your ring and little finger nail down the newve almost 100% as the ulnar nerve. It crosses the elbow midway between your "elbow bone" and the "bony knob" that is facing towards your body if you turn your hand so the palm faces forward. Often you can palpate in that area and actually roll the nerve, which gives a pretty good twang down in your little and ring finger. This is you "Funny bone." Does the feeling remind you of that sort of feeling? I wonder if you don't have an inflamed ulnar nerve, although I would guess it is affected somewhere higher than your elbow as you indicate that you have the feeling all the way up your arm.

There are a lot of things that could have caused the nerve irritation, but it's pretty hard to nail down without a bunch of functionality tests.

One that comes to mind is called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Sounds ominous, but all it really means is that you have an extra rib up high on your ribcage. Most of the nerves that innervate the upper extremities (or arms and shoulders) come from the neck area and pass down into the arm. An extra rib in that crossing area impinges on the nerve and/or vessels that travel to the arm. The nerves/vessels get cought between the extra rib and the scalenus muscles, which I would imagine you might use in a bracing sort of way when doing curls or perhaps riding too.

Ask your MD and see if you have ever had a chest radiograph. That extra rib would be pretty obvious.

More than likely though you just overdid it a bit, and inflamed the nerve. Anti-inflammitories like ibuprofen should help. If it persists, go get it checked out.

I'm studying to be a tooth Doc when I grow up, so I obviously don't know everthing about your condition, but these are a few things to think about if you do have to go see the guys in white coats. (Remember the old adage..."advice is often worth what you pay for it...")

Good luck.

re: Numb ArmGrand Pooh Bear
Jun 1, 2002 4:52 AM
Thanks. Good diagnosis. Whenever I pressed there a little, I noticed a calming of the symptoms.
How do you sleep?Kerry
May 31, 2002 4:17 PM
Check your sleeping position. I once had a bout of numb fingers which I attributed to long miles on the bike. While the long miles did aggravate it a bit, the real problem was that I was sleeping with my arm tucked under me a little. I woke up in the middle of the night and my hand was asleep. I changed my sleeping position, and the problem went away. I'm not saying this is your problem, but it is something to think about.