Life is going great! Your job is going well. Your car is running like new. Your family life is free of drama. And then, you wake up one morning and notice some numbness in your hand. “Odd,” you think, but the numbness goes away quickly once you get out of bed. The next week you don’t think anything of it and hardly notice other times during the day when the same hand goes numb.
Two weeks have gone by, and the numbness has now turned into tingling in your hand. “This is getting more frequent,” you say to yourself. “Maybe it’s not going away on its own.” You go to grab your morning coffee and realize you have a hard time feeling the mug in your hand. “That’s weird.” You start to worry something bigger is causing your symptoms. You grab your phone and look up hand numbness treatment. “Neuropathy, nerve entrapment, surgery, radiculopathy… this is ridiculous! Now I’m scared something bad is causing this!”
Frustrated, you browse a few more results until you find a clinic that mentions they treat hand numbness without surgery or medication. “This looks promising,” you think to yourself. You’re able to get an appointment that week.
A few days later at your appointment, the doctor asks to hear your story. “Well,” you start out, “I woke up a couple weeks ago and my hand was numb. It went away pretty quickly, so I didn’t think anything of it. But now it’s happening more frequently, and it also tingles at times as well. I’m worried something bad is going on and it is going to be expensive to fix!”
The doc smiles warmly. He starts out, “Numbness and tingling can definitely seem scary, however, we’ll know how to treat it once we know what’s causing it. And that’s what we intend to find out today.”
“Great,” you say. “How do we find out what causes the numbness and tingling? I’d like to be able to feel my coffee mug when I drink my coffee.”
The doc states, “You mentioned your entire hand goes numb. Do you mean the palm side, the back side, all of the fingers or some of the fingers go numb?”
“All of it. The front and back and all of the fingers will go numb or feel tingly,” you explain.
The doc nods and continues, “In that case, there are 2 main areas that cause those symptoms. Typically tightness in the joints of the mid and lower neck cause those problems. Less often it can be caused from tightness in the muscles of the neck. Once we get those two narrowed down, we’ll know how to treat it.”
“So I don’t need surgery?” you ask?
“Not at all,” the doc replies. With a little treatment and home rehab exercises, you’ll be good as new!”
The doctor runs through some tests and movements of your upper body and neck. A few of them increase the numbness and some of them stop it all together. He explains, “Your numbness and tingling definitely can seem like a scary thing, however the fix for it is pretty straightforward. Yours is coming from tightness in the joints of your neck which irritate the nerves that run down to you hand. During our exam, we proved we could make your symptoms worse, but also found a way to make them better. Over the next 2-4 weeks, your job is going to be to perform the exercise that makes your numbness go away. You should notice the numbness and tingling gets less and less over the next couple weeks and should be resolved a week or two afterwards.”
“What a relief,” you state. “I’m so glad nothing scary is causing this!”
Three weeks later, the numbness and tingling begin to seem like a distant event in your past. You’re back to your old self a week later. Your coffee mug is comfortably warm in your hand once more and you are so glad you found a great doctor to help treat your hand numbness without drugs or surgery! Things are again looking up!