Arm and hand numbness — What does it mean and is it serious?

2013-04-25T00:00:00Z 2013-11-12T12:25:53Z Arm and hand numbness — What does it mean and is it serious?Dr. Hyun K. Lee/The Middle Way Santa Ynez Valley News
April 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Even if you are generally healthy, it is common to wake up, once in a while, with your hand(s) or arm(s) feeling numb. This may not mean you have a serious health problem, but nevertheless, it should not be ignored. In most cases, you should just note it and watch for another occurrence.

The usual folk explanation is that you have slept at a funny angle which caused a crick in your neck, and cut off your blood circulation to the affected limb. This explanation has some medical truth to it, since without oxygen and nutrition from blood circulation to your arms and hands, your nerves will be compressed, all sensation in the affected areas will be cut off, and you will experience numbness.

In such cases, there are a couple of simple actions you can take that should restore feeling to the affected areas immediately, and also release any residual pain.

However, if you wake up frequently with numbness in your hands or arms, and the numbness and pain do not go away, it could be an indication of a more serious health problem that needs checking out immediately with your doctor.

If you are in good health, and do not have any specific health issues, such as diabetes, carpal tunnel or disc issues, for occasional numbness, you can do the following to restore sensation to the affected limb. Take a few minutes to press down on the affected nerves or dermatomes that control the affected areas. Your cervical nerves are located at the back of your neck at the base.

Each nerve controls a dermatome, which to simplify, is a specific area of skin that is affected by the nerve. So the goal is to press the area of numbness related to the particular cervical nerve or nerves involved. You can press the nerve at its direct location, behind your neck, using your left fingers for the left side numbness and pain and your right fingers for right side. Or you can press the dermatome. Your C-6 nerve controls your thumb and forefinger, C-7 nerve controls your middle finger and your C-8 nerve your ring finger and pinkie.

To release pain and numbness in any of these areas, press on them for a few moments, then release contact. Repeat this two to three times. This should restore sensation, and any pain should be gone.

But, if you still continue to feel pain or continuous numbness in any of these areas, you need to have a check-up to rule out more serious conditions. When you press at C-8, with the pinkie finger, and the pain and numbness does not go away after a few minutes, it is wise to have your heart status tested.

Interestingly enough, carpal tunnel very rarely affects the pinkie finger. If your tests are all normal, it would still be a good idea to strengthen your brain cells, and your circulatory and neurological systems with Constitutional electronic acupuncture and herbs. Your brain controls these nerves that cause numbness, and according to oriental medicine, if your brain cells and blood are in good condition, so will your nerves be too, and you won’t experience arm or hand numbness. If you do experience it, even occasionally, it is a warning sign that you have some toxicity in your system.

Remember, out of all your body systems, your neurological system is the most sensitive, so it pays not to ignore any unusual signs and symptoms in that area.

To maintain your brain and nervous system in optimal condition and prevent the inconvenience of waking up with occasional arm and hand numbness, it is recommended that you visit your acupuncturist as soon as possible to strengthen your neurological system, eliminate blood toxicity and maintain excellent brain health.

Dr. Hyun K. Lee has a practice in Solvang and Beverly Hills. He can be reached at 693-5162 or email dr.hklee@hotmail.com

Copyright 2015 Santa Ynez Valley News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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