Friday, October 25, 2013

Another interesting tidbit

I know I haven't been very active on this blog recently, and I palologize. :) Been crazy-busy, but this morning I want to write about something new.

Sometimes I wake up with my left hand numb. It doesn't affect movement, it isn't painful, and working the hand makes the numbness go away relatively quickly.

I did some research on the topic and it appears that there are many causes, from heavy metal toxicity to heart attack.

Of course, heart attack would normally be in the right arm, but it's still a possibility.

We don't have a well (municipal water is tightly controlled) so heavy metals are unlikely.

The simplest (and most common) cause of temporary numbness appears to be carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of a nerve as it runs through your wrist and usually affects people who use their wrists a great deal, such as people who spend a lot of time on the computer. It can be caused or exacerbated by extra weight, so often the first thing prescribed is to lose those extra pounds. The second thing prescribed is often surgery, but there are other options. Using an ergonomic keyboard (one that supports the natural movements of the wrist) is probably the most effective. Support your wrists while you type, even if it's just books lined up along the front of the keyboard.

My problem doesn't fit carpal tunnel, so I kept looking.

Most of the options fit in the "nerve damage" category. Causes could range from a sudden addition to your weight training regimen, to a sudden blow or trauma to the shoulder. i.e., did you recently help someone move or build a fence? Sleeping wrong (or long periods of inactivity while you sleep) can also cause the nerves to go to sleep temporarily.

The Brachial Plexus is a set of nerves that runs down the neck and into the arm. Once the nerves pass the shoulder the group breaks up, so depending on where the pressure is any of the nerves (or the whole group) could be affected.

It can also be environmental. I think I may have narrowed mine to constrictions around my shoulder from my pajamas, pressing on that nerve. I also wonder if my dreams are causing me to tense the shoulder and compress the nerve. It is always the left hand, and apparently the nerves of the right hand are situated differently than the left so they're not as likely to be compressed.

Please note that if there are other symptoms (nausea, pain, dizziness, etc) you should seek medical attention.

Going to be an interesting test, eliminating factors one by one until I can identify the problem--and then target it.

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