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Diagnosed with carpel tunnel in hands. What could be the reason for numbness while bending my elbow?

Jul 2013
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
hi I have been diagnosed with carpel tunnel in my hands but the other night (and I have since proven it more than once now) that when my hands go numb during the night while I am asleep and when I awake rather than wriggle my hands to bring them back to life (which is what I had been doing in the past) this time I simply stretched out my arms (as I normally sleep on my side with my hands on the pillow near my head) ie layed my hands beside my knees and amazingly the hands come back to life again (without wriggling them). For this to happen it makes me think that maybe the it's not an impingment in the wrist but perhaps somewhere around the elbow joint as why do the hands go numb when the elbow are bent and disappears when I straighthen my arms out? Very strange, your thoughts?
Posted Thu, 12 Dec 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 18 minutes later
Brief Answer: You might have an Entrapment Neuropathy. Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX Based on the presentation of your symptomatology, I suspect that you have some sort of Entrapment Neuropathy wherein the nerves supplying the hand (while passing down the limb from above downwards) will be compressed in the tight osteo-fascial tunnels/fascial bands through which they pass. And these tight bands or tunnels will become more tight during flexion movements (as in your case, with elbow bending) leading to numbness in the part supplied by that specific nerve and the compression will be released once you make the elbow straight leading to disappearence of numbness. So, these peripheral entrapment neuropathies may result due to compression of the nerves either in the axilla, the arm, elbow joint, forearm and the wrist. A Nerve conduction study of the affected limb is needed to know the exact site of compression of the nerve. I suggest you to consult a Neurophysician for a detailed evaluation and further management. Hope I have justified your query. Happy to help further Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with carpel tunnel in hands. What could be the reason for numbness while bending my elbow? 19 minutes later
yep I have had two nerve conduction study tests done that say I have mild carpel tunnel, I just thought it was strange how the 'deadness' went away when I straightened out my arm
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 18 minutes later
Brief Answer: A direct clinical examination is needed. Detailed Answer: Hi, Nice to hear from you. As already stated in my previous answer, the compression of the nerve might have been released due to the relaxation of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and fascia which might be compressing the nerve) while straightening the arm. This transient numbness due to nerve compression is termed as Neuropraxia or Nerve concussion. To define the exact cause, a direct clinical examination is mandatory. Hope I have addressed your issue. Good day
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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