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How is nerve injury due to compression treated ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 126 Questions
I fell asleep last night up on the couch with my hands crossed and my head on my hands. When I woke up this morning, the top of my left hand was numb, and my thumb and index fingers won't move and I cant lift my wrist up. I'm really scared!
Mon, 7 May 2012 in TMJ
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 36 minutes later

Thanks for your query.

From your history and the symptoms I am of the opinion that it is probably due to nerve injury caused mostly due to compression of nerves by the weight of the head over your hand. Without examination and few tests I cannot come to a conclusion on which nerve might have been injured.

The nerve injury probably belongs to a class of nerve injury called Neuropraxia which is the mildest form of nerve injury in which recovery is always complete but the duration may extend from days to weeks. You may require to undergo a test called NCS (Nerve Conduction Studies) to find the extent of nerve damage.

I suggest you to consult your doctor/orthopaedician for further evaluation and management.

I hope my answer has been adequate and informative. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How is nerve injury due to compression treated ? 28 minutes later
Could this be what they call wrist drop? Is there anyway to treat it prior to an appointment?
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 2 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

Yes, this could be wrist drop.

Let me explain to you about Wrist Drop in relation to your condition.

Wrist drop usually occurs after your arm has been in the same position (abnormal position) for too long and is caused by damage to the radial nerve.

1. Wrist weakness, resulting in the inability to raise the hand at the wrist.
2. Hand numbness (unilateral), and hand weakness (unilateral)
3. Additional symptoms may include wrist pain, wrist tenderness, or wrist swelling, wrist deformity etc

Treatment can be initiated only after the conformation of the diagnosis by your doctor/orthopaedician. Till then you can do the following exercises.

Using the fully functional hand:

1. Put pressure on your injured hand to stretch the wrist forward and then backward. Hold both positions for up to 10 seconds.
2. Rotate the wrist in a circular motion both clockwise and counterclockwise.
3. Move all the fingers and their joints with the help of the other normal hand.

The idea of these exercise is to loosen the muscles and keep them healthy and working while the injured nerve is healing. Because when the muscles are devoid of their nerve supply they become inactive which may lead to contractures preventing further movement.

I hope my answer has been adequate and informative.

Wish you a speedy recovery.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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