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What causes numbness in the left hand?

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Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 3010 Questions
My left hand us numb..if I try to hold my hand out flat my little and ring finger droop down..I am about 65 miles from closest er..
Posted Sat, 25 Nov 2017 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Stroke must be excluded.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your.

Given the abrupt onset of the symptoms the main concern is that of stroke. If the numbness involves the whole hand and not only those last two fingers you mention dropping I think it is the first possibility to be excluded.

Other less urgent possibilities would involve a peripheral nerve issue. Ulnar nerve compression would be a possibility given the involvement of the those fingers. Cervical spine issues with compression of a nerve root in the neck is another one.

While these last two do not represent an emergency and can wait for an appointment with primary physician, stroke is an emergency. I understand that ER is not close to where you live, but stroke is not a diagnosis to take chances with given the risk of disability it entails. So I would still recommend going to the ER for a physical exam about the nature of that numbness and weakness and to make sure there are no other neurological signs which would make brain imaging necessary. Hopefully given that the symptoms involve only the hand there will be no other indication of stroke, but I believe it should be excluded given the seriousness of the diagnosis.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes numbness in the left hand? 15 minutes later
Thank you for the advice. After pacing around for a few minutes while deciding what to do the numbness passed and I can hold my hand out straight with no drooping fingers..I have left a message for my primary care doctor and will get in to see him in the morning.
Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 5 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
That is good news. Since symptoms have completely subsided and you can contact your primary physician without much delay it seems the most reasonable course of action for now. Perhaps it is simply a transitory ulnar nerve compression while you were sitting watching TV.

Let me know if I can further assist you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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