Hand Surgeon Questions Nerve compression

Are my symptoms a sign of nerve compression?

Since the last 3 days I am experiencing some numbness in my hands. Off and on there is also a radiating pain along with the pins and needles sensation. For some time it feels like my hand has gone to sleep and then after shaking it up and down the symptoms disappear. Am I experiencing signs of nerve compression? Would this require any surgery?

7 Answers

The symptoms you relate do sound like carpal tunnel syndrome which is the most common nerve compression syndrome in the hand. If the symptoms come on at night especially or when you are holding your hand still (watching TV, reading a book or the paper, driving a long distance, combing or curling your hair) then it sounds classic for carpal tunnel. The surgery is done if the symptoms get bad enough. Try using a splint on your wrist if you awaken frequently at night with pain or numbness. Your doctor can order an EMG test to confirm the presence of carpal tunnel and determine its severity.
This sounds like your symptoms may be secondary to carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the most common compression neuropathy. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be successfully treated with or without surgery, depending upon the severity of the nerve compression. You can initially treat this with a carpal tunnel splint, which can be purchased at any drugstore. You should wear the splint at night and during the daytime when you are symptomatic. If your symptoms persist, then I would recommend you consult a physician.
It is possible that this may be due to nerve compression. The most common nerve compression syndrome of the hand is carpal tunnel syndrome. This is characterized by intermittent numbness and tingling as you describe in the median nerve distribution. In lay terms, numbness of the thumb, index and middle finger and the thumb side of the ring finger. If it is of recent onset as in your case, conservative treatment of a steroid injection in carpal tunnel, away from the nerve and splinting are options. If the symptoms persist and progress, a confirmatory nerve conduction study followed by endoscopic carpal tunnel release would then be the treatment of choice.
This sounds like symptoms of nerve compression. Typically, if it involves the thumb, index, and long fingers, this can be a pinched nerve at the cervical spine or, more commonly, carpal tunnel. If it has only been going on for several days, I would recommend a very simple approach, a wrist splint on each wrist at night. These can be purchased over the counter. If symptoms continue over another week or two despite splinting, I would recommend you see a hand surgeon for a history and examination. There are other reasons for pins and needles. Online questions can only be answered in generic ways as, without a thorough history and examination, it is impossible to give an accurate diagnosis. Many nerve compression problems do not require surgery.
You need to be seen by a physician and also obtain a nerve conduction study.
Quite possibly, this is nerve compression. However, there are other possibilities. I would recommend you be evaluated by your primary care doctor or local hand surgeon.

Harrison Solomon, M.D.
Numbness and tingling can be a sign of the nerve not getting adequate blood supply. It's important not to ignore these symptoms to avoid permanent damage to the nerve. An EMG study would likely be ordered by your hand specialist to see how much damage and which nerves are involved. If surgery is necessary it can only be determined after the diagnosis is confirmed.