Healthy Hoboken – October 2008

10/7/2008:

[Every month, Hoboken411 will be posting a column to give answers to Hobokenites’ most frequently asked health questions. The column is written by Dr. Laura Brayton of Hoboken Chiropractic + Wellness. Please send all health-related questions to DrBrayton@HobokenChiro.com.]

Healthy Hoboken – October 2008

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“Dear Dr. Brayton,

I recently have been suffering from numbness and tingling into my right hand that lasts for a few minutes but keeps coming back. I am now noticing that I am dropping my keys easily or having difficulty opening jars at home. I am concerned that I may have a pinched nerve and do not want to suffer with permanent nerve damage. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Matt T.”

May be a pinched nerve – but get tested!

Dr. Laura Brayton - Healthy Hoboken - Hoboken411“Dear Matt T.,

The symptoms of numbness and tingling almost always indicates a pinched nerve of some sort. The question is: which nerve and where is the entrapment?

It is important to really be aware of exactly where you are feeling the symptoms, like in your neck, arm, forearm, or just hand. Also, which fingers are affected; all five or just a couple? Be aware of the frequency and intensity of the symptoms as well, like how often it happens, what seems to bring it on, and how long it lasts. This will help you accurately describe your symptoms to your doctor/chiropractor which I advise you visit as soon as possible. If you are noticing muscle weakness in your right hand, then you definitely need to address this condition quickly because the longer your nerve or nerves continue to be pinched, the more permanent the injury to the nerve. There are many diagnoses that need to be ruled out to determine the exact cause of your symptoms which range from carpal tunnel syndrome to thoracic outlet syndrome or a cervical disc herniation as well as many others. Certain diagnostic testing may be necessary to exactly pinpoint the problem, like a cervical MRI, needle-EMG testing or nerve conduction velocity testing.

Please let me know if you have any other specific questions or concerns.

Yours in health,
Dr. Brayton

[411 note to Dr. Laura: Can smoking also contribute to these symptoms? I’ve been seeing gross anti-smoking commercials about a woman who lost most of her fingers and toes because of how smoking supposedly affects circulation in the long term. Isn’t numbness and tingling also a precursor?]

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