Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

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54 Replies - 2940 Views - Last Post: 11 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

#1 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:35 AM

Ok. I lied. Only some of you look smart. Others of you just kind of drool on yourselves (myself included). Regardless, here is my medical plight and what I've done about it:

About three weeks ago, I started noticing a pins-and-needles sensation in the pinky and ring fingers of my left hand and all the way down the side of my palm and into the side of my arm. I would switch my position and shake it out and it would go away.

Two weeks ago, the pins-and-needles sensation changed to a full-on numbness that would come and go.

Last week, the coming-and-goingness stopped. It went completely numb and has stayed that way. Overall, it doesn't effect much except my typing (programming as a career FTW!)... so I kind of chose to ignore it because I hate going to the doctor.

Anyway, Monday morning, I closed my pinky in my car door. I didn't even know it until I tried to walk away. I had to pull my keys out of my bag and unlock the car to remove my finger. I felt nothing.

So yesterday over lunch, I went to the doctor - mostly because I was worried it was broken.

The good news: it's not broken, just bruised... but the wheels started turning - I could sever my fingers and not know it. I could catch one of them on something - anything - and cause a serious break trying to pull myself free. Visions of blood and nasty, gnarled broken phalanges danced through my head.

It was at this point, I told the doctor that I didn't just close my finger in the door, but I actually couldn't feel it at all. She looked quite disappointed when she realized I wasn't going to mention the numbness, but proceeded with her battery of questions.

As it turns out, what is actually wrong is called Ulnar nerve entrapment. Apparently, there is a nerve in my left elbow that has become pinched due to my constant leaning on it - leaning on my desk at work, leaning on the table at home, leaning on the arm of the recliner to read, leaning on the arms of chairs in meetings, leaning on the door handle while driving. Apparently I'm a leaner.

She gave me a couple physical therapy exercises to do 3-4 times per day for the next two weeks and told me to stop leaning on my elbow. If that doesn't work, however, I'll be looking at surgery to take pressure off the nerve.

So, in truth, I'm not looking for medical advice. I'm actually just looking to see if anyone else has had this problem and, if so, did physical therapy work for you? Did you require surgery? How bad did yours get before you sought treatment? I've been told if you wait too long, the numbness will result in muscle atrophy and a "claw-hand" effect. Does anyone here have a claw-hand? (We'll need pictures to prove this.)

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Replies To: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:18 AM

No claw hand, but I did have trouble with my ulnar nerve (right arm) when I was in college, writing my thesis. Fortunately, I had a friend who was in classes for his LMT license (redundant, I know) and he had to do several hours a week of massage as part of the practical requirements - I became a case study for him. (he ended up specializing in musicians and their injuries for a while).
No idea how this relates to your case, but a big part of the problem for me was tension in the shoulder, which permeates down into the arm. Relaxing the shoulders was a big help. At the time, I was very much under water with my classes and I carried a lot of that in my upper back. I started "checking in" with myself, and if my shoulders were forward, under muscle tension, I would relax them, let them go back to a neutral position. I also started doing pushups morning and night - not a huge workout, just enough to work the muscles in my arms/upper back so they'd relax a little. That helped - still does, after a long day's typing.

For your leaning habit, that sounds like the sort of thing I had to address in guitar students. They always wanted to lean on the guitar, which make it difficult to play. I'd usually work with them on posture, using some notions of "body balance" that a friend of mine in California taught me about. Short version: let your head sit on top of your spine, and let your spine sit squarely on your chair, so the work of remaining upright is mostly done by your bones, and not by your muscles. Now there's no need to lean: your arms can reach out to your keyboard (resting on a wrist pad, please) and they're not supporting your torso. You don't need to lean back on your chair, or sideways on your armrests, or any other way: your body is supporting itself. When you do this you might notice that you can suddenly breathe more effectively: you're no longer compressing your lungs and your diaphragm by leaning forward, so you can take a full breath.
Remember, though, that your spine does have a natural curve to it - don't try to straighten that out. Just find that balance point where you're not working to keep your head up, and everything should sort itself out from there.
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#3 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:26 AM

Obviously I only hope good things for you. Take care of yourself :(

But if you should sever a finger.... :whistling: can I have it?
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#4 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:29 AM

Dude, that's sick. You should be ashamed of yourself.


You know I've got dibs.
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#5 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

I'll tie a bow around that bitch and mail it overnight for you, no2!

But now that I think about it... do you just want me to will you my corpse? I was thinking of donating it to science, but I figure you'd put it to good use, too. :bananaman:
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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:39 AM

*
POPULAR

I'm changing my name to Science... think of all the bodies I'll have!
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#7 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:45 AM

View PostBenignDesign, on 14 November 2012 - 10:37 AM, said:

do you just want me to will you my corpse?

Don't think I have forgotten about that....
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

I might know an amateur taxidermist that could pose you on a nice tree stump with a laptop and surrounded by some books, and we can put the whole scene in the D.I.C. historical museum for future youth to view with reverence and awe.
"Mount" and "Stuff" strategically not used.

As for the malady at hand - have you thought about getting a folded towel or gel pads to lean your elbows on instead of a hard wood table?
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#9 gabehabe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

I'll give you the same medical advice I give to everyone: piss on it.
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#10 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:50 AM

You think that will help?
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#11 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:50 AM

I'm down for some trial & error.
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#12 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:52 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 14 November 2012 - 10:46 AM, said:

"Mount" and "Stuff" strategically not used.


I absolutely refuse to accept this.
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is online

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:57 AM

View Postgabehabe, on 14 November 2012 - 10:48 AM, said:

I'll give you the same medical advice I give to everyone: piss on it.

Is your face experiencing any numbness?

Headache maybe?
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#14 h4nnib4l  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:03 AM

Works for athletes foot, DOESN'T work for jellyfish stings.
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#15 trevster344  Icon User is offline

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Re: Hey! You look like a smart bunch! Give me medical advice!

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:09 AM

That sucks, good luck! :D My arms occasionally go numb due to my terrible back but it's nothing a Chiropractor can't fix temporarily.. funny how this only started after my first chiropractic experience.. think that's how they really make their money.
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