A reader asked me about pain in her pinky fingers (baby finger.) Here is her question:
"I have noticed for the past week that both pinky fingers have been numb. The numbness extends up to each elbow and is aggravated by almost anything I do. I work on a computer and I try to have good posture and relax my shoulders. When I set my arms down, use the mouse, type I feel it in my right
shoulder (I am righty) like now, last week it was my left shoulder. I did not have an accident or injury. It is a nerve issue because I get that "funny bone" feeling radiating from both elbows down to my fingertips. Hot water does not feel hot on both pinky's either. I woke up one morning last week with both pinkies totally numb and pins and needles (parasthesias?). It started a week ago when I think I had a panic attack. Went to the ER for it - but normal BP, sugar, CAT scan of head. It felt like someone was forcefully squeezing both forearms. When the nurse took my BP I cried because it felt like my left arm would burst it hurt that bad. Never had that before..."
Here is my shortened response:
"As I check the Trigger Point Manual by Doctors Travell & Simons, and based on your symptoms, here are my thoughts. Please remember, I'm not a doctor but I am a muscle specialist.
Your finger muscles are actually in your lower arms. If there is a trigger point on the palm side of your lower arm, toward your elbow, that will cause pain in your pinkies. But, you describe nervy sensations rather than pain. They, too, can be caused by trigger points in muscles. Still, you also indicated tenderness or tightness in your shoulders and lower arm. Hmmm.
That's very good news that all of your tests came back negative. That almost always indicates that the problem is with the soft tissues or muscles. That's good news because
muscles can be released or relaxed. When they press on nerves, or have trigger points which are causing symptoms, your muscles can cause symptoms as you describe.
My best suggestions are: Continue to watch your posture; have massage to your lower & upper arms, neck, your back around your shoulder blades, the outsides of your back (under your armpits,) shoulder tops (trapezius) and chest (pectoral muscles.) Somewhere
in these muscles groups, tight muscles are compressing your nerves or have developed trigger points that are causing your sensations.
Although this type of symptom can be caused by impingement of nerves in the neck, the question is: What is causing the impingement? Muscles, of course. Muscles move bones. That's their job.
What position were your arms in when you woke up with pins & needles? That's a clue, too.
Panic attacks are miserable. Also, since you get dizzy, that can indicate "forward head" posture (poor or collapsed posture.) Therapeutic massage can help you regain better posture, if that's an issue. Also, getting a strong back side (see the articles at Simple Strengthening) will help your posture.
When your muscles are tight around your jaws & ears, that can cause symptoms of dizziness.
Another suggestion might be to take a class in yoga. It will help you feel more relaxed and uses all of your muscles to help create a balanced body. A balanced body has far fewer symptoms."
I also told her that she, like you, has a smart body and it wants to be well. It just needs a little help from her to get rid of her symptoms of pinky finger numbness.