Herniated disc numb hands is a diagnostic conclusion based on the demonstrable proof of a cervical herniated disc in an area which may affect the spinal nerve roots which eventually go on to serve the neurological needs of the affected areas of the hands and fingers.
These pinched nerves do occasionally happen in the spine due to foraminal stenosis or direct compression, but unfortunately are still often misdiagnosed when blamed on a bulging intervertebral disc. Foraminal stenosis is usually implicated as the source of nerve symptoms when all along there is no impingement, compression or pinching of any neurological tissue. In fact, the symptoms do not have to be anatomically induced at all, when disease or regional processes are the real cause of numbness in the hands.
This dialog will uncover how cervical herniation can truly cause numbness in the hands and fingers. However, it will also seek to provide proof that many symptomatic expressions are blamed on coincidental minor disc issues in the neck which are not causative.
Numbness in the hand or hands is typically investigated as coming from a localized musculoskeletal concern, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, a disease process or a spinal causation. If pain or other neurological symptoms, such as weakness or tingling exist, spinal imaging will usually be performed.
If a herniated or degenerated disc shows up near the affected nerve root level, this will usually be blamed for enacting the symptoms. This presumptive structural model of pain is antiquated, unenlightened and proven false in many patients. These diagnostic blunders are also the main reasons why we currently have an epidemic of neck and back pain in our healthcare system and why most treatments are known to fail far more than they succeed.
Symptoms should always be correlated precisely to suspected source processes by a qualified neurologist. Failure to accomplish this will increase the risk of misdiagnosis considerably. Remember, disc pathologies in the middle and lower neck are commonplace and most exist coincidentally with painful symptoms. In essence, these disc abnormalities are present, but are not causative for pain or numbness, since they do not definitively compress any nerve tissue.
Most reported numbness is the hands is subjective. This means that the patient feels a numb-like sensation, but can still register external stimuli, such as a pin prick. This is far more common than the other possible numbness, which is objective or total numbness, in which no stimuli are felt at all.
Objective numbness is most commonly proven to be the result of continuing nerve compression, while subjective numbness is more likely to be the symptom of a regional ischemia syndrome or a partial compression condition, such a thoracic outlet syndrome. Unfortunately, since most oxygen deprivation conditions are enacted by a psychoemotional imperative, they are rarely correctly diagnosed, dooming the patients to failed treatment after failed treatment, ad nauseum.
In rare cases, central stenosis in the neck can also cause a variety of serious symptoms in the upper body, including numb hands and fingers. These occurrences are not typically sourced exclusively by slipped disc, but may be a joint effort of the arthritic processes, disc pathologies, congenital canal narrowing and other possible contributory circumstances in the cervical region.
I occasionally get some subjective numbness and tingling in one or both hands, especially while working at the computer. Since I have a total of 6 herniated discs in my neck, it is certainly possible that the disc issues are contributory. However, really only one disc is significantly compressing the spinal cord and none are verifiably impinging on the neurological roots, so I do not think the expression is definitively linked. Add to this the fact that the numbness almost always comes in moments of stress and disappears when the stress is relieved, and a less structural picture of the symptoms seems to emerge.
I wish hand numbness was the worst of my problems, but unfortunately, it is only a tiny occasional annoyance in a sea of far greater symptoms. To put it simply, it is the very least of my pain and worries.
If you are experiencing numbness in the hands or fingers, I suggest that you consult with your neurologist. It may not be wise to trust other types of caregivers exclusively for suspected nerve concerns, since they may not be best suited to provide proper diagnostic evaluation.