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What is the cause of numbness and tingling after exercise?

Wednesday, 01 March 2006
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. I a 25 years old law student. I run 20 miles per week and lift weights for 8 hours, five times a week. My workouts are very intense. Recently I had blood work done and everything was better than average. I take Adderall (20 mg, 3 times daily) and ingest too much caffeine. Years ago I crushed three vertebrae and have been bothered by a bulging disc (L1) since the accident, which has resulted in lower back pain and pain running down the back of my legs. Yesterday, after having a caffeine drink, I ran three miles and lifted weights for 45 minutes. During a tricep/back interval exercise and while taking very deep breaths, I experienced numbness and tingling in my right tricep, down into the bicep and then to my right hand. Upon releasing my breath, the numbness subsided and went off. I do not like lifting weights while I am taking Adderall, but my schedule doesn't allow that. My heart rate is exaggerated while taking Adderall or caffeine and while lifting weights and running. Should I be worried about the numbness? This has happened for the first time and it only occurred when I took a deep breath.

A.  Numbness and tingling in an arm caused by exercise or position is often caused by a brachial plexus outlet syndrome. If the problem becomes more troublesome at rest or worsens, different exercise workouts may help. Eventually it may improve spontaneously or the problem may require examination by a specialist to see if it could respond to physical therapy. Severe symptoms will need assessment to determine if surgery is a requirement.

A.  Numbness and tingling in an arm caused by exercise or position is often caused by a brachial plexus outlet syndrome. If the problem becomes more troublesome at rest or worsens, different exercise workouts may help. Eventually it may improve spontaneously or the problem may require examination by a specialist to see if it could respond to physical therapy. Severe symptoms will need assessment to determine if surgery is a requirement.

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