Numbness

Q: My left hand from elbow to fingers and left hand from wrist to fingers feels numb from last two years. Orthopaedic surgeons says after taking x-ray that is a cervical spondylitis and suggested physiotherapic exercises, the radiating pain is reduced but numbness is still there after exercising for long time. I go to gym. regularly and do cycling, stretching, free and exercise with weights. I had frozen shoulder, suffered from bells palsy and stiff joints. I am 53, muscular male used to smoke 80 king size cigarettes a day 16 years back.

A:There are few things that can be done at this time. First of all, you have to quit smoking. Smoking is a contributing agent for many musculoskeletal diseases and has to be stopped completely. Otherwise there is likelihood of worsening of your symptoms. Numbness and pain point towards nerve involvement. Sometimes the nerve can get compressed any multiple levels. And so even though the cervical spondylitis may be an apparent cause of pain, there may be compression elsewhere. Like near the elbow or the wrist. You can get an MRI of the spine to give a better idea of the compression. You can also get nerve conduction velocity studies to look at other possibilities. You should get blood sugar tested to rule out diabetes. If physiotherapy doesn't help, you may need to try steroid injections. If they don't work too, surgery can help a lot. The nerve can be released at various levels based on the cause. Like, it can be released at the wrist, elbow or even cervical spine.

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