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In short, there are three nerves that run from the spinal cord (T1 - C4) to the hand; ulnar, radial and median.

Each of those three nerves has it's own purpose, and travels a slightly different route from the spine to the shoulder, then down to the hands. These nerves carry signals back and forth from the brain to the muscles that move the arm, hand, fingers, and thumb. They can be damaged anywhere along the track, from the spinal cord to the wrist, which may cause numbness or muscle weakness.

Carpel Tunnel is caused by affects to the [U]median nerve[/U], which passes through a tunnel in the wrist called the “carpel tunnel”. This nerve gives sensation to the [B]palm, sides of the thumb, pointer, middle, and the inside half of the ring finger[/B]. It also has a nerve branch that is connected to the thenar muscles of the thumb, which enables us touch the pad of our thumb to the tips each of each finger (for those who've had that neurological test before).

The [U]radial[/U] nerve travels down the outer [B]thumb side of the arm, gives sensation to the back of the hand from the thumb to the third finger[/B]. It also goes to the back of the thumb and just beyond the main knuckle of the back surface of the ring and middle fingers.

The [U]ulnar[/U] nerve supplies feeling to the [B]little finger and half the ring finger[/B], and supplies the small muscles in the palm. This gives us our grip, and allows the muscle to pulls the thumb toward the palm.

In my case, my numbness came on with my spinal lesion attacks, and the numbness includes every finger, plus the palm. Clearly there is some damage right at the spinal cord level, in my case, due to the extent of the damage. I suppose any (or all) of the three nerves can be temporarily or permanently affected, by spinal lesions.

On the other hand, something like Carpel Tunnel can occur for people with no spinal issues what-so-ever . . . just damage to that nerve somewhere along it's path. I guess that would be true for any of the three nerves.

Hi Dave...I hope what I say doesnt depress you- but I wanted to let you know your not alone. In 2006 I woke up one morning feeling like my fingers and hand were asleep. The tingling burning sensation that you know, when your foot falls asleep? that was me...2 days later, it turned to excruiating pain and I went to see my doc, thinking Carpal Tunnel...he tested me for that, and it wasnt- then sent me for a CT scan thinking pinched was then, that they discovered over 50 lesions on my brain. 2 years later, my fingers and hand are completely useless- and hurt all the time. Nothing has helped, not Neurontin, Lyrica, PT or Accupuncture. Ive tried it all.
THey say now, it is intense nerve damage caused by my MS- and because this was the onset of my symtoms, they figure that Id had it for quite a while and not known about it...

A year later, after dx- I went for a routine MRI and it was discovered that I have compression in my C4-C5-C6 area, caused by a bulging it related? I dont know. Just last month, I went for an injection into my disc area- to relieve some of the pressure. It honestly helped for less than a week, and started back up again...during that week, there was no differnce in my hand/finger I doubt very much the two are related..

But, your not alone- this may very well be a MS thing which unfortatunately isnt going to change for me.. i hope it does, for you.

Here is my symptoms that are on this attack:

started with right side motor problems on May 10th, it escalated to the point that i walked with a limp and then over time that has gotten better, my legs are weaker the before the attack but have gotten better

almost at the same time i got tingling in my neck behind my ear, my ear lobe and down my neck in to my shoulder, this eventually over the past 8 weeks has went down my arm and to my hand, with only the top of my arm getting the numbness, but now my whole hand, fingers and thumb, it started as only my index finger and thumb

my neck, ear and part of my shoulder no longer feel numb, buy my outer shoulder still does and my hand has gotten worse

about 3 weeks ago i got some sensation issues in my left leg, but it has subsided some also

from the onset i started all of this with back pain just inside my shoulder blade on the right side, which from knowing someone with a C5C6 injury its a typical pain, which may have triggered this relapse as i started to get some headaches and neck pain prior to everything else[/QUOTE]

The weakness in the legs is more then likely not related to inflammation in your spinal lesion, since I would expect that tingling and numbness too if it was. Chances are you have inflammation in both your brain and spine (did the neuro mention whether the two lesions in your brain were enhancing?).

I do get weakness with my spinal lesion attacks, but I also have the other sensations at the same time when they are causing the problem . . .

Unlike brain lesions, spinal lesions (or damage of any kind to the spine) brings on very specific symptoms. The symptoms may be more or less severe, or all-encompassing, but the sensation that results from them is exactly as you have described with the tingling, numbness, (burning, shocks, buzzing...) in your neck, arm, hand, etc.

BTW, have you been checked for infection of any kind; a tooth?, bladder?, etc? Have you had a fever at all?

My first two attacks started in my feet, and traveled up to/above my chest over a period of 6 weeks. One time it "attacked me" one side at a time, the other it did one side to the chest, then did the other side. I was affected on BOTH sides of my body, every single part (what you are feeling in your arms/hands); that numbness, tingling, swollen feeling, etc. That was followed by 6 weeks of recovery (mostly). I had more recovery over the next 18 months though .....

What they called it the first time was "Transverse Myelitis", although in due time they realized that it was secondary, caused by MS lesions. I am going to attach a government link as you may find some simularity to what you are experiencing:


The reason I asked about the infection though, is my third spinal lesion attack was quite different, and due to untreated infection. Like you, the "attack" kept coming on in various parts of my body, and just as I started to heal from one part, it moved to another. It still took about 8 weeks for EACH section to escalate and heal though. Just when I thought it was all done (and I had 3 weeks of almost recovery, twice), it started up again in some of the same places again.

I had been ignoring an "inflammed" tooth root, under a cap, for several months. When I finally had it removed, the attack let up once and for all.

[QUOTE=DavidLeeK;3641124]forgot to answer the lesion in my brain question, the report from the mri shows two active lesions in my brain, one acute and one subacute....but it says "Interestingly, neither foci demonstrates any evidence of pathologic enhancement and there is no evidence of pathologic enhancement at any site within the intracranial compartment".

I'm not exactly sure what that means, I was assuming it meant that the lesions in my brain were not responsible for my symptoms. Maybe someone can shed some light on this for me.[/QUOTE]

Hmmm... that has me baffled, and I may need to ask a friend who's a MRI technician. "Acute" and "Subacute" seems to imply activity/inflammation is going on . . . but yet they didn't "ehance" like most inflammed lesions would. :confused:

Bear in mind though, many of our lesions are not visible on a MRI, so there can be inflammation that they aren't even aware of too.

I suppose the spinal lesion could be the cause of your leg weakness too :confused:, that's just not the way things have panned out for me in an acute spinal lesion attack. However, I have had intermittent weakness in my arms (can't raise them above my chest level, very tired and sore), without any numbness . . . but I don't know if that was caused by my spinal lesions or my baby brain one's. :D

I'll see what I can find out about your results, but it may take a few days for an answer from him.


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