Numb toes and hands

marie26November 19, 2006

It seems that my toes and hands get numb at times or fall asleep much more often than they used to. I am not diabetic. I had seen a neurosurgeon a short while back for my disc problems and mentioned my feet being numb but the exam showed nothing. Is this something I should be concerned with? It really is annoying (and scary).

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There's a chance that it could be a B12 deficiency. Some times even blood tests can't detect it. It's caused by the lack of something in the stomach that prevents the B12 from being absorbed from food. Ask your doctor about B12 injections. If that 's the problem, you should see a difference within a few days.

It could be something entirely different. Did the neurosurgeon do nerve test like an EMG?

You can also get B12 tablets that you place under your tongue to disolve (enters the blood stream directly) from a GNC or other health stores.

Do a google search for more information.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 7:44AM
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Thank you for responding. No EMG was taken. Is this recommended for disc probelems (the reason I went to see the neurosurgeon in the first place)?

Is B12 different than Complex B12?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Frankly, I think an EMG or something similar should have been done. This detects whether or not the nerve impulses are getting all the way to the feet and hands. It probably is related to the disc problems, but it may not be.

The B12 complex that you get in vitamins is the same. However, the problem is that B12 taken by mouth, as it is in vitamin pills has to go to the stomach first. If the Intrinsic Factor is not there, the body cannot use it and it simply passes on out.

The injections bypass the stomach. The pill that is disolved under the tongue is better than pills because it is absorbed also and bypasses the stomach.

One thing nice about a B12 injection is that if it doesn't do any good, it also hasn't done any harm. They have been around for a long, long time. I give them to myself and I can tell about when I need another. The numbness increases and I begin to have sharp pains in my hands and feet.

check with your regular doctor.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 10:28AM
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I forgot to mention that my toes, even with socks and shoes on, are often cold. Does this mean that perhaps my disc problems are not involved?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:04PM
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Nope, it could be a disc problem. It could be a circulatory problem. You would feel better about it if you have it all checked out. I think it definatly needs looking into. It's easy for one doctor to overlook something that may be staring him in the face if he sets his mind that something else is wrong.

One reason that I thought it might be a B12 problems is that you mentioned your hands. A disc problem in the lower back, should not affect your hands. Those nerves come from higher up nearer the neck. It's unlikely, but possible, that you might have TWO bad disc. It could even be something as simple as arthritis in the wrong place.

The neurologist that did the EMG test on me told me that the impulses from my spine were OK, therefore, in his opinion, if it were not a B12 problem, then it was something much higher up in the brain or brain stem area. My orthopedist did an MRI of my neck and brain. It was all normal. It was his opinion also that the B12 injections were worth a try.

It's one of those gray fuzzy areas that you need to be aware of. Probably nothing to fret about, but as you know, very annoying.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:27PM
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I have participated on other forums but just came upon this one looking for something else, hope you don't mind me adding my two cents.

I had the same problem over 6 years ago. It started just as you say numbness in the toes and fingers, mine was on my right side. But then it progressed up my foot & wrist, not all of the time though. Over time the numbness went up my leg and arm, I just kept ignoring it until it reached my thigh and I started having pain in my right thumb and eventually up my arm. Then the pain got so bad I couldn't sleep. So I went to my MD, who sent me to a neurologist. Who took several sets of xrays, but didn't see anything. Did an EMG and said everything was fine. He prescribed anti-inflamatories, which worked ok for the pain but not the numbness. Until I started rectal bleeding. So I went to a gastroenterologist who did a colonoscopy which showed I had diverticulousis (which had nothing to do with the pain, but just meant I had to stop taking the anti-inflamatory) But the pain got worse and I couldn't sleep and I couldn't straighten my right arm and I couldn't feel a pin prick in my thigh. One day I happened to mention this to some coworkers and one mentioned I may want to see a chiropractor. At this point it couldn't hurt. I called and mentioned my symptoms, they saw me the next day. When I went in imagine my right shoulder up at my ear and holding my right arm up against my breast, with a limp. To make a long story short, after he took xrays and ordered more xrays from my GP and an immediate accupuncture treatment I walked out of his office nearly pain free. The chiro pointed out over 11 vertibrate that were misalligned and explained how they were causing my pain & numbness. After six more months of chiropractic and accupuncture treatments and deep tissue massages I no longer had the numbness or pain. That was over 5 years ago, I still have the occassional numbness in my leg, but that is from decompression in two of my vertibrate (4th&5th) in my lower back. I am an avid gardener and thank God every day for my chiropractor and licensed massage therapist. During the growing season the first thing they ask me is what I did the past two weeks? And then shake theirs heads as I recite all of the heavy gardening I did and where I needed work done on my back or neck.

I tried the B12 supplements, didn't help. One thing that did help temporarily was weight bearing exercising, until my husband was laid off and we had to cut back on expenses, when I stopped the weight bearing exercising that is when it got the worst.

Unfortunately finding a good chiropractor or licensed massage therapist isn't easy. We've moved three times and I've had some good and some so so chiropractors, the best is recommendations. Ask around. Same for massage therapists, even if your state doesn't require them to be licensed look for one that is and one that continually is updating their skills. And just recently I started yoga for the stretching, because I need to cut back on my visits to the massage therapist and chiropractor. And by all means drink water to flush out the toxins that build up in your muscles and joints.

Many people poopoo chiropractors, in fact my husband and son thought it was all in my head. Until they saw the change, they both go now and are true believers. My son had whiplash and the GP thought it was TMJ.

I'm not saying this is the answer, but if it bothers you that much or gets worse what can it hurt. cost me ove $1500 that first 6 months out of pocket. But that is because the chiro didn't accept insurance, and unfortunately the good ones usually don't.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 8:15PM
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karen, thank you for telling me of your experience. How long did it take to progress up your foot and wrist? I must admit that I'm not a believer in chiropractos. Shouldn't a neurologist be able to tell that the vertibrate are misallinged?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 12:40AM
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Anyone that can read Xrays can tell if the spine is misaligned. Chiropractos and osteopaths can often help, but often it is a waste of time and money. Regular massages can relieve stress, etc and time will heal. It would be worth trying.

The problem is with a chiropracter, you can't tell if he's a good one or a poorly trained quack. An Osteopath does the same thing, adjustments,etc. but also has a degree in medicine. So at least you know he had what it took to make it through medical school. See if you can find one in your area.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:23AM
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Two years ago my toes started to go numb, and then it moved on to be my feet and my crotch. Later my legs and my torso began to get numb as did my fingers.

My doctor ran lots of blood work and came up with the thought that it was either a pinched nerve in my back or lack of B12. She did some bloodwork and everything was fine, but the B12 was on the low end of normal. She treated me with a B12 shot and a muscle relaxer. Over the next few weeks that cured me of the numbness.

About 1 1/2 weeks ago it began to happen again. Not having health insurance(I'm a full time college student and a part time worker of a small corporation with no benifits), I believe i need to do this again, but I doubt my doctor will let me get the B12 shot and muscle relaxers again without more tests to find out what is really causing this. So i've gotten some back pain meds that has muscle relaxers and I'm trying liquid B complex which has a high dose of B12. I'm hoping that my body absorbs some of the B12 even if it goes through my stomach first. This problem is very frustrating for me. I wish i could just get a doctor who could just give me the B12 shot, I dont see what harm it would do. I cant afford the blood workup at this time.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:24PM
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You can get B12 tablets that you put under your tongue. The B12 is absorbed into the bloodstream and doesn't have to go through the stomach. You can get them at GNC or some alternative treatment place. I think there are also B12 patches that absorb through the skin....but I am not sure about how well they work.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 9:58PM
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Zinger01, why not explain your situation to your doctor (or through his/her nurse)? Did he say that one shot would last forever or that you'd have to have more injections in the future? Perhaps he'll agree to give you another B12 shot.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:47PM
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Hi, I'm having some of the same problems. I have disc problems and I have have been having numbness in my feet. My doc says that he thinks the numbness is related to the elliptical trainer that I use at the gym and not the disc problems. Something about the way your feet are postioned on the machine causes a nerve in your foot to cause the numbness. I'm not sure if this is it. I've only been off for 2 weeks now, but I haven't had any numbness yet. Just thought I would share. I hope that this is all that it is. I have had people to warn me about MS. But, they have said that a main concern of that would be if you had all of this with weakness in your legs.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 10:23PM
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