Dear Ask The Doctor: Hello, I am Darcy, a 19 year old female. I have been waking up with numbing in my hands, and feet that build up my arms and legs. It tends to go away and come back through out the day. However, I just recently noticed that when I try to squeeze a pen, or a fork, or even a shampoo bottle with my right hand, it's like an electric shock goes through my fingers to my wrist, and then my hand goes numb. I don't know whether it is because I am sleeping in a weird position, or what. But this has been going on for at least two weeks, and last through out the day.
Dear Darcy: First of all, some causes of tingling and numbness of the extremities (hands and feet), like: vitamin deficiencies (Vitamin B12), nerve compressions at the level of the spine, problems with the peripheral nerves of hands and feet, must be ruled out, also metabolic causes like thyroid problems and Diabetes. In your case it would be important to rule out a Carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a disease of the hand characterized by numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness. The disease typically affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers and is often particularly troublesome at night. A major nerve, specifically the median nerve, travels down the arm and enters the hand through the carpal tunnel, which is located in the central part of the wrist. In people with carpal tunnel syndrome, pressure in the carpal tunnel is higher than in unaffected people, and median nerve irritation occurs. It has many causes, and it is typical the numbness at night, when typing or when you use your wrists in the daily repetitive activities, also what you described as an electric shock-like pain with squeezing.