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Dr. Pfeiffer
Dr. Pfeiffer, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 5986
Experience:  Ob/Gyn
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symptoms similar to sciatica in my right arm and pain in pinky

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I have had sciatica before as a result of lumbar stenosis. I have had symptoms lately such as fatigue and muscle weakness after minimal activity in my legs. I had a checkup and my doctor ordered some labwork to check thyroid function and cortisol levels among other things. But the sciatic like pain is a new thing since last night. I have never experienced symptoms like this in my arm before. What could be the problem?

what type of physical activities do you do?

what type of work do you do?

can you describe the pain? what makes it better, worse?

any medications or medical problems

Dr. Pfeiffer

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I do not work outside the home. I do housework and gardening and chase my children. The pain is a deep aching pain that runs along the outside of my hand mostly along my pinky. There is also a less defined area of pressure like discomfor on the part of my arm that rests against my chest. There are pins and needles up and down my arm between the 2 areas... and near my funny bone. My arm feels heavy and hot/cold type feeling.
     I have epilepsy, hypothyroidism, leaky mitral valve, lumbar stenosis, cervical kyphosis.
     in the past I had-spinal epidural abscess and endocarditis, post strep glomerulonephritis with CHF (resolved afterwards) and gallbladder removed.
   -this is probably more than you needed to know-lol
    I take lamictal and levothyroxine.


you're describing irritation of the ulnar nerve. It begins as nerve roots in the cervical spine. Branches off the brachial plexus in the shoulder. Passes along the inside of the elbow and then beneath the retinaculum in the wrist. Typically the more specific the symptoms the more distal the problem. In other words, pins and needles only in your pinkie would suggest problems at the wrist. Pins and needles along the medial part of the elbow and pinkie suggests problems at the elbow...etc.

the ulnar nerve passes through the elbow right at the 'funny bone'. Most commonly irritation to the nerve results from trauma (inflammation) and arthritis.

The symptoms could be from simply having slept funny last night all the way to ulnar nerve entrapment.

I recommend you see your doctor to have it evaluated. He may send you to a neurologist for nerve testing to identify the exact location of the problem.

Dr. Pfeiffer

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
does the ulnar nerve go above the elbow?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
oops...sorry, you already answered that!


it is a collection of nerve roots in the neck. passes through the shoulder then through the elbow then through the wrist.

Dr. Pfeiffer

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
so there is no reason to be worried that the cervical kyphosis might be causing this? I would be relieved to know this.


I would expect your symptoms to include more than the ulnar nerve if a kyphosis was the reason. The nerve roots that come off the cervical spine also create the radial and median nerves. This would give you pins and needles in the entire hand and forearm if kyphosis was to blame.

I don't think that's the reason, but I cannot give you 100% reasurrance because I can't do an exam. You should see your doctor for the exam.

Dr. Pfeiffer


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks... I will mention it to my doctor, but will not worry. Thank you again


take care

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