Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Comfortably Numb


The ring finger on my left hand has been faintly, tinglingly numb for a while. It’s a bit on and off, and more likely to occur when I’m tired. I also have a bit less time for chasing up random weird symptoms that may or may not be related to Parkinson’s than I used to. However, today – after a full day on a course, with a fair bit of handwriting (I’m right-handed), the numbness seemed to move to my little finger on my left hand, and I decided that it was time to investigate. Even though I suspected that the cause of the apparent transition was probably too much leaning on my left elbow, or something like that.

My little finger isn’t numb any more, but it does seem plausible that the original numbness is related to Parkinson’s. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence (including a disturbing number of people who seem to be asking for a diagnosis via Internet discussion forum) and a smattering of more convincing references.

An information sheet from Parkinson’s UK states:

Tingling and numbness […] in the toes and/or fingers is also common in people with Parkinson’s.

They are actually talking about something called Radicular pain:

This is a sharp, often shock-like shooting pain that travels down the leg or arm and may involve toes and fingers. […]

Radicular pain is usually the result of a trapped nerve within the spinal cord around the neck or lower back region.

I don’t think that I have radicular pain. It doesn’t hurt, for a start. It’s just odd.

Google Books found me a reference in  Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide to Patient Care by Hubert Fernandez, Paul Tuite, Cathi Thomas and Narayan Kissoon (15 Mar 2009):

Click to view clearer image

The above is a screenshot; if you click on it, you may find it easier to read.

There are more explanations in the book, but their likeliness – in my case – seems to decrease as the list progresses. It is probable that my little finger’s short-term numbness was due to “nerve compression”, but that my ring finger’s intermittent numbness is an “altered sensation”.

In summary it seems likely that I am experiencing a minor symptom of Parkinson’s. I should also add that I do, of course, know that “Comfortably Numb” is a Pink Floyd song; it’s just that the Scissor Sisters do a much shorter and more cheery version.


2 thoughts on “Comfortably Numb

  1. hmm, cheerier, but not as good, I’d say. Are you going to see anyone about the tingling? I hope it remains a minor thing and doesn’t effect you too much.

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