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What could cause twitching in your fingers and thumb along with a strange feeling in your forearm?

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  • I just recently experienced twitching in my thumb while trying to write. I had carpel tunnel surgery about 14 years ago and have had no problems so far till now. Just recently I also started experience pain in the middle of my hand traveling up my arm. This could all be related to the previous carpel tunnel problem. I don't know.

Old axiom: "If you hear hoofbeats, suspect horses" applies here. In other words there are a myriad of injuries or diseases that cause what you describe, so odds are it's likely this is a repetitive motion injury. If you have insurance that does not require a referral, go straight to a neurologist, because you are describing something that involves a nerve trauma or change. If you need a referral, (unfortunately, most specialists do even if your insurance does not) call your primary care doctor and ask for one rather than visit the PC doc because you will be wasting your money. Insist on it. He or she cannot help you; you need very specific tests having to do with how and why those nerves are malfunctioning. A family practice doc simply isn't equipped and you've already wasted your money. You need a neurologist to start with some simple tests to rule out the most common causes (carpal tunnel as you and many here have stated) down to a complicated condition known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (or regional pain dystrophy was the old name). Paula Abdul has this condition and it makes me sick when people ridicule her. The condition is so severe she requires non-narcotic medication, but it starts with tingling and numbness due to nerve injury (in her case, dancing). There is also a genetic condition that can cause your symptoms and it starts in the shoulder and/or rib area. Parkinson's Disease starts this way, too, as does some forms of epilepsy. Family history and the type of work/play you do (diabetes? stroke? heart attack? autoimmune diseases? long hours on the x-box?) is most important for the physician to know. You are describing a type of neuropathy and your answers to the doctor may lead to a clinical diagnosis. Educate yourself about the difference between a clinical diagnosis or one made by an exact fact or set of exact, indisputable facts. Have you ever used street drugs? Doc needs to know. It's imperative to be completely honest with the doctor. If he or she passes judgment, fire the idiot. That's not a part of the oath. Tests are numerous so if a clinical diagnosis is not made right away, be prepared. Some tests can be done in the office like nerve conduction tests, fasting blood sugar, specialized urine tests, basic blood work that will look for vitamin, mineral, numerous factors that are out of the norm as other writers have noted correctly. Other tests must be performed at an outpatient facility, like a spinal tap, MRI (to rule out a brain tumor, spinal cord, or disc disease or injury), sophisticated blood work that require supervision (like NPO, brain wave studies, etc). Most important, don't ignore your symptoms. There's a 99% chance they are caused by repetitive motion and will heal on their own by a change in the way you use your arm. You need to know, though, and the sooner the better. If you find yourself down the road with no answers, get to a Pain Management doctor (usually an anesthesiologist). Not so much for the pain, but these physicians simply will not treat a patient for pain without knowing what is causing it. Therefore, they tend to be the best and most gifted diagnosticians out there. An added bonus is that they truly don't care to see patients suffer and are devoted to finding solutions/answers.
  • There are a number of conditions that could possibly cause the feelings you are describing. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is certainly one of them, however, depending on symptoms, CTS can be easily ruled out by a qualified Physician. The problem in your hand and arm could be more proximally located and could be a result of a cervical radiculopathy or other cervical pathology e.g. spondylolisthesis, or cervical stenosis. The twitching may also be a result of a systemic imbalance in electrolytes that can cause cramping and/or pain. Also, consider that muscle twitching is a normal part of human physiology as the muscles may spontaneously depolarize for any number of reasons. Overall lesson, go to a doctor and recognize that most of what's on this website is anecdotal and should not be trusted.
  • Yes, to some extent it is true that carpal tunnel can be a major cause of twitching in the forearm. But it can be caused by the nutritional deficiencies too like hypocalcaemia (and hypomagnesemia) i.e. calcium deficiency is the most usual cause which leads to twitching.


  • It can be caused by many things. Certainly many of the above things that been listed, but also Multiple Sclerosis, or ALS (or Motor Neuron Disease) in rare circumstances. ALS has an incidence of approximately 1 in 100,000 and generally strikes around the age of 50. Please get this checked out by a neurologist.
  • The most pertinent advice offered so far is for you to have an evaluation by your primary care doctor. Pending your doctor's evaluation you may require a consultation with a specialist known as a neurologist. While there are a variety of conditions that can cause your symptoms, 'intention' or 'positional' tremor should be added to the list already offered (i.e. electrolyte imbalance, neck or cervical problems, and various neurological disorders including Multiple Sclerosis(MS) or Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) This is why you should begin your evaluation with your primary care doctor who, through physical exam, laboratory testing and possible radiographic imaging, can either provide you a diagnosis or an appropriately directed referral to a specialist who can provide further insight into the cause of your condition.
Thanks for the feedback!

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