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Losing sensation in my finger tip?


#1

Hello everyone!

I’m starting to get nerve impairment (I think) in the tip and about
halfway down the pad of my left pointer finger. I hold the torch in
my right hand, my dominant hand, but I’m practically ambidextrous.

Is there anything I can do keep this from progressing, besides quit
making jewelry?

I work primarily in sterling (copper/fine silver 92.5/7.5) and fine
silver with the occasional 14k gf thrown in. I use mostly paste flux
(Hardy Flux, white) and paste solder, followed by sheet solder, then
wire solder. I use Ph Down for my pickle.

I have amazing ventilation, and I use it, religiously.

I am in my studio around 7-10 hours a week.

Any suggestions?
Any help is greatly appreciated!
Sb


#2

Sandra,

No need to quit making jewelry. First of all, I suggest you consult
with a neurologist to determine whether or not it is nerve
impairment.

In the meantime, practice holding your torch in your left hand,
which is the way I do. This leaves my right hand free to either use
the pick for pick soldering, or any thing else.

Best wishes, Alma


#3

Sandra-

My first question is, are you diabetic? It could be diabetic
neuropathy. Or dystonia. I mention these because of my association
with jewelers and musicians who are experiencing nerve difficulties
in their hands (and feet).

Although I’m not a cheerleader for physicians, a thorough medical
checkup seems like the first step you should take.

This is anecdotal but I’d been having numb aching pain in my fingers
and toes. I went through my daily journal and saw a pattern of my
having eaten nightshades (tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes, red
peppers) on a daily basis. They’re my favorite foods. I
experimented, stopped eating them, and, no more pain. I sometimes
feel deprived, but being pain-free stops my whining.

Good luck to you and good health.
Marly


#4
I'm starting to get nerve impairment (I think) in the tip and
about halfway down the pad of my left pointer finger. I hold the
torch in my right hand, my dominant hand, but I'm practically
ambidextrous. 

I got something like that, I was pressing too hard with my finger.

Regards Charles A.


#5

Try acupuncture. Every time I’ve tried it for something, it worked.

Lauri


#6

I would doubt this is jewelry related, and would suggest you confer
with your physician to determine the underlying cause. I have
peripheral neuropathy, which is the numbing of sensation. Thankfully
mine, so far, is primarily in my feet, and fairly mild - I no longer
feel fire ant bites, but can still tell there is a floor under my
feet. My cousin has had it for years, and literally cannot feel the
floor beneath her feet.

Good luck!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


#7

My first thought is what makes you think it is making jewelry that
is causing the problem. Many of us work 7 to 12 hours a day on the
bench and don’t have a problem. You might be holding things too tight
with your fingers, or you might be grabbing your steering wheel
wrong. Change your habits and see if there is a change.

Bill Wismar


#8

Go see a doctor.


#9

Hi Sandra,

You may want to look at how much repetition is in what you are
doing. If you are doing the same routine for hours on end, you may
want to take periodic breaks to stretch your hands in general.

I had a similar problem in the past that I let get out of control
before doing something about it. For me it was a lot of repetition
and also using metal shears to cut sheet metal. I still am able to
do all the same work I just approach it differently and when my hand
starts to feel fatigue, I work on something else and then come back
to it when my hands have had a chance to recover.

Hope this helps,
Christine


#10

I too have PN. I am numb to the top of knees and fingers up to
knuckles. I have balance problems so I have an excuse to sit and do
things like beading and WW.


#11

Sandra,

You should see your doctor about this. It may be unrelated to your
jewelry work and could be symptomatic of some other
as-yet-unsuspected problem.

John (MD)


#12

I’ve had a similar problem which I consulted a chiropractor about.
Whilst it hasn’t gone completely her advice to ensure I didn’t lean
on my left elbow and regularly stretched my affected arm and hand
(flex the hand back with your other hand and extend the arm to max
with the elbow rotated so the inside is upward) has helped a lot. I
find there’s a sensitive part of my arm just above my elbow. Its not
good - it has affected the strength of my left hand to some extent.
Hope you can get it under control.

Prue


#13

Sandra, I recommend seeing a chiropractor first, to rule out pinched
nerves. Go 2x a week for 2 weeks and see if that helps - or whatever
your chiro recommends - just don’t give it one shot and rule it out.
Problems that take years to develop sometimes need time to resolve.

I had an issue where I suffered left arm numbness for six months. It
started in my hand, and I ignored it, hoping it would go away. I
finally saw someone about it, went to physical therapy (probably
unneeded if I had gone in sooner), and was given neck and shoulder
exercises - turns out my issue was chronic misalignment in the C1-C2
vertebrae. I changed my diet (to reduce inflammation), changed my
work station settings, got a nighttime “clench” guard for my teeth,
threw away my shoulder bag, do my exercises - and no more
numbness/weakness on the left side. At the time, there was no way I
would have believed anyone who said the issue was my neck - my neck
didn’t hurt! But it’s a system thing, and I’m happy it occurred
early enough in my career to act as a warning, rather than as a
career-ender.

If you have health insurance, see your doctor, as prescriptions may
be covered - even physical therapy, X-rays, etc.

Good luck,

Sam Kaffine


#14

Sandy,

Stretch your fingers often. Take the tip of the finger and pull down
stretching the palm up. You will feel the stretch all the way down
throung ehe wrist all the way to the elbow. I had to have surgery on
my right hand. It started with numb fingers.

The surgeon told me to do this and it has helped both hands. I just
take breaks and stretch and hold each finger about ten seconds eCh
then all four at once for another Ten.

Ronda Coryell
Jewelry Studies Intl


#15

On the subject of nightshade foods in the diet: I met a man years
ago who had been reduced to living in a wheel chair crippled with
arthritis. He tried everything until someone suggested he eliminate
all nightshade from his diet. He recovered and stood before me, a
healthy male, telling his story. My daughter is allergic to eggplant,
life threatening, and has to carry a pen, inject herself if exposed
(such as a restaurant cooking it) and make it to a hospital within 20
min.

Not that this actually relates to loss of finger tip sensation, but
something to put on the check list as Marly suggests.

Ruth Mary


#16

This is not an issue I am dealing with, but please listen me out.
Part of my post cancer wellness care brought me into a heated therapy
pool and “Range of Motion” exercises for 1 hour. There were many, up
to 20 per class, and the issues were many, stroke, frozen joints, MS,
etc. One class had 6 walker users and one wheelchair who was hoisted
into the water. The class was the same for all, and it was not
possible to discern one from another. All were doing the same motion
at the same time and the instructor made certain every joint and
muscle was moved. Fingers were part of a "playing the piano"
exercise, while moving under water left to right and back, the
fingers were playing the keys. Another was as mentioned by Ronda,
pulling the hand back as much as possible and then pushing it down
using the opposite hand, then switching. Stretching fingers
individually. Making a tent with all fingertips touching, then one
pair at a time separate them, circling them around each other right
to left and then left to right. Just try that and see how you can
make that work, it is indeed a challenge.

What I saw accomplished in that class alone, and what I was able to
do myself was great. My balance improved measurably, I was able to
stand on one foot and actively move the other, no way was I able to
do that outside of the pool, and I had done yoga in the past. Run
warm water into your tub or sink, get your hands under water and
stretch, pull, push, open wide, clench tightly.

Do follow the advice for a medical evaluation for nerve impingement
or other reasons. See how tightly you do clench, and consider using
your left hand for the torch, I also am somewhat ambidextrous and
keep the torch in my left hand and do finer motions with my right.
Works rather well for me.

Good luck for a quick solution.
Hugs,
Terrie

Teresa Masters


#17

Hi

As a jeweller, setter & engraver along with guitarist, pianist & a
while back I dabbled at martial arts my fingers now resemble bits of
twigs that fell off a tree in front of a haunted house. They still
seem to work pretty good though. I think if you keep them warm and
well oiled it helps a lot. Always wear warm gloves when you’re out
in winter and eat a lot of salmon for omega oils. I think prolonged
exposure to cold is the worst thing for any extremity. That’s why a
lot of people with bad arthritis move to warmer climates. Even on
cold nights while you’re asleep I think it’s important to keep your
hands and feet warm with socks and mittens. But still go get it
checked out by at least one doctor.

Phil W


#18

Dear Sandra,

Carpal tunnel is on you should look up and check out the symptoms. I
don’t recommend for myself or anyone else to use the Internet for
diagnosis and that is why we go to physicians. However, numbness on
the thumb side of the palm in the fingers(not little finger),
eventually followed by a surprise pain that zaps up the arm from the
wrist, then pain in sleeping and shoulder pain are part of it. I had
the simple surgery years ago and the hand is fine now, damaged
otherwise but not from the constricted nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Unfortunately, the jewelry business is a real nasty player when it
comes to damage of the carpal tunnel sort, tendentious, wear and
tear arthritis and last but certainly not least pinched nerve
problems in the neck bones. I came from the age where ergonomics
were not considered an issue by many employers and bench workers
often put speed( or had little choice in the matter) in front of
using means of support besides trained hands and insulated tweezers.

I am now in constant therapy for a pinched nerve in the neck,
successful therapy I might add and the therapy is not difficult.
However, I would rather not have had the problems in the first
place…hands damage, neck problems (the pain is in the shoulder and
arm) from being bent over working, etc.

This is an occupation where body damage will take place after enough
ful= l time bench work. Any preventive measures must be used which
are available, including pneumatic and other means of taking some of
the strength requirements away from the body.

Have your hand checked out. An early start on prevention is totally
needed I know first hand, in both hands. Tom.


#19

I notice in today’s Orchid Digest several posts about losing
sensation in the fingertips. I have struggled with hand pain,
numbness, and tingling for maybe 5 years now, have tried every kind
of intervention imaginable with limited success. So I’m hoping to
read about how others are coping with these sorts of issues.


#20

My right hand gave me fits for years. Had the carpal tunnel surgery
and vowed to go in immediately if it ever happened to the left hand.
It has been 14 years. I refuse to suffer again, get it diagnosed and
don’t be afraid to have it fixed, the alternative is agony.
blessings pat v,j