A numb finger can result from many separate anatomical and psychosomatic issues. Numbness comes in 2 separate and distinct forms: subjective and objective. When it comes to blaming numbness in a finger on a spinal source, such as foraminal stenosis leading to a pinched nerve, the expected result is total objective numbness and associated weakness. However, in many cases, fingers which are partially numb, painful and tingly are also blamed on pinched nerves, which typically turn out to be incorrect diagnostic theories. This is a point which is rarely considered by some less detail-oriented care providers, so be wary.
This discussion explores the relationship between finger numbness and the spine.
Besides being sourced by pinched nerves in the neck, numbness in the finger can also come from many other processes and conditions, including all of the possibilities detailed below:
Diabetes and various neurological diseases can enact numbness throughout the body.
Regional ischemia can certainly cause numbness in fingers and many other areas of the body. In fact, many diagnosed pinched nerves are actually misdiagnosed and oxygen deprivation turns out to be the true underlying source of symptoms in many back and neck pain sufferers.
Numbness can be the sign of some serious health condition and should always be reported to a doctor immediately. Sudden acute numbness in the left arm, hand or fingers may be a sign of heart failure, so do not take chances if these issues occur.
Most numbness which comes on in association with a neck injury or upper back injury will resolve with time and/or treatment. Numbness which is variable or experienced in combination with pain, tingling or other sensory issues is unlikely to come from a compressed nerve, although it may be from some other source in or near the spine, such as thoracic outlet syndrome. Remember that there are many possible sources of numbness which can exist. Each possibility should be studied in detail and evaluated by a qualified neurologist before beginning any treatment.
Numbness can be a blessing compared to pain, but still describes a disturbing and abnormal state for any tissue. Personally, I have seen ischemia be responsible for many cases of finger numbness which were mistakenly blamed on cervical pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome and even fibromyalgia. Some of these issues turned out to be oxygen deprivation of the spinal nerve roots involved which created far too many symptoms over a widespread area to account for the coincidental disc herniations or other suspected sources.
My advice is to research your diagnosis carefully and thoroughly to ensure that you will not be misdiagnosed and led down the wrong path when it comes to treatment. Consulting with more than one neurologist will help you to achieve this end, by providing correlation between actual symptoms and diagnosed conditions. These doctors can also investigate the exact type of numbness involved and determine whether or not the symptoms are appropriate to the suspected source.