View Full Version : Weakness; Numbness in Arm?

10-29-2006, 06:00 PM
Something new - but reminds me of something old. Recently I've been experiencing significant weakness in my left arm and sometimes parts of my hand are numb. It feels a bit like some carpel tunnel symptoms I had a while back in my right hand (which turned out to be inconclusive.) Now I wonder if this hasn't been Lupus-related all along. Or, could this new symptom be caused by prednisone use? I understand that it can cause muscle weakness. I'm a little nervous about the numbness because I've had recurrent pericardial effusion and worry about anything that might indicate a cardiovascular problem. I'm not looking for a diagnosis, but if anyone else has had a similar experience, it might help me ask the right questions when I see my doctor next week.


10-29-2006, 08:46 PM
Hi Jody

when I was on pred I had some numbness in my right arm at times or it would often feel tingly and I would loos stregnth in it like when picking up a glass or basket of laundry etc........

It could be the predisone but for me I've been off pred now almost nine months and I still get the numbness every so often but not nearly as often as when I was on pred.

talk to your doc and see, my doc ordered an MRI when I was first expressing the symptom but it turned out that its just a muscle weakness for me.

hope you get some answers

take care

10-30-2006, 08:05 AM
From what you have explained it sounds like to me that you MAY have a compressed nerve in your neck area....around c-3-c-6 that would cause numnesss in the small part of you rupper arm and even down to your fingers.

HAVING a broken neck that was one of my first symptoms.....so I would ask my doc to send me for an MRI as I seriously DOUBT it is from the PREDNISONE.



10-31-2006, 10:09 AM
Thanks for the replies. I'll be asking some questions next time I see my doc.


10-31-2006, 11:23 AM
Hi, Jody - muscle weakness from prednisone - called steroid myopathy - usually affects your hips and legs first, making it difficult to get up from a chair or climb stairs. So if your legs are not affected, this is not likely to be steroid myopathy. Myopathy causes weakness and muscle wasting, but usually doesn't cause numbness or tenderness.

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your legs or feet, it may be starting to affect your arms also. If the weakness is worse at night, or you have burning or tingling sensations in your arm, then it may be neuropathy, which is treated the same way as neuropathy in your feet.

If the weakness comes and goes, or you have a sudden headache, dizziness, speech slurring, blurred vision or loss of coordination at the same time, this could be a warning symptom of a TIA - transient ischemic attack - sometimes called mini-strokes because they produce temporary stroke-like symptoms. If you experience a TIA get medical help right away because these can be a warning sign of an impeding stroke. Do not let your doctor shrug these symptoms off because lupus patients have a higher risk of stroke.

Lupus can cause inflammation almost anywhere, so this could be an indicator that your lupus is becoming more active. You mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome - a similar problem that often affects women in general and lupus patients in particular is thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).

TOS gets its name from the space (the thoracic outlet) between your collarbone (clavicle) and your first rib. The thoracic outlet is crowded with blood vessels, muscles, and nerves. If the shoulder muscles in your chest are not strong enough to hold the collarbone in place, it can slip down and forward, putting pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that lie under it. Symptoms vary, depending on which structures (nerves or blood vessels) are being compressed. Pressure on the blood vessels can reduce the flow of blood to your arms and hands, making them feel cool and tire easily. Pressure on the nerves can leave you with a vague, aching pain in your neck, shoulder, arm or hand. If you find it very hard to do things like brushing your hair, then the weakness could be due to TOS. Women are more prone to this because our tendons and ligaments are looser than mens', and the weight of our breasts puts extra strain on the chest muscles.

Whatever the cause, this is definitely something you need to bring up with your doctor. And if you are having ANY warning signs of stroke - go to an ER pronto. Most strokes caused by blood clots can be treated and damage reversed if treatment begins within three hours, so time is critical.

10-31-2006, 11:56 AM
I've had that problem off and on since I first got sick 10 years ago. I can't absorb B-12 -- so I have to get shots. My lay understanding is that when you are deficient in some minerals, your body essentially reapportions them (e.g. takes them) from other areas, causing the numbness.

Just another possiblity to check....

11-01-2006, 02:49 PM
My pinky and ring fingers go numb and it extends up my arm ...if I sit still or haven't moved my hands in a while. I was just at my rheumy on Mon and he told me it was tendonitis in my elbows that caused it. No good advice as to what to do about it tho. I also have pain in my arm kind of below the shoulder and biceps. It causes my arm to be weak and very painful ...again the rheumy says tendonitis. Don't know if that helps you but I was wondering about it too because it seems so weird ...but then lupus is definitely weird :-)

11-02-2006, 03:12 PM
Thank you all for your posts. So helpful! Mary, the info you provided will be good for my next visit to my rheumatologist. But, some of it may be questions for my neurologist. So many doctors..so many questions! Sometimes I wish I could get them all in one room so I could ask questions and get answers all at one time! I'll be seeing my fourth doctor tomorrow.