A nerve conduction test involves activating nerves electrically with small safe pulses over several points on the skin and measuring the responses obtained. Usually, the response or signal is measured from the nerve itself or from a muscle supplied by the nerve being activated. This gives information about the state of health of the nerve, muscle and neuromuscular junction (the portion responsible for communication between the nerve and muscle).
I was sent for this tests as my symptoms include numbness and pins and needles in my little and pinky finger with pain down my arm from my back. They initially thought it could be one of two things, carpal tunnel syndrome or a trapped ulnar nerve. I had surgery for a trapped ulnar nerve last summer which was a total success then I suddenly started to have similar symptoms except the pain started in my back and down my arm.
A trapped nerve in the neck can also cause numbness or pins and needles anywhere from your neck, down your arms and into your fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a trapped nerve at the wrist, giving you pins and needles and pain in the hand and loss of grip. After my nerve conduction test last year they also said I had carpal tunnel syndrome but I had no symptoms of this. This time they said I had no carpal tunnel symptoms but a possible trapped nerve in my neck.
I will now have to have an MRI to see if it is a trapped nerve in the neck or thoracic spine.
The NHS points out that lots of people get pins and needles but if you keep getting it then you should see your Doctor. Mine started in May and has been relentless ever since. Braceability have an article on thoracic back pain causes and where the thoracic discs are. The thoracic region makes up 12 of the 24 bones of the spine. The thoracic spine region refers to the area of the back through which the thoracic spine transverses—roughly the bottom of the neck to the top of the low-back. The thoracic back might also be referred to as the mid- or upper back.
It explains what is causing pain in the thoracic area which are a number of causes but one which caught my eye was :
- Pinched nerve: Narrowing of the space where spinal nerves leave the spinal cord to go to the rest of the body. This can be caused by herniated discs, degenerated disc disease, or trauma to this specific area.
- Thoracic nerve pain symptoms like tingling, numbness, burning, a pins and needles sensation.
- Referred pain to the ribs, shoulder, arm, fingers, neck or legs
These are the exact symptoms I have been having and although the nerve conduction tests showed it was not what we thought I do feel that my symptoms are coming from my thoracic area and not my neck but I guess I will not find out until I have an MRI.
The biggest problem with spinal problems is tracking where the original pain is coming from as it can extend to such a large area.