Q. What causes numbness in hand and feet for three weeks?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 07, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am having numbness in hand and feet for three weeks. Brain and cervical spine MRI came normal.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Review of the MRI scan images (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

Cervical spine:

There is mild straightening of the cervical vertebrae. There is a likely small osteophyte in the anterior superior end plate of C5 vertebra and is not significant. The cervical vertebrae are showing normal heights and signal intensity. The cervical intervertebral discs are showing mild disc desiccation. There is no significant cervical spinal canal stenosis in the given images. The cervical spinal cord is showing normal signal intensity.

Thoracic spine:

Kyphosis of thoracic vertebrae is normal. The vertebrae are showing normal heights and signal intensity. There is minimal posterior disc bulge in T5 to T6 disc level. There is no significant thoracic spinal canal stenosis in the given images. The thoracic spinal cord is showing normal signal intensity.

Lumbar spine:

There is mild straightening of the lumbar vertebrae. There is subtle posterior listhesis of L3 over L4 vertebrae. The lumbar vertebrae are showing mild osteophytes and minimal end-plate changes. There is disc desiccation in L3 to L4 and L5 to S1 disc levels. There is mild posterior disc bulge in L3 to L4 disc level and causing mild bilateral neural foraminal compromise. There is a minimal bilateral neural foraminal compromise in L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 disc levels. There is no lumbar spinal canal stenosis.

Impression: Cervical and thoracic spine are showing early degenerative changes. No significant nerve root compression or spinal canal stenosis. Lumbar spine is showing mild bilateral nerve root compression in L3 to L4 and minimal bilateral nerve root compression in L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 disc levels and mild lumbar spondylosis. There is no spinal canal stenosis.

Hi doctor,

Thank you very much. When you say early degenerative changes, is that normal for my age? I am 39 years old. I know I should ask a neurologist, but would like to also get your opinion if the nerve root compression in L3 to L4 and L4 to L5 are significant enough to cause numbness in feet?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thanks for writing back with an update. The early changes in the cervical spine can be expected at your age and is not a significant finding. The changes in the lower lumbar disc levels are of mild nature and would usually not cause numbness in hands and feet. There is a mild neural foraminal compromise in L4 to L5 disc level and mild ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. The clinical presentation is not matching completely with the MRI findings but rarely even slight neural foraminal compromise can cause significant symptoms. As you know, a detailed clinical examination by the neurologist might tell us the nature of the nerve tracts involved.

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