I experienced hands going numb about 2 years ago, shortly after being diagnosed with T2 Diabetes. I saw a neurologist for that, who felt that it's related to lifting weights without gloves or prior near carpal tunnel symptoms (not diagnosed with it, however), not diabetic neuropathy. He advised me to get hand-straigheners for sleeping at night (I didn't-- too inconvenient).
Since then, about a year later, I was diagnosed with autoimmunity (Sjogren's) and I started on a gluten-free, casein-free, and dairy-free diet: did not completely implement being nighshade-free (kept hot pepper sauces) and egg-free. I experienced siginficant improvements: my eyes and throat didn't become as dry as before, and the hands going numb happened less frequently.
Recently, however, I started bringing some dairy back. Heavy cream and sour cream immediately got my hands going numb at night regularly. I cut that out. Then I brought some Lindt's 85% and 90% dark chocolates. At most I consume 10-20g per day. Yet that seems to be enough to trigger hand numbness.
Has anyone experienced dairy causing hand numbness at night? Perhaps the solution is to pernamently cut out dairy and also explore cutting out all nightshades and eggs?
Of course, this may have nothing to do with autoimmunity -- it could just be the remnant of my near carpal tunnel from years ago (I used to be a wordprocessor for 10 years). So perhaps it's worth asking people with autoimmunity who're treating themselves with food avoidance.
It is probably a soft tissue tension/trigger point problem with your neck/chest/arm. A good massage therapist or neuromuscular therapist can help you out of this no problem. It was probably there years ago when you had the "carpal tunnel" episode and has just stayed subclinical since then. Look up Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and compare your symptoms. Yes inflammatory foods play a part in pain syndromes but posture, movement patterns, and tension are primary. I'd bet that you have Forward head Posture and rounded shoulders and a tight chest. All of these things can be helped quickly by a bodyworker who knows what they are doing. It is what I do day-in and day-out.
I've got peripheral neuropathy--and experience numbness, hot & cold de-sensitivity (enough that I can burn myself and not know it!), and tingliness in my hands (and sometimes my legs). Eating the wrong foods DEFINITELY exacerbates the problem. From the last 9 months of research I've done, which has been informative but still leaves me largely in the dark on what's going on (maybe because I'm not a scientist? or just have years more of learning to do), here's a rough list of "facts" that I've gathered. (DISCLAIMER: My expression of what I have learned may be less than beautiful. I'm working on writing a well-cited blog post for you and me, but until then, here's what I've got. Bear with me and take all these statements with a grain of salt since I'm putting all of this together from memory, even in the case where I can point you to a link.)
I've put together these 14 rough statements (again, i've been reading about this for about 9 months -- and can certainly polish up my language and understanding of all this stuff) all to say:
You may have a vitamin B deficiency. This might be because your digestive system isn't working properly. The dairy, soy, and legumes may be causing inflammation, further inhibiting your body's ability to absorb vitamin B, causing you to experience the nervous-system-disorder-like symptoms in your hands. You might want to focus on finding ways to reduce inflammation and improve your body's ability to digest the (good! and anti-inflammatory) foods that you're eating.
Keep experimenting with which foods do and don't cause you to have a flare up. Seems like your body is providing strong biofeedback that it doesn't like dairy and chocolate. For the record, I've realized I'm highly allergic to soy -- and either I'm also allergic to chocolate, or the "traces" of soy in my 100% cocoa bars are enough to cause symptoms.
I have auto-immune issues as well Hashimoto's, psoriasis, etc... Dairy for me is tricky. I can eat a fair amount of cheese without doing too much noticeable damage. Mostly I get lethargic and feel weak. Milk just wrecks me so I avoid it all costs. Eggs are 50/50 i enjoy them but occasionally they set me off and I feel like crap for 4 or 5 hours afterward. I am currently cutting them out. Nightshades (peppers) I seem to be fine with and frankly couldn't see eating without them.
As far as numbness goes I do experience that from time to to time but I just assumed it was due to me sleeping on my side. I would be interested to know if that is a common side effect of gluten / dairy intolerance as well.
Auto-immunity is a bitch... It really can only be treated holistically and identifying the triggers that set you off, vary widely from person to person.
I actually experienced the same symptoms (hand tingling/numbness) for years...and didn't know what caused them till I went paleo.
I went paleo about 2 months ago. Any time I cheat with wheat + chocolate combo (read: donut) it comes back with a vengeance.
I don't have the symptoms with dairy, I have different issues with that.
It might be aggressive inflammatory symptoms. I keep my hand tingling numbness away by avoiding those combos. I can have chocolate, I just have to avoid the rest of the stuff.
I know that for a while I went chocolate free, and as much as it sucks, it is possible. I also have symptoms of inflammation with eating potatoes and such. No tingling, but my throat swelling is annoying. As is the post-nasal drip with dairy.
You might try an aggressive fish oil supplementation program (.5-1g per 10 pounds of bodyweight --> calculator here: http://whole9life.com/fish-oil/ ), cutting out the dairy, nightshades, sugar, and chocolate. If you do try chocolate after a 15-20 day period, you might want to track down an organic type with no added oils, soy, and minimal sugar.
I know I've talked to you about it before. Have you read Robb Wolf's book 'the paleo solution'? He recommends no dairy, grains, legumes, and if you have auto immune issues you want to cut out the nuts and eggs too. Yes, that includes nightshades, as much as that sucks. Try it for 30 days. You can at least figure out if it works or not.
I realize that food tastes good, and certain types of it are more attractive than others. But if you have an auto-immune disease, it would be easier to cut out almost everything, and then start rotating through the list of possible 'bad' stuff after 30 days of cleaning out your system. Then you can figure out what works, and keep that diet.
Just my novice opinion, but I have autoimmune issues and developed asthma in January that the allergist told me that I'd need to stay on full dose Pulmicort for, and instructed me not to adjust my dose (he knew I had a history of underdosing myself because of my dislike for meds). So, because of the asthma, because I did not want steroids (I felt that I had enough problems without adding that into the mix), and because of other autoimmune symptoms I had been having, I decided to go paleo in March. One of the things that I cut out was hot sauce, not for any major reason other than I had a slight suspicion that it triggered my asthma. I stopped taking the Pulmicort about two weeks later, as an experiment, and haven't had one asthma attack since... UNTIL I had a cheat meal the other night of chicken wings (breaded and fried in crap oil, I'm sure) with hot sauce! So, I'd try eliminating the hot sauce, for me, it definitely gave me an inflammatory response, albeit in my lungs, not hands, but it may be worth cutting out to see if there's any improvement.
My hands have been going numb at night too, the only difference I have made has been adding dark chocolate and potatoes. Either one of those could be the culprit or it could be something else entirely.
I have had off an on tingling and numbness in my right hand and foot off and on for several months.
After logging my diet and onset of symptoms I figured out that both dairy and chocolate seemed to be triggering me- this makes sense since both are common gluten cross reactors and I am celiac!
If you want to know more about gluten cross reactors check out Dr O'Bryans article (PDF) about gluten cross reactivity and common cross reactive foods. Good info.
I have had this problem also... toes sometimes tingling/numb in the am and fingers going numb.
After reading this I am wondering if it is poor circulation:
Around the time the numbness in my extremities started I also started getting severe nocturnal leg cramps and sometimes pinching cramps when walking briskly (my electolyte levels were tested at this time and were normal).
I have always consumed dairy and never have had any reaction to it as far as I can tell...although before Paleo it was always low fat. Don has recently switched from high fat/lowish carb to low fat/high carb Paleo...Not saying I agree with this: I don't really know what to think at this point and am pretty confused! However, I am trying less fat as an experiment to see if it helps as I am desperate to stop the cramping (and the numbness, while not painful is disturbing)!
Dairy causes the numbing and tingling, but I also get it when I have PMS, cornstarch ( which is found in MANY medications and supplements, or drink wine (sulfites). These symptoms all started 5 years ago when I had a post-viral syndrome which also included some other very frightening symptoms. While most went away, the neuropathies continue to resurface with above. My nutritionist is convinced that corn can be a real issue for B bloodtypes. My problems are with cornstarch, corn syrup -- any derivative or more concentrated form. Actual corn doesn't seem to cause the problems (but is likely not good either in more subtle ways).