Numbness in the Hands

Numbness in the Hands

Numbness in the hands is defined as a loss of sensation in the fingers or entire hand. The sensation may start or end with other symptoms, such as a tingling, pins-and-needles feeling as if your hand is “asleep.”

Numbness can occur in one hand or both simultaneously. Causes can range from a pinched nerve in the hand or arm to illness to a reaction to certain medications. 

Persistent numbness could be an indication of a more serious condition and should be checked as soon as possible.

Hand Numbness Causes

Numbness in the hands is most often caused by a pinched nerve in the hand, wrist, arm or neck. But there are several other causes, some of which can cause permanent damage or be fatal if not addressed quickly. That’s why it’s essential to get checked if your hand numbness persists. 

Some causes of hand numbness include: 

  • Pinched nerve or nerve damage in the hand, arm, shoulder or neck
  • Herniated disc in the spine
  • Nerve pressure from an infection, enlarged or blocked blood vessels, or a tumor
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive pressure on the wrist
  • Shingles
  • Herpes infection
  • Poor blood circulation from hardened arteries or diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Stroke
  • Thyroid problems
  • Damage from animal or insect bites
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Medication reaction
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Vasculitis
  • Alcoholism
  • Irregular potassium, calcium, or sodium levels
  • Lyme Disease

When to Seek Help

Hand numbness that’s temporary should be monitored but may only be due to repetitive stress. Consider doing hand exercises or changing positions to alleviate the stress on your hand nerves or blood vessels. 

If hand numbness persists or returns frequently, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause.

In some cases, hand numbness could be a sign of a much more serious issue. In those instances, you should see immediate medical attention. 

Some of these instances include:

  • Numbness in other parts of the body
  • Paralysis of the hand or the entire side of your body
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Confusion
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control

These could indicate a life-threatening problem, such as a stroke or severe allergic reaction. If you experience these symptoms, visit the nearest emergency room or call 911.

How POA Can Help

If your hand numbness persists, make an appointment to see one of our doctors right away. We will perform a series of tests to determine the cause. This can include blood tests, an X-ray of your hand or arm, an MRI of your head and neck, or a CT scan of the same areas. 

Treatment can range from medication to physical therapy to surgery, depending on the cause of the numbness. We will evaluate your test results and inform you of your best treatment options.

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