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Numbness in Hands: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention, Cure

What is Numbness in Hands?

Numbness in hands refers to a loss of sensation or feeling in the hands. It can be a temporary or a permanent condition, and it can affect one or both hands. Numbness in the hands can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injury, pressure on the nerves, certain medical conditions, and the use of certain medications. It can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as nerve damage or nerve compression. Its also known as paresthesia

numbness in hands

Possible Causes of Numbness in Hands

Injuries. Numbness in the hands can be caused by injuries to the hand, wrist, or arm, such as fractures, dislocations, sprains, or strains.

Pressure on the nerves. Numbness in the hands can be caused by pressure on the nerves that supply the hands. This can be due to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed, or cubital tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the ulnar nerve in the elbow is compact.

Medical conditions. Certain medical conditions can cause numbness in the hands, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Medications. Some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs and certain blood pressure medications, can cause numbness in the hands as a side effect.

Other factors. Numbness in the hands can also be caused by factors such as alcohol abuse, vitamin deficiencies, and exposure to cold temperatures.

Here are some other causes of numbness in hand include:

Stroke

A stroke is a medical difficulty that occurs when the blood provide to the brain is discomposed, leading to brain damage. Numbness in the hands can be a symptom of a stroke, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, slurred speech, or changes in vision

If you or someone you know is experiencing numbness in the hands along with any of these other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately, as a stroke can be life-threatening.

Physical therapy may be recommended to help improve strength and function in the affected hand.
In some cases, medication or surgery may be necessary to address any underlying causes of the stroke or to prevent further strokes from occurring.

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Carpal tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes compressed as it passes through the wrist. This can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by repetitive hand movements or positions that put pressure on the median nerve. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid problems.

Treatment options may include wearing a wrist splint, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), undergoing physical therapy, or having surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to narrow, reducing blood flow to these areas. It can cause numbness, tingling, and a sensation of coldness in the affected areas.

Raynaud’s disease is often triggered by cold temperatures or stress, and it can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment options may include taking medications to relax the blood vessels, avoiding triggers such as cold temperatures and stress, and keeping the affected areas warm. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to improve blood flow to the hands.

Cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the ulnar nerve, which runs from the elbow to the hand, becomes compressed as it passes through the cubital tunnel in the elbow. This can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is often caused by repetitive hand movements or positions that put pressure on the ulnar nerve. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and fractures.

Treatment options may include wearing a splint to keep the elbow straight, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), undergoing physical therapy, or having surgery to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve.

Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells and tissue. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, rash, and kidney problems. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can also be a symptom of lupus.

Lupus is a complex and potentially serious condition, and it is important to receive a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Treatment options for lupus may include medications to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation, as well as lifestyle changes such as getting plenty of rest and avoiding exposure to the sun.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly use and store glucose, a type of sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can be a symptom of diabetes, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. This is often due to nerve damage, or neuropathy, caused by high blood sugar levels.

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Treatment options for diabetes may include medications to lower blood sugar levels, as well as lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a state that causes all-around pain and feeling in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It can also cause fatigue, sleeplessness, and discernible problems. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet can be a symptom of fibromyalgia.

Treatment options for fibromyalgia may include medications to manage pain and other symptoms, as well as lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise, practicing stress management techniques and getting enough sleep.

Epicondylitis

Epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the elbow. It can be caused by overuse or strain on the muscles and tendons in the elbow. The tennis elbow affects the outer part of the elbow, while the golfer’s elbow affects the inner part. Numbness and tingling in the hand and arm can be a symptom of epicondylitis.

Treatment options for epicondylitis may include rest, ice, physical therapy, and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary to manage symptoms.

numbness in hands

Symptoms of numbness in hands

The main symptom of numbness in the hands is a loss of sensation or feeling in the hands. This can cause tingling, pins, and needles, or an “asleep” sensation in the hands. Numbness in the hands can also cause weakness or difficulty gripping or holding objects.

Numbness in the hands can be a temporary or a permanent condition, and it can affect one or both hands. Numbness in the hands can be caused by a variety of factors, such as injury, pressure on the nerves, certain medical conditions, and the use of certain medications.

It can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, such as nerve damage or nerve compression.

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Diagnosis of numbness in hands

There are several methods that a healthcare provider may use to diagnose the cause of numbness in the hands, including:

Medical history and physical examination

The provider will ask about your symptoms, when they started, and any other medical conditions you have. They will also perform a physical examination of your hands and arms to look for signs of injury or other underlying conditions.

Nerve conduction study

This test measures the speed and strength of the electrical signals in the nerves. It can help determine if there is nerve damage or compression.

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Electromyography

This test computes the electrical task of the muscles. It can help determine if there is nerve damage or muscle damage.

Imaging tests

X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may be used to look for injuries or underlying conditions such as bone spurs or tumors that could be causing the numbness.

Blood tests

Blood tests may be used to check for underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or vitamin deficiencies that could be causing the numbness.

Prevention of numbness in hands

There are several things you can do to help prevent numbness in the hands:

  • Practice good posture

Proper posture can help prevent pressure on the nerves in the hands and wrists.

  • Take breaks

f you engage in activities that require repetitive hand movements, such as typing or knitting, take regular breaks to give your hands a rest.

  • Use ergonomic equipment

Using equipment that is designed to minimize strain on the hands and wrists, such as ergonomic keyboards and mice, can help prevent numbness.

  • Stay hydrated

Dehydration can cause the tissues to shrink, which can put pressure on the nerves in the hands.

  • Keep your hands warm

Cold temperatures can cause numbness and tingle in the hands. If you are prone to numbness in the hands, try to keep your hands warm, particularly in cold weather.

  • Avoid smoking

Smoking can reduce blood flow to the hands and increase the risk of numbness and other circulation problems.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight can put extra strain on the wrists and hands, increasing the risk of numbness.

Treatment of numbness in hands

The treatment for numbness in the hands depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common examples of the treatment courses of action:

  • Treatment for numbness caused by injuries may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) to reduce swelling, physical therapy to improve strength and function, and medications to manage pain.
  • Treatment for numbness caused by pressure on the nerves may include wearing a splint to keep the affected joint in a neutral position, taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation, undergoing physical therapy, and having surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Treatment for numbness caused by medical conditions such as diabetes or lupus may include medications to manage the underlying condition, as well as lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
  • If numbness in the hands is a side effect of medication, your healthcare provider may recommend switching to a different medication or adjusting the dosage.

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