Numbness in the hand and fingers can be quite debilitating, especially if you work with your hands. Simple tasks such as typing at a computer, turning a doorknob, or pulling out a credit card become difficult and painful. So, naturally, many patients who are dealing with these types of symptoms want to find out what the cause is.
The truth is, a variety of disorders may be the source of the numbness and tingly sensations in your hand, and determining the exact cause will likely require the intervention of a specialist. That said, you can expect your hand numbness to stem from one of these medical conditions.
What’s Causing Your Hands to be Numb
If your hands and fingers feel numb, it’s most likely due to one of these six conditions, most of which involve a pinched or compressed nerve in the hand, wrist, or other parts of the body.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The most common cause of a numbed hand, carpal tunnel syndrome refers to the median nerve in the carpal tunnel passageway at the base of the hand. When that nerve is pinched, your hand and fingers may become numb and painful. This condition often strikes people who use computers daily, so changing their chair and workspace layout could alleviate the symptoms. A splint to reduce swelling and prevent numbness while sleeping may also be recommended. More serious cases of carpal tunnel syndrome may be treated with steroid injections or surgery to free up space around the nerve.
Compression Neuropathy. Much like carpal tunnel syndrome, compression neuropathy occurs an injury, enlarged blood vessels, a cyst, or thickened muscle place excess pressure on a nerve. The compressed nerve doesn’t necessarily have to be in the hand; a squeezed nerve in the wrist, elbow, forearm, or neck may cause your hands to feel weak. Mild forms of compression neuropathy recover with physical therapy to loosen tight muscles or, as with carpal tunnel syndrome, a more ergonomic workstation. Severe cases may require surgery.
Peripheral Neuropathy. The peripheral nervous system relays impulses throughout our bodies. When nerves in the peripheral nervous system are damaged, you may notice a loss of feeling in the hands. This disorder may be genetic, but it can also be attributed to diabetes, vitamin B-12 deficiency, alcoholism, or chronic liver or kidney disease. Once the location and cause of the nerve damage is determined, a treatment plan can be developed.
Fibromyalgia. A condition that causes pain throughout the body, fibromyalgia could appear as numbness in your hands. People with fibromyalgia are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is similar to fibromyalgia, except the pain and stiffness usually centers in the neck and shoulder. Accordingly, this condition may result in a loss of sensation in the hands and forearms.
Medications. Numbness in the hand may be a side effect of chemotherapy to treat cancer. The neuropathy may be temporary or permanent. While peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy cannot be prevented, patients and their doctors can monitor the dosage to manage the symptoms.
Healing Your Hands
If you’re experiencing persistent numbness or pain in your hands and fingers, a hand specialist at Florida Hand Center can help you pinpoint the exact cause of your discomfort. Once a diagnosis is made, our office can develop a therapy plan to restore feeling to your hands. Call us today for an appointment.