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Overview of Numbness in Hands: Meaning, symptoms, causes & treatment

Team AckoJun 23, 2024

Numbness in Hands (NIH) can be described as a lack of sensation or feeling in the hands. It can be caused by a variety of factors. In some cases, numbness may be temporary and resolve on its own, but in other cases, it may require medical attention. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious issues such as loss of grip strength and difficulty with fine motor skills. This article will give you an overview of NIH. It also covers frequently asked questions you might have.




Symptoms of Numbness in Hands

If you're experiencing numbness in your hands, you might also be experiencing the following other symptoms.

  • Tingling or burning sensations

  • Weakness or heaviness in your hands

  • Loss of coordination or fine motor skills

  • Difficulty gripping objects

  • Pain or discomfort in your hands or wrists

Causes of Numbness in Hands

There are several factors that can cause NIH. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: It is a condition that occurs when there is pressure on the median nerve that runs through the wrist. The symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand.

  • Raynaud's disease: This disease causes the blood vessels in the hands and feet to narrow, reducing blood flow. This can result in numbness, tingling, and pain.

  • Peripheral neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system. This can cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands and feet.

  • Diabetes: Diabetes can damage the nerves in the body, leading to numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. This condition is known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones.

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 is important for nerve health. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to nerve damage.

  • Stroke: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, which can also cause this condition.

  • Multiple sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis has an impact on the central nervous system, causing damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibres. This can lead to NIH and other parts of the body.

  • Lupus: Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects multiple organs in the body. It can result in nerve damage and cause weakness in the hands. Other symptoms of lupus include joint pain, skin rashes, and fatigue.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and joint pain in the body. In some cases, RA can cause tingling in the hands.

  • Lifestyle factors: Repetitive motions, such as typing or playing an instrument, and poor posture can cause this condition. Also, smoking and alcohol use can lead to circulation problems and nerve damage, increasing the risk of NIH.

Medications that can cause Numbness in the Hands

Here are some medications that can cause NIH.

  • Chemotherapy drugs

  • Certain antibiotics

  • Antidepressants

  • Anticonvulsants

It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience NIH while taking any medication. Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage or change the medication.

Diagnosis of Hand Numbness

A neurologist will start by asking about your medical history to understand your symptoms. They will inquire about the duration of the symptoms and ask if the condition has worsened over time. A physical exam and neurological exam are then carried out to test muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes.

Depending on your symptoms and the results of the neurological exam, your doctor may request the following tests.

  • Blood tests: Your doctor may order blood tests to check for any underlying medical conditions that could be causing your hand numbness. These tests may include a complete blood count (CBC) or tests to check for diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI can help identify any abnormalities in the brain or spinal cord that may be causing your hand numbness. It is a non-invasive test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your body.

  • Vascular ultrasound: This test is used to examine the blood vessels in your arms and hands. Your doctor may order a vascular ultrasound to check for any blockages or narrowing in your blood vessels.

Tips to fix numb hands

There are a few ways to fix numb hands, depending on the cause. Here are some suggestions.

  • Adjust your posture: Poor posture can cause compression of the nerves in the hands and lead to numbness. Make sure you sit or stand up straight with your shoulders back.

  • Take breaks: If you spend a lot of time typing or doing other repetitive tasks, take frequent breaks to rest your hands and wrists.

  • Stretch: Simple hand and wrist stretches can help relieve numbness.

Home remedies to treat numbness in hands

Here are some home remedies you can try to relieve numbness in your hands.

  • Warm compress: Place a warm, damp towel on your hands. 

  • Vitamin B-12: Add more foods rich in vitamin B-12 to your diet.

  • Massage: Gently massage your hands and wrists.

  • Exercise: Incorporate hand and wrist exercises into your routine.

Treatment for Numbness in Hands

There are several treatment options available for numbness in hands. These include conservative measures, medications, surgery, and alternative therapies.

  • Conservative measures: Conservative measures for treating NIH include rest, stretching exercises, and physical therapy. These measures can help alleviate symptoms by reducing pressure on nerves and promoting blood flow to the affected area.

  • Medications: Several medications may be prescribed to help relieve NIH. These include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants.

  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat NIH. This may involve removing a portion of a herniated disc or repairing a compressed nerve. Surgery is typically only recommended after conservative measures and medications have failed.

  • Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage, may also be used to treat NIH. These therapies aim to reduce pain and inflammation while promoting healing and relaxation.

Also read: mediclaim policy for family

Frequently asked questions

Here is a rundown of questions and answers related to Numbness in Hands.


What are some exercises or stretches I can do to alleviate numbness in my hands?

Here are some exercises and stretches that may help alleviate NIH.

  • Wrist extensions  

  • Finger stretches  

  • Shoulder rolls  

  • Neck stretches  

Remember to listen to your body and stop any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.

What is the fastest way to relieve Numbness in Hands?

Numbness in hands can be caused by various factors such as poor circulation, nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more. Here are some quick ways to relieve numbness in hands.

  • Shake it off  

  • Change your position

  • Take a break

  • Elevate your hands  

When to visit a doctor for NIH?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.

  • Numbness or tingling that is persistent or severe

  • Weakness in your hands or fingers

  • Loss of sensation in your hands or fingers

  • Inability to perform daily tasks


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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