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Hand Numbness


Hand numbness is a subjective sensation or irregular feeling that may signal a variety of medical problems. It is termed as paresthesia.

Hand numbness may be caused by a number of factors, ranging from nerve damage to circulation problems. It may be an indication of something more serious, or it could be a mild and temporary symptom of some illness or underlying health condition.

The most common cause of numbness in the hand or arm is prolonged immobility, such as when sleeping. As a result of the strain put on your nerves and the resulting temporary blockage of blood flow, numbness and paresthesia may develop.

Numbness in the left arm may be caused by anything from an incorrect sleeping posture to a heart attack. A brief sensation of numbness in your left arm is generally nothing to worry about. It is very probable that it will resolve itself. However, if the problem continues or you are concerned about the reason, you should see a physician.

A variety of reasons may induce right hand numbness, including carpal tunnel syndrome, medication side effects, or severe trauma. If the illness has advanced, then it is often accompanied by other feelings such as tingling or burning.

Therapies may be able to provide immediate relief while also addressing the underlying source of the issue.


Injury, inflammation, or compression of one of the nerves or a branch of one of the nerves in your arm and wrist may be hand numbness causes.

Diseases that affect the peripheral nerves, such as diabetes, may also produce numbness. When it comes to diabetes, though, similar sensations usually start in the feet as well.

Brain or spinal cord problems may induce numbness, but in certain cases, these abnormalities might also cause arm or hand weakness or loss of function. Numbness is seldom associated with potentially fatal illnesses such as strokes or cancer unless additional symptoms are present.

Tingling is often associated with numbness in the fingers or hands. Peripheral neuropathy is a disease that causes numbness or tingling in the extremities due to nerve damage in the limbs. One of the most frequent causes of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes that has gone untreated for a long time.

Other factors associated with numbness are:

  • Alcoholism: It is another condition that leads to peripheral neuropathy due to which hands go numb. Numbness, burning, discomfort, or tingling in the fingers and hands is associated with a number of disorders, including stroke, Raynaud’s disease, multiple sclerosis and vascular diseases.


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: It occurs when a person’s hand and wrist are frequently utilized, such as while typing, writing, or pressing buttons. Pressure is exerted to the median nerve, a major nerve in the hand, during the motions. The person feels pain, numbness, and tingling in the wrist, hand, and occasionally the arm as a consequence of the motions pinching the nerve. It may cause you to wake up with numb hands. You may awaken with numb hands as a consequence of the pressure your sleeping posture puts on your hands. This may happen if you sleep on your arm or hand or in a position that exerts pressure on a nerve. Numbness or pins and needles may develop as a result of a temporary decrease in blood flow. Similarly, it is also possible that hands go numb when sleeping.


  • Medication: Numerous medications have the potential to induce nerve damage, commonly known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition that affects the peripheral nervous system and results in numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. When administered to patients, the drug may have a detrimental impact on the myelin sheath or axon of neurons, causing damage and interfering with nerve signal transmission thereby, leading to numbness in hands.


Hand numbness symptoms often include a lack of sensation or a tingling sensation in one or both hands. This can show as a “pins and needles” sensation, numbness or weakness, or an inability to feel properly and grip objects. Hand numbness can be transient, caused by momentary pressure on nerves (as when you sleep on your arm), or persistent, caused by underlying medical issues. Carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve compression, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and illnesses like multiple sclerosis are common causes. If the numbness is abrupt and severe and is accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as weakness on one side of the body or difficulty speaking, it could indicate a medical emergency such as a stroke.


A medical evaluation by a healthcare specialist, usually a neurologist, is required to diagnose hand numbness. A detailed medical history is taken, symptoms are discussed, and a physical examination of the hands and arms is performed to assess strength, sensitivity, and reflexes. For hand numbness diagnosis and to highlight any nerve or structural problems, testing such as electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction investigations, and imaging studies such as MRI may be ordered.


The exact diagnosis determines the hand numbness treatment. Rest, wrist splints, or ergonomic changes to alleviate nerve pressure are examples of conservative techniques. Hand strength and flexibility can be improved with physical therapy exercises. Anti-inflammatories or nerve pain drugs may be prescribed in some circumstances. Surgical intervention may be required to relieve pressure on the afflicted nerves in severe or persistent cases of disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment addresses the underlying cause, relieves numbness, and restores normal hand function and sensation.

When To See A Doctor

If the numbness in your hands lasts longer than a few hours, see a doctor right away. It may be a symptom of a more severe medical condition. You should contact a doctor if the numbness does not go away after a few days or if it spreads to other parts of your body. If the numbness started as a consequence of an accident or illness, see your doctor.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, you should seek medical attention immediately.

  • Paralysis
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Vision loss
  • Inability to regulate bowels or bladder
  • Speech impairment
  • Rash


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about hand numbness or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.