Updated: May 24, 2019
By Dr. Ryan Lee
Numbness and tingling in our hands can be flat out annoying; making it hard to perform at work and difficult to enjoy our free time at home. There are multiple health conditions that can create the numbness and tingling sensation in our hands. In this article we will cover a few of the more prevalent conditions, how to differentiate between each one, and how to prevent and treat them.
1. Cervical Radiculopathy:
This occurs when one of your cervical nerve roots becomes inflamed or compressed due to degeneration in the cervical spine, misalignments of the cervical vertebra, or even a bulged or herniated disc. This condition can create neurological issues such as numbness and tingling in your arm, wrist or hand, as well as arm and hand strength loss. Cervical radiculopathy can also create a shock like pain sensation down the arm. Cervical radiculopathies usually occur on one side of the body and you will notice numbness and tingling in certain fingers instead of the entire hand.
Treatment options for cervical radiculopathies can include, rest and lifestyle modification, ice therapy to reduce swelling in the area, chiropractic care, cervical traction, cervical epidural injections. You can prevent getting cervical radiculopathies by getting regular exercise, making sure your work place and home ergonomics do not promote bad cervical posture, and by keeping a healthy weight so you do not put undue stresses on the spine.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis:
A chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis can be suspected if you are also experiencing chronic fatigue, joint redness and swelling, slight fever, weight loss, etc. Since rheumatoid arthritis is symmetrical in its progression, you would experience numbness and tingling in both of your hands. Rheumatoid arthritis is typically managed and treated by disease modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs. DMARDs slow the progression of the disease and can save joints and other surrounding tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also be treated by steroids and biologic response modifiers, these drugs target parts of the immune system that trigger the inflammatory response that causes the joint damage. Holistic treatment options include adapting an anti-inflammatory diet, regular exercise, and lowering stress in your lifestyle to decrease the inflammatory response. Also, your doctor may recommend a chiropractor, physical therapists, or an occupational therapist to aid in teaching your stretches and exercises to maintain and increase joint mobility.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Occurs when your median nerve is compressed by the transverse carpal ligament on the front of your wrist as well as the bones that make up the carpal tunnel. This can cause numbness and tingling in all your thumb and fingers except your pinky finger. Typically, the numbness can be associated with pain in your forearm and shoulder and will come and go. You might also notice swelling at of the wrist, shock like sensations into the fingers, and loss of grip strength. Carpal tunnel presents unilaterally, which just means it occurs on one hand at a time due to either an acute injury or a repetitive stress motion injury, but can occur on both wrists at the same time. Common treatments of carpal tunnel include: chiropractic care, physical therapy, and surgery to cut the transverse carpal ligament.
You can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by taking breaks from repetitive motions at your job or sport, practice yoga to improve flexibility and maintain mobility in your wrists, adjust your workstation to allow for proper posture that will not put strain or stress on your neck and wrists, and reduce the forces you place on your hand and wrists, such as how hard your press the keys of your keyboard.
4. Other Causes for Hand Pain and Numbness:
There are three forms of neuropathy that can also cause hand pain and numbness.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin and is very important for nerve health and function. Vit. B12 aids in the creation of the fatty material called myelin, that insulates and protects our nerves. Without enough Vit. B12 our body starts to experience a, pins and needles, sensation known as neuropathy. Vitamin B12 rich foods include animal foods such as eggs, dairy, animal meats, poultry and fish, clams, non-dairy milk, fortified cereals, and certain type of grain breads.
Diabetes: When diabetes isn’t managed it can progress to many health conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. This form of neuropathy can create pins and needles sensations as well as intense pain. Diabetic neuropathy often starts in the feet but can occur in your hands as well. This can be managed through medications and getting your diabetes in control by adjusting your diet and regular exercise.
Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol consumption in large amounts can create neuropathy as well in hands and feet. It is theorized that excessive alcohol consumption decreases nutrient absorption in the nerves as well as puts you at risk for vit. B12 deficiency. This can be prevented and treated with managing the amount of alcohol you consume each week.
If you are experiencing numbness or tingling in your hands, it is best to get evaluated by a professional, such as a chiropractic physician.
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Dr. Ryan Lee is the practicing chiropractic physician at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic. For his full bio, click here.
This content is strictly the opinion of Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Dr. Lee does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.'
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.