Many of us have experienced that weird feeling when our hands become numb—deprived of sense and responsiveness. While this strange condition isn’t often life-threatening, understanding the causes and treatment is necessary to enlighten you.
If you often experience regular numbness in your hands, it’s probably because of medical conditions like stroke, carpal tunnel syndrome, vitamin or mineral deficiency, the use of certain medications, etc. Let’s take a closer look at possible reasons for the numbness in your hands.
Numbness in the Hands Causes
Numbness in the hands is not often a cause for concern. While it is unlikely, it is possible that hand numbness could indicate a stroke, which is a severe medical condition.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off or interrupted, preventing brain tissue from receiving oxygen and nutrients. Hand numbness can indicate a stroke or come with other symptoms. Immediate treatment may mitigate your risk for extensive brain damage. In fact, it may save your life.
2. Carpal Tunnel
Though not quite as common as stroke, numbness in the hands may be related to carpal tunnel. For those who aren’t familiar with this medical term, a carpal tunnel is a small passageway that runs through the center of your wrist. In the middle of this tunnel, you’ll find the median nerve.
The median nerve is charged with supplying feelings to your fingers, thumb, index, and some other parts of your fingers. Regular tasks like typing, carrying heavy stuff cause the swelling up of the issue around the median nerve, thus adding pressure on the nerve. The pressure can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand in question.
If the condition continues, it can damage your nerves. It makes sense to visit or contact a qualified carpal tunnel specialist for help if you suspect that the numbness in your hands is a result of carpal tunnel syndrome. The specialist will recommend the appropriate treatment.
3. Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency
Sometimes, the numbness in the hand isn’t often associated with a medical condition. Instead, it may be as a result of your poor diet. A professional dietitian would often advise that you consume enough Vitamin B12 for the sake of your blood and, most importantly, your nerves. If you fail to yield to this advice, you may experience numbness in your hands and feet on both sides of your body.
But that’s not all.
Aside from Vitamin B12 deficiency, lack of potassium and magnesium may also result in numbness. Common signs of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Trouble walking and balancing
- Difficulty thinking well
- Seeing things that aren’t real (hallucinations).
4. Certain Medications
Medications are meant to relieve you of pain or a condition. However, sometimes, they come with side effects that may leave you with hand numbness.
Anticancer medications are one of the few medications that cause numbness in the hands. These medications, which range from Cisplatin and vincristine (both anticancer drugs), metronidazole, nitrofurantoin, and fluoroquinolones (antibiotics), can result in nerve damage, thus making it hard for you to feel your hands.
In addition to numbness, other signs of drug-induced nerve damage are:
- Strange feelings in your hands
Contact your doctor if you suspect that your meds are the reason for the numbness in your hands.
Tests conducted to determine the cause of hand numbness
If you visit your healthcare provider after experiencing numbness in hand, the professional may carry out multiple tests to determine the cause. The tests include:
- Blood count
- Thyroid function test
- Test for vitamin levels
- Toxicology reports
- Test of your electrolyte levels
- MRI of the head and spine
As soon as the cause of your hand numbness is determined, your healthcare provider will recommend the best treatment.
Numbness in hand can result from many factors, and they are all not causes for concern. In some cases, a doctor will identify an underlying condition. After the cause of hand numbness is found, a treatment plan is created to reduce your symptoms. Ensure you talk to a doctor if you experience numbness in your hands.