What Causes Numb Hands?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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Numb hands can be a disturbing symptom with many possible causes. While the only way to obtain a correct diagnosis is to visit a doctor, there are a few medical conditions that are particularly prone to causing numb hands. Some potential causes include diabetes, pressure on the nerves, or shingles. Thyroid issues, stroke, or multiple sclerosis may also lead to the development of numb hands.

Diabetes is a common cause of numb hands. This symptom often indicates a blood circulation problem and should be reported to a doctor right away. If left untreated, these circulation problems can lead to the need for amputation.

Nerve pressure on the neck or spine may also cause numb hands. This may be due to a variety of factors, including scar tissue, a herniated disk, or infection. In rare cases, a tumor may be present and be the source of the nerve pressure.

Shingles, medically known as herpes zoster, is a type of viral infection that affects the roots of the nerves and may lead to numb hands. Shingles is caused by the same virus responsible for the development of chicken pox. Shingles usually presents as a painful rash affecting one side of the body. Severe pain may be present due to nerve damage caused by this virus.


Carpal tunnel syndrome is another leading cause of numb hands. In this condition, the nerves and tendons that allow the fingers to bend become compressed. Numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and wrists are the primary symptoms of this condition. Surgical intervention is sometimes necessary in order to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

A condition known as ulnar tunnel syndrome may also lead to numbness in the hands. This condition is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome and can cause a lot of the same symptoms. The primary difference is the nerve that becomes compressed. The ulnar nerve can become irritated when a person hits what is commonly referred to as the funny bone.

Other potential causes of numbness in the hands include thyroid gland dysfunction or multiple sclerosis. A person who has had a stroke will often experience numbness in various parts of the body, including the hands. Even migraine headaches can sometimes cause the hands to feel numb. It is important to address any concerns with a doctor in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan based on individual needs.


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Post 3

@turquoise-- Which treatments have you tried so far? Pain relievers will not help with numbness. I'm not sure why you're on them if you have numbness.

In my experience, immobilizing the wrist and hand is a very helpful treatment. After the hands heal, then exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome should be used to improve circulation and retain nerves' function. Cold or heat therapy and the use of topical creams can also be beneficial. Your doctor should be directing you on the treatment. If you tried something and it didn't work, please go back to your doctor and tell him that the numbness continues.

Post 2

Does anyone her have numb hands due to carpal tunnel syndrome? Have you found an effective way to deal with the numbness and other symptoms? My doctor doesn't think that surgery is necessary yet and pain relievers don't help with the numbness.

Post 1

When I developed numbness in my hand, it never occurred to me that it could be due to my neck. I didn't know at the time that injury in one part of the body can cause symptoms in other areas. Since nerves that travel through the neck also travel through the arms, pressure on a nerve in the neck causes symptoms in the arm. It doesn't always have to happen this way but it does for many people.

Anyway, it turned out that I have a hernia in my neck. I had a car accident last year. The injury probably occurred at that time but never got diagnosed. I'm receiving physical therapy now which is helping.

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