Numb Hands: Causes and Cures
By Martha Michael
When you’re experiencing a loss of feeling in your hands, investigating the cause can be a mind-numbing experience. One of the biggest problems is the vast number of possible causes.
Numbness in your hands can be the result of a disease that’s causing nerve compression, according to the Mayo Clinic website. For instance, it’s not uncommon for diabetics to develop neuropathy and lose feeling in their extremities; however, in the case of diabetes it more typically occurs first in the feet.
Other conditions, such as a brain tumor or spinal cord injury, can cause numbness and weakness in your hands. It could be that the nerves are simply irritated, or it could stem from something far more serious.
Life-threatening Diseases Causing Numbness of the Hands
An article in Healthline suggests 22 possible causes for hand numbness, some of which are serious, but rare, including:
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Stage 4 HIV
One of the leading causes of disability is stroke, which is a life-threatening event requiring immediate attention. If numbness of your hands is accompanied by weakness in an arm or leg on one side of your body, the likelihood of a stroke is much higher, so you want to call 911 for help.
Other signs of stroke are: loss of sight or speech; a problem with balance; a sudden, severe headache; and drooping in the face.
Conditions Causing Numb Hands
Sometimes numbness is a response to changes in your body resulting in a lack of blood flow to the extremities. These conditions may not be life-threatening, but they can affect your quality of life.
Raynaud’s disease is caused by narrowing of your arteries, which affects your circulation. Symptoms such as cold fingers and toes or color changes in your skin are most prevalent when you’re stressed or cold. Individuals with an underactive thyroid can lack the hormones necessary to regulate metabolism. It causes peripheral neuropathy, which results in weakness and tingling in the extremities.Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which tissues and organs become inflamed, affecting the lungs, kidneys, heart and joints. Symptoms tend to come and go; when there’s pressure on the nerves it causes numbness in the hands.
If you’re otherwise healthy and aren’t battling several symptoms together, it’s likely that you have a treatable condition.
A lack of feeling in your hands may be caused by any of the following:
- Alcohol use disorder
- Brachial plexus injury
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cervical spondylosis
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Ganglion cyst
- Lyme disease
- Paraneoplastic syndromes of the nervous system
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Side effects of chemotherapy drugs
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Ulnar nerve compression
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Chiropractic Treatment for Numbness of the Hands
If you’re experiencing a loss of feeling, you first want to eliminate the possibility of a serious illness. Your chiropractor can do that by first getting a detailed history from you to determine the state of your wellness. If chiropractic care is already a part of your routine, you will already have your baseline health on the record, which makes diagnosis easier.
In order to rule out certain conditions, the chiropractor will need to know when your symptoms began and whether or not they accompanied other physical changes.
For instance, if your hands feel both numb and painful you could have an injury, such as a broken bone, which you need to have assessed right away.
The sign of a brachial plexus injury, which is caused by compressed or stretched nerves, is “acute onset of intense pain in the shoulder or arm followed shortly by focal muscle weakness,” according to the Canadian Chiropractic Association. Patients range from newborns to athletes in contact sports. In more serious cases, the nerves can be ripped from the spinal cord.
One of the most common causes of these symptoms is carpal tunnel syndrome. When one of the carpal bones in the wrist impinges on the nerves, you lose feeling in your hands.
Chiropractic treatment is a noninvasive method of treatment. While many medical professionals will recommend medication or surgery as a solution, a chiropractor can free up nerve pathways through natural means such as spinal and extremity adjustments. He or she may also suggest the use of a brace or splint to relieve the painful symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
When your nerves are impinged causing you to lose feeling in your hands, you don’t want to grow numb to the possible causes and the dangers of putting off treatment. Seeing your chiropractor is a way to become informed to choose a treatment option that gets you back in circulation.