There has been so much press about the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, that many people automatically assume that any numbness or tingling in their hands or fingers must be this fairly common condition. However, there are several other issues that can just as easily lead to symptoms shared with CTS.
For example, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand indicates that the “potential conditions” leading to numbness in the hands include: vascular disorders, cold hand disease, Erbs palsy, CTS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, nerve injury, and cubital tunnel syndrome.
Are these the only reasons behind numbness and tingling in the hands or arms? No, there is a surprisingly long list of possibilities. Injury can be to blame, muscle thickening, blood vessel enlargement, and cysts and spurs can also be the cause of any loss of sensation or tingling.
However, one of the most common terms associated with the sensation of tingling or loss of feeling in the hands, though, is “nerves”. From compression of nerves in the arms, spine, and neck, to damage to the nerves, it seems that the greatest number of problems can begin with nerve related issues.
Compression neuropathy or pressure on a nerve can cause a sensation of numbness in the hands. Additionally, because some nerves in the hands have their sources in the area around the neck, any sort of compression or pressure on the neck can lead to numbness, as well.
When we start to look at the neck, though, we realize that the spine is also a major factor in nerves and how they affect the hands. Arthritis in the neck or spine, as an example, can be compressed due to bone spurs or disc problems, and these might impair nerves that relate to the hands and arms.
Diseases of the spinal cord can also cause problems if they manifest as tumors, swollen blood vessels or other things that can constrict or press on the nerves. These can lead to weakened muscles if compressed as well, and this can further complicate matters by making the source of the problem more difficult to detect.
Not all nerve activity is in the spine though and it is understood that some diseases that affect the nervous system can lead to symptoms that include numbness in the hands. Multiple sclerosis is a key example of this, but other issues may also present in this way. Peripheral neuropathy is yet another nerve-related issue that can be caused by disease and which presents in a glove-like pattern on the hands and arms. Diabetes is a common cause of this sort of hand numbness or tingling.
You may have numbness in a finger after an injury, and some medication and treatments can also have side effects that include numbness and tingling in the hands.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Hand Numbness and Tingling
Clearly, you must never just guess at what is causing you tingling or numbness in your hands, and you should never ignore it. Instead, the wisest course of action is to visit a physician or hand doctor who can take a full history, do an assessment of your condition and help you overcome whatever issue has led to your discomfort.