What Causes Numbness and Tingling in Arms and Hands?

What Causes Numbness and Tingling in Arms and Hands?

what causes numbness and tingling in arms and handsWhat causes numbness and tingling in arms and hands of affected individuals include conditions that result in compression, irritation, or damage to one of the nerves supplying the arms and hands or the branches of the nerves that come out of the cervical vertebrae (spinal bones in the neck) supplying these areas.

People may ask themselves, “Why do my hands go numb?”, and this needs to be answered sooner rather than later. Conditions and situations that can cause these symptoms in the upper extremities, and which need to be ruled out through further examination and investigations by a healthcare professional, include the following:

  • The excessive use of alcohol resulting in certain vitamin B deficiencies.
  • Brachial plexus injury.
  • Ganglion cyst on the wrist.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Trauma to the neck or other neck-related issues such as a bulging or ruptured disk between the vertebrae causes compression of the nerve roots.
  • Diabetes, although this condition tends to affect the legs before the arms in most cases.
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Lyme disease.
  • Raynaud’s disease.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Side effects of medications such as chemotherapy and anti-tuberculosis treatments.

Some of these conditions are more severe in nature and they may present as symptoms in the arms and hands but could signify a bigger problem that needs urgent medical attention. Also, if these conditions aren’t severe but are persistent in nature, then the affected individual may end up not only with decreased sensation in the limbs, but may also start to experience loss of power in the affected limb which may lead to increased disability and poorer quality of life.

Numbness in hands while sleeping

A common complaint from many people is that they experience numbness in their hands after they wake up in the morning. Some will even complain that when they wake up in the middle of the night they will experience this numb sensation in the upper limbs and when they change direction they will start to feel a tingling sensation.

The reason this happens is that when some people go to sleep they end up lying in positions where they end up lying on their arms or hands, with their arms and/or hands flexed, or in a position where their necks lie in an awkward position. All these different scenarios will cause compression of the nerves either where they branch out of the neck or at the joints such as the elbow, where the ulnar nerve runs through, or the wrist, where the median nerve runs through.

As soon as the position of the person changes, compression of the affected nerve is relieved and the sensation comes back to the arm and/or hand after experiencing a brief period of tingling.

In cases where changing position of the affected limb or the neck doesn’t result in improvement of symptoms, or there is pain or decreased power associated with the numbness, then it is recommended that the individual consult with their doctor to be assessed and investigated further to rule out the possible conditions mentioned above.



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