Arm Numbness, Tingling Hands and Fingers

NUMBNESS AND TINGLING IN THE ARM

Numbness means decreased, and tingling  unusual skin sensation. In this article, numbness and tingling in the arm, shoulder, hand or fingers are described. Read about numbness in both arms (hands) AND legs (feet).

Picture 1. Arm dermatomes
(A dermatome is a skin area, innervated by a single spinal nerve)
(Source: Wikimedia)

EVERYDAY CAUSES OF ARM NUMBNESS

Pressure Upon the Arm

Pressure upon the arm nerves or vessels causing numbness, tingling or temporary paralysis of the arm may result from:

  • Sleeping with the hand under the head
  • Sitting with the arm hanging over the back of a chair
  • Wearing straps or carrying a bag or rucksack
  • Inflated cuff during measuring blood pressure

Raising the Arms Above the Level of the Heart

Keeping the hand(s) above the level of the heart during work or sleep can prevent appropriate blood perfusion of the hands, and cause numbness, tingling or partial paralysis of the hand(s) within few minutes.

Cold

In cold weather, narrowing of the arteries in the hands and fingers can prevent appropriate blood supply and thus numbness, tingling, pain or temporary paralysis of the hands and fingers.

DISORDERS OF THE NECK (CERVICAL) SPINE

Cervical Disk Syndrome

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) or injury, like hyper-extension injury in car accidents (head moves rapidly toward the back), can result in bulging or herniated disc(s) pressing upon the cervical (neck) spinal nerves, thus causing symptoms of cervical disc syndrome:

  • Position/movement dependent pain, tingling or numbness in the neck, shoulders, upper back, arm, hand or fingers (when the roots of cervical spinal nerves are compressed)
  • Stumbling gait, difficulty with fine hand moves, tingling in the body or legs (when the cervical spinal cord is compressed)

Symptoms can appear immediately after the injury, or develop slowly over the weeks or months. Diagnosis is made by a CT or MRI of the neck spine. Therapy includes immobilization, cold therapy followed by heat therapy, cervical traction, analgesics, muscle relaxants, physical therapy or surgical decompression of the nerve roots or spinal cord.

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related deformation of the cervical spine; deformed vertebra or discs can press upon the spinal cord or nerve roots in the neck and cause chronic symptoms, like in the cervical disc syndrome (see above).

INJURIES

Disorders of the Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is formed by the cervical nerves C5-C8 and thoracic nerve Th1. The plexus extends from the lower part of the neck to the armpit. From brachial plexus all main nerves to the arm (axillary, musculocutaneus, ulnar, radial, and median nerve) arise.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Most of brachial plexus injuries usually occur in car, motorcycle and sport accidents, during birth, or in bullet or knife injuries. Symptoms and prognosis depend on the nerves involved and extent of an injury: nerve stretching, scar tissue (neuroma), partial or complete nerve rupture or tearing of the nerve from the spinal cord. A limp or paralyzed arm, severe pain and numbness, especially in the neck and shoulders, and weak arterial pulses in the arm are main symptoms.

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment of brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, if necessary, surgery.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet is the space between the collar bone (clavicle), first rib and corresponding ligaments through which nerves and vessels travel from the base of the neck toward the armpit. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) results from a compression or extension of the subclavian artery or vein, or brachial plexus (nerves), commonly occurring in motorbike accidents, athletes, swimmers, weight lifters, etc. Symptoms include:

  • Muscle wasting at the base of the thumb, numbness, feeling of pins and needles, or pain in the shoulder, armpit, arm or hand (when nerves are compressed)
  • Pale, cool arm with weakened arterial pulse in the arm, numbness and pain (when vessels are compressed)

Radiation-Induced Brachial Plexopathy

Radiation-induced damage of the brachial plexus can follow radiotherapy of the chest, axillary region, thoracic outlet or neck. Symptoms may appear months to years after radiation therapy and include numbness, swelling, weakness or pain in the arm.

Broken Shoulder Blade

Shoulder blade (scapula) is the bone in the upper back that connects the collar bone (clavicle) and arm bone (humerus). Broken shoulder blade, usually from a car or motorbike accident, can result in pain,  swelling, bruising or deformation of the shoulder blade area, and weakness, numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm.

Broken Arm, Wrist, Hand or Finger

Symptoms of broken arm (the arm bone – humerus, elbow, and bones of the forearm – radius and ulna) include:

  • Severe pain increasing with arm movement
  • Obvious deformity, swelling, tenderness and bruising over the site of bone fracture
  • Stiffness or inability to move your arm, hand or finger
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the arm, hand or fingers

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome or Ulnar Neuropathy

The ulnar nerve arises from the brachial plexus in the neck and travels under the collar bone, downside along the inner side of the upper arm, behind the inner part of the elbow (Latin cubitus), where it can be felt as a “funny bone” and then down to the wrist, hand and little and ring finger. Ulnar nerve entrapment usually results from an elbow injury or constant pressure upon the elbow, like in cyclists or typists.  Symptoms, known as cubital tunnel syndrome, include:

  • Pain on the inner side of the elbow or electric shock sensation after touching the elbow
  • The hand, ring and little finger are numb and falling asleep, especially after bending the elbow
  • Limited movements of the ring and little finger (“handlebar palsy” in cyclists)
  • Hand (on the little finger side) sensitivity to cold

Prevention of ulnar nerve entrapment is by avoiding excessive elbow use. Treatment includes special arm exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, and wearing an elbow splint.

DISORDERS OF THE SPINAL CORD AND BRAIN

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of an uncertain cause affecting the nerve tissue of the spinal cord, brainstem or brain. Symptoms can appear suddenly or gradually, “travel” among various body parts and include: numbness or tingling in one or both arms (or any other body part), blurred or double vision or blindness, weak or paralysed limbs, problems with urinating or defecating, difficulty maintaining balance, tiredness, etc. Symptoms can last from few weeks to several months, disappear completely and appear again, and, in general, worsen with time.

Diagnosis is with MRI of the brain and spinal cord, and examination of cerebrospinal fluid obtained by lumbar punction. Apart from treating symptoms, there is no treatment for multiple sclerosis at the time.

ACUTE BRACHIAL NEURITIS

Acute brachial neuritis is a rare, supposedly autoimmune inflammation of brachial plexus, occurring at any age, but primarily in young men. Symptoms include severe pain in the upper arms and shoulders, followed by numbness and weak reflexes; the disorder resolves in few months on its own.

WRIST DISORDERS

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (Latin carpus = wrist) is a painful condition of the wrist, hand and fingers, caused by repetitive use of the wrist, or swelling of the tissues in the wrist, resulting in a pressure upon the median nerve. CTS is a common problem in assembly line workers, computer workers, musicians, mechanics, tennis players, etc. Bone spurs in rheumatoid arthritis, or fluid in hypothyroidism, kidney disease or menopause may also press on the median nerve. Symptoms usually start gradually and include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the  thumb, index, middle and ring finger and related part of the hand
  • Pain in the wrist, palm or forearm
  • Difficulty grasping small objects or gripping
  • Hand pain at night

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion cyst (Greek ganglion = tumor, cyst = fluid filled sac) is a soft lump, usually appearing on the back of the hand in some people between 20-40 years of age. It is a noncancerous fluid filled sack arising from the tendon sheets or capsule of the joint from an unknown reason. Ganglion cysts may not be always seen from the outside. Gymnasts often have them. Symptoms include:

  • A soft lump or lumps of various size (may exceed an inch), on the back of the hand, inner side of the wrist, base of the finger, or on the last finger joint.
  • Pain or numbness in the wrist, hand or finger(s)

DISORDERS OF FINGER ARTERIES

Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a painful finger condition due to spasms in the finger arteries. Disease may also affect toes or, rarely, nose, ears, lips and nipples. The cause is not known. Symptoms are triggered by cold (even short term cold like taking something from a freezer) or strong emotions, and appear in the following sequence:

  • Fingers (one, more or all in one or both hands) become pale, numb or cold due to lack of blood flow, then bluish due to a lack of oxygen, then red, with throbbing pain and tingling as blood returns to the affected area.
  • Attacks can occur daily, weekly or occasionally and can last from less than a minute to several hours, usually about 15 minutes. Different areas can be affected at different times. Severe, although rare, attacks can result in finger sores or tissue death (gangrene).

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a term used for the same finger symptoms as in Raynaud’s disease, when the cause is known. Causes include: connective tissue diseases, like scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Sjögren’s syndrome, dermatomyositis, and polymyositis, carpal tunnel syndrome, obstructive arterial disease, anti-hypertensive drugs, ergotamine (used for treating migraine), chemotherapeutic medications, etc.

In workers exposed to vinyl chloride, using vibrating tools, typists and pianists, Raynaud’s phenomenon also commonly occurs.

DIAGNOSIS OF ARM NUMBNESS OR TINGLING

History of arm numbness. Knowing an exact time course of tingling or numbness, and eventual arm weakness, head or legs involvement, history of arm or neck injuries, repetitive elbow or wrist use, reactions to cold, hypothyroidism, diabetes, menopause may give a strong evidence about the cause.

Neurological examination. Testing of sensitivity of a particular arm dermatome can reveal which nerves are involved.

Imaging. X-ray may reveal arthritis in the neck spine, or a broken arm bone. Myelography can reveal herniated disc or narrowed spinal canal. MRI and CT show soft tissues like tumors.

Electromiography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies can show the nature of the nerve damage. Together with imaging they are important to evaluate the extent of brachial plexus injury.

Blood tests can reveal diabetes, abnormalities in serum levels of sugar (diabetes), calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, vitamins B6 or B12, thyroxine (hypothyroidism), sex hormones (menopause).

Cold simulation test can reveal Raynaud’s disease or phenomenon.

TREATMENT OF ARM NUMBNESS OR TINGLING

Firstly, the cause of numbness should be treated if possible.

Non-steroid anti-rheumatic drugs like ibuprofen, or antidepressants, may relieve pain and numbness.

Rest and immobilization of the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, or the whole arm is sometimes necessary after an injury, or when joint movements contribute to nerve irritation, like in ulnar nerve entrapment or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical therapy may help when bones, articles and muscle tendons are involved. Physiotherapist may show you special exercises for each type of nerve disorder.

Effect of acupuncture, acupressure, TENS (Trans Cutaneous Nerve Stimulation) may be debatable. Certain ointments like capsaicin may temporarily relieve tingling, burning sensations.

PREVENTION OF ARM NUMBNESS OR TINGLING

The following may help to prevent arm and hand numbness:

  • Avoid putting the arm over the chair back to prevent permanent injury of brachial plexus
  • Avoid sleeping with the hand under the head, or with arms on the pillow
  • Avoid using mechanical screwdrivers
  • Do not rest your elbows on the desk for long periods of time, while working with a computer
  • Wear warm gloves at low temperatures

Related Articles:

References:

  1. Brachial plexus  (bartleby.com)
  2. Anatomy of the arm  (frca.co.uk)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
Health writer
  • Jessica23

    The arm and hand feels much better today, I don’t notice any numbness.
    I also forgot to mention that I have scoliosis.
    You don’t think stress or anxiety could be a factor in any of this?

  • Jan Modric

    Jessica23,

    anxiety can result in muscle tightness and this may result in some pressure to nerves as they arise from the spinal cord and scoliosis could contribute to this. A disc degeneration in the cervical spine is still possible. Anxiety itself, without other disorders, does not likely cause prominent tingling limited to one limb. The enlarged lymph node and night sweets – it’s this what the doctor should check.

  • catlady

    hi my name is cat i am here because my dad who is 87 yrs old has numbness and pain and sometimes swelling in his hands and feet ive been in and out of hospitals nobody seems to know what is wrong i cant put my poor dad threw anymore test for them to say we didnt find anything they pretty much blamed it on a med.he has an appointment on may 6th of this yr i hope i get the right answers he is also takeing nerotin twice a day and i put hot and cold packs on him what else can i do?i also see avtised gloves to help stimlize your blood flow how well does that work well any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • timc

    hi there, im 25 and have been having a tingling in my right hand fingers(worse at night). It feels like my fingers have swollen 3x their size. Then just recently my whole right arm started to feel weak including my hand and fingers.

  • Jan Modric

    catlady,

    to start with an effective treatment, the cause of the swelling has to be found. The main question seems to be where swelling arises from. A weak heart (heart failure), kidney failure, hypothyroidim, electrolite imbalance in the blood, arthritis, certain drugs are some causes of swelling. Numbness and pain can be then a result of the swelling. Warm compresses can help in pain, but cold compresses reduce swelling, so I can hardly judge what would be appropriate. I would not buy any remedies before he gets a diagnosis. He should take all the drugs he is taking with him, so the doctor can see if any of those cause his symptoms. A detailed history (questionnaire) of his problems (what, where, from when..) can be of great help. Any known underlying disease? Any resembling diseases in the family?

  • Jan Modric

    timc,

    if fingers only feel, but not actually look swollen, the likely cause is a disorder in the cervical spine. A neurologist or orthopedist can determine the exact cause. If fingers are actually swollen, there can be a blockage of the lymph vessel or a vein. If not sure, your primary doctor can tell.

  • nikos

    hello i am 28 years old and i exercise a lot during the last 6 months that i lost 11 kg, mostly jogging and weight lifting and i can say that i am pretty fit. during all this time as usual i had muscle pains pretty much everywhere in my body because of the training.3-4 days ago i felt a pain that i consider it to be normal in my shoulder.yesterday i woke up and i was feeling my left arm and shoulder slightly numb, so slightly that it took me a little while to identify it.so i was worried the whole day and didn’t sleep well at night.today i woke up and the numbness was still there.any thoughts what could possibly cause the numbness?
    P.S. i never had any medical problems in the past.

  • timc

    hi there jan, the feeling in the arm and fingers are joined by a few other symptoms like nausea and chest pain and a few other little nigles. i was just wondering in your opinion could this be anything major or not. At hospital i was told i had GERD but they did no tests, just listened to my chest and took in what i was tellin them. the medication they put me on is no help.

  • nikos

    hello again,yesterday the numbness(more like a tingling this time) spread to my whole body , i mean i was numb in my right leg then in my right arm then in my face e.t.c. but still the feeling was not ??? annoying. today when i woke up everything was o.k, i felt nothing, but now from time to time i notice again slight numbness in my left side of the face my left arm and left and right leg. but not as distinct as yesterday.
    thanks in advance for any answer.

  • Jan Modric

    nikos,

    I guess numbness in your shoulder and arm can arise from a slight injury in your cervical spine, probably acquired during weight lifting. A small injury , like a bulging disc often resolves on its own, but I recommend you to stop with weight lifting for a while and see if it helps.

  • Jan Modric

    timc,

    major things could cause small symptoms and vice versa. Heartburn (if this is a problem) can be from GERD and this can be from stomach infection by Helicobacter pylori. Blood and breath tests exist. All details are important. You might want to check a personal medical history form to recall all symptoms. What have you described in your first posts sounds quite serious. A neurologist can tell more.

  • Jan Modric

    nikos,

    a neurologist can determine the cause of such widespread numbness and I recommend you to arrange an appointment soon. Facial numbness is not likely from a pinched nerve or exercises..

  • jessica23

    How often is a vitamin deficiency (such as b6 and b12) linked to a tingling or numbness sensation in limbs and extremities? Do many people have a vitamin b deficiency? I have had trouble over the years with anemia, and now I’m wondering if my experience with tingling could be linked to a vitamin problem. I was doing research on what might be the reasons I have been having some tingling symptoms and read where vitamin b could be the issue. I heavily upped the dose with a multivitamin along with vitamin b supplements, after a week of the vitamins, my tingling has all but vanished. Could the vitamin deficiency be my problem? I have an apt. scheduled with the doctor next week to talk to her about some possibilities.

  • Jan Modric

    jessica23,

    blood related causes of tingling include: anemia (low iron or vit B12), other blood abnormalities, low vitamins B (probably not only B6), low potasium, low calcium, hypoglycemia, uremia (in kidney disease), low blood pressure. Other causes: hypothyroidism, diabets, other hormonal abnormalities, menopause. You might want to check for other causes of chronic paresthesia.

    Vitamin B deficiency is a realistic cause of tingling in limbs, but appropriate tests should be done.

  • timc

    Hi again Jan,

    I took your advice and seen the neurologist yesterday, he was happy there was no need for a CT scan yesterday but said if the problems persist to go back and see him and they will carry one out. Thankyou for the advice.

  • Scuba Steve

    For the past three months or so, I’ve been waking at night with problems with tingling in my arms. It started with just the arm I was laying on so I would turn over…then it started to seem like it was both of them. The last few weeks, when I wake up the hands are sore, itch and feel swollen while things used to just feel tingly, but my ring still fits the same.

    I’m a 40 year old male, don’t smoke, drink occasionally and have been rear-ended twice in major accidents. I do eat quite a bit of salt (sea salt, if that matters) and have been diagnosed in the past as pre-diabetic, but I am seldom over 135ish on blood sugar even when eating very poorly. The diet isn’t terribly well-rounded and I do drink a ton of diet soda, to the point where I am frequently seeming dehydrated based on urination.

    I work exclusively at computers when not doing this remodel, so carpal would have come to mind (especially since it exacerbates when typing) if it weren’t seemingly so caused by lying down.

    During the day the hands get better, as I am in the process of remodeling our house, so I’m working physically. I still feel the tingly numbness in the hands when I do certain things like type or use my hands a great deal or in the hands/arms when working above my shoulder/elbow levels.

    Sometimes I have a few days where it doesn’t happen, but it’s been pretty consistent otherwise.

    Any ideas?

  • Jan Modric

    Scuba Steve,

    one hypothesis could be that your neck spine was injured during the car accident, then a bulging or herniated disc has developed with time, maybe with the “help” of sitting work – and symptoms are now aggravated by lying down and typing. A carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) may be an additional issue. In CTS, hands, wrists and sometimes forearms are afected, but not likely the arms up to the shoulders.

    Occasional hypoglycemia or dehydration can aggravate the symptoms. Long-term hyperglycemia (mostly in untreated diabetes) can damage the nerves.

    What might help:
    – hard matress and thin pillow
    – water insted of (caffeinated) soda
    – making breaks during prolonged sitting work
    – diet for diabetes
    – physiotherapy
    – physical examination by an orthopedist or neurologist who can judge if any investigation, like imaging of the neck, is necessary

  • Fai

    I sometimes get a burning sensation on my hands and arms (usually, it’s more intense near the hands). The sensation is like my hands are on fire. Usually it happens once every 2-3 months, but this can also sometimes occur twice in a month and sometimes no occurrence for 3 -4 months straight. Still, whenever it happens, boy it’s UNCOMFORTABLE.

    Ok, to clarify a few things, this NEVER happens when I am awake during the day. It always happens with me trying to sleep in the night after a rather ordinary day. Starts with me not being able to fall to sleep after laying on the bed for 2-3 hours, and then when I am on the verge of falling asleep, the burning sensation starts, slowly and gradually my hands and arms start burning up. Now the strange thing is that when this happens, I am almost on the verge of sleeping, and the more I try to sleep, the more this burning sensation worsens, and because of it, I start feeling hot all over, regardless of what the room temperature is. If I try and wake my self up, which by the way is extremely hard cuz of the drowsiness, the burning sensation slowly starts to go away, and it does go away if I stay awake. But, as soon as I start drifting back to sleep, this burning sensation returns.

    Unfortunately, this lasts for 1-2 hours until I somehow go to sleep, and when I wake up the next day, the burning sensation is gone, I feel absolutely fine and the next day goes by very much normal.

    The first time it happened, I thought nothing of it and ignored it, but since then, this thing has occurred once every 2-3 months on some cursed night!!! …

    My background: I am 23 years old, 171cm, 164 lbs, and have no other health problems. Did have some acid reflux problems 2-3 years back, with stomach endoscopy results showing moderate gastritis for which I took some meds back then for 6-8 months (Proton Pump Inhibitors, Nexium and Losec). Since then, I am completely off all sorts of medication and manage my acidity problems with a slightly controlled diet.

  • Jan Modric

    Fai,

    if you overuse your wrists during work, this could be from carpal tunnel syndrome. A disorder in the neck, like a bulging disc or arthritis could result in pinched nerves that supply the arms – this could happen with a certain neck position, especially if you use a thick pillow.

    Other disorders without pressure on the spinal nerves, like low blood pressure, slow heart rate at night, hypoglycemia…usually result in numbness or tingling rather than burning.

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  • Scuba Steve

    Jan,

    Thanks for the feedback…it’s greatly appreciated.

    A little more info:

    I already use a rather firm bed with a TempurPedic (bought with money from one of those drunks that hit me) and I normally used two TempurPedic pillows but dropped to one last night, so we’ll so how that goes.

    I’m downing about 5 24oz glasses of water a day, so that should help the other problem and “only” had 4 diet cokes yesterday.

    The breaks during prolonged sitting I have always done, as my wife used to work for an ergonomic chair manufacturer. I also use a chair with 17 adjustments set for me but I do have a shelf under my desk I cant seem to avoid using as a foot rest even though I know its bad. I do tend to lean on the desk with my forearms a lot.

    Blood sugar is still maintaining around 135ish (check it regularly), so I don’t think it is anything diabetes or hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia related.

    I have had back problems in one spot or another since the second wreck in 2000, so I’m inclined to lean towards the pinched nerve ideas. My wife usually walks on my back whenever the pains start getting bad in whatever position and in a few days the back is better, but we haven’t seen that with this, obviously. It might be time to see the chiro?

    With regard to carpal, I have seen where you have advised people that that affects the pinky and fourth fingers particularly, is that correct? I seem to feel my problems more in the thumb and first two fingers, particularly of the left hand. One caveat, though, is that I burned those three digits with a soldering iron a month or so ago, so they are a bit nerve-affected going into the problem but the burns aren’t large and the tingles/itching are.

  • Jan Modric

    Scuba Steve,

    the first three fingers (thumb to middle) are innervated by the median nerve (Picture 1 in the article), which is usually affected in the carpal tunnel syndrome – CTS (from wrist overuse, injury or swelling). Symptoms usually extend from the fingers to wrist. Specific “exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome” exist (online..), that may bring immediate temporary relief, but I can not suggest this to a particular online person, since it may be potentially harmful if there is an injury present. When lying down, blood pressure in the hands falls, providing less blood and hence oxygen to nerves in the hand. Plus, heart rate may decrease considerably during sleeping. This plus eventual swelling of tissues in the wrist (not necessary visible) can affect the median nerve running through the wrist.

    Pinky and ring finger are innervated by the ulnar nerve which can be affected on the spot where it runs near the elbow – funny bone (cubital tunnel syndrome from leaning on elbows, or injury).

    Still, both of above patterns can result from a pinched nerve in the cervical spine.

    If it is a carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist rest would help in….days. Only I’m not sure if carpal tunnel syndrome disappears just because you have waken up.

    It’s still possible that something ‘slips’ in your neck every now and then and presses on the nerve.

    ‘Chiro’ is a wide term…

  • Scuba Steve

    Yes, wide term indeed.

    I do have a very good chiropractor of the non-quack variety…it was a necessity after the second accident.

    It isn’t the finger tips, as shown above, but rather the yellow area of the hand. I am beginning to think it is, as you said, a bit of both CTS and a pinched nerve or cervical issue.

  • Jan Modric

    Scuba Steve,

    burning, *limited* to the back side of the hands (yellow area) would mean only the radial nerves are affected. Radial nerve also innervates the muscles that extend the hand in the wrist and first three fingers, so an isolated disorder of the radial nerve could also (not necessary) result in a ‘wrist drop’ during the ‘attack’.

    Burning in both yellow and red area would mean that radial and median nerve are affected and since nerve fibers for both nerves arise from C5-C8 of the spine, a disorder at this level could be the cause.

    OK, the point of all this discussion is, that it may greatly help to the doctor, if he knows exactly which parts of your hands were affected, and how far up in the arm symptoms go. Doctor himself might not be able to identify these areas during examination when you don’t have symptoms.

    Disorders of the cervical spine can be diagnosed only with an imaging investigation (CT, MR).

  • Scuba Steve

    I’m glad you mentioned back of the hand because I didn’t look at the drawing as closely as I should have…it’s definitely (and only) the pink area because its only on the palm side.

    Last night when laying down, I turned my left leg over my right at a 90 degree angle in that old hip/low back stretch and had a large pop. Got the best sleep I’ve had in weeks after that. Woke up only once with numbness and popped the same direction and went back to sleep.

    Now that I’m awake and typing the feeling in the hand and some of the wrist is back like mad but stops when I stop typing, so it looks like it was two problems.

    By the way, I’ve never had burning…always felt like numb/cold at night with pins/needles in the entire arms and pins/needles in the hands/wrists with numbness during the day.

  • Jan Modric

    Scuba Steve,

    symptoms limited to the thumb side of the palm and wrist, and obviously dependent on wrist use speak for carpal tunnel syndrome. Typing, carying heavy objects in hands, using screwdriver, hammer…can all aggravate the condition, even if you do not notice anything shortly after the work. The main thing to “do” is a wrist rest.

    A disorder of the neck spine *alone* would not likely result in wrist symptoms aggravated by typing. Long-term prolonged sitting may aggravate a pre-existing degenerative disc disease (DDD) in bith lower back and neck, though.

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  • katfarris

    My husband was inflating balls at work-one of them blew up in his hands. Denies pain, now c/o numbness and cold 3rd finger left hand. Any ideas cause/treatment, etc. Occured only 1 hour ago.

  • Jan Modric

    katfarris,

    we can’t comment first aid issues online. If there is any cut, he should see a doctor immediately.

  • AuroraUSF

    I have been having arm numbness for about 2 months now, It is the worst when I wake up and usually takes an hour before I can feel again. Throughout the day I also have numbness but if I move it around it seems to prevent it from becoming completely numb. I also get this in my leg as well. It’s only the right side of my body. Any suggestions?

  • AuroraUSF

    I am also a 30 yr female. Exercise at least 5 days a week. I am 5 ft, 125 lb with no medical history and am good health.

  • travandsan

    Hi. I am 40 years old, female, in good shape, and for the past 2 years, I have noticed that when I take a deep breath, I get a tingling sensation down both my arms, all the way to my fingers. -every single time I take a deept breath. I used to be a collegiate athlete and now go see a chiropractor for upper neck pain and headaches for probably weightlifting injuries.
    I cannot find anywhere online about deep breathing & tingling of hands. I do sleep with my arms under my pillow. But I don’t think breathing is a part of that. Please help!

  • Jan Modric

    AuroraUSF,

    if the numbness is clearly limited to the right arm and leg, the disorder may be in the cervical and lumbar spine (like a pinched nerve). If the numbness is alsoin the trunk, the disorder may be in the left half of the brain. I believe you might want to visit a specialist, like neurologist.

  • Jan Modric

    travandsan,

    one possible cause could be thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) affecting subclavian artery (arterial TOS). During deep breath, this artery that supplies the arm could be compressed a bit on the site where it passes the first rib and clavicle.

    Online search for “deep brath numb arms” leads to one forum where some people with multiple sclerosis report about the same symptom – numbness in hands during deep breath.

  • pip

    hey there, just wondering, i have tingling in my fingers after holding a bowl of cold cereal or ice cream what does that mean? also walking to school, my ears get red and itchy, and really hot. This is in the winter so i find it weird.

  • pip

    oh and the balls of my fingers( my finnger tips) swell a little and go a tad red.. it is really strange feeling and no matter what i do it doesnt stop, it eventually goes away.

  • Jan Modric

    pip,

    symptoms in fingers and ears you’ve described may be a Raynaud’s syndrome or disease; they are triggered by cold or stress. In some cases this is a “primary” disorder, meaning the cause is not known, but sometimes the cause can be found by investigations performed by a doctor.

  • trikky

    Jan,
    My right hand/wrist/fingers are numb/tingling, its a wierd sensation mostly coming on during the night. Its disturbing my sleep and i looked a few things up and just wondered if clubbed fingers could cause this feeling or anything like that. Its primarily in my right hand but sometimes in my left hand just not as severe, what do you think?

  • Jan Modric

    trikky,

    clubbed fingers (nails having the shape of watchglass) and tingling could have the same cause, like a heart disorder or hypothyroidism.

    Tingling/numbness in the wrists, hands and fingers (from thumb to middle) is usually a symptom of a carpal tunnel syndrome due to wrist swelling (not necesary visible) due to wrist overuse, rheumatoid arthritis, etc (see article above).

  • trikky

    what do you mean by watchglass? Is clubbed fingers usually assosciated with tingling in the hand so r not?

  • Jan Modric

    trikky,

    here are some images of clubbed fingers looking like watch glass.

    Clubbed fingers by themselves are not necessary associated with tingling. Tingling appears when nerves are affected by direct pressure (swelling in the wrist), lack of vit B12, uncontrolled diabetes, lack of blood oxygen in pulmonary disease, or other disorders. You might easier find the cause of your symptoms if you search for “finger clubbing causes”. This may be a challenge even for a doctor, though, and some investigations might be needed.

  • noreggo

    Starting yesterday I have had three problems. First of all my neck has been sore for a month. Then yesterday my mouth, face and then each finger one at a time went numb( all on left side) whole process from face to palm took about 30 minutes. When it gets to the palm it quits, then I just feel a little dizzy. It occured again 3 hours later yesterday and again this morning. Any ideal what this might be.

  • Slate

    Last week I fell asleep with my arm up over my head, for the whole night I believe. When I woke, I had pins and needles in my pinky and ring finger (left). Its been a week and it hasn’t changed. They’re functioning fine, but numb. I try to keep them moving during the day in the hopes it will go away, how long does this last for? Did I do serious nerve damage? Thanks!

  • Paul

    I have back pain right below my left shoulder blade about 2 or 3 inches left of my spine. I’ve had if for a few days, thought it was getting better, went out and played some golf this weekend, and woke up Sunday morning to 7 out of 10 pain and back spasms (something I’ve never experienced). When I woke up this morning (Monday) my right ring and pinky fingers felt like they were asleep. I thought it was from how I was sleeping and that the tingling would go away but after being awake for 3 hours they are still tingling. Do you think these things are related? For my back pain should I just use ice and heat or go see a doctor?

  • ilenear

    I’ve been waking in the mornings with what I guess are panic attacks…very anxious and tense. Hearbeat ok. Physical showed nothing. Then the last few days I am also awaking with a numbness from left shoulder to finger tips. Take a while to completely fade away.
    I have been working out my arms hard, but with all my random stress symptoms, I’m worried it might be something more…thoughts?

  • Jan Modric

    noreggo,

    numbness in the face usually arise from the brainstem, and numbness in the arm/hand from the neck part of the spine (in your case probably from the spinal cord). I realy think this should be checked by a neurologist.

  • Jan Modric

    Slate,

    pins and needles in pinky and ring finger usually arise from the irritation of the ulnar nerve at the point where it passes the elbow. If you lean the elbows on the desk a lot or you have injured it, this may be a part of “cubital tunnel syndrome (described above in the article). Sleeping with the arm upper the head alone does not likely cause severe nerve damage. If symptoms are lessening, they will likely go completely away on its own..in I don’t know what time, days, weeks..but if symptoms persist, you might want to visit a doctor.

  • Jan Modric

    Paul,

    symptoms in pinky and ring finger may be from golf – during which the ulnar nerve (running beside the elbow) can be affected (cubital tunnel syndrome, tenis elbow). Another possible cause is a pinched nerve in the cervical spine. Pain below the shoulder blade could be from a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine. Both of these pains could occur in degeneration disc disease (DDD) and, again, could be aggravated by playing golf.

  • Jan Modric

    ilenear,

    “working out arms hard” can result in a bulging disc and pinched nerve in the cervical spine – this could cause numbness in the arm. A heart disorder (angina pectoris) would cause pain (rather than just numbness) behind the breastbone, possibly radiating into the left shoulder and arm (toward the pinky finger).

    A minor bulging in the cervical spine often resolves on its own; arm/neck rest is recommended, though. If symptoms won’t lessen within a week, you might want to visit the doctor again.

  • Dee Dee

    I have tingling, numbness, weakness and PAIN in neck, shoulers, elbows, arms, hands, fingers for several years. Recently (few weeks) also from shoulder blades and legs fall asleep easily and feel weak. I work on a computer all day. Had to quit playing video games at home. Also have diziness but that’s from Miniere’s disease and stomache problems but I also have IBS. What could it be?