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
  • Jan Modric

    Judy,

    thanks for sharing. It’s a good example how a characteristic rash in shingles may appear some days later as pain.

  • hrdmoney@gmail.com

    Hi, I started with slight numbing in my right arm, its increased when I extend or do anything that has my arm in a typing position, mouse use, anything… I think its related to doing pull ups at the gym. THe numbness is pretty intense, with lots of tingling.

  • Jan Modric

    To hrdmoney.

    It can be anything from bulging disc in your cervical spine to stretched or compressed nerve anywhere along its course. If your symptoms will persist for few days, see a doctor.

  • Carol B

    Hello, I am 48. For many months, maybe even up to a year, I have had tingling and numbness in my hands with pain radiating up my arms. These symptoms are much more pronounced at night. They occur during the day but inconsistently. During the day, I get this numbness when I am talking on the phone, using a hair dryer, etc. I notice the tingling and numbness when on the computer mostly due to the position of my wrist and hand, and not necessairly due to the repetitive movement of typing. At night, I wake up from the pain. The pain and numbness will go away rather quickly when I change position or put my arms by my side. However, if I resume the initial position, the pain comes back rather quickly too. Lately I have noticed a slight numbness in the pad of my left thumb (I am left handed). Confusingly, there have been several nights without any pain or numbness. I have self diagnosed my problem as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. My father has had surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, everything I have read do not really say anything about arm pain. I spoke to a doctor about it many months ago. He mentioned that it may be due to a similar “tunnel” in the shoulder that nerves pass through. I cannot recall the name of it. He did not mention Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Do you know what he could have been referring to and do you feel it is more likely due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Thank you for your input. Carol

  • Jayden

    Dear Doctor,
    I have been having a tingling feeling in both of my hands at the same time for 3 days. The tingling feeling happens suddenly and last for 3 seconds. It happens once in 5 minutes. Please help me.

  • Jan Modric

    Carol B,

    it seems your symptoms appear when you bend your elbows. This occurs in “cubital tunnel syndrome” (read above in the article) in which the ulnar nerve(s) is affected on the site where it passes the elbow. Numbness and pain in the little finger side of the hand spreading up to the elbows are typical symptoms. Symptoms relief when you put your arms beside the body furtherly speak for cubital tunnel syndrome.

    Numbness in the pad of the tumb may be a part of additional carpal tunnel syndrome.

    If you’re positive your doctor has mentioned shoulder, then he was maybe talking about “thoracic outlet syndrome”. In this case your symptoms would also appear in the shoulder and worsen during stretching the arm in the shoulder.

    Neurologist or orthopedist would be probably able to give diagnosis even without extensive investigations.

    In meantime you can contact some physiotherapist for practical solutions, like a splint…

  • Jan Modric

    Jayden,

    - have you had any special physical work before your symptoms appeared?
    - is there anything (certain moves of the hands) that trigger your symptoms?

  • Carol B

    Jan, Thank you for your input. I will investigate and look into getting a splint as you suggest. I do not have any pain or numbness above the elbow so I think it is not “thorasic Outlet Syndrome”, although that does sound vaguely familliar. Again, thank you! Carol

  • Angel

    Hi I have been having of and on a numbness and tinglin feeling in the last two fingers of both hands.. It comes and goes and when i sleep they go completely numb.. It started after the birth of my son 3 months ago.. i dont work. i am a stay at home mom.. Thanks for your input.

  • Jan Modric

    Angel,

    does numbness worsen when you bend your elbow(s), like when you’re using the phone or comb your hair? It’s possible you have developed a cubital tunnel syndrome, maybe because of frequent lifting a baby. Rest: avoiding lifting things and having arms by your side when you sleep may help. For more, I recommend you to visit physiotherapist or neurologist.

  • skiltobil

    Hi, I fell off a ladder and landed directly on my butt…so to speak…..and as soon as I fell my hand automatically went numb….its been almost 2 months now and now every time that I sit down my shoulder gets a pain in it and part of my left arm and fingers get numb…its an annoying pain and it wont go away, I mean it comes and goes throughout the day….but basically its pretty much always there…..Does anyone know what I should do about it? Meaning specifically what kind of doctor I need to see?…Thank you.

  • Geegay

    I’m feeling excruciation pain beginning as numbness and tingling but then excruciating painful unti I am unable to sleep at night. Irrespective of sleep position it does not go away. The pain only comes when I’min a state of rest, or relaxation as soon as I begin moving around it stops. It is more intense in the cold season’s.

  • Jan Modric

    Skiltobil,

    you should visit a neurologist.

  • Jan Modric

    Geegay,

    in which body part exactly do you feel the pain? When did you notice symptoms for the first time?

  • skiltobil

    Tyanks Jan Modric….I guess I have no choice to do so because I cant take it anymore…its quite painful and even more so annoying….so thanks for your help, I appreciate it.

  • Laura R

    I’m a 46 yr old woman and I fell in a parking lot in early Sept 09 and broke my elbow. I now have a plate, pin and 9 screws. I have completed physio and have complete movement of my arm forward and about 20% left to straighten it. My problem is the severe pain I experience when I lift my arm over my head. I also wake each morning to excrutionating pain. I’ve been back to the surgeon and he says my elbow is healed and I have a lot of equipment in my arm and it’s going to take some time for the pain to go away and that it’s best to leave the plate in. I’m definately going back to my doctor, but I’m going to ask to see another surgeon for a second opinion. Can you comment on what may be causing this pain?

  • chandra

    I am having cervical problems and wearing collar.I am using the home traction unit for traction. Is there any danger of excessive traction.
    Because when I sit in certain posture the tingling starts and runs through left elbow to small finger and stops after few secs.
    After several minutes again the same posture will start the tingling. whether this should be practiced or not?Is the Tingling, the process of blood circulation or neuron circulation.
    How long the traction therapy can be taken.

  • tlee

    I fell down some stairs a month ago. I injured my right foot. Not my ankle, mostly the top of my foot and 2nd and third toes. This is where it is noticably still bruised and swollen. It hurts alot still, especially at the end of the day or when I get up after I have been laying down. I didn’t go to the doc until just a week ago, as I was hoping it would have healed by now. He took xrays and sais nothing is broken. Just last night while sleeping, after being on it all night, it hurt a lot. It actually felt tight and tingley and like it was swelling by the second. My right arm and hand kept getting numb and tingling all the way down to my fingertips. I took notice of it and made sure I wasn’t laying on it and that it was not above my heart and it continued thruout tbe night. I woud stand up, shake it out and it would happen again within minutes. First, what could be wrong with my foot if xrays don’t show fractures and second, is the numbing in my right arm related?

  • Jan Modric

    Laura R,

    obviously a part of the equipment presses upon certain tissue in your elbow, when you raise your arm. The question is for how long equipment is planned to be in the place. If it is meant as a permanent solution, you will probably need some adjustment, so getting another opinion from a reliable surgeon can be a good move.

  • Jan Modric

    Chandra,

    you can adjust the extent of traction and see. Symptoms, you’ve described can be also triggered by leaning your elbow on the table (from pressure on the ulnar nerve).

  • Jan Modric

    To tlee.

    Symptoms in your leg and arm could be related or not. They could arise from separate injuries of the arm and foot or may, at least in part, arise from injured spinal vertebra or discs. CT of the spine could show this.

    Swelling could be from injury of vessels – a traumatologist or a doctor that deals with vessels should check it.

  • Brian R

    Jan

    I’m a video gamer, guitar player and use a computer all day long for work and been doing all this for 20 years. I’ve had physical therapy for pains, tingling in my hands and arms.. i do all the stretches etc.
    Recently symptoms have sprung back up and I notice when watching movies I extend my arm out completely on the couch (just a mild stretch, not anything extreme) and within 5 minutes (not ring and pinky) fingers/thumb are numb/tingling etc. I wear wristbands (on my forearms & wrists) and that seems to intensify the tingling more sometimes. I remove the wristbands and stop stretching and it all goes away. I think I was officially diagnosed with some form of tendonitis?

    My question, is this form of stretching while watching movies helping me? Hurting me? Should I continue to wear the wristbands or not?
    People told me for reduce inflamation to eat pinneapple and tuna fish. Any other home remedies or suggestions to help with my cause? thanks

  • Jan Modric

    Brian R,

    symptoms in your hands are possibly a part of carpal tunnel syndrome, where the median nerve is affected. It’s likely you overuse the wrists during using computer and playing guitar. This causes inflammation of tendons in the wrist, and swollen tendons then press upon the median nerve. Additionaly, if you lean on your elbows, when at the desk, there may be a constant pressure on the ulnar nerve that passes behind the elbow – this may cause pain or numbness in the lower arms.

    The solution is in as much wrist rest as possible. Avoiding wristbands can also help. There are some specific exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome, you may find some videos online – but you should use this only if it helps immediately.

    I’m not aware of any noticeable effect of any food on carpal tunnel syndrome. Anti-inflammatory drugs as prescribed by the doctor could help, though. Resting wrists is what you need first. Certain types of wrist splints could help you in preventing unwanted wrist movements – physiotherapist may give you advice about this.

  • Phil

    I have has numbness in my fingers (most noticable in my thumb, index and middle fingers), on my left hand for the last week or so.This also runs up my arm and around to the shoulder blade area on my back. I can trace the start of this back to the day after I spent some time hitting a punch bag with my brother. I do not have any real pain just numbness so suspect nerve injury. Can you advise on what treatment I should seek?

  • Brian R

    thanks for the advice.
    I did the electrographs and doctors determined I didn’t have carpal tunnel two years ago. I think they actually called it tendonsondis? A varaiation of tendonitis. I don’t recall exactly. I’ve read many articles stating that pineapple has natural anti inflam traits just like some fish.
    I dunno for sure but just browsing forums and message boards like this one, other musicians always wear and suggest wristbands for intense playing. Drummers and guitarists especially. Its the equivilant to a hot pack almost on your aching back.

  • Jan Modric

    Brian R,

    can you recall *where* your tendonitis (inflammed tendons) is supposed to be – in the wrists, elbows or shoulders?

    What exact stretching causes symptoms: lifting your arms up when lying, stretching them forward in shoulders or, stretching in elbows)? Holding hands above the level of the heart would cause numbness practically in anyone.

    Tendinitis in the wrists can cause carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Syndrome simply means a combination of symptoms (pain in the wrist(s), numbness or tingling in the hand and first three fingers, symptoms aggravated by wrist use and relieved by wrist rest or specific exercises). If you did not have CTS two years ago, you can have it now.

    Additionally, some symptoms could arise from eventual bulging disc(s) in your cervical spine; CT of the spine could show this.

    Wristbands – you have experience with them, so what to say.

    Many fruits and vegetables have slight anti-inflammatory properties, which can relieve a slight inflammation, like chamomilla tea can relieve a sore throat a bit. But an usual aspirin or ibuprofen would be at least 100 times as effective.

    If it is tendinitis, rest and anti-inflammatory drugs can help you.

  • Jan Modric

    Phil,
    one possibility is a bulging or herniated disc in your cervical spine pinching the nerves that innervate your left arm. You would need to visit a neurologist and probably have a CT of the spine to confirm this. Stretching of the nerves on other spots (armpit, elbow, wrist) is also possible. In any case, rest your arm/hand as much as possible.

  • Brian R

    basically while I’m lying on the couch watching a movie, I simply extend my left arm (we have an L shaped sofa) straight out with my palm facing down. The muscle/tendon directly above the elbow (forearm) seems to the tendon area thats inflammed. This in turn after about 5 minutes will bring numbness/tingling to my fingers.

    When I do my stretch routine from therapy I can feel it in my chest, armpit and forearms. Basically the entire path of the tendons I’ve abused for so many years.

    I was basically asking you am I doing harm or good by doing this while watching a movie. I view it as a good time to stretch out my arms and I have even started to switched laying positions to allow me to do it with my right arm as well. I do like 15-20 minutes on each arm and rotate.

    FYI, I have removed the arms to my computer chair, 1 of the first things my former therapist made me do. :)

    thanks again for all the help!

  • Mal

    Jan,

    Can the over use of a TENS machine actually cause tingling and numbness? Can the nerves become inflamed as a result?

    I had been receiving TENS treatment (as well as adjustments) through a Chiropractor from September through November, 2 to 3 times per week. I was receiving this treatment as a result of a pinched nerve in August. At that time I had Xrays and an MRI of my neck which showed mild degenerative disc desease at C3-C4.

    I experience the numbness and tingling in my right arm and down to my right leg and foot constantly now. This started abruptly at night of the day I had treatment at the beginning of November. I now have this condition every day and night. I have not returned to the Chiropractor since as I am afraid the treatment has caused my condition.

    I have seen a neurologist who could not find any specific cause and has referred me for an MRI of my brain.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  • Jan Modric

    Brian,

    what exactly you want to solve or achieve with this stretching?

    For you, it would be important to get (or find in your medical documentation) *exact diagnosis*. Tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon, and tendinosis is its degeneration. Also, which exact tendons are affected – the doctor should tell. Tingling in the hand is from affected nerve – this can be from pressure of an inflamed tendon, but inflamed tendon itself would not cause tingling.

    When you stretch the arm, tingling in the hand may be from compressing of the nerve in the wrist or stretching of nerves in your armpit, or pressing of the bulging disc in your neck spine to the nerves that supply your hand/arm. Pressure on the nerve in the elbow would cause tingling in your pinky finger and the same side of the hand. A certain uncommon position would cause tingling even in a completely healthy arm/hand.

    I can’t see relation between inflammed tendon near the elbow and tingling in first three fingers. You have not mentioned what actually does occur during playing guitar or using computer keyboard.

    I think easy stretching won’t do much – harm or benefit. Some weeks of rest, or exercises, if recommended by physio, and maybe some specific injections could help – again – depending on the exact underlying disorder.

  • Jan Modric

    Mal,

    TENS itself is not likely to caue nerve inflammation, especially not prolonged one. It is true that brain lesions, like a small stroke could cause numbness and tingling on one side of the body, especially if you can’t recall any physical strain at that day and if symptoms appeared abruptly. If not tested already, I would also recommend you to have a blood test for thrombosis.

  • Yusi

    Hello, I had a c-section almost 3 months ago and for the past three weeks I’ve been experiencing numbness, tingling, and burning sensation in both of my hands and fingers. I feel it the most at nights during the day is okay not so bad it also gets worse if I put my hands under cold water..warm water is not as bad but it still bothers. What can be the cuase of this.. Please help.

    Thanks,

    Yusi

  • Jan Modric

    Yusi,

    maybe bulging or herniated disc(s) have developed in your neck part of the spine resulting in pinched nerves that innervate your hands. If you overuse your wrists, or have some chronic disorder like rheumatoid arthritis or low thyroxin levels, inflammation in your wrists could press on the nerve innervating the hand and first three fingers (thumb to middle one). This is called carpal tunnel syndrome. Neurologist can check this.

  • B Wade

    I am a caterer and I have diabetes and during this holiday season I have been extremely busy having 4 and 5 events a week which I have to prep long hours at night to prepare. I now have numbness and tingling from my shoulder to fingers. I have had this before in the past when working so hard and it went away. This is the longest the numbness has stayed. What could possibly be wrong. I have an appointment to a Neurologist coming up. Just want some insight and possibly a remody for relief until I get to the doctor. Thanks in advance.

  • Jan Modric

    B Wade,

    it can be bulging disc in your cervical spine, or if you have stretched your arms in shoulders a lot, it could be streched nerve, or “thoracic outlet syndrome”. Read about it above in the article. Describe frequent body positions movements during your work, where exactly you feel numbness, what triggers and relieves them. Also, describe your long-term symptoms. This may greatly help your doctor to give you a diagnosis. I guess, avoiding positions you used at your work would help. Walking can also help, maybe swimming. Remedies won’t likely help.

  • deedeemarie

    Over the past 6 years, have experienced episodes where after starting a meal and finishing a couple of bites of food, I develop numbness in the lower part of my face, my lips and tongue. Then my arms get numb and tingly – my fingers swell and turn pink. After 3 to 5 minutes, these symptoms subside and as they do, i have cramps in the navel area sometimes followed by diarrhea. The symptoms have worsened recently – lasting 15 minutes or more and one episode included severe sweating and weakness. I do have a problem with the parotid gland on the left side also – and I do experience soreness between my shoulder blades which i believe is stress related. This never happens if I am not eating and have never had more than one episode in a day’s time. I average probably 12 episodes per year and never know when it is going to happen.

  • Jan Modric

    To deedeemarie.

    Would you say you have eaten fish or other seafood when you had those symptoms? It could be scombroid fish poisoning (read here). Or you are allergic to certain food. If you can’t identify a causing food, you might want to visit an allergologist to have food allergy tests.

  • soniakm

    I am 25 weeks pregnant and started getting numbness in my hands/arms 2 days ago. I have had numbness before but I guess that is because I have been sleeping on one arm and it goes after a short while. But today my arms actually hurt and feel heavy. I know it can be a side effect of pregnancy but I did not think it would be constant (same as painful calfs).

  • Jan Modric

    To soniakm.

    Arm numbness and calf pain may both arise from bulging discs in your cervical and lumbar spine, being aggravated by pregnancy and resulting in pinched nerves that supply your arms and legs. Avoiding prolonged sitting and lifting or carrying anything heavy may help. Calf pain may be additionally caused by eventual varicose veins.

  • dave w

    I’ve been reading this page for a couple days, i was comforted by the info, but now that my symptoms have gotten worse today, i’m a lot more worried. I’ve had the hand numbness for a little bit for about a week, forearm too, usually i wake up with it and it goes away eventually. Besides that i’ve had some all around poor circulation symptoms, leg/arm losing feeling just by being bent etc for a little while.

    ANYWAY so today when i was trying to relax and NOT worry about the hand numbing feelings, i could feel the numbing going to my left up, the back of it, and possibley up to the shoulder. And not too much longer later the back of my right hand got very cold. I then left with a friend in the hopes to distract from this stuff which i was hoping was mostly mental.

    But then i get home, and now things are even worse, i’m trying to relax for bed and now i’m feeling seemingly weird skin sensations everywhere, back of my neck, both backs of the hand, arms, tingling, weird sensations of hot and cold, and i believe some of what people on here were describing as ‘itchyness’ though, not so sure about that, just not ‘pain’ or tingling.

    Umm, i’m 37, i do use my laptop a lot and did do some weight lifting over a week ago. I am on simvastatin, bentyl and omeprozol. I’ve been going thru 4 months of a ‘non-hunger’ problem with pain in my left side. I do have lower back pain as well. So far just been told i have IBS with acid reflux disease, with high cholesterol and slightly high blood sugar.

    The only thing else i can think of is before these things lately, i did notice how easily my forearms were falling asleep from leaning on them etc, but it didnt alarm me. Other than that i have noticed some heartbeat anomolies either when i’m trying to go to sleep, or when i wake up. EKGS always seem normal when i’ve had them the past months.

  • dave w

    …AND if anyone ever responds to my post, since i first posted, i did have an episode yesterday where i in a very calm mood was cooking, and my foot/calf went semi-numb on me. I finally finished my Halter monitor today too, and scheduled an appt with my normal dr monday. The same dr i left a msg with about the numbness and ‘testing??’ who had an assistant call me back and say ‘no the doctor doesnt think you need any testing…’ So i will also chat today with another doctor in our towns free clinic.

  • Jan Modric

    Dave,

    I answered you twice, but comments haven’t kept “pasted” for some reason…so now again:
    Your neck-to-hand symptoms are probably from a neck disorder, like a bulging disc(s). Your new leg symptoms sound like a sciatica (even if no pain), possibly caused by a bulging disc in your lumbar spine. This both often occurs in degenerative disc disease (DDD). Symptoms appearing and disappearing with changed positions speak for that. Weightlifting was a likely trigger. CT or MRI of the spine would confirm bulging discs or other spinal disorder.

    Weird cold/hot, itchy sensations and some of your abdominal symptoms could be side effects of bentyl (check drug information leaflet or search on drugs.com), so discuss with your doctor about this. Left side abdominal pain is often caused by trapped gas. If your abd. symptoms appear shortly after a meal and a relieved by having a bowel movement, it could be IBS. In this case you can try low-FODMAP diet.

  • dave w

    Ahh that explains it. It’s ironic, i just spent time with a friend tonight, who WHO-KNEW suffered from anxiety, and he claims he suffers from the same exact symptoms. I’m HOPING it is just anxiety, that would be great vs. some big physical disorder, i would love that haha. And i know it’s possible, i did have some arm numbness once before when i had my only bout of anxiety years ago, just not like this. I have noticed that at home it’s never that bad, but when i go out, specially now cause of winter, my hands feel EXTRA cold. But again, my friend said he gets that same thing from his anxiety.

    I don’t know, it’s all new to me…the other thing we did have in common my friend n I, was that i noticed today that i have VERY tense muscles in the back of my neck which is definitely a stress effect. So WHO KNOWS. Umm, I do have a doctors appt monday, i already know my doctor will want to wait on testing. She’s more the conservative type (rolls eyes).

    The ONE thing that would go against the DDD you were talking about, maybe, would be the fact i DID have back xrays about 4 months ago when the side pain all started, and my first doctor thought it was a back thing. I handed my new doctor the report from the xrays and she didn’t even bat an eye. So clearly there was nothing obviously there at least 4 months ago, not that something couldnt have happened since. And again, this numbness has only been going on for 7-9 days so…again, who knows, i’m clueless.

    But THANK YOU for your advice, I appreciate it.

  • karanchauhan1

    I am having tickling and weekness feeling in both my arms since yesterday. I had a party and a lot of beer the day before and had other hangover symtoms with this tickling and weekness in my hands.
    The feeling is not very intense and has reduced a bit, but it is still their today as well.
    I dnt have any medical problem and im 26, though I do drink like twice a week 4-5 drinks.

    Please help as this is really bothering me

  • vbrewer

    My son is 24 and has tingling on the tip of his left index finger. He has had it for about three days. He is a grad student and works in a office opening mail and uses the computer. He also has been playing the Wii. He claims he hasn’t played it for quite a few days and this sympton started about three days after he stopped playing. Could this be a delayed reaction and how can he treat the tingling?

  • Tinah0505

    I read through all posts for my exact symptoms and now feel as if I have a little bit of everything wrong with me! I started having neck pain approximately 8 years ago which traveled down to my lower back forcing me to go to the doctor approx 7 years ago. I was prescribed muscle relaxers which I took very briefly. I continued living with the pain (only in my neck again) for approx 4 more years until it started really bothering me. I finally went to a physical therapist who gave me a print out of exercises and sent me on my way. Nothing ever helped. Since then my neck pain has gotten severe. I frequently wake up in the middle of the night in so much pain and cannot shift positions. I have to slowly use my hands to push myself straight up but sometimes I feel like I just can’t do it (feel paralyzed). I cannot use any type of thick pillow- I use soft feather pillows that contour to my head/neck. The neck/upper back pain is now constant. I now noticed that it is interfering with my driving. I have a hard time turning to look at my blind spots. Merging in traffic is a nightmare! Just about a week ago I started feeling numbness and tingling and also extreme pain in my right arm/hand. My right hand is also cold to the touch at certain times. If I attempt to lift my arm up or out, it really hurts (unless I take a pain reliever). Sometimes it hurts to breath. Right now I’m at work and it doesn’t hurt (took some ibrophen) but the numbness and tingling is constant.
    I am 32 years old. Recent smoker again after quitting for 7 years (I know!). Occasionally drink – probably more than the average person when I do drink. I have noticed that when I take a lunch/smoke break, I get that sick burning feeling in my stomach just about every day. I always chalked it up to being hungry. I don’t have the best eating habits (soft pretzel for lunch EVERYDAY- cheap and filling). I also experience bouts of lightheadedness and dizziness.
    Do you think my symptoms are all related or could I have more than one issue? Where do I go from here in terms of diagnosis and treatment? You have recommended a neurologist on many occasions. Is that where I should begin?

  • Jan Modric

    To vbrewer.

    Excesive use of the wrists can result in carpal tunnel syndrome – read above in the article. If he has this, she should rest the wrist as much as possible. It may take several days or weeks to full recovery. If symptoms will continue to worsen, he should see a neurologist.

  • aysim

    I used to be able to type pretty fast. But now I find myself losing strength mostly with my ring and pinky finger. I lose strength and it feels like they are working slower than usual. Sometimes my neck feels stiff and my arms around the elbow area feel numb and clumsy, please help I have no idea what this is.

  • Jan Modric

    To karanchauhan1.

    I assume your symptoms has lessened till know. If not, see your doctor.

  • Jan Modric

    Tinah0505,

    neck pain together with all your arm symptoms probably arise from a disorder in your neck spine. A neurologist or orthopedist is an appropriate doctor to check this. You can expect CT or MRI of the neck spine. Before visiting a doctor, be sure to re-think all your medical history and write down all symptoms, triggers, relievers, does dizziness comes together with neck pain or together with stomach pain.

    Stomach pains sound like they are from gastritis or gastric ulcer. Smoking and alcohol can really aggravate it, also acidic foods, especially fruits, vinegar, aspirin, vitamin C, carbonated drinks. A pretzel itself should not be a problem, I guess. Tums (acid-absorbing drugs) could help you, but together with smoking and alcohol that would be only a bad joke. If your stomach burning persists after diet adjustment, you might want to visit a gastroenterologist and ask for an “urea breath test for Helycobacter pylori”. This bacteria often causes or aggravates gastritis/ulcer. Treatment is with antibiotics.

    Dizziness may be related to a neck disorder, stomach pain, eventual hypoglicemia. Checking your blood glucose level can reveal more.