What is hand numbness?

Hand numbness is an abnormal condition in which you feel a loss of sensation in your hands. You may feel numbness over the palm, back of the hand, fingers, or a combination of these places.

Hand numbness usually arises from a lack of blood supply to an area or damage to a nerve or nerves that supply the hand, such as due to carpal tunnel syndrome or a cervical disk problem. Hand numbness can also result from infection, inflammation, trauma, and other abnormal processes. Most cases of hand numbness are not due to life-threatening disorders, but it does occur with stroke and tumors.

Hand numbness is often associated with or preceded by pain-like pins-and-needles, prickling, or burning sensations called paresthesias. Whereas hand numbness is a loss of sensation, paralysis involves a loss of movement, with or without the loss of sensation in the area.

Depending on the cause, the loss of sensation can disappear quickly, such as numbness in the hand from sleeping on your arm with the elbow or wrist bent. Numbness can occur suddenly or progress slowly. Chronic numbness generally indicates some level of damage to the nerves.

Because a numb hand or numbness in general may be a symptom of an underlying disease, disorder or condition, you should talk with your medical professional about any unusual sensations of hand numbness that last more than a few minutes.

If you experience hand numbness with paralysis, confusion, hand weakness, or slurred speech, seek immediate medical attention. If your hand numbness is persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern, contact a medical professional.


What other symptoms might occur with hand numbness?

Hand numbness may occur with other symptoms or a combination of symptoms. For example, numbness, tingling and itchiness in combination may be symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Numbness due to a bulging cervical disk (in your neck) can be associated with extreme pain that extends down the shoulder, arm, hand, and certain fingers. Any symptoms occurring with hand numbness can help your doctor make ... Read more about hand numbnesssymptoms


What causes hand numbness?

Hand numbness can be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases, disorders or conditions that either restrict blood flow or cause injury to the nerves.

Temporary hand numbness can be due to any activity that causes prolonged pressure on a nerve or nerves, such as fine motor activities (drawing), repetitive motion, and sleeping the wrong way on your arm. Hand numbness can also be due ... Read more about hand numbnesscauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 2, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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