How Do I Get Rid of Numbness in My Hand?

Reviewed on 3/18/2021

Numbness in the hands can be caused by numerous conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, a pinched nerve, diabetic neuropathy, and others. Treating hand numbness depends on the cause, but it's also possible it may not be cured. Treatment may include splinting, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, corticosteroids, or surgery. 
Numbness in the hands can be caused by numerous conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, a pinched nerve, diabetic neuropathy, and others. Treating hand numbness depends on the cause, but it's also possible it may not be cured. Treatment may include splinting, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, corticosteroids, or surgery.  

Treatment for hand numbness depends on the cause. In some cases, treatment may get rid of numbness in the hand, and in other cases it may not go away or it may return. 

  • Treatment for hand numbness due to carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to a pinched nerve may include:
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to migraine with aura may include:
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes may include:
    • Manage blood sugar levels 
    • Medications to relieve pain and reduce burning, numbness, and tingling 
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to Raynaud's phenomenon may include:
    • Avoid sudden cold exposure 
    • Don’t smoke
    • Avoid medications that narrow blood vessels (vasoconstriction) such as decongestants, amphetamines, diet pills, migraine medicines with ergotamine, herbs containing ephedra, and medications used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) 
    • Stress reduction techniques
    • Medications 
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) may include:
    • Medications to reduce the severity and frequency of relapses
    • High dose corticosteroids for attacks
    • Rehabilitation to improve fitness and energy levels
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to side effects of chemotherapy may include:
    • Medications for pain relief
    • It may take up to 2 years after completion of chemotherapy for symptoms to go away 
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to stroke may include:
    • Tissue plasminogen activator: r-tPA (alteplase)
    • Mechanical thrombectomy
    • Endovascular catheter
  • Treatment for hand numbness due to heart attack may include:

What Causes Hand Numbness?

Hand numbness commonly occurs when we’ve slept on our hands or they have been in an awkward position for a prolonged period. When this happens, the numbness is temporary and normal sensation quickly returns. 

In other cases, hand numbness may be caused by: 

What Symptoms May Accompany Hand Numbness?

Other symptoms that may accompany hand numbness include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
    • Tingling 
    • Feeling a need to “shake” the hand or wrist
    • Fingers feel swollen, though they do not look swollen
    • Inability to distinguish between hot and cold by touch (in severe cases)
  • Pinched nerve 
    • Tingling or “pins and needles” feeling
    • Feeling the hand has “fallen asleep”
    • Sharp pain
    • Hand weakness
    • Muscle weakness in the arm
  • Migraine with aura
    • Vision problems: seeing spots, flashes of light, zig zags, stars, or temporary vision loss 
      • Some vision symptoms resemble a stroke so see a doctor if any of these occur
    • Tingling sensation in other parts of the body
    • Muscle weakness
    • Difficulty speaking or finding the right word, slurring or mumbling
    • Nausea or vomiting
  • Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes
    • Tingling or burning
    • Stabbing pains 
    • Muscle weakness
    • Balance and coordination problems
    • Increased sensitivity to touch (the weight of clothing or sheets may be painful)
    • Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle
    • Serious foot problems (ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain)
  • Raynaud’s syndrome (also called Raynaud’s phenomenon)
    • Fingers or toes become suddenly cold 
    • Skin color changes: pale or purple or blue color 
    • "Pins and needles" feeling, aching, or clumsiness of the affected hand(s)
    • Skin of the ears, nose, face, knees, and nipples may also become pale or bluish in color after cold exposure
    • Mottling (a bluish discoloration) of the skin of the arms and legs 
  • Neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Side effects of chemotherapy
    • “Pins and needles” feeling
    • Burning of hands and/or feet 
    • Numbness around mouth 
    • Weakness and cramping or pain in hands 
    • Difficulty picking things up or buttoning clothes
    • Loss of positional sense (knowing where a body part is without looking)
  • Stroke
    • A stroke is a medical emergency: if you have any symptoms of a stroke call 911 and get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately
      • With a stroke, the hand numbness is usually accompanied by weakness in the hand and the rest of the arm and usually the leg/foot on the same side of the body (though this is not always the case)
    • Weakness
    • Confusion
    • Problems seeing and speaking
    • Drooping on one side of your face
    • Dizziness
  • Heart attack
    • A heart attack is a medical emergency: if you have any symptoms call 911 and get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately
      • Chest pain
      • Shortness of breath
      • Breaking out in a cold sweat

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Reviewed on 3/18/2021
References
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-upper-extremity-peripheral-nerve-syndromes?search=pinched%20nerve&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/understanding-migraine-aura/

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/raynaud-phenomenon-beyond-the-basics?search=%E2%80%A2%09Raynaud%27s%20phenomenon&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2#H6

https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/neuropathy/peripheral-neuropathy

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms

http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/side-effects/numbness-tingling.aspx

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/stroke-the-basics?search=%E2%80%A2%09Stroke%20numbness&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack