A tingling sensation in the hands and feet is a feeling all of us have experienced at some point. It is characterized by a feeling similar to the one felt upon pricking by pins and needles in hands or feet. If it happens once in a while, the cause may be minor. However, in case of frequent episodes of tingling which last longer than usual, there may be an underlying health condition about which the body wants to signal you through nervous discomfort and tingling. In this article, let us look into the probable reasons why your hands tingle and what steps can be adopted to manage it.
Tingling in the hand
Why do your hands tingle?
If you ever wonder, ‘Why do my hands feel tingly?’, there may be a ton of reasons. A common cause of tingling of hands or feet is the pressing of a nerve between the bones or muscles which is a common occurrence while sleeping or sitting in a similar position for longer. It irritates the nerve for a few seconds to a few minutes resulting in tingling, biologically termed as paresthesia, which can be felt as a burning, sensation identical to the feeling of pricking of a needle. Apart from a pinched nerve, there are many other causes of tingling in one hand or in both hands and feet which include:
- Deficiency of vitamin B1, B6, B9, B12, as well as E
- Damage of the spinal cord due to trauma or injury
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Diabetic neuropathy i.e. damaged nervous system due to diabetes
- Presence of an autoimmune disorder
- Fibromyalgia i.e. a chronic condition characterized by pain, muscle stiffness, and fatigue among others
- Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy
- Thoracic outlet syndrome i.e. compression of nerves and blood vessels in the neck region
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease i.e. an infection caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi
- Hepatitis B and C
- Panic disorder
- Hanson’s disease i.e. an infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae
- Ulnar nerve entrapment of the elbow i.e. nerve damage caused due to the repetitive compression of the elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cervical spondylosis i.e. degeneration of the intervertebral disc resulting in pain
- Raynaud’s syndrome
- Hypocalcemia i.e. deficiency of calcium in the body
- Compartment syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Use of certain medications such as phenytoin, hydralazine, amiodarone, and metronidazole
- Exposure to neurotoxins such as ethylene glycol, heavy metals, acrylamide, or hexacarbons
In some cases, the tingling starts from a person’s left hand and progresses toward the lower jaw and the left arm. This type of tingling may be a sign of initiation of a heart attack.
How to diagnose a tingling sensation?
In case of numbness and tingling in your hands, the following tests might help your doctor to evaluate the exact cause of it:
- First and foremost, taking the medical history of a patient is the initial step taken by a healthcare practitioner. It can reveal the cause in case the patient has a disease state which is likely to result in tingling.
- A physical neurological examination might prove to be helpful in analyzing the body reflexes as well as the efficiency of functionality of your sensory and motor nerve.
- A blood test is also to be conducted to check the levels of some chemicals including hormones, vitamins, etc. Additionally, the detection of certain chemical agents in the blood can be the cause of tingling. These particularly include heavy metals.
Tests being conducted to find out the cause of tingling
- Imaging tests can also be conducted if the need arises. These include CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and ultrasounds. For the evaluation of nerve function, nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test or electromyography (EMG) are among the available options. Moreover, an examination of the cerebrospinal fluid or CSF can also be recommended by your doctor to rule out confirming neuropathy.
- If the cause is still unknown, a biopsy of the nerves and skin can be recommended.
If you experience your hand tingling, the following treatment options may be recommended by your physician once the diagnosis is complete:
- Changing one’s lifestyle such as incorporating exercise and a healthy diet helps with a frequent tingling sensation.
- To treat the vitamin deficiency, multivitamins supplements can be added to the daily diet.
- To manage the tingling in fingers, certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can be prescribed to alleviate any associated pain.
- If your hands feel tingly due to a medication, changing it or adjusting its dose can solve the problem.
- In case of nerve damage, surgical treatment may be required to fix the issue.
It is possible to avoid the tingling sensation by adjusting your lifestyle in the following ways:
- Consuming a balanced diet with high fiber and optimal fat concentration helps avoid tangling.
- Supplementation with vitamins is one of the necessary measures in this regard.
Healthy lifestyle to avoid tingling
- Taking in some exercise on a regular basis relaxes the muscles and nerves thus avoiding tingling.
- Limiting the consumption of alcohol also proves to be a healthy choice.
- Taking in 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily helps relax the body.
- Stress management is a key factor in avoiding any type of discomfort including tingling.
The tingling of hands is a sensation experienced by all of us. When it comes to finding a reason for this, several factors, from the smaller ones to serious diseases, can be responsible for this feeling. Although it is okay to feel this tingling sensation once in a while if it becomes a frequent observation, it is better to consult a physician.