Pins and needles sensations in your limbs are never pleasant to deal with, but there’s more going on under the surface with these unpleasant feelings than you probably realize.
Sometimes, tingling in the fingers or hands is a sign of more significant problems. It’s essential to get to the root of your issues so that you can ensure nothing damaging is happening.
If you’ve been wondering what causes numbness in fingers and are curious about ways to stop it, this article was meant for you.
Understanding Numbness and Tingling in Hands
Put simply, your nervous system is an extensive network through your body responsible for sending signals to your brain about the physical experiences that you go through.
A common cause of numbness in your extremities is direct compression of these nerves, either because they are pinched between bones, your shoes or clothing are tight enough to cut off circulation, or some other reasons.
The issue can be as simple as you fell asleep in a funny position or sat on your legs for too long, but sometimes preexisting conditions like Diabetes or a herniated disc are to blame.
Tingling in hands and feet is often only a temporary inconvenience, but other times, the discomfort can last for hours and begins to impact your daily life. In this instance, the numbness is classified as severe, and it’s often accompanied by symptoms like pain, itching, and even muscle wasting in extreme cases. These symptoms are usually a side effect of nerve damage, which could be caused by a traumatic injury or even a repetitive stress injury from behaviors like typing too long.
This nerve damage is classified as peripheral neuropathy, as it affects nerves that are naturally far away from the brain and spinal cord (like the hands and feet). Over time, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can worsen, leading to longer, more severe instances of numbness and even long-term disability.
Unfortunately, the problem is all too common, as an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from nerve issues in their extremities.
What Causes Numbness in Fingers and Toes?
Several factors can cause feelings of numbness in your hands and feet, but most often they are a cry of help from your body that something is wrong on a neurological level.
Needle pricks, general numbness, and painful tingling in your extremities are symptoms that can be indicative of several diseases and disorders in your body.
If you didn’t recently go through something painful or experience cold temperatures, this tingling might be caused by a more extensive condition. Likewise, extreme numbness that lasts for hours is something you shouldn’t ignore, as that tends to be a symptom of a serious medical condition like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Other causes can include vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, severe infections, toxin exposure, and acute injuries.
Diagnosis of Tingling Hands and Feet
Often, the symptoms of numbness in fingers and toes aren’t enough to fully diagnose what’s wrong, and you need to undergo more specific tests with your doctor to determine the cause of your problems.
It’s extremely important to seek out prompt medical attention for any long-lasting tingling or numbness in your hands and feet. The earlier the condition can be brought under control, the less extreme the damage will be in the future.
When you visit your doctor to discuss your symptoms, he will conduct a physical exam and look through your medical history, social habits, and work environment to determine if anything stands out.
Depending on these results, additional tests might be performed, like blood tests, an electromyogram (EMG), nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and an examination of your cerebrospinal fluid.
Treatments for Tingling Hands and Feet
After the cause of your symptoms has been diagnosed, your doctor will suggest the treatment option that makes sense.
So long as your peripheral nerve cells haven’t died off, you can regenerate them and make a full recovery from your constant tingling.
The suggestions your doctor has for you will vary depending on your case, but controlling your health to lower your risk of developing diabetes is a standard approach. This often means monitoring your blood sugar levels and getting regular exercise. It’s also common for doctors to suggest you take a daily multivitamin, maintain a healthy diet and weight, and reduce your consumption of alcohol. Quitting smoking is also a good idea, as smoking constricts your blood vessels and reduces the blood supply that reaches your peripheral nerves.
By seeking expert help and making better lifestyle changes, you can manage your nerve health and reduce the instances of tingling in your hands, fingers, and feet. Soon, the pain caused by numbness in your extremities will be nothing but a memory from the past.