Numbness in the hands can be annoying and cause significant difficulty in the ability to do even the most simple of tasks, such as writing, holding eating utensils and performing personal hygiene. While some causes of numbness in the hands can be remedied with dietary or lifestyle changes or the use of medication, other causes of hand numbness may be a sign of a serious health condition that requires immediate treatment. Consider this information derived from the Mayo Clinic and the National Library of Medicine about the causes of numbness in the hands.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common cause of numbness in the hands, according to the National Library of Medicine. Carpal tunnel syndrome can result from repetitive motions such as typing or texting, and cause numbness as a result of too much pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Poor ergonomics in the office setting is a common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, and modifications such as specialised keyboards can reduce symptoms such as numbness.
Deficiencies of certain nutrients in the diet may be a cause of numbness in the hands, according to the National Library of Medicine. A lack of vitamin B12, which is found in foods such as eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry and shellfish, can be a cause of numbness or tingling in the hands. Improper levels of minerals including potassium, sodium and calcium can also be a cause of numbness in the hands.
According to the Mayo Clinic, certain types of infections can be a cause of numbness in the hands. People with HIV or AIDS may experience numbness in the hands along with other medical problems as their disease progresses. Other infections that may be a cause of numbness in the hands include shingles, Lyme Disease and syphilis.
According to the National Library of Medicine, an injury to the neck can cause numbness in the hands. Injury to the spinal cord in the upper back or neck can cause arm, wrist and hand numbness. A bulging or herniated cervical disk can also be a cause of numbness in the hands, and can increase pressure or cause a pinched nerve in the nerves that serve the hands.
Damage to the nerves in the extremities of the body, which is a condition referred to as peripheral neuropathy, is a cause of numbness in the hands. According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness, a burning sensation or a feeling of pins and needles in the hands, feet and legs. Peripheral neuropathy can be a progressive disorder and the numbness may spread into the wrists and arms if the condition is left untreated.
Stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency, and according to the Mayo Clinic, sudden numbness in the arm or hand is a symptom of stroke. If numbness in the hand is accompanied by numbness in other body parts on the same side of the body, emergency treatment should be obtained. Other symptoms of a stroke, including confusion and paralysis can accompany sudden numbness.
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