Why do my hands keep going numb?

Updated February 21, 2017

Numbness in the hands is defined as a loss of feeling or sensation in the hands. It can also affect the fingers. It often has a burning, tingling or weak feeling, and some people may also experience episodes of sharp pain. Numbness in the hands can be caused by a number of things. Some common causes of numbness in the hands include a spinal cord injury, Lyme disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cervical spondylosis and syphilis.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can cause numbness in the hands. Depending on the location of the spinal cord injury other symptoms may result, including complete or partial paralysis. When a partial spinal cord injury affects the neck, arm and hand numbness can occur.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease can cause numbness in the hands. It is a bacterial infection transmitted by infected ticks. Numbness in the hands caused by Lyme disease may not occur right away; it could take several weeks or months. In some cases, hand numbness due to Lyme disease could take years to develop.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause numbness in the hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the main nerve that allows you to bend your fingers becomes compressed due to overuse. This condition most commonly affects those who spend long hours typing. It can also be caused by diabetes, certain hormonal disorders, rheumatoid arthritis or certain thyroid disorders. Pregnant women may experience carpal tunnel syndrome due to fluid retention.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can cause numbness in the hands. It is a condition in which your body becomes resistant to insulin's effects. In some cases, your body cannot maintain its insulin levels due to not producing sufficient amounts of insulin. Type 2 diabetes makes it difficult for your body to metabolise sugar, also referred to as glucose.

Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis can cause numbness in the hands. It is a condition in which the neck joints are affected by age-related wear and tear. When this wear and tear occurs, it can lead to herniated disks in the neck, which can compress nerves. Depending on which nerve is compressed, numbness in the hands may result.


Syphilis can cause numbness in the hands. Syphilis is defined as a bacterial infection that is most often transmitted by an infected sexual partner. When left untreated, it can lead to brain damage and heart damage. When brain damage occurs, numbness in the hands may result.

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About the Author

Rose Kitchen is a freelance medical writer pursuing a bachelor's degree in sociology and education. She has a nursing background and is going back to nursing school in September 2011 for her R.N. Kitchen holds a certificate in anatomy and physiology and English and is pursuing certificates in natural and alternative medicine, fitness and nutrition and sports nutrition.