Hand numbness: what are the possible causes ?


Several diseases can cause numbness in the hands. Numbness, weakness, and painful tingling may also happen when a person’s hands feel numb.

The following are some of the possible causes of numbness in a person’s hands, accompanying symptoms, and some treatment options:

Cardiovascular disorders

Following cardiovascular diseases may cause numbness in the hands.

Heart attack

A heart attack can cause tingling and numbness in one hand.

If a person has a suspected heart attack, they or someone close to them should seek emergency medical help.

Blockage of blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain as well as tingling and numbness in one arm or the other.


Other symptoms may include:

  • nausea
  • sweat
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • tingling and numbness on either side of the body
  • shoulder pain
  • unexplained tiredness


Treatment includes admission to a hospital, where a specialist can diagnose and possibly reopen the blocked heart artery.


An interruption in blood flow to the brain — potentially due to a blood clot or a ruptured artery causing bleeding in the brain — can lead to a  stroke.


Symptoms may include:

  • sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • confusion
  • difficulty maintaining balance
  • visual problems
  • speech problems


If a person has a suspected stroke, they or someone close to them should seek emergency medical attention, which may involve the administration of anti-clot medications.

Vascular disorders

The following vascular conditions can cause numbness in the hands.


Vasculitis is a condition in which the immune system attacks and causes blood vessels to become inflamed.


The symptoms vary depending on the area of the body affected by vasculitis.

Some symptoms may include:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • weightloss
  • night sweats
  • eruption
  • nerve problems, such as numbness or weakness


Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the vasculitis and may include steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs.

Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease causes temporary narrowing of the arteries that direct blood to the fingers and toes.


Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the fingers, as well as a change in appearance of the fingers and toes becoming pale blue or white.


Learning to avoid common triggers of illness — such as cold, stress, and certain medications — can help relieve symptoms.

Neurological disorders

The following neurological disorders can cause numbness in the hands.

Brachial plexus injury

The brachial plexus is a complex network of nerves that stretch from the spine to each shoulder. This network transmits signals between the spine and the shoulders, arms and hands.

Shoulder injuries, tumors, and other causes of inflammation can all lead to brachial plexus injury, which can lead to numbness in a person’s hand.


Symptoms may include:

  • severe shoulder or arm pain
  • numbness in the hands
  • weakness and difficulty moving the arms


Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Some people can recover without further intervention, while others may require surgery or physical therapy.


This condition affects nerve function and causes chronic pain, which can lead to tingling and numbness that may closely resemble that of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Other symptoms may include:

  • pain in multiple areas of the body, which may include the hands
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • difficulty sleeping
  • depression
  • stomach problems


Treatment options for fibromyalgia include physical activity, as it can help relieve pain and improve sleep. A doctor may also prescribe  antidepressant  or anticonvulsant treatment.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be beneficial for those whose condition does not respond sufficiently to medication.

Spinal cord injury

Trauma from spinal cord injury can lead to tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Falls, traffic accidents, blows to the head, gunshot wounds, and several other events can all cause spinal cord injuries.


Symptoms can vary depending on the exact area of ​​the body affected by the injury. They may include:

  • movement affected
  • loss of sensation
  • loss of large bowel and bladder control
  • pain


Treatments include supportive therapy and surgery when possible.

Some experimental treatments may give people with spinal cord injury a better chance of regaining function.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

This disease results from excessive stretching or pressure on the ulnar nerve.


Symptoms, particularly in the ring and little finger, may include:

  • numbness
  • weakness
  • tingling


Treatment may include wearing a splint while sleeping to prevent the elbow from bending. Physical therapy,  NSAIDs ,  and surgery to remove or repair any areas of excessive pressure on the elbow may also be potential treatment options.

Musculoskeletal disorders

The following musculoskeletal conditions can cause hand numbness.

Cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis  is also known as osteoarthritis of the neck. This disease occurs when degeneration affects the discs or joints of the neck.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects about 1% of people of working age. It occurs when one of the nerves running through the carpal tunnel in the wrist is compressed.


Hand symptoms may include:

  • pain
  • tingling
  • weakness
  • affected grip strength


Wearing a splint and resting the wrist and hand can help. Sometimes a doctor may also recommend surgery to reduce pressure on the carpal tunnel.

Ganglion cyst

Ganglion cysts are soft bumps that develop in joints around the body. They can cause pain or numbness in the hand.

According to an article in the  Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association  , up to 70% of ganglion cysts occur in the wrist.


Symptoms can include a round or oval-shaped bump on the wrist or other parts of the body, as well as pain in and around the area.


Resting the affected area can help. However, wearing a splint or brace for too long can weaken the muscles in the hand.

Although surgery may be an option for some, these methods may not be completely effective.

According to a review in the  Journal of Hand Surgery, researchers predict the risk of a  cyst returning after surgery at 21%.

12. Lateral epicondylitis

Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, occurs when the tendons that connect the muscles on the sides of the forearm and the bone near the elbow become inflamed.


Symptoms may include:

  • pain or burning sensation, often on the outside of the elbow;
  • weak grip strength;
  • tingling and numbness in the hand.


Most episodes of tennis elbow will resolve with rest, physical therapy, and NSAIDs. However, in severe cases, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Autoimmune diseases

The following autoimmune diseases can cause numbness in the hands.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome

This disease can cause the body’s immune system to attack nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to muscle weakness.


Other symptoms may include:

  • feeling of having needles in the hands and feet
  • imbalance
  • visual problems
  • difficulty swallowing
  • severe pain that gets worse at night
  • muscle paralysis


Although there is currently no cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a doctor can treat the condition using immunoglobulin therapy or plasma exchange, also known as plasmapheresis.

These treatments can reduce the body’s immune system response.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). The immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerve sheaths, which can eventually destroy the CNS nerves.


Symptoms may include:

  • numbness and weakness of limbs
  • electric shock sensations
  • tremors
  • unsteady gait
  • affected vision
  • cognitive difficulties


Treatment includes taking immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids and other disease-modifying therapies.

Later, doctors may also recommend plasmapheresis to reduce the immune system response.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that mainly attacks the glands that produce tears and saliva.

Some people may also experience tissue or organ damage in other areas of the body.


Other symptoms may include:

  • dry eyes
  • dry mouth
  • itchy skin
  • a chronic cough
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • severe fatigue


Treatment depends on the symptoms and the area of ​​the body affected by the disease.

For example, a doctor may choose to prescribe eye drops, drugs to increase saliva, NSAIDs, or drugs to suppress the immune system.

Other diseases

The following diseases can also cause numbness in the hands.


The most well-known types of diabetes include:

  • Type 1  : This type of diabetes develops when the body does not produce insulin.
  • Type 2  : This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not respond properly to insulin and ultimately does not produce enough.
  • Gestational diabetes  : This form of diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It will usually disappear after delivery.


Symptoms may include:

  • a slow and gradual onset of tingling and numbness in the feet and hands
  • extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature changes
  • burning or shooting pains in the hands and feet


Making certain lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, can help a person maintain stable blood sugar levels.

People with  type 1 diabetes  may need to inject insulin. Type 2  diabetes and gestational diabetes can be controlled by diet or by beginning treatment with non-insulin medications.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency

A study  published  in the journal  RMJ  found that 90% of 110 people with vitamin B-12 deficiency reported numbness and loss of sensation as symptoms.


Other symptoms may include:

  • numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and legs
  • difficulty walking
  • an inflamed and swollen tongue
  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • muscular weakness
  • fatigue


A doctor can prescribe vitamin B-12 supplementation in pill or vaccine form.


Amyloidosis is a medical condition that causes an abnormal buildup of amyloid protein in healthy tissue, which can affect the function of the affected area.

19. Lyme Disease

A tick bite carrying the  bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi  can cause  Lyme disease It is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system.


Symptoms of Lyme disease can closely resemble those of the flu, such as fever, chills, fatigue, and joint pain.

If a person does not receive treatment, they may experience:

  • joint swelling
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • nerve pain
  • shortness of breath
  • pain or numbness in the hands and feet


Treatment depends on the stage Lyme disease has reached.

Doctors can treat Lyme disease at an early stage with antibiotic therapy. Later-stage Lyme disease may require antibiotics and supportive treatments.

Medication Side Effects

Taking certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, can cause tingling and numbness in the hands.


Some people may experience an improvement in symptoms when they stop taking the drugs. However, others may experience permanent tingling and numbness.