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Numbness in the hands – an important signal that you need to see a doctor: 5 possible causes

Most of the time, when we wake up with numb hands or feet, the sensation is followed by stinging. The main factor that leads to these problems is blocked nerves or blood vessels.

It is important to be careful if this sensation recurs often, as it can be a symptom of serious illnesses that require medical attention. Below, we have listed the top five most dangerous diseases that cause numbness in the hands or feet.

1. Vertebral osteochondrosis

Nerve compression in the cervical area of the spine can cause numbness in the hands, headaches, or even disorientation.

2. Multiple sclerosis

This disease can affect the protein sheath of nerve fibers, resulting in decreased sensitivity and numbness in the hands or feet.

3. Diabetes mellitus and sickle cell disease

These two diseases lead to slowing of blood circulation in the limbs, and one of the symptoms is numbness in the hands.

4. Cervicobrachial neuralgia

This is a dangerous disease that causes inflammation in the shoulders, leading to numbness in the hands.

5. Stroke

This is perhaps the most dangerous cause of hand numbness. If you also have numbness in your feet, and you suffer from a splitting headache, vision problems and slurred speech, see a doctor immediately, as these signs may indicate a stroke!

Causes of numbness

Numbness is most often felt in the upper and lower limbs and can have various causes.

The most common causes are nerve damage and compression, caused by prolonged standing in a particular position. For cervical spondylosis, numbness of the hands is a pathognomonic sign.

Symptoms of numbness

Limb numbness may include sensations such as:

  • Burning;
  • Loss of sensation in the affected limb;
  • Pain on light touch;
  • Tingling.

Numbness in the hands - an important signal that you need to see a doctor: 5 possible causes

When to see a doctor if you experience numbness in your hands or feet

You should schedule a visit to the doctor if the numbness occurs mainly in your fingers or toes and if the symptoms worsen without a specific cause.
When is numbness a medical emergency?

Numbness on one side, slurred speech, confused thinking and weakness or facial paralysis may signal the presence of stroke, so don’t ignore such symptoms and seek urgent medical attention if they occur.

Also, if the numbness is accompanied by severe headaches, loss of consciousness, confusion and difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately as these symptoms may indicate a brain tumor.

What tests your doctor may order to find the cause of the numbness

To determine the cause of the numbness, the doctor may ask for more investigations if the medical history and clinical examination (testing reflexes, muscle endurance and sensory functions) do not provide a clear answer.

These may include blood and urine tests (CBC, complete electrolyte panel, assessment of vitamin B12 levels, thyroid hormone testing, etc.), MRI and CT scan.

Treatment of numbness

Treatment options for numbness vary depending on the cause discovered by medical tests. In the case of cervical spondylosis and other osteoarticular degenerative processes, disc herniation or carpal tunnel syndrome, physiotherapy or surgical reparative therapy is recommended.

For diabetics it is very important to regulate blood sugar levels with medication and diet; otherwise, tingling and numbness will be accompanied by paresthesia, which leads to loss of sensation in the hands and feet, patients may injure themselves without even realizing and consequently they may not receive proper treatment.