Tingling and numbness in the hands is a symptom that can range from annoying to disabling if it’s affecting your ability to do fine work with your hands. But getting proper treatment for it means tracking down the right cause.
Abnormally high blood sugar levels in diabetes can damage your nerves. And often nerve damage is the first symptom people notice of their diabetes. It usually starts in the feet, but it can also be felt first in the hands. Diabetic neuropathy is probably the most common cause of tingling in the hands and feet, and may account for as much as 30% of all reported cases.
Carpal tunnel is one of the most common nerve entrapment syndromes. It occurs when the median nerve get irritated within the narrow bony tunnel it has to follow into your hand. This may be related to overwork, trauma, or vibrations that affect your hands. Once the median nerve is irritated, it swells, worsening the condition.
Normally, carpal tunnel will cause tingling and numbness in the middle finger, index finger, and thumb.
Ulnar Nerve Palsy
Another nerve entrapment problem that can cause tingling and numbness in the hands is ulnar nerve entrapment. The ulnar nerve is most likely to get entrapped at the elbow, and the tingling and numbness may vary as the elbow is flexed.
This typically causes tingling and numbness in your ring and pinky fingers as well as the palm closest to them.
Your circulatory system is responsible for ensuring all cells, including nerves, are getting the supplies they need to function properly. Poor circulation means that your nerves and other cells can be short on oxygen and nutrients, which can cause impaired function.
You’ll probably start by noticing that your hands tend to “fall asleep” when held in a certain position or that they tend to tingle when they’re held up high. Like diabetic neuropathy, this may show up first in your feet, but not always.
Nerves can also suffer if you’re not getting enough of the vitamins they need. This may be because you aren’t getting enough vitamins, or your body can’t use them properly because of another condition. Alcoholics often experience nerve damage related to deficiencies in vitamins B1, B6, and B12, for example. Vitamin E is also essential to nerve function.
You might think it’s unlikely that your jaw could be causing tingling and numbness in your hands, but it can. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD) may begin in your jaw, but it can cause symptoms throughout your body.
How does TMJ cause tingling in the hands? It’s related to the way your body tries to accommodate for the imbalance in the jaw by shifting the neck. Once the vertebrae of the neck are shifted, the spine shifts to accommodate, too. This can cause some of the nerves and nerve bundles to get pressured. The nerves that run to your hands, for example, emerge from your spine and enter a bundle called the brachial plexus. Then they have to pass between in the narrow space between your collarbone and first rib. When your spine is shifted out of place because of TMJ, this space can be even more narrow, and can pinch your nerves, a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome.
This is uncommon, but if other causes don’t fit, and you have other TMJ symptoms like headaches, jaw pain, or ringing in the ears, you should consider this explanation.
Do You Think TMJ Might Be Causing Your Numbness?
Are you experiencing numbness and tingling in your hands that you think might be related to TMJ? Please call (912) 234-8282 today for an appointment with a Savannah TMJ dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.