How Do I Get Rid of Numbness in My Hands
Learn how to get rid of hand numbness and what may be causing your hands to go numb

Numbness in your hands can be alleviated with exercise and medications, although treatment options depend on the underlying cause.

Learn how to get rid of hand numbness and what may be causing your hands to go numb.

7 ways to treat numbness in your hands

1. Hand therapy

Hand therapy is usually performed by an occupational or physical therapist to treat numbness or other conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. Your therapist will evaluate your symptoms and perform a detailed examination. Hand therapy may involve different treatments, including stretches and strengthening exercises.

2. Exercise

Exercise may can help alleviate numbness in the hands and improve muscle strength.

  • Wrist flex
    • Stretch out your arm with your palm facing upward.
    • Bend your wrist so that your fingers point down to the floor.
    • Cover the fingers of your stretched arm with your other hand and gently stretch your wrist toward the side until you feel the stretch.
    • Hold the stretch for at least 15-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
    • Alternatively, shake your hands as if you are air drying them for 1-2 minutes every hour to prevent muscles from getting cramped and tight during the day.
  • Spider push-up
    • Place your hands together so that the tips of your fingers are all touching each other.
    • Spread your fingers as far as you can.
    • Angle your hands downward, stretching them. Then angle them upward so they stretch the other way.

3. Wrist guards

Your doctor may recommend you wear a splint or wrist guard to relieve the pressure of the median nerves (which help move the forearm, wrist, and hand). The best time to wear a splint or wrist guard is when performing repetitive tasks.

4. Vitamin B12

Sometimes, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to numbness and tingling in the hands. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be treated with

  • Vitamin B12 injections (recommended when the body fails to absorb vitamin B12 from the diet or in case of a severe deficiency)
  • Oral vitamin B12 supplements
  • Consuming foods high in vitamin B12

Foods rich in vitamin B12 include:

  • Beef
  • Clams
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fortified cereals

5. Medications

Both oral and topical medications can help relieve hand numbness, including:

6. Cortisone shots

Cortisone shots may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Steroid injections take a few days to relieve squeezed and compacted nerves and the results may last longer. 

7. Surgery

Surgery may be the last resort when all other therapies have failed. It involves procedures to relieve compressed nerves or blood vessels caused by conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and ganglion cysts. There are two options for surgery:

  • Open surgery: Involves making a larger incision from the wrist to the palm to relieve pressure in the median nerve.
  • Endoscopic surgery: A keyhole surgery that releases the compressed nerves to mitigate pain and numbness with minimal pain and faster healing

What can cause your hands to go numb?

Several conditions can cause numbness in the hands, ranging from mild to severe. The most common cause of numbness is nerve damage or nerve compression in the hand.

Other causes of hand numbness include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (causes pressure on the nerves in the wrist and often occurs with overuse of the hands and wrists)
  • A herniated disc that puts stress on the spinal nerves
  • Nerve pressure caused by tumors, infections, or enlarged blood vessels
  • Shingles
  • Herpes infection
  • Certain medications
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
  • Lyme disease (a vector-borne disease that causes a small red bump at the site of an insect bite)
  • Stiffening of the arteries, causing a lack of blood flow to the area
  • Poor circulation due to diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Migraine headaches
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Raynaud’s syndrome (a condition that leads to artery spasms, reducing blood flow to the hands)
  • Ganglion cyst (a noncancerous tumor that grows along the joints or tendons in the wrist; if the tumor presses the nerves, it can cause numbness in the hands)

When should you seek medical attention for numbness in your hands?

Persistent numbness in the hands requires medical attention. If you have the following symptoms accompanied by numbness, consult your doctor since they can be signs of severe underlying medical conditions:

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Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2022
References
Image Source: iStock image

Numbness in Hands. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17824-numbness-in-hands

Numbness in Hands. https://www.assh.org/handcare/condition/numbness-in-hands

Why Is Your Arm or Hand Numb? https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/arm-hand-numb