Our hands are fundamental tools for the development of daily activities, but all of us have at least once experienced that our hands fall asleep or a sensation of tingling in them, which is sometimes accompanied by a sensation of heat in the fingers or cold in the palm of the hand.
Generally, this happens as a sign of some degree of affection in some part of the nervous system, which can involve: nerve endings in the skin, nerves, spinal cord, thalamus or other regulatory centers of the brain.
Between 3 and 5% of the general population feel that one or both hands go to sleep at night, at least once a week, mainly due to not making changes in position, which compromises not only the innervation of the upper limb, but also blood flow.
Causes of numbness in the hands
This sign can be expressed in many ways, such as: feeling that many needles are being stuck in the affected hand at the same time, or even as a stabbing pain, this can be the initial manifestation of some diseases or vitamin deficiencies or trace element.
1. Nervous Compression
This occurs by the compression of a nerve between two surfaces; It is the most common cause that explains why the hands fall asleep.
It happens, for example: when we have been in a single position for a long time and when changing it, after a while the sensitivity recovers.
In other cases, the compression problem is at the level of the exit of the nerve from the spine, generating a clinical syndrome of root compression that may require surgical correction in some cases for its definitive resolution.
2. Trauma to the hands
Hand injuries can cause hand numbness. This happens with trauma that causes affections in the nervous path of the upper limb and the hand.
3, Repetitive movements in the hands
When the development of daily activities involves repetitive flexion and extension movements of the wrists, it can be expressed in a carpal tunnel syndrome; a peripheral neuropathy, caused by compression of the median nerve and this causes numbness in the hands.
Also lifting, dragging or pushing heavy load continuously, can explain why the hands fall asleep.
4. Water retention
In some cases, in which a water imbalance occurs, such as in menopause, pregnancy and being overweight, the reabsorption of fluids by the lymphatic system (a set of vessel lymph nodes that are responsible for fluid management and are also part of the immune system) It is affected, causing edema in the hands (accumulation of fluid outside the vascular space) that compresses the nerve structures, causing numbness in the hands.
5. Vitamin B12 deficiency
This vitamin is important for the functioning of nervous activity, as it keeps the layer that covers them “lubricated”, thus generating a kind of protection throughout their journey.
When vitamin B12 levels are low, this benefit is lost, resulting in increased sensitivity to pain in the hands.
6. Systemic diseases
Diabetes, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, among others, can have within their clinical manifestations numbness of the hands, as they generate damage to the nerve fiber, either by direct damage or by compression of the same.
7. Carpal tunnel syndrome
This syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve. This nerve, along with several tendons, passes through a fairly small tunnel known as the carpal tunnel. And this channel goes just above the wrist, on the palm side of the hand.
The symptoms caused by this compression appear rather gradually: numbness and tingling of the fingers (especially the thumb and forefinger), this numbness accompanied by pain can radiate to the forearm, causing a feeling of weakness during certain movements of the hand and doll.
It affects women more
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects women three times more often, especially among people 50 and older.
The causes are many: a trauma to the wrist, repeated movements of the hand and wrist, hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause), certain diseases (diabetes, thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis), among others.
It may help to use topical pain relievers or take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Stay physically active and follow a fitness program focusing on moderate exercise. Stretch before exercising to maintain a good range of motion in your joints. Keep your body weight within a healthy range. This will lessen stress on the joints. If your pain isn’t due to arthritis, you can try taking a nonprescription, anti-inflammatory drug, getting a massage, taking a warm bath, stretching frequently, and getting adequate rest.