Hand tingling has become a common problem in today’s work place. Tingling is usually a sign of nerve injury. Nerves generally have two major functions. There are sensory nerves which sense information in the skin, and there are motor nerves that are used to move the muscles. These nerves travel from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord they travel all the way to the finger tips. Injury could occur anywhere along this path. Several symptoms occur when there is nerve injury, there could be numbness, tingling, or burning and there could also be associated weakness and paralysis of the muscles.
There are several common causes of hand tingling. Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to be one of the most common causes of hand tingling. One of the nerves that supply the hand is called the Median nerve. This nerve travels across the wrist to supply the fingers. With repetitive bending and straightening of the wrist this nerve gets injured. This tends to occur in people that use the computer frequently, use the cash register, or are involved in activities that involve repetitive motion at the wrist.
Another nerve that supplies the hand is called the Ulnar nerve. This nerve passes behind the elbow and could get injured at that point. One of the common causes of injury is from leaning on the elbow frequently which causes pressure on the nerve. Other common causes of Ulnar nerve injury include pressure from surrounding tissue, arthritis, and injury to the elbow.
Since the nerves that supply the hands originate in the spine, injury to the nerves at this level could cause numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands. Generally patients often have shooting pain down the arm with this kind of a problem. There could be multiple causes like disk disease, tumors, and arthritis.
Systemic disease like diabetes, kidney failure, infections, and others could cause injury to the nerves so that patients could develop weakness and numbness in their hands. However, these patients often have numbness and tingling in their feet first. These patients most often have Neuropathy.
In a patient who has tingling in the hands it is important to know if there is nerve damage, the severity of injury, which nerves are involved, and what is causing the injury so that proper treatment could be started. Early diagnosis is important for better recovery. If the problem is ignored the injury could progress and the symptoms could get worse over time. Initially the tingling is infrequent but as the injury gets worse it could lead to constant severe pain and tingling. Over time the patient could develop weakness and paralysis of the fingers.
In order to find out what is causing the tingling generally patients require nerve testing called EMG nerve conduction study. With this test we could find out which nerves are injured, the severity of injury, and the location of injury. Based on the results we might use imaging techniques like MRIs and laboratory testing for further information. Dr. Shaoulian is a neuromuscular specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of hand tingling and hand numbness. He is an expert in performing EMG nerve conduction studies.
Once the diagnosis is made we will determine the best possible treatment for the patient trying to prevent further nerve damage and trying to reverse the process. With early treatment the patient has better chances of recovery with less invasive methods. Treatment varies depending on the cause and severity of injury. Treatment options including bracing, physical therapy, medications, and at times surgery could be required.