Is the numbness and tingling in your hands waking you up at night? Not only is your sleep suffering, but you are distracted at work. After using your mouse for awhile, your arm and hands go numb and you have to stand and shake them out. It’s driving you crazy. Could it be a pinched nerve causing the numbness and tingling in your hands?
Numbness and tingling in the arms and hands is a common complaint I hear from my patients. The two most common causes I have observed is either a pinched nerve (in the neck, shoulder, chest, forearm, and/or wrist) or a muscle knot in a shoulder or forearm muscle.
How a pinched nerve can cause numbness and tingling in your hands
The nerves in your arm and hand come from you brain and travel down your spinal cord. The nerves then exit your spine in your neck and weave in and out of muscles to make their way down to your finger tips. Any misaligned bone (spinal, shoulder or elbow bone) or muscle can compress or pinch your nerve and cause numbness and tingling. Once you find out where the nerve is being pinched you can get the proper treatment to take the pressure off the nerve.
Here are some things you can do to help determine if the numbness and tingling in your hands is caused by a pinched nerve.
Numbness/tingling is likely coming from a pinched nerve in your neck if:
- You tilt your head to the side as far as you can go (ear to your shoulder) and it causes the numbness/tingling.
- You get someone to press straight down on top of your head and hold gently and it causes the numbness/tingling.
- Any movement of your head like looking up at the ceiling, tilting your head, or shoulder checking causes numbness/tingling.
Numbness/tingling is likely coming from the neck or shoulder if:
You bring your affected arm above you or straight behind you (like if you were to stretch your chest muscle) and you get numbness/tingling.
Muscle knots causing numbness and tingling in your hands
Muscles that get overused tighten up and get knots. These muscle knots (trigger points) can cause numbness or tingling in your hands as well. This is very common as many people are sitting all day at a desk typing and mousing. First, the constant typing and mousing lead to muscle knots and strain injuries in the forearm and wrist. Second, the prolonged sitting leads to muscle knots and postural strain of the back and neck muscles.
Numbness/tingling is likely coming from the muscle knots in your neck, shoulder, chest, or forearm muscles if:
- If you know where to find the muscle knots and you press and hold them and it causes hand numbness/tingling.
What to do about a pinched nerve causing numbness and tingling in your hands?
Consult a chiropractor if you’re you’re getting numbness and tingling in your hands. Chiropractors are nerve and muscle specialists. They are trained to do a thorough history and exam to determine if your numbness and tingling is coming from a pinched nerve or knots in a muscle.
Chiropractors often use x-rays as part of the exam. X-rays of your neck can reveal if your discs between your spinal bones are wearing out or if you have some arthritis. If this happens, your nerves that come out of your neck and travel down your arm are more apt to get pinched.
In almost every case like this, there will be a loss of mobility and misalignments in the spinal bones of your neck. Chiropractors correct spinal misalignments by using chiropractic adjustments to help take the pressure off your nerves.
As well, chiropractors often refer to massage therapists who can help relax your muscle knots. So getting your muscle knots relaxed in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments can further aid in your recovery and healing process. There are also chiropractors who specialize in muscle techniques like Active Release Technique or other muscle relaxation therapies.
What else could your numbness and tingling be caused by?
Numbness and tingling in the arms and hands can also be due to other causes: Diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, stroke, heart attack, migraines, and tumours all have to be ruled out with a thorough examination and history.
Most numbness and tingling in the arms and hands comes from either a pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder area or from specific muscle knots in the neck, shoulder, chest or forearm area.
Chiropractors are spine, nerve and muscle specialists. They can zone in on the underlying cause of the numbness and tingling in your hands. Consult a chiropractor to get rid of that annoying numbness and tingling. Start living pain free, start sleeping well again, and start be more productive at work again!
Learn more about how Edmonton chiropractor Dr. Dean Collins can help you and your family in this complete guide to chiropractic care: Chiropractic Care for Everyone