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What Causes Hand Tingling?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hand tingling is known by the more accurate term parasthesia, but parasthesia can refer to tingling, burning or numbness that occurs in other extremities too. There are numerous causes of hand parasthesia. Some of these are temporary and benign and others are very serious. If tingling is present a lot of the time or occurs on a regular basis, people experiencing it should see a physician to determine cause.

Some of the simpler causes can be the sensation of the hand waking up after it “falls asleep.” If there is pressure placed on a nerve that is connected to one or both hands, they may get numb. When the pressure is removed, the hand starts to wake up and can have a pins and needles sensation. Some people might note hand tingling all day if they wear shirts that restrict the arms. Once this restriction ends, the tingling usually goes away.

Other causes of hand tingling can result from more constant pressure on nerves. Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome may create numbness or pins and needles in the thumb, index and middle finger, and other repetitive motion injuries in the wrist may cause the pinky and the ring finger to feel numb or tingle.

Injuries or inflammation in the arm or spine may compress or damage nerves on a relatively permanent basis, or at least until the injury heals. This could result in tingling in one or both hands, depending on the location of the compressed or damaged nerve. A direct injury, like a fracture or broken bone in the hand or wrist, may also result in pins and needles feelings, though it usually causes pain too.

Hand parasthesia may result from conditions not due to injury. It can be caused by things like Vitamin B 12 deficiency, or by conditions like multiple sclerosis. People who are in the midst of a heart attack may notice tingling in one or both hands.

A host of other conditions may have hand tingling as a side effect. These include migraines, Guillain-Barre syndrome, all forms of diabetes, stroke, and Sjogren’s syndrome. Low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism) or very low calcium levels could be a potential cause too.

Some medications may result in tingling in the hands and these can include some over the counter antihistamines, and drugs that treat migraines. If parasthesia seems to occur when taking a medication, check it out to see if this is a listed side effect, or call a pharmacist or doctor for more information. Some substances cause tingling and one of the most concerning is exposure to lead. Lead poisoning easily leads to parasthesia and this symptom occurring in kids who may have had lead exposure shouldn’t be ignored.

In all, there can be over 50 causes of hand tingling, and over 100 drugs that may result in it. Since the causes are so varied, persistent parasthesia deserves medical attention. Its presence might be non-threatening, but it may also indicate life-threatening conditions like stroke or heart attack.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon356292 — On Nov 23, 2013

I have been suffering from numbness with tingling and dull pain in my left hand fingers and thumb for 15 days. I have taken Iberis Amara Q 10 drops for 10 days and I feel no relief. Please advise me.

By anon180145 — On May 25, 2011

I am having tingling in the hands and feet around 75 percent of the time. I've been to a neurologist who did blood work, nerve conduction tests, and MRIs. All have came back negative. He has no answer for me. Since then I have seen a DO for manual adjustments, a myofascial release specialist, and have had a series of B12 shots. None of which have helped. The current homeopathic dr that I started seeing is suggesting a round of iodine, tri-B oral, alpha lipoic acid, high dose fish oil treatments for the possibility of hypothyroidism and neuropathy. Do you have any additional suggestions?

By BelugaWhale — On Jul 19, 2010

@Pimiento - I have had hand tingling thanks to a migraine before. My migraines come with all sorts of symptoms and I've had them since I was a little child. I have to have complete silence and absolutely ZERO light in order to get rid of them.

The hand tingling that comes from migraines is a lot different from the hand tingling provided by Carpal Tunnel, though. Carpal Tunnel hand tingling can sometimes go up the entire and the tingling associated with migraines normally won't do that; it's pretty centralized.

By Pimiento — On Jul 19, 2010

@lmorales - Ergonomics plays a large part in preventing Carpal Tunnel, you should check it out. Hand tingling can be just plain annoying if you ask me, but I know what it's like because I get it all the time. I've never had them because of a migraine, though, but I don't think I would want to.

By lmorales — On Jul 19, 2010

Carpal Tunnel can most definitely cause hand tingling, but it also causes a burning shock of pain that can go all the way up your arm. The tingling of the hand is caused when the nerve going through the Carpal Tunnel gets pinched. People say there are ways to prevent Carpal Tunnel from developing, but I don't really know any of them.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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