At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
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.