How To Treat Numb Sensation In The Fingers?

By Patricia | August 24, 2009

It is common to feel a numbness or tingling sensation in your fingers or different parts of the body. Often referred to as ‘pins and needles,’ this temporary loss of sensation or burning feeling is caused by lack of blood supply to that particular area of the body. In a number of cases, this feeling passes on its own and is rarely a cause for anxiety. However, for some people, numbness in the fingertips or finger pareathesiamay be a sign of a more serious medical condition caused by nerve damage or another disease. If the condition is not treated in time, it may even lead to a permanent loss of sensation.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms that may accompany numbness in the fingers include:

  • Pinpricking or tingling sensation (in fingers and other parts of the body)
  • Burning sensation (in fingers and other parts of the body)
  • Cramps or pain
  • Loss of sensation
  • Tremors in the extremities
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • may lose color and turn white
  • Decrease in muscle strength
  • Dizziness

If your fingers suddenly feel numb and you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important that you dial emergency services at the earliest. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Numbness following any injury or trauma
  • Change in vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty walking or moving
  • Uncontrollable movements of the arms or legs
  • Incoherent or slurred speech
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of control over urination and bowel movements
  • Weakness or fatigue

Causes

Numbness of the fingers can be caused by:

  • Holding a particular position for a long time
  • Cold or extreme weather conditions (frostbite)
  • Repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome where the median nerve is compressed and causes symptoms such as tingling and pain
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Damaged or pinched nerves
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Ulnar nerve palsy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nutritional or vitamin deficiency (especially vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Low potassium or calcium levels in the body
  • Leprosy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neck injury
  • Shingles or herpes zoster
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Under active thyroid
  • Certain medications

Treatment

Treatment for numbness in fingers will depend on the cause. For example if you have carpal tunnel syndrome, certain wrist and hand exercises and the use of a wrist brace can help relieve pain and tingling. If diabetes is the cause of the numbness, medication and dietary changes can bring your blood sugar levels under control. Tingling caused by vitamin deficiency requires an increase in your vitamin intake either through your diet or with supplements.

Some simple ways to ease the feelings of numbness, tingling or burning in the fingers include:

  • Gentle massage of the fingers and hands to improve blood circulation. Massaging the fingers when immersed in a bowl of warm water is an effective way of reducing numbness
  • Regular exercise to improve circulation to the extremities and increase the supply of oxygen to all the cells of the body
  • Keep the fingers and hands elevated to promote blood circulation
  • Apply a warm or cold compress to reduce burning or tingling
  • Remedies such as breathing exercises and meditation may also help reduce stress-related symptoms such as numbness and tingling
  • Change your diet and remove inflammatory foods such as citrus fruits, dairy products and wheat that may aggravate the condition. Simultaneously increase your intake of potassium and calcium-rich foods such as bananas and avocados and green leafy vegetables
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol as this can exacerbate nerve damage.
  • Protect yourself from the cold and extreme weather conditions
  • Vitamin B12 is important in the maintenance of health and normal functioning of the nerve tissue and deficiency of it can lead to numbness.
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