Numbness of the hand can result from various factors including specific medical conditions, sleeping postures, prescription drugs, or nutritional deficiencies. If numbness persists, consulting a healthcare professional can aid in identifying the underlying cause and devising an appropriate treatment plan.
It is not unusual to experience waking up with numb hands, many individuals have encountered the sensation termed sleeping hand at some point. Sleeping in a manner that places pressure on your arm or hand is a frequent cause of numbness and a tingling sensation, this sensation dissipates upon waking and adjusting your sleeping position. However, this is not the sole explanation.
Numbness can also serve as an indicator of an underlying medical condition, making it essential to remain vigilant for additional symptoms.
This article delves deep into the causes and potential remedies for this issue. Let’s dive in.
Causes & Potential Remedies
Specific sleeping positions can indeed exert pressure on the nerves in the arms and hands, potentially leading to numbness:
- Individuals who sleep on their stomach may encounter hand numbness if they place their hands beneath their heads.
- Side sleepers might bend their arms or wrists in a manner that hampers blood circulation to their hands
- Back sleepers could wake up with numb hands if they position the back of their head against their arm.
These positions can disrupt blood flow and nerve function, contributing to the sensation of numbness in the hands.
Hand numbness caused by poor sleeping positions generally subsides when an individual shifts to a position that does not exert pressure on their arms or hands. Therefore, those who frequently encounter nighttime hand numbness may consider experimenting with various sleeping positions to alleviate the issue.
Ulnar Tunnel Syndrome Of The Wrist
The ulnar is one of the three nerves responsible for sensation in the hand. Ulnar tunnel syndrome (UTS) is a condition where the ulnar nerve gets compressed at the wrist. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the primary culprits are often benign soft tissue tumors called ganglion cysts on the wrist. However, UTS can also result from repetitive injuries or persistent pressure.
Symptoms tend to manifest gradually, with individuals experiencing numbness and on the outer edge of their hand although pain is not always a prominent symptom.
UTS treatment is usually tailored to the underlying cause. Anti-inflammatory medications can be effective in alleviating symptoms, and wrist splints may also provide relief.
When UTS is caused by a growth in a wrist, surgical removal by a surgeon may be necessary. It’s important to note that nerve recovery can be a slow process, and according to the AAOS, it may take several months to fully recover after surgery.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage situated in the wrist, through which the median nerve and finger tendons pass. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) develops when there’s compression of the median nerve within this tunnel.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), CTS often arises from issues with the connective tissues surrounding the median nerve. Factors like repetitive motion injuries, wrist fractures, or sprains can lead to swelling, and increasing pressure on the median nerve.
Other potential causes of CTS include edema (swelling), rheumatoid arthritis, and hormonal changes. Typically, CTS symptoms tend to surface at night, with individuals experiencing numbness or pain in their fingers, hand, or wrist during the night or upon waking in the morning. Over time, these symptoms can persist during the day.
Common symptoms of CTS encompass numbness in the thumb, index, and middle fingers, along with pain or numbness that can gradually extend to the hand and wrist. Weakness in the fingers and hands may also be present.
Additionally, NINDS notes that if left untreated, CTS can lead to muscle tissue loss at the base of the thumb, reduced grip strength, and decreased sensitivity to temperature changes in the thumb and fingers.
Management of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms can involve various approaches:
1. Rest: Taking breaks from repetitive activities that may exacerbate symptoms can be beneficial.
2. Wrist Splints: Wearing wrist splints can help keep the wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the median nerve and providing relief.
3. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers may help alleviate discomfort associated with CTS.
4. Surgery: In cases where conservative treatments are ineffective or if the condition is severe, surgery may be considered. Carpal tunnel release surgery involves cutting the carpal ligament at the base of the palm to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
The choice of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and the individual’s response to non-surgical methods. Typically, surgical intervention is contemplated when conservative treatments fail to provide sufficient relief.
In conclusion, Numb hands during sleep may stem from poor sleeping posture or underlying medical issues. Sleeping positions that compress nerves or blood vessels in the hands can lead to temporary numbness, which usually resolves by changing position.
Persistent hand numbness, regardless of sleeping posture, could signal a medical condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), diabetic neuropathy, cervical spondylosis, and alcoholic neuropathy (AUD) are potential culprits.
Seeking a healthcare provider’s evaluation is crucial. They can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend treatments or lifestyle changes. Addressing the root condition often alleviates hand numbness.
Preventing numbness involves avoiding positions that bend the arms, elbows, or wrists while sleeping and managing relevant health conditions. Medical diagnosis is essential if the numbness persists or worsens, ensuring proper care and management.