When Your Fingers Go Numb, Should You Worry?

(Photo Credit : Healthtap)
(Photo Credit : Healthtap)

Sometimes we wake up with numbness in our fingers/fingertips.  We can’t seem to feel anything and find it difficult to grasp a cup of coffee.  Sometimes there’s a tingling sensation or prickly feeling on the end points of the fingers and we find it disturbing and uncomfortable.

My son woke up with that kind of finger numbness one day; he literally panicked because he just can’t be without his active fingers, being a computer technician and all.  He asked me to massage his fingers thoroughly, fearing that it may stay numb for quite some time and he’s in a rush to leave soon.

Do you get that numb fingers, too?  Is it often?  A recurring condition?

Finger numbness is an abnormal condition in which you feel a loss of sensation or tingling in your fingers, usually arising from a lack of blood supply to an area or a compression of a nerve somewhere.  Often times, it happens after holding our arm in the same position for a long period of time, e.g., during sleep or when cramped in a tight position; let’s say, inside a vehicle where movement such as arm or wrist bending seems impossible.

Normally, the loss of sensation usually  fades quickly as soon as you move your arm,   wrist, and fingers (whichever).  Smile!  Not to fret over it.  ^_^

We may also experience finger numbness after exposure to low atmospheric temperature, which shouldn’t worry us unless  extremely low temperature happens.  An extremely low temperature could actually bring about serious injuries to fingers.   But aside from temperature drops, some people complain that their finger tips go numb suddenly even without being subjected to cold, stress or pressure.

Now THAT should ring some warning bells because it could be an indication of some undiagnosed health condition.

While mild numbness that occurs very rarely is not serious at all,  be on the alert if finger numbness happens and is  accompanied by cramping, dizziness, tremors, loss of strength in body muscles, muscle pain which extends to the entire hand,  or any other worrisome condition.

Ask yourself – – – –What else is taking place when your fingers go numb?

Does your fingertips turn blanch white?  Does finger numbness cover only your thumb and first two fingers ?  Only last fingers?  Or all fingers?  Have you been feeling unusually fatigued, with blurry vision and had  also been drinking and peeing quite a lot?   Diabetes might be setting on and you’re unaware. Certain trouble with specific nerves might have been causing the finger numbness or some other medical condition.    So it is important that one should be aware of what one feels so symptoms could be  properly relayed to your doctor… your best adviser regarding unusual numbness in those fingers.

The following are a few of the most important causes of finger numbness:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – affects those who  extensively use their hand and wrist such in playing musical instruments like piano or guitar, typing, or playing racket sports, where extra pressure is placed on the carpal tunnel present in the wrist.  In effect, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist and symptoms may include numbness of the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger, tingling, and pain in the arm and hand.

Frostbites – the damaging effect of extremely low temperature which leads to freezing of the skin and underlying tissues, and more noticeable through blisters, paleness in the skin and pain in the hand.

Raynaud’s Disease –   is a rare form of disorder where the blood vessels  in the fingers get narrowed down due to spasm and restricts proper flow of blood to the tips.  Rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, scleroderma,  and other  underlying health conditions are often found to be responsible for this kind of abnormality.

Buerger’s Disease – blood vessels tend to swell up again and again and get blocked with blood clots, affecting the hands in its  initial stage to become numb, and progressing to other parts of the body as well.   It may lead to damage of the skin tissue and cause gangrene.  Excessive use of tobacco products for prolonged period of time has been found to be the  primary cause of Buerger’s disease.

Diabetes – Those with diabetes tend to feel numbness in their fingertips and toes due to a condition known as diabetic neuropathy  where fluctuating glucose levels could lead to nerve damage and numbness of  fingers occurs.

 Finger numbness may also result from having an infection, inflammation, trauma, and other abnormal processes.   While most cases of finger numbness are not due to life-threatening disorders,  it does occur with stroke and tumors.  Chronically numb fingers may also be due to  multiple sclerosis, or peripheral neuropathy and may generally indicate some level of damage to the nerves.

If your finger numbness is persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern, seek a medical professional.  In the event that you experience finger numbness with paralysis, weakness, confusion, or slurred speech, go and seek immediate medical attention right away as an emergency case.

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Being informed is better than staying medically ignorant.  While knowledge is power in most aspects of our lives, knowledge health-wise could be our gateway to safety and wellness.

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