Hand paresthesia refers to the common condition that causes the hand to tingle with a "pins and needles" type sensation. In addition, a person experiencing hand paresthesia may complain that his hand feels like it fell asleep. Although most of the time, hand paresthesia is a benign condition that is caused by positional nerve compression, when it becomes a regular event, it may indicate the presence of a more serious medical condition.
Sometimes hand paresthesia can be related to diabetes-related nerve damage. This is known as diabetic neuropathy, and it not only produces hand paresthesia, it can also cause paresthesias in the feet. Furthermore, not only is tingling skin and numbness present, severe pain can also occur. Other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, or a herniated disc can also cause hand paresthesia, as well as parathesia of the legs and feet.
Occasionally, carpal tunnel syndrome can cause the hands to feel tingly. Vitamin B6 is sometimes prescribed for carpal tunnel syndrome because it can help reduce numbness and restore normal function. When hand paresthesia is simply caused by overuse, or by the hand "falling asleep," massaging the hand and opening and closing the fingers can usually resolve the condition.
When diabetes or other medical conditions are thought to be the cause of paresthesia, the underlying condition must first be treated before the paresthesia can be resolved. To rule out a medical reason for hand paresthesia, the physician may recommend blood tests, a physical examination and even an MRI. If no medical condition is found, and if symptoms persist, hand splints and paraffin wax treatments may be effective in relieving symptoms and restoring feeling to the hands.
The physician might also recommend a series of exercises to improve circulation, or he may refer the patient to a physical therapist. In addition, a nutritionist may be recommended because certain types of numbness and tingling in the extremities can be related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables might improve symptoms.
When prolonged paresthesias of the hand remains, the individual should not assume that the cause is benign in nature. The health care provider should be notified so that he can pursue addition medical tests and evaluations. Chances are that an organic cause will not be found, but all avenues of possibilities need to be explored. In addition, the patient needs to tell the physician if paresthesias or numbness runs in his or her family, or if he has a hobby or job that requires him to use his hands in a repetitive manner.