An estimated 20 million Americans are affected by peripheral neuropathy.
This is a condition that is responsible for the tingling sensation in the majority of tingling cases.
Tingling in hands and arms is a common condition and most people will experience it at some point in their lifetime. Even though the feeling is usually quite unpleasant, tingling is rarely a serious problem.
However, if your arms and hands tingle often, it is a sign that you might have a more serious underlying condition.
This article will discuss what you need to know about tingling in arms.
Why Are Your Hands Tingling?
As mentioned earlier, tingling hands are quite common. For the most part, the sensation is usually temporary. For instance, it could be the result of your nerves getting pressured if you fall asleep with your arm crooked under your head.
In other instances, however, the tingling can be severe, episodic, or chronic. Additionally, it may be accompanied by symptoms such as numbness, itching, pain, and muscle wasting.
If you experience this, it is important to seek MedNow Urgent Care immediately.
In such cases, the tingling is usually indicative of nerve damage, which can result from a variety of causes ranging from injuries and infections to diseases.
Such nerve damage is referred to as peripheral neuropathy, as it affects nerves that are distant from the brain and spinal cord, often in the arms and feet. There are over 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy.
If not checked early, the condition can worsen, resulting in decreased mobility or even disability.
This is why it is important to get checked out if you have a persistent tingling in your hands or arms.
Causes of Tingling in Arms and Hands
The following are the most common causes of tingling.
1. Pinched Nerve in Your Neck
Do you feel as if the tingling sensation is coming from your neck to your arms? If that is the case, there is a probability that you have a pinched nerve in your neck.
A pinched nerve is usually a result of poor posture, an injury, or an underlying condition such as arthritis.
Recovery from pinched nerves usually involves the use of prescribed medication such as gabapentin in addition to physical therapy.
2. Vitamin Deficiency
If you are experiencing tingling in both arms, there is a likelihood that you are deficient in vitamin B12.
You can be sure this is the case if the tingling is accompanied by symptoms such as lethargy and fatigue. A simple blood test should confirm if this is the case.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Have you been typing or using power tools more than usual? Repetitive vibrations or motions can compress a nerve in your wrist, thereby causing tingling in your hands.
An ultrasound should be able to tell you whether you have the carpal tunnel syndrome. If the diagnosis reveals that’s the case, you will need to modify how you perform such activities.
Surgery, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy should help as well.
4. Cervical or Spinal Stenosis
Sometimes, the spaces in the spinal canal in the spine or neck might get smaller. When this happens, the spinal cord and nerve roots will start getting pressure, thus resulting in a tingling sensation.
The narrowing of those spaced is what is called stenosis.
An MRI or CT scan should be able to tell if you have stenosis. Treatments for the condition include surgery, epidural injections, or physical therapy, depending on the extent of the condition.
Whether you have insulin resistance or full-blown diabetes, high levels of sugar in the blood irritate the nerves, and this can be manifested as tingling in your arms.
If you were not aware that you have a high blood sugar condition, symptoms to look out for in addition to the tingling include excessive hunger and thirst, as well as frequent urinating.
A blood sugar test should reveal whether this is the case. If the results are positive, your doctor will advise you on medications and lifestyle changes that will manage your condition.
Hypothyroidism refers to having an underactive thyroid. This means that the gland is not able to perform its hormone regulation tasks optimally. Symptoms that follow include tingling, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and weight gain.
A blood test should confirm if this is the case.
Diagnosing Tingling Hands
When you go to seek care for your tingling arms, the physician is going to take you through a physical examination.
Additionally, they will take an extensive look at your medical history so as to see whether your work, social habits, or family history to determine the cause of the tingling.
Therefore, you can expect tests such as:
• Blood tests to check for vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and thyroid disorders.
• A cerebrospinal fluid examination to identify antibodies linked to peripheral neuropathy.
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
• Nerve Biopsy.
Treating Tingling in Hands
Success in treating the tingling symptom depends on an accurate diagnosis of the underlying problem that is causing the tingling.
The tingling sensation is, after all, just a symptom. So, the reasons why your arms are tingling are likely to be different from the next person.
However, most causes of tingling are linked to peripheral neuropathy. As such, this gives doctors a good place to start your diagnosis.
Consequently, the kind of treatment you will receive is going to be determined by the results of the diagnosis.
Nonetheless, most treatments require that you make changes in your lifestyle.
This includes embarking on physical therapy which transitions to exercise, checking your diet to maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding drinking alcohol and smoking.
This is because alcohol can cause alcoholic neuropathy which is a condition that causes nerve damage, while smoking constricts the blood supply to blood vessels, thereby hindering the supply of nutrients to peripheral nerves.
Alternative therapies can also help a great deal.
Addressing the Tingling
Tingling in arms can be a startling feeling if you have never experienced it before. However, it is quite common as most people will experience it for one reason or the other.
Inasmuch as most tingling incidences are not threatening, it is important to seek professional advice once it happens so you can be sure you do not have a serious underlying medical condition.
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