Stiffness of the arms and hands in the form of tingling or prickling is known in medicine as paresthesia and can affect the hands, arms and fingers, and is considered normal if it lasts for a few minutes.
Depending on the cause, loss of feeling in the hands may be short lasting. It often occurs at night when the hand is bent in the elbow or wrist, but sometimes it happens and suddenly develops gradually.
If the stiffness in the arms does not withdraw within a few hours, and even becomes chronic, it is necessary to immediately consult a doctor because it may indicate a more serious illness and lead to permanent loss of feeling in the hands and fingers.
What are the main causes for stiffness in the hands and fingers?
Nerves transmit signals from various parts of the body to the brain and vice versa. Arm stiffness is commonly associated with their impairment. Reduced blood flow, any kind of pressure or tightening of the nerves can cause numbness in certain part of the body, which causes are very poor circulation, age and certain diseases.
Already at the first manifestation of symptoms it is necessary to determine whether it is functional or organic change and whether it is a regular symptom due to high nervous tension.
Symptoms of carpal canal
The symptom carpal syndrome occurs due to pressure on the central nerve (nervus medianus) in the carpal canal area (canalis carpi). Carpal canal is consisted of eight small bones on the underside of the wrist, and the tunnel from the upper side is closed by the transverse carpal ligament.
Through this “pipe” from the forearm into the hand enters the central nerve and the tendon of the muscle responsible for fingers’ movements.
Other reasons for numbness in the hands
Numbness of the hands, fingers and joints can be caused by diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to diabetes), of which 2/3 of the patients suffer. If not curbed, it can cause damage to blood vessels, which can lead to amputation.
Numbness in hands can also be caused by migraine, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, radiculopathy (sciatica), autoimmune diseases, infections, exposure to radiation, certain chemicals and heavy metals, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, insects’ and animals stings/bites, poisoning from seafood and more.
Heavy physical activities, repetition of certain tasks, as well as pregnancy and hormonal disorder are among the most responsible causes for this syndrome’s occurrence.
How is it diagnosed?
Detailed neurological examination is often sufficient for setting diagnosis. But if there are suspicions on a particular disease, radiological imaging, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging or electroneurography is conducted. Blood tests can determine the existence of toxins or infections that affect the nervous system. Through the examination can be learned in there is disorder in the nervous system, whether it is about central (level of the brain) or peripheral nerve damage.
Stiffness in the hands -- which is the best therapy?
The approach of treatment depends on the cause of the problem and sometimes requires determination and the whole team of doctors, specialists: neurologists, radiologists, physiologists, endocrinologists, orthopedists, radiologists, dermatologists. For dealing with stiffness in hands you need to frequently practice physical therapy, massage, medication, and, if necessary, surgical intervention.
If the stiffness of the fingers is associated with diabetes, it is necessary to regularly control the level of sugar in the blood, while the lack of vitamins and minerals needs to be compensated with appropriate supplements.
Foods that are rich in fiber and antioxidants can lower cholesterol, improve circulation and relieve symptoms.
Yoga and meditation also possess beneficial effect on the nerves. When stiffness of the arm is caused by certain medications, you should consult a doctor in order to replace them or to stop with the therapy.