Tips and Tricks to Resolve Hand Numbness and Tingling

By Mike Hamilton OTR/L, Nashua Rehab Clinic

Hand numbness, tingling, and burning can be intimidating and unsettling. The symptoms often come and go seemingly without reason. However, making some simple changes to your positioning, posture, and habits may help eliminate your problem altogether.

Hand Tingling
Why it happens

The median nerve, one of the three major peripheral nerves in our upper extremity, can often be the culprit for these symptoms. It passes along the front of our forearm, through our wrist, and ends at the tips of our fingers. When disturbed, it will respond by sending us these uncomfortable messages to notify us to knock it off!

The numbness and tingling can often arrive at inopportune times like when typing, driving, or even sleeping at night. Why is it that such simple activities could be causing such aggravating symptoms?

When sleeping, a common position of comfort is one with our wrist flexed forward and our hand in a fist. This position of wrist flexion results in compression of the nerve in the tunnel where it resides. The constant pressure, over a period of hours, will disturb the nerve resulting in numbness and tingling. If we can prevent this compression by wearing a wrist brace at night, the nerve will be much more comfortable and reduce the likelihood of these abnormal sensations occurring.

Consistent typing on a computer is often misconstrued as the cause of hand numbness and tingling. More likely, one’s wrist posture while typing is the culprit. Check and see if you rest on your wrists when you type. If yes, you are inadvertently compressing your median nerve. Improving your posture and modifying your desk position to allow your wrists to stay in a straight and neutral position when typing can go a long way to resolving your symptoms.

When driving, especially when running late or driving in rush hour, we will subconsciously grip the steering wheel tightly. This increased tension in your fingers will result in increased pressure in the tunnel where our median nerve is located. This pressure will make the nerve uncomfortable, resulting in numbness and tingling in our hands. Ease up your grip or change your hand position to help alleviate your symptoms.

               Hand Tingling
Next steps

If these tips and tricks do not help improve your hand numbness, an evaluation by an occupational therapist may be warranted. Come visit us at our Southern New Hampshire Health Occupational Therapy clinics in Nashua at 17 Prospect Street, 460 Amherst Street, or in Hudson at 300 Derry Rd.

Posted: 4/17/2024 by Mike Hamilton OTR/L, Nashua Rehab Clinic