Read below about hand tingling, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your hand tingling from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Pins and needles sensation in the hand

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Hand Tingling Symptoms

Hand tingling refers to the annoying, almost shock-like sensation that can travel all through the hands and fingers and sometimes up the arms to the neck or jaw. Some causes are quite benign and harmless, but with others, the tingling can be a warning sign of conditions in need of treatment.

Tingling in the hand, or elsewhere in the body, is sometimes called a "pins-and-needles sensation" or "falling asleep" of the hand.

Hand tingling characteristics:

  • A prickly, pins-and-needles sensation in the hand and fingers, often extending up the arm to the neck and shoulder.
  • One or both hands may be affected.
  • Numbness.
  • Burning pain.
  • Stiffness.
  • Reduced range of motion.
  • Weakness.
  • Tightness in the forearm muscles.

Who is most often affected by hand tingling symptoms?

  • Desk workers who sit using a keyboard and mouse for several hours each day.
  • Anyone with damage to the nerves and/or the circulatory system.

Are hand tingling symptoms serious?

  • A mild case of tingling, especially on waking up in the morning or that resolves quickly, is not serious.
  • A more persistent case that begins gradually is a concern. Continued nerve damage can lead to permanent numbness and loss of sensation in the hands.
  • Tingling in only the left hand can be a warning of a heart attack, especially if the tingling begins suddenly and extends up the arm and into the jaw.

Hand Tingling Causes

Most common hand tingling cause types:

  • Direct trauma such as fractures, dislocations, strains, and sprains.
  • Anatomic abnormalities.
  • Nerve damage:

    • Compression or entrapment of the nerves affecting the hand, including those in the cervical spine (the neck).
    • Pinched nerve — the nerve is caught under or between bone, cartilage, tendons, or muscles and is under pressure. This may be due to injury, repetitive use, or just sleeping in "wrong" position.
    • Poor posture, especially when sitting in front of a computer screen for long hours.
    • Stress and anxiety, which may cause subconscious tensing of muscles to the point of nerve or circulatory damage.
    • Neurologic diseases.
    • Tumor or carcinoma.
  • Vascular (blood vessel) damage:

    • Any condition affecting the radial and ulnar arteries, which supply blood to the hand.
    • Hardening of the arteries, which slows and blocks circulation.
    • Inflammation of the arteries.
    • Dehydration.
    • Frostbite, which causes severe constriction of the blood vessels.
    • Poor circulation due to lack of exercise.
    • Interference with circulation due to tight clothes.

Less common hand tingling cause types:

  • Autoimmune disorders:

    • An autoimmune response to a viral illness, with hand tingling symptoms occurring after the illness seems to be over.
    • Almost any active autoimmune disorder can cause chronic inflammation.
  • Metabolic disorders, which interfere with nerve functioning.

    • Thyroid disease.
    • Other endocrine diseases.

Rare and unusual hand tingling cause types:

  • Pregnancy, due to swelling that may compress the nerves in the wrists – especially when lying down.
  • Certain viral infections.
  • Toxins:

    • Ingesting of metals, through supplements or work exposure.
    • Antiretroviral drugs.
    • Chemotherapy.
  • Nutritional deficiencies:
  • Lack of certain B vitamins in the diet causes a form of anemia and neuropathy.
  • Alcoholism is a cause of B vitamin deficiency and neuropathy.

9 Possible Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced hand tingling. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

  1. 1.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Recovery time varies depending on treatment.

    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, weakness in one hand, pain in both hands
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow is the compression of the ulnar nerve, causing numbness and/or weakness in the hands.

    Mild symptoms resolve on their own, severe disease resolves with surgery

    Top Symptoms:
    hand weakness, weakness in one hand, numbness in one hand, pain in one elbow, pain in one forearm
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    Majority of patients get better with time (weeks to months).

    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Panic or Anxiety Attack(s)

    Panic or anxiety attacks are sudden feelings of intense fear or stress without true danger. Symptoms usually peak and then decrease within minutes. One may feel as if they are losing control or have physical symptoms like sweating or a racing heart. A panic attack can be a very scary experience and should be taken seriously.

    Depending on recurrence

    Symptoms that always occur with panic or anxiety attack(s):
    anxiety or anxiety/panic attacks
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Low Calcium Level

    Hypocalcemia is a condition where there is not enough calcium in the blood. Calcium is a mineral contained in the blood, which helps the heart and other muscles function properly, and is needed to maintain strong teeth and bones.

    Problem should go away with home care within weeks.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, irritability, general numbness, tingling foot
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Chronic Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy

    Nerve damage in the limbs can be caused by diabetes, toxic substances, immune system issues and low vitamin levels. However, in about one of every four cases no cause can be found and then the condition is called 'idiopathic'. Symptoms of nerve damage can be (burning) pain sensations, numbness, tingling and weakness in hands, feet or lower legs.

    This is a chronic condition.

    Top Symptoms:
    distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Vitamin B12 is a vitamin crucial to healthy neurological and cardiovascular functioning. If deficient, symptoms include trouble thinking, anxiety, stomach issues, and weakness.

    Symptoms resolve completely when B12 levels return to normal.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, history of headaches, racing heart beat
    Symptoms that never occur with vitamin b12 deficiency:
    menstrual period changes
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Compartment Syndrome

    Compartment syndrome is a serious condition that involves increased pressure in a muscle compartment. It can lead to muscle and nerve damage and problems with blood flow.

    Prognosis is highly variable after surgery and depends on how rapidly you are treated.

    Top Symptoms:
    arm numbness, hand numbness, foot numbness, pain in one leg, thigh numbness
    Hospital emergency room
  9. 9.Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is the compression of the nerves and/or blood vessels that run through the upper chest. It can occur as a result of trauma, surgery, growths in the body, or just randomly.

    Resolves with treatment (30% relapse)

    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, arm numbness, pain in one shoulder blade
    Primary care doctor

Hand Tingling Treatments, Relief and Prevention

Seek immediate hand tingling treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • You experience sudden tingling in only the left hand. Hypertension and heart attack may cause this.
  • You experience numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, and face, along with dizziness, headache, blurred vision, and slurred speech. These are symptoms of transient ischemic attack, or "mini-stroke." This is usually a warning sign of impending stroke and should be seen immediately.

Schedule an appointment if:

  • The hand tingling comes on gradually and persists for days or weeks.
  • You would like to try physical therapy to relieve the pressure on a trapped or pinched nerve.
  • You would like to try acupuncture and therapeutic massage to ease pain and improve circulation.

Hand tingling remedies that you can try at home:

  • Rest.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to ease pain.
  • Use splinting or padding to ease pressure on the most affected spots during the activity that causes pain.
  • Wear a brace that keeps the wrist straight while you are sleeping.
  • Make adjustments in work stations and in techniques used for weightlifting or other sports.
  • Make lifestyle changes in exercise, sleep, diet, and stress management to improve overall fitness and circulation.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hand Tingling

  • Q.What is your body mass?
  • Q.Have you ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Q.Turn your head toward the side of your body that is hurting. Lift your head up as someone else pushes down on your head. Does this cause greater pain in your upper body? (This is known as Spurling's test.)
  • Q.Have someone feel for your pulse (at the wrist) on the side of your body that hurts. Now, turn your head to that side. Does the pulse go away? (This is known as the Adson's test.)

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our hand tingling symptom checker to find out more.

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Hand Tingling Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced hand tingling have also experienced:

    • 5% Tingling Foot
    • 4% Tingling Forearm
    • 4% Upper Arm Tingling
  • People who have experienced hand tingling had symptoms persist for:

    • 43% Less Than a Day
    • 24% Over a Month
    • 16% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced hand tingling were most often matched with:

    • 33% Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • 33% Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow
    • 33% Pinched Nerve in the Neck
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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