Numbness in either hand may indicate there is a problem with circulation or nerves. Numbness on one side is usually due to a nerve problem in the arm, hand or shoulder. If nerves are not involved, then the numbness is often due to a lack of circulation in the hand.
There are a number of reasons why you could be dealing with numbness in just one hand. A few of these are:
- Injuries: Injuries to the hand is the most common reason for numbness to be felt. Any type of traumatic injury from a blow to the hand to a fall, especially injuries that break bones, may cause numbness in the hand. A broken hand will swell and be extremely painful.
- Multiple Sclerosis: About fifty percent of patients with MS report such symptoms as an itching, stabbing, burning pain with a needle stick feeling. Many also report that their hands often feel numb.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: People with carpal tunnel syndrome often complain about numbness and tingling in their hands and fingers. All fingers are usually involved, except for the little finger. People with CTS say that these sensations are strong when they first wake up, and can be felt as they go about their day: as they drive and hold the steering wheel, holding the phone, or a newspaper.
- Electrolyte Imbalances: People who have an imbalance in their sodium, calcium, magnesium or potassium levels often experience numbness, tingling, twitching, muscle spasms, weakness or even convulsions in their hands and feet. Vitamin A, B5, B6, B12 and D deficiencies can also cause numbness in the hands and the feet.
- Herniated Disc: Also known as a ruptured disc, or a slipped disc, this condition occurs when the disc between the vertebrae gets pressed or ruptured. Herniated discs are a very common injury that causes numbness and pain in the arms and hands.
- Other causes of numbness in the hands can include: peripheral artery disease, Raynaud’s Syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a few other lesser conditions. If you feel any of the above symptoms, and they last for a while, you should bring this problem to the attention of your doctor.
Your doctor will physically examine your hand, and probably order an x-ray. How he treats it will depend upon what caused the problem and how severe it is. The most minor cases can be treated with pain medications, while other cases may need surgery to correct the condition. Even patients with carpal tunnel syndrome don’t always require surgery; sometimes the condition improves on its own, it might take months to heal, but it will eventually. Many times a shake of the hand and wrist will relieve some of the pain and numbness.
People experiencing pain and numbness in their hands should stop any activities that further aggravates the condition. Those with electrolyte imbalances can safely take electrolyte supplements. People with multiple sclerosis or a herniated disc can be helped with the proper medications. Physical therapy is also advised for patients suffering from any disc problems.
Dehydration may also be a cause of numbness in the extremities. If dehydration has reached this point, make sure you drink plenty of water to rehydrate your whole body.