Why is There Numbness and Tingling in my Arms?
There are many possible causes of numbness and tingling in the upper or lower limbs. Some of these causes may include: nerve injury, prolonged sedentary position, pressure on the nerves due to a herniated disk, enlarged vessels, or tumors, shingles, abnormal levels of salts and minerals in the body, or congenital conditions. Other medical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, or strokes may lead to numbness and tingling.
Local pressure on a nerve may cause distinct patterns of numbness that may also be associated with weakness or spasms. Compression of the ulnar nerve at the wrist may cause numbness and tingling of the little and ring fingers. Compression of the same nerve at the elbow may present numbness on the back of the ulnar side of the hand. Likewise, compression of the radial nerve just above the wrist may cause numbness on the back side of the thumb and index finger. Compression of the median nerve just below the elbow joint may present numbness on the palmar side from the middle finger to the thumb.
If the cause of the symptoms has been determined, ensure to follow the necessary steps as prescribed by your doctor to reduce or eliminate the condition. Certain exercises may be recommended to alleviate pressure on the peripheral nerves causing the numbness and tingling. Control blood sugar or vitamin levels with the appropriate daily dosage. Do not take large doses of any vitamins or supplements until discussion has been made with a medical professional. Large amounts of vitamins or supplements may result in nerve toxicity which can cause numbness and tingling.
Further testing may include X-rays, MRI, nerve or blood tests to help diagnose or treat the appropriate condition.
Exercises to Reduce Numbness and/or Tingling:
1. Ulnar Nerve Flossing
Begin in a seated position with tall posture and shoulders down. Then create a circle with your thumb and index finger and bring the elbow and forearm up while pointing the heel of the hand upwards forming a mask over your eye with the circle. Hold this for a second and then return the arm and hand back to the starting position. Repeat this for sixty seconds, doing five sets three times per day. The progression of this exercise is to first start with the head rotated away, then bringing the thumb and index finger over the eye. The duration is also for 60 seconds for 5 sets, three times per day.
2. Radian Nerve Flossing
Begin by extending the shoulder and arm with the elbow straight behind you while flexing the wrist and the hand out to receive a “low - five” from behind you. Return the arm and hand back to neutral position by the side and repeat this for up to thirty seconds when you initially start to get the hang of it and then increasing it to sixty seconds. Do five repetitions each time three times per day. The progression of this exercise involves the rotation of the head and neck to the opposite side first and then reaching back with the arm and hand for the “low-five” and then return the head and arm and hand back to the neutral start position. Do this for 60 seconds for 5 repetitions three times per day.
2. Median Nerve Flossing
Begin by placing your left hand on your right shoulder & look away to the opposite side. Abduct the shoulder to 90 degrees and together extend the elbow, wrist and fingers fully. Then turn your head to the right side and release the whole right upper extremity by flexing the fingers, wrist and elbow together. Repeat this again by looking to the opposite side and extending the entire right upper extremity again. Do this for 60 seconds for 3 sets 3 times per day.
When to See a Medical Professional:
Go to the hospital or call 911 if:
· You are unable to move or have weakness in the body
· You do not have control of limb movement
· You have a loss of bladder or bowel control
· You are disoriented (confused) or have a loss of consciousness
· You have difficulty walking, talking, or a change in vision
· You notice signs and symptoms of a heart attack or stroke