You have experienced the weird numb sensation in your hands or legs, which we get after staying in one position for a long time, haven’t you? Do you know what it is and what happens in your body when you get it and why?
In case whereby the tingling result from staying in an awkward position, the sensation occurs due to the blocking of nerves. The network of nerves that pervades, for example, arms and hands, is connected to the spine via the radial nerve. It stems from the spine and stretches across the shoulder and along the arm.
Sleeping with the resting on the arm, lying on it, or draping the arm over a rigid object may cause a constriction of some part of the nerve. The compression blocks signals and affects the hand’s sensory ability. Remember yourself waking up and finding yourself being barely able to move your hand. Blood circulation is also affected: did you see how pale your hand was? When you finally free it, you get a warming sensation as it regains sensitivity and blood refills the thirsty vessels.
A vascular spasm (Raynaud’s syndrome) is another common cause of the tingling sensation in fingers. It impedes blood flow in the fingers and makes them feel numb. There are lots of factors contributing to the disorder: cold, physical work, emotional stress, etc. People, whose occupation requires intensive use of fingers (musicians, operators of vibrating devices, etc.), are more likely to develop Raynaud’s syndrome. Some people develop so called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a condition resulting from the compression of the median nerve, which is responsible for the work of the thumb, index, and middle finger.
Numbness in fingers (paresthenia) can be a sign of a more serious disorder. Therefore, if you get the sensation for reasons other than lying on your arms for about an hour, call your doctor. Please, see if the numbness is localized to just one or two fingers of one hand or it occurs in other parts of your body as well. There is a whole range of possible causes, such as diabetes, pernicious anemia, arthritis, lupus, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, diabetic or drug-induced neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, chronic stress, etc. – whatever can affect blood circulation and cause your nervous system to break down.
What’s the verdict?
As follows from the above, it takes more than just a brief look at your body to understand what’s happening. Diagnosing it can be a challenge. There are stories from patients, who had gone through a nerve-shattering experience of hearing life-changing news from some not-so-well-caring health care providers. It is absolutely mandatory that you consult a doctor, who you trust and have all reasons to evaluate as someone who really qualifies to study your case. Please, prior to rushing for hastily prescribed expensive drugs, make sure their beneficial influence outweighs side effects. Meet a physician who really wants to get to the core of it. It is very important to establish a really human contact with your doctor, so, look for one who will want to know some common yet important things about your life and health: what and how you eat, how you are doing in your family relationship, if you sleep well or not, etc.