If Your Fingers Feel Numb, It Could Be A Sign Of This

Our earliest experience of having a body part feel numb was probably when we sat on our foot for too long on the couch or after a dental procedure. Numbness might be described as a strange, tingly feeling, but sometimes it can be painful. The Mayo Clinic describes numbness as losing sensation in a part of your body that usually causes a feeling of burning, tingling, or even pins and needles. Is it normal for body parts to go numb?

Numbness is a symptom that has been commonly associated with chronic health conditions that can impact your vital organs. Conditions such as diabetes and fibromyalgia are well-known for causing painful numbness and tingling (via WebMD). With the rise in the use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, even people who don't have a system condition are experiencing numbness of the fingers. You may be asking yourself, "What does using devices have to do with my fingers going numb?"

Smartphone use may be getting on your nerves

Your fingers going numb could be a sign that something is getting on your nerves, literally. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, compression neuropathy is a term that describes conditions where something is putting pressure on the nerve. Compression of the nerves coming from the neck can lead to conditions that cause numbness in the fingers.

The source of nerve compression can come from a mass in the body, swelling, and even using your electronic devices too much. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health studied young, healthy adults to find out if their smartphone addiction was related to conditions of the neck and hand. It was concluded that the overuse of smartphones caused text neck, an injury due to repeatedly looking down for prolonged periods of time. The chronic injury of neck muscles associated with text neck can lead to musculoskeletal disorders of the hand.

Compression syndrome could be the culprit

There are several compression syndromes that affect the nerves in your fingers and cause numbness. The most commonly known compression syndrome affecting the fingers is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). According to the Cleveland Clinic, CTS occurs when the carpal tunnel becomes narrowed and the median nerve is compressed.  Even pregnancy can cause compression of the median nerve. CTS can cause numbness in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger.

Compression of other nerves in the hand can also cause numbness in the fingers. Guyon Syndrome causes numbness in the pinky finger when the ulnar nerve becomes compressed in the wrist. Like in Guyon Syndrome, Cubital Tunnel Syndrome causes numbness in the pinky finger, but the compression occurs at the elbow (via American Society for Surgery of the Hand). Your doctor can perform tests to determine if compression is causing your fingers to go numb. Physical therapy, chiropractic care, or surgery may provide you with relief.