Q:

Why are my hands numb when I wake up?

A:

Sleeping with a flexed wrist is a common cause of numbness and tingling upon rising, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Another frequent cause is carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Full Answer

Compression of the median nerve in the wrist is the primary cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, explains WebMD. The median nerve passes through the small carpal tunnel, so any swelling of the nerve or tendon can cause this type of compression. When the nerve becomes pinched, numbness, tingling, pain radiating up the forearm and hand weakness occur. Initially, symptoms may be intermittent, but they eventually become chronic and harder to treat.

Wrist anatomy, repetitive patterns of motion and some underlying health problems contribute to nerve compression, notes Mayo Clinic. Treatment begins conservatively with wrist splinting; the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain; and the use of corticosteroids to reduce swelling.

Lifestyle changes are helpful. A patient may be referred to occupational or physical therapy and taught stretching and strengthening exercises to help relieve pain and protect the nerve from further damage, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

When conservative treatments fail, surgical treatments are an effective treatment option. The goal of surgery is to relieve pressure on the median nerve by cutting the ligament pressing on the nerve, according to WebMD.

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