Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I seek evaluation for waking up with numb/pins-and-needles in my hands?"
I am a 26 male with no history of anything in particular more than seasonal asthma. I've recently become concerned because my hands often have pins-and-needles when I wake up and I can barely move them for up to 3-4 minutes as sensation returns. This began shortly after being the passenger in a car that was rearended. During three of the eleven months since, I went to physical therapy for my neck and upper spine and all of the other symptoms have gone away.
I would strongly recommend that you see your primary care physician. Your symptoms are concerning. While there could be a minor cause of this, there are many dangerous causes that should be ruled out. In general, the numb and pins and needles sensation is known as a parasthesia. This is often a sign of damage to the nerves. Damage to the nerve is known as a neuropathy. There are many different causes of neuropathy. The most common cause is a direct compression of the nerve. The nerves that supply the hand exit the spinal cord at the bottom of the neck, and therefore an injury to the bones of the neck can cause a compression of the nerve and subsequent symptoms are you describe. While this may be a sign of prior injury that is slow to recover, it is also possible there is ongoing injury. This requires evaluation. There are other causes of nerve pain, beyond compression which should be ruled out. Diabetes, nutritional deficiencies such as low vitamin b12, syphilis, Lyme's disease, myeloma and cancer can all cause problems with the nerves. If other nerves (like the feet) are affected, these causes should be ruled out. Talk to your doctor. You may need an MRI of your neck.
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