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Understanding the Causes Behind Numbness and Pins and Needles in Your Hands

image showing the distribution of pins and needles and numbness hands when someone has carpal tunnel syndrome

Patients often report experiencing pins and needles or numbness in their hands. In this article, we will explore the primary reasons for these symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Understanding Symptoms and Solutions

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common cause of pins and needles and numbness in the hands and typically manifests as pins and needles or numbness in the thumb and all fingers except the pinky. Symptoms usually occur in bed and can be relieved by shaking hands. This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist, which passes under the transverse carpal ligament.

Compression may also occur as the nerve passes through the pronator teres muscle near the elbow.

Conservative treatment involves stretching and mobilizing the nerve and wrist bones, and we will provide you with exercises to perform at home. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to release the nerve at the wrist by cutting the ligament.

a surgeon's torso and arms holding a man's hand prior to carpal tunnel surgery to alleviate numbness and pins and needles

Handling Numbness: Tackling Ulnar Nerve Pressure in Cyclists

a cyclist riding a bicycle up off his seat with a countyside background

Another cause of pins and needles and numbness in the hands occurs when the ulnar nerve is under pressure, causing the little finger to numb. This is common among cyclists, especially during long rides, due to pressure on the ulnar nerve from the handlebars. Changing the position of your hands on the handlebars can alleviate this symptom.


Neck Issues and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Disc herniations or protrusions and arthritis in the neck can also cause nerve pressure, leading to weakness and possible symptoms in only part of the hand or arm.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can compress blood vessels or nerves when you lift your hands overhead, such as when hanging out laundry. This condition can present purely as nerve compression or involve blood vessels, which is more severe and requires a visit to a specialist.

imaging showing a normal dis from the top and one shwing the nucleus pulposus braking the inner disc wall

Diabetes and Medications

an image with differen coloured writing with words such as diabetes, body type, cells, healthy,mellitus,resistaneand others

Other causes of these symptoms may include diabetes or certain medications, so discussing these possibilities with a healthcare professional is essential.

Exercises for Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome, a common cause of hand numbness and “pins and needles,” can be managed with targeted exercises that enhance hand and wrist function. Below are some recommended exercises:

  1. Wrist Flexor Stretch: Extend your arm, palm up, and gently pull back your fingers towards your body. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch hands.

  2. Wrist Extensor Stretch: Extend your arm, palm down, and gently press your fingers towards your body. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch hands.

  3. Median Nerve Glides: Extend your arm, palm up, and alternate between bending your wrist back and making a fist. Move your fist side to side.

  4. Wrist Lifts with Light Weights: With a light weight, rest your forearm on a table and move your wrist up and down with your palm facing up and down.

  5. Tendon Glides: Extend your fingers, make a hook fist, then a full fist, and finally, straighten your fingers again. Repeat several times.

  6. Thumb Stretch: Extend your thumb, then stretch it across your palm towards the pinky finger base.

Remember to do these exercises gently and stop if you experience pain. 

Senior Woman Is Showing Exercise For Pain Relief. Forearm Stretching For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain


Chiropractic procedures can help when you suffer pins and needles or numbness in the hands, but not in every case. Please call us if you are unsure whether your condition can benefit from chiropractic treatment. We are happy to discuss it over the phone before scheduling an appointment.