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- Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:41 pm
What causes hands to tingle but not burn?
| Dr. Tamer Fouad
- Thu Nov 23, 2006 5:52 am
Paresthesia is a medical term that refers to a spontaneous sensory disturbance that is usually described as tingling or numbness. The sensation can be painless or painful, usually occurs without a stimulus and, is commonly felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, although it can occur in different parts of the body.
Parasthesia is not a very specific symptom and hence there are many causes:
Paresthesia affecting the thumb, the first two fingers, half of the ring finger, and the related part of the hand means that the median nerve is the one affected possibly in a compression process.
While the compression of the ulnar nerve will lead to numbness in the the other half of the ring finger, the little finger, and median part of the hand.
These two examples occur as a result of chronic nerve compression in the so called entrapment syndromes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common of these syndromes in which the median nerve is compressed in narrow channel in the wrist where it passes to innervate the muscles of the lateral part of the hand.
In disc disease or spinal arthritis the nerve roots are compressed (radiculopathy) leading to paresthesia that is felt according to the level of affection. In case it occurs in the neck (cervical spine), the paresthesia is usually felt in the arms.
Trauma and irritation to the nerve can also come from inflammation to the surrounding tissue. This includes conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Of importance also is repetitive trauma in occupational exposure that leads to ischemia such as in Raynaud's phenomenon or hammer hand. These conditions lead to paresthesia and may lead to trophic changes.
Some metabolic diseases give characteristic pictures of paresthesia, for instance, the symmetrical "glove and stocking" distribution in the hands and feet which is well known in people affected by diabetes. Other causes include hypothyroidism.
If it continues then you should seek medical attention. If it is unilateral and affects some fingers but not others then it is most likely one of the entrapment syndromes listed above.