Stretches and exercises for numbness in the hands and arms may help relieve the numbness and tingling by restoring blood flow and removing pressure from the joints and nerves. Numbness in the hands and arms may be caused by many conditions including nerve damage, diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome and multiple sclerosis. The cause may also be as simple as staying in a single position for too long.
The following exercises and stretches may help relieve numbness in the hands and arms. Numbness can be a sign of a serious medical condition, and some conditions may be made worse by exercise. Consult your doctor before performing any of these exercises.
Exercises for Numbness in the Arms
Range of motion exercises may help relieve tingling and numbness in the arms. For example, if the source of the numbness is in your neck, try range of motion exercises for the neck. Slowly turn your head left and then right and repeat this for two to four repetitions. Then, keeping your face forward, tilt your ear toward your shoulder. Repeat on the other side for two to four repetitions.
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You can also perform stretches and range of motion exercises in the joints of the arm including the shoulders, elbows and wrists. For example, do flexion and extension stretches for your wrist. For the wrist extension stretch, begin with a straight elbow and your palm facing forward as though you were signaling someone in front of you to stop. Using your other hand, gently pull your fingers back towards your body and hold for 15 seconds.
For the wrist flexion stretch, hold your arm out, this time with your fingers pointed down and your palm facing your body. With your other hand, gently pull your hand toward your body and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat for five repetitions on each arm for both stretches.
Nerve Gliding Exercises
Nerve gliding exercises for numbness in the arms and hands may be beneficial for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Nerves from your spine extend down your arm and may get compressed in elbows or wrists.
Medial nerve gliding exercise for numbness in the hands is one example. To perform this exercise, begin by making a fist; then open your hand, keeping the thumb close to your hand. Keeping the fingers straight, bend the wrist back; then open the thumb away from your hand. Turning your palm up, use your other hand to grasp the thumb and gently stretch it back for three to seven seconds. Do 10 to 15 repetitions per day.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends using heat on the joint for 15 minutes before performing nerve gliding and applying ice for 20 minutes after finishing the exercise.
Numbness in the arms and hands may make you more prone to injury as you may not be able to feel pain while performing these exercises. Perform exercises slowly and only do these moves if they are approved by your doctor.
Arm Numbness Treatment
While these exercises may help with numbness and tingling in the arms and hands, some conditions require different treatments. For example, if your numbness is caused by diabetes, you and your doctor need to address your blood sugar levels.
In some cases, numbness may be caused by prescribed medications. If you experience this side effect, contact your doctor to discuss alternatives. You should also contact your doctor immediately if you lose control of your arm or hand or experience weakness, slurred speech or confusion.