Numbness is an abnormal loss of feeling that can occur anywhere in your body, but it most often occurs in the hands and arms. Numbness is dangerous because you may not notice when you hit, cut, bruise or burn the area. Exercising the affected body part may help decrease the numbness.
Numbness can result from simply standing or sitting in one spot for too long as stated in the "Numbness and Tingling," article at the medlineplus.com. Simply shifting your position can remedy the numbness. There are many more serious causes of numbness such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, seizures, and strokes, injury to a nerve, deficiencies of calcium, sodium and vitamin B12.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common cause of numbness in arms and hands. The symptoms begin after pressure builds on the median nerve and tendons of the carpal tunnel. Simple exercises and a change in how you perform activities using your hands is sometimes the only treatment needed.
Orthoseek.com recommends exercises for the hands and arms should be done while working on something repetitive or with continuous motion. You should take a break every 20 minutes and perform the following exercises.
Clench your fist for 5 seconds, then release and straighten your fingers totally for 5 seconds. Repeat this 5 times with both hands.
Bend your fingers back as far as possible with one hand, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat with the other hand and do 5 repetitions on each.
An effective isometric exercise for your hands and arms is to clench your fist tightly with the bottom of the clenched fist facing upwards. Use your other hand to force your fist down, pushing up at the same time with the clenched fist. Repeat the exercise but do it with the clenched fist facing down this time. Repeat each step 5 times and on each hand.
If you work at a desk all day, try to keep your wrists straight whenever possible. If you use tools, make sure to grasp them with your entire hand and not just the tips of your fingers. Wear sturdy work gloves while working with vibrating or power tools--this will help to avoid pressure on the median nerve.
Seeing a doctor to diagnose your numbness is important to rule out serious causes, which may need medication or treatment. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience paralysis or inability to move your arm or leg after getting an injury to the neck, back, or shoulders. Medical help is vital if numbness or tingling accompanies loss of bladder or bowel control, you lose consciousness, have slurring in your speech, have difficulty moving around or experience vision changes.