The Southeastern Spine Institute

Why Are My Fingers Tingling?

Very often, common symptoms like tingling in your fingers are simply the result of sitting at your desk too long. At other times, however, those same symptoms could signal a serious condition that needs immediate attention. The tingling also may be the first signs of a chronic illness that, if caught early, could prevent further complications.

So when you start to feel tingling or numbness in your fingers and you worry that something’s seriously wrong, follow your instincts and call your doctor at the Southeastern Spine Institute. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Meanwhile, here are a few checklists to consider. The more you can describe the nature of your issues to the doctor, the quicker he can find a diagnosis.

Common Causes

First, calm down. Just because your fingers are tingling, it doesn’t necessarily point to a serious ailment or injury. However, if you’ve recently been bitten by an animal or insect, seek medical attention immediately if your fingers start tingling. Here are some simple and common reasons that may be behind your numb digits:

  • Staying in the same position too long
  • A vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Sodium, potassium or calcium levels are askew
  • Restricted blood flow to your hands because of your position
  • Taking specific prescription medication

More Serious Causes

  • A herniated disk
  • Nerve damage from chemical abuse or exposure
  • An injured nerve from an accident involving your neck or shoulder
  • Abnormal pressure from a tumor, infection or scar tissue

These conditions often have other symptoms too. For example, if you experience upper back or neck pain, that may point to a herniated disk. When in doubt, consult a back specialist, such as one of the doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute.

Medical Causes

Other, medical sources may be causing your tingling fingers. Here are several medical conditions known to cause numbness in your fingers:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (when your blood vessels narrow)
  • Shingles
  • Heart stroke, including a “mini-stroke” (transient ischemic attack)
  • Multiple sclerosis

All of these causes require medical attention. Make an appointment with your doctor.

Medical Problems Requiring Immediate Attention

While you most likely don’t need medical attention just because your fingers are tingling, call 9-1-1 or visit your local emergency room if you also experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Your fingers tingle after you’ve had a back, head or neck injury
  • You can’t think clearly or you’ve blacked out
  • You’re experiencing weakness or trouble walking
  • You’re slurring your speech or can’t focus your vision properly
  • You can’t move or lose control of your arm or leg
  • You’ve lost bowel or bladder control

Sometimes, finger tingling can occur for no obvious reason. It could be that your hand has just “fallen asleep.” If you notice any of the following less serious-sounding symptoms along with the numbness, you should still contact your doctor:

  • You feel dizzy or have muscle spasms
  • You’re experiencing pain as well as tingling in your fingers
  • The tingling increases when you move around
  • Your forearm, neck or back hurt
  • You find a rash on your skin
  • You’re urinating more frequently