When your nerves are irritated or compressed, they can give you that annoying pricking sensation. It can occur very suddenly and fade just as easily or become your constant companion. Depending on what’s causing the numbness, symptoms might feel worse after being inactive for some time, upon waking up, or at nighttime. But what could be causing this distressing numbness? The answer: many different things, with the following conditions being the most common:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This occurs due to inflammation in your wrist, which compresses your median nerve, the nerve that gives sensation to your palm, outside the ring finger, middle finger, index finger, and thumb. However, the inflammation is typically linked to underlying health problems such as wrist fractures, high blood pressure, thyroid disorder, and diabetes. When you go to your general physician in Clive, Iowa, he or she will check the amount of damage to your median nerve to determine whether you’ll need surgery. If not, you’ll just need to take anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids or NSAIDs and wear a wrist splint to help keep your affected wrist in a relaxed position and reduce further damage to your nerve.

Osteoarthritis

This is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down. Eventually, the bones within your joint will rub against each other and cause numbness, stiffness, and pain. Common treatments for osteoarthritis include pain medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs, certain exercises for strengthening the muscles, and cold and hot therapy to ease the pain and stiffness.

Gout

gout

This occurs when a part of your body, usually the feet and sometimes the hands and wrists, has an excess buildup of uric acid and causes redness, discomfort, and inflammation. This happens because of the crystals that form due to the buildup. Treatment usually involves medications for reducing inflammation and uric acid levels and certain lifestyle changes such as refraining from drinking alcoholic beverages and eating a healthier diet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system attacks the membranes’ lining around your joints. This causes your bone and cartilage to wear away and your joint to misalign. Common symptoms include numbness, pain, and stiffness in the affected joints that are typically worse after inactivity. Unfortunately, this disease isn’t curable, but you can manage your symptoms with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids. If you have severely damaged joints, you might also need surgery.

Wrist Tendonitis

This happens when tendons surrounding your wrist get inflamed or irritated. It can result in swelling, a warm feeling, and numbness in the affected site. Treatment typically involves icing your wrist, wearing a wrist splint or cast, self-massage, and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Many different conditions can cause numbness in your wrist, but the good news is that most of these conditions won’t require surgery. That said, if it’s accompanied with swelling, redness, stiffness, and undeniable pain, it’s best to get your wrist checked as soon as possible so that you can treat it promptly and hopefully avoid surgery.