Ask The Experts: Finger Numbness


Q: My fingers sometimes go numb. Do I need to be concerned?

Passing numbness in the fingers is most often caused by a minor misalignment in the neck, arm or hand. We’ve all slept in a funny position and woken up with a body part that’s gone numb; this happens when pressure is applied to the nerves, which temporarily decreases blood flow to them and interrupts the movement of fluid within the nerve cells and along the fibers that carry the nerves electrical signals. When the pressure is relieved, the numbness goes away.

Persistent numbness in the fingers could signal nerve compression, which is more serious. A pinched nerve at the neck, armpit, elbow or wrist could lead to numbness in the fingers. At these locations the nerves are particularly prone to compression because they run through tight spaces. Carpal tunnel syndrome, another possible cause, is the result of prolonged pressure on the median nerve within the wrist.

If the numbness in your fingers persists or you have any signs of muscle weakness, see your doctor. Treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications and occupational therapy, are more effective if you get help within the first few weeks of noticing symptoms.


Nader Paksima, D.O., assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at New York University’s Hospital for Joint Diseases, in New York City

Originally published by Pain Solutions Magazine, Spring 2010
Photo credit: Christiansc14 at

Previous articleMigraine Sufferers May Find Relief In New Magnetic Device
Next articleThe Medicinal Qualities of Paw-Paw Fruit
Profile photo of Pain Resource Staff
The Pain Resource Staff includes the [both current and former] writers, editors, and producers, of miscellaneous online or published content. When we feature guest writers, multiple contributing writers on one article, or submit announcements, you'll see us posting with this account. Proper credit for the actual author(s) or content creator(s) will be listed in, under, or on, the content itself. In very rare cases, The Pain Resource Staff account may be used as a top-level content attribution when we lack a proper Author Biography from the content creator(s). (Note that we would never post content without author credit! We may just lack the author's biographical data to display on the page.) If you have submitted content for Pain Resource, and you would like for your Author Biography to appear on the content's page, please send proof of authorship and the name of the article you are requesting to have top-level attribution for, to We'll also need the biography itself, as well as a headshot of you. Thanks very much!