Includes Expert Content
Wife having tingling and numbness in her hands
Robert0917 posted:

Posting a question for my wife.

Not sure if this is the proper forum but it's the closest I could find!

She is having tingling and numbness in her hands, mostly during the night (it is waking her up) and in the morning.

"It seems better when I am getting exercise (walking). I sometimes have the symptoms when I am using a computer mouse. I also have been doing repetitive lab work for years but most of my pipettes/equipment are ergonomically designed and I don't usually have the symptoms while I am pipetting. I do have symptoms sometimes if I am twisting off test tube caps with one hand."

Just wondering if someone can pass along some ideas.

Thank you!
Peter Abaci, MD responded:
Hi Robert,

We certainly see a lot of tingling and pain problems related to performing repetitive tasks. As computers are such a prevalent part of peoples' jobs these days, it is common to see problems like carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably one of the most common causes of numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers and is usually associated with the repetitive use of the hands, often in a fixed position for prolonged periods of time.

I have seen a number of patients over the years who developed repetitive strain-type symptoms from performing delicate lab work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is certainly one possible problem to consider here, but there are other places where the nerves, tendons, and muscles can get inflamed to consider as well. For example, if your wife works with her neck in a flexed position for too long, she may be prone to nerve irritation around the neck that could cause referred pain down the arms into the hands.

At this point it would be reasonable to consult with a specialist for further testing and considerations for treatments. Changing positions frequently, taking regular breaks from the same tasks, and re-examining posture, body mechanics, and ergonomics can all help. Here is a link to an article I wrote on things that can be done to help manage pain at the workplace: