Herniated disc tingling hands is a symptom often associated with a cervical herniated disc, although the actual reasons for tingling in the neck, shoulder, arms, hands and/or fingers can vary greatly. Tingling is also known as pins and needles and is typically experienced with bouts of subjective numbness, weakness and possibly pain in any affected region of the anatomy.
This essay clarifies some of the causative explanations for tingling which is expressed in the hands in association with a known or possible cervical herniated disc. We will discuss the relevance of tingling sensations and what a patient should do if they are diagnosed with paresthesia in the hands or fingers.
Most hand tingling conditions linked to a herniated disc will be blamed on foraminal stenosis as the actual causative process. This is also commonly called a pinched nerve and occurs when a cervical nerve root is impinged upon as it enters the neuroforaminal opening.
Commonly, herniations enter into the neuroforaminal space and might even provide a mass effect on the nerve root, but true compression is very rare, unless the entire foramen is virtually sealed off. In these cases of actual nerve compression, the symptoms expected would be complete objective numbness and weakness, since the affected nerve root would not be capable of signaling at all.
Blaming a herniated disc for chronic tingling is inaccurate in most diagnosed patients, as this is not a typical result of ongoing actual neurological compression. This is not an absolute rule, but it is a good guideline.
Tingling in the hands is also commonly linked to work-related issues, such as thoracic outlet syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome. These are nonspinal sources of pain and related neurological symptoms which are commonly misdiagnosed.
In many diagnosed patients, the actual symptoms demonstrated will be too diverse in location and/or expression to be explained from most spinal or nonspinal structural issues. However, these types of far ranging symptoms fit the oxygen deprivation model perfectly, and ischemia may be the true culprit, especially for patients who can not find lasting relief from indicated traditional treatments.
Other potential causes of tingling hands may include localized injury, diabetes, general upper body neuropathy, localized circulatory concerns and some particular disease processes.
Tingling hands can be caused by muscular or vascular issues, as well as the more common ones already discussed. Tingling can be disconcerting, but of all neurological effects, it is perhaps the most benign.
I have begun to see an ever increasing medical association between RSI (repetitive stress injury or repetitive strain injury) and tingling. However, just like all the other scapegoat conditions, this diagnosis has fallen on shaky grounds.
If you have not found relief from pain and tingling in your hands blamed on a herniated disc, take time to reconsider the other possible explanations why the tingling just won’t resolve.
In summary, it is vital to understand that unless a cervical herniation definitively influences a nerve through direct compression or chemical irritation, there is virtually no way the tingling can be sourced from the disc abnormality. Herniations themselves are not inherently problematic and only generate symptoms when they affect neurological tissues. Furthermore, the location of the symptoms will correspond to the nerve root affected, if the herniation is indeed the source.
Symptoms which occur in other areas not served by the affected nerve or in an area which is too large to be explained by a single level nerve compression syndrome are once again considered suspect from a diagnostic point of view.