I have worked in the human services field since 1996, as a direct care staff and an instructor to children and adults with disabilities.
You've been working at the computer. You go to move the mouse, and your hand starts to twitch and cramp. You wonder if these might be symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. You just wonder why your hands or fingers are twitching involuntarily.
What might be causing this problem? Is it carpal tunnel syndrome or something else?
Let's find out.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There is a nerve that runs down your forearm, down to your wrist and to your thumb, index, and middle fingers. When your arm, hand, and fingers are overworked, the wrist can swell up and compress that nerve, causing these problems you experience in your hand.
This is carpal tunnel syndrome, and it can cause your hand to cramp and twitch.
Other symptoms you might experience are:
- Pain in wrists
- Numbness and/or tingling in fingers
- Itching in hand and fingers
- Weakness and pain in fingers or palm
- Fingers feel swollen but don't appear swollen
- Pain in wrist when first waking up in the morning
- Difficulty feeling heat or cold
Causes of Hand Cramps and Spasms
As stated, carpal tunnel syndrome could be causing your hand spasms and cramping. However, there are many other possible causes:
- Overused muscles due to writing or typing. This can often be alleviated with rest.
- Dehydration and depletion of magnesium and potassium (electrolytes). Staying hydrated and taking electrolyte supplements or eating foods rich in nutrients can alleviate hand cramps in these situations. Drinking soda can make you dehydrated and deplete the magnesium in your body, so you might want to stay away from the carbonated soft drinks.
- Calcium deficiency
- Brain and neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) or Huntington's disease
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Heavy exercise
- Hyperventilation caused by such things as anxiety
- Increased phosphate in the body
- Pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester
- Thyroid disorders
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Side-effects of medications
- Low blood sugar
- Benign essential tumors
- Fasciculation syndrome. This condition involves twitches in the hands, eyelids, limbs, and tongue. The spasms can occur intermittently or continuously but can usually be stopped by consciously moving the body part affected. This condition can also be treated with medications.
You should seek the advice of a physician to find out what is causing your symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by pain or if your hand becomes cold and numb or even blue and pale.
Things to consider if your hand is cramping and twitching:
- Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration
- Overworked muscles
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Underlying neurological problem
Depending on the actual cause of hand cramping and spasms, the problem can be treated in different ways. For example, if it is due to a vitamin D deficiency, you can take vitamin D supplements. If it is due to dehydration, you can stay away from the sodas and make sure you drink plenty of water. Stretching exercises can also help. It also helps to get good exercise because it will keep your muscles loose. However, remember not to overdo it because excessive exercise can actually cause/increase your symptoms.
You could look at your stress levels, too, and consider what medications you're taking.
Of course, if it seems like the symptoms get worse and occur more often and are accompanied by pain and numbness and coldness of the hand, then you definitely want to consult a doctor. Keep in mind that neurological disorders and even low blood sugar could cause these symptoms, so you want a specialist to examine and diagnose you to find out if the symptoms are caused by a more serious condition. However, it could be as simple as getting more rest and healthy recreation, in addition to making sure you are eating a nutritious diet and staying hydrated.
Nothing beats living a healthy lifestyle and being free from stress.
Simon, H. (2012). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Retrieved 2014, April 1 from University of Maryland Medical Center
Kormos, W. A Harvard Medical School Doctor Answers a Question About Hand Cramps. Retrieved 2014, April 2 from Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School
Belzberg, A. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Retrieved 2014, March 28 from Johns Hopskins Medicine
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Retrieved 2014, March 25 from American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Takada, T., Fujioka, H., Mizuno K. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Caused By Idiopathic Calcified Mass. Retrieved 2014, March 24 from National Center for Biotechnology Information
Hand or Foot Spasms. Retrieved 2014, March 26 from The New York Times
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
NathaNater (author) on May 27, 2015:
Thanks for stopping by, glad you liked the article.
Daniela GB from Houston, TX on May 27, 2015:
This is a very informative article, thanks! Carpal tunnel syndrome can be tricky to diagnose, so visiting a hand specialist might be worth it for those who suffer from the symptoms you mentioned above.
NathaNater (author) on August 14, 2014:
Thanks, IslandBites. Much appreciated.
IslandBites from Puerto Rico on August 14, 2014:
Great hub! Vote up.
NathaNater (author) on July 07, 2014:
Thanks, Mona. I think the straight-forward approach is always most helpful.
I get twitching in my thumb and fingers, which I think is just from overwork; usually rest alleviates the problem, fortunately.
Glad you stopped by.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 07, 2014:
This is a very helpful article. I have pain on my entire right arm, so reading about carpal tunnel syndrome gives me possibilities on why this is so. The article is very simple, straight to the point and easy to understand.
NathaNater (author) on May 07, 2014:
Thank you very much, MsDora. Much appreciated.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 07, 2014:
Thank you for this very meaningful presentation. Haven't read much of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; this is very good information. Thanks also for listing other causes of the spasms. Voted up and shared.