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Home Health Hand Cramps: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Hand Cramps: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Hand cramps can happen for a variety of reasons. But whatever caused it, hand cramping can be uncomfortable. Not only that, because it can also make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. While most hand cramps end up soothed after a while, some can be severe and painful.

That uncomfortable and painful tingling sensation might not only affect your hands. Other times, it starts with hand cramps and ends up affecting your other body parts. If you’ve suffered persistent hand cramps, check out what causes it and how to remedy hand cramps at home.

What Common Signs and Symptoms Occur With Hand Cramps?

You know it’s hand cramps when you start to feel a tingling sensation in your hands. The muscle contraction becomes involuntary and uncontrollable. Sometimes it eases after a few minutes, and other times it can cause excruciating pain.

Hand cramps may also go with signs and symptoms you might experience in any of the structures of your hand. Some of the common hand cramp symptoms include:

  • Paresthesia – the burning, prickling, itching, and tingling sensation in your hands
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness of your fingers or any part of the hand
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty moving your fingers, wrist, or hand
  • Edema – swelling of your joints or hand

As mentioned above, hand cramps may also go with symptoms that can affect your other body parts, such as:

  • Muscle twitching or cramps in other areas of your body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiffness, swelling, and pain in your other joints
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitching
  • Prickling sensation
  • Leg pain
  • Fatigue

In rare cases, hand cramps may also occur with other more severe symptoms. Sometimes, there might be life-threatening conditions behind it. If you experience hand cramps with intense muscle pain and weakness, seizures, and passing out, seek immediate medical care.

What Causes Hand Cramps?

Before you can look for ways to treat your hand cramps, you need to know what causes it in the first place. Hand cramps occur due to various reasons, and among its common causes include:

  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance, particularly magnesium
  • Poor circulation in overused muscles
  • Diabetic stiff hand syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome


Not drinking enough water, especially on hot, sunny days, can lead to dehydration. What happens then is your muscles will not function properly because of a lack of water. It may then cause uncomfortable hand cramps.

Other symptoms that occur with hand cramps caused by dehydration include:

  • Dry skin
  • Bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Craving sweet foods
  • Fever and chills

Low Magnesium

Your body needs electrolytes to function normally. For instance, your muscles need vital electrolytes like magnesium to maintain proper functions. Otherwise, you might experience painful hand cramps and contractions.

If low magnesium caused your hand cramps, you might also experience a few of these other symptoms.

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Asthma
  • Fatigue
  • Menstrual cramps

Poor Circulation

Hand cramps can also be a result of poor blood circulation in parts of your hand. Often, poor circulation can be because of overusing your hand. For instance, you could be typing or writing for an extended period. Gripping things like tools or musical instruments excessively can cause poor circulation.

Hand cramps due to poor circulation may also include other symptoms like:

  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness
  • Stinging and throbbing pain in your hand

Stiff Hand Syndrome

Stiff hand syndrome is often a compilation of diabetes. It limits the movement of your fingers. This sign is common for people suffering from both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes.

Other common symptoms that go with hand cramps if you have stiff hand syndrome include:

  • Stiffness in your little finger which can also extend to your thumb
  • Waxy and thick skin, especially on the back of your hand
  • Inability to bring your fingers together
  • Inability to straighten your joints

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This condition happens due to the compression of the nerve from your forearm to your palm. Its primary cause is an irritated tendon that started to swell or thicken. After a while, it can lead to hand cramps.

If you are experiencing this condition, you might also have the following signs:

  • Swelling sensation
  • Tingling and burning in your fingers and palm
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Worse symptoms after you wake up

How to Treat Hand Cramps?

If you know what causes your hand cramps, it’s easy to address the situation. You’ll know how to relieve yourself from the discomfort and pain it causes. It will also help you keep hand cramps from occurring in the future.

Check out how to treat hand cramps depending on their causes.

Treating Dehydration

If dehydration caused hand cramps, you could remedy that by drinking enough water. Drinking electrolytes will also work faster to rehydrate yourself. You can also make a rehydration drink using a solution made of water, sugar, and salt.

Treating Low Magnesium

Increasing your magnesium intake can help ease your hand cramps. You can take magnesium supplements or apply magnesium products. Changing to a healthier diet helps. Add many whole grains, legumes, and leafy greens can also help increase magnesium.

Treating Circulation Issues

Treating blood circulation issues due to excessive muscle exertion is often simple. You can rest your hand and fingers or do some simple stretching routine. For instance, if you’re writing for hours on end, find time to relax your hands.

You can also seek an exercise program or treatments from your doctor. Treatments depend on what caused your poor blood circulation.

Treating Stiff Hand Syndrome

Simple hand and finger exercises and stretching can help strengthen your hand muscles. These practices can help keep them flexible. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can also help reduce symptoms related to stiff hand syndrome, like hand cramps.

Your doctor can also recommend physical therapy to improve your hand movements.

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

You can help treat hand cramps due to carpal tunnel syndrome by applying a cool pack to affected areas. Your doctor can also prescribe medications or physical therapy to help. You can also try exercises like yoga to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

Take frequent breaks between activities. It is a wise practice, especially when working out, to avoid any aggravating symptoms.

Other Home Remedies for Hand Cramps

Most hand cramps don’t need immediate medical attention. Try home remedies for hand cramps before you go to the emergency room.

These hand cramps home remedies should help you feel better, so you can go back to your regular routine.

  • Stretch It Out

When your hand cramps first hit, you need to stop any activity you’re doing that might be causing the cramping. Stretch it out for immediate relief. Stretching before working out is a wise practice to avoid hand cramps while you exercise.

  • Massage Your Hand

Massaging your hand, where you feel some tingling sensation, can provide immediate relief. You can use your other hands to loosen any stiff muscle or use a hand roller.

  • Apply Hot or Cold Compress

A cold or hot compress also does a long way for alleviating stiff and cramping hands. Heat application can soothe the pain and loosen up your muscle as soon as the cramping starts. You can either apply a hot compress or take a hot shower.

After the pain subsides a bit, applying an ice pack can further relax your hand muscles.

The Takeaway

In most cases, hand cramps are minor and not life-threatening at all. Still, it’s essential to identify what caused your hand cramping. After all, hand cramps can occur for many reasons. If you know the cause, you can take appropriate measures to prevent grave symptoms.



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