Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


Every now and then my hands go numb. If I shake them out the pins and needle sensation goes away. What could be causing this?


You may be describing a test used to look for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) called the flick sign. This test is done by shaking the hands as if shaking down a thermometer. It's positive for CTS if the symptoms go away after shaking or flicking the hands. The flick sign is a highly sensitive and specific test for CTS.

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are pain, numbness, and tingling in the thumbs and first two fingers. Numbness in all fingers can also occur. Symptoms are usually worse at night and often wake patients up from a sound sleep.

Age (over 45 years old) and body size (obesity) are risk factors for CTS. CTS is also a common problem associated with other conditions such as pregnancy, diabetes, and thyroid problems. It may be a good idea to have your doctor take a look at you. Sometimes early diagnosis can help take care of the problem quickly and easily.

LtCol Robert S. Wainner, PT, PhD, et al. Development of a Clinical Prediction Rule for the Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. April 2005. Vol. 86. No. 4. Pp. 609-618.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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