Tingling and Numbness
Sometimes we can feel a sensation of pins and needles pricking us in any part of the body. In medical terms, this is known as Paresthesia. People generally notice these sensations in hands, feet, arms, and legs. If numbness and tingling persist and there’s no obvious cause for the sensations, it could be a symptom of a disease or injury, such as multiple sclerosis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Daily activities can cause tingling and numbness like falling asleep on your arm or sitting crossed legs. However, these are examples of nerves getting compressed temporarily due to pressure and the symptoms improve once you get moving.
Other causes can be:
• Herniated disc (pressure on nerves)
• Swelling of the spinal cord or brain
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Side effects of some medications, especially chemotherapy
• An insect or animal bite
• Toxins found in seafood
• Abnormal level of vitamin B-12, potassium, calcium, or sodium
• Radiation therapy
Some diseases produce numbness or tingling as a symptom. Examples of these diseases include:
• Raynaud’s phenomenon
• multiple sclerosis
• stroke or transient ischemic attack (mini stroke)
• hardening of the arteries
• underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
When to seek medical help
As we saw, daily activities can cause tingling and numbness but it resolves within minutes. However, if it continues despite no obvious reason or you feel dizzy and have muscle spasms, you should consult your doctor
Seek urgent care if you recently experienced:
• a back, neck, or head injury
• inability to walk or move
• loss of consciousness, even if only for a short time
• feelings of confusion or trouble thinking clearly
• slurred speech
• vision problems
• feelings of weakness or severe pain
• losing control of your bowels or bladder
The treatment will depend on the reason for your symptoms and will focus on resolving any underlying medical conditions.
• Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is effective in the treatment of tingling and numbness.
• Exercising for just 30 minutes a day on at least three or four days a week will help with chronic pain management.
• Manual therapy: Studies show Active Release Techniques (ART) may be effective and safe in relieving symptoms.
• Splints as needed, prevent deformity and contractures
• Education, re-managing conditions, preventing damage and emotional support.