Is Numbness & Tingling A Serious Condition?
Understanding what’s causing numbness and tingling sensation in your body is very important. The feeling can happen on any part of your body, including the feet and hands. When the numbness and tingling start at one part, it risks spreading to other areas. Ensure that you consult your doctor before the problem elevates.
In most cases, numbness and tingling sensations are not very serious. Individuals suffering from peripheral neuropathy often have these sensations. The majority of the time, these can be more intense.
Whether you should be worried about numbness and tingling depends on the overall intensity of the sensations. Additionally, you have to consider where the condition happens. Use the following guide to gauge when to schedule a visit to the doctor regarding your numbness and tingling:
- If it starts gradually and persists
- If it starts spreading to other parts of the body
- It keeps recurring
- Affects sensitive areas of your body
- Appears linked to certain activities or tasks
Immediately contact emergency numbers when the condition starts suddenly and is followed by paralysis, weakness, dizziness, difficulty talking, confusion, and severe headache.
Which parts of the body are affected by numbness and tingling?
Numbness can happen in almost any part of your body. You may notice the sensations mainly in the following areas:
The medical world refers to these sensations as “paresthesia”. Different factors can lead to it happening, including crossing the legs while seated and sleeping on your arm.
Your numbness and tingling sensations may persist without obvious reasons. They could come from multiple sclerosis or an injury.
Causes of numbness and tingling
Numbness sensations often come from your daily life. For instance:
- Sleeping on your arms
- Crossing the legs while sitting
- Sitting or standing in a position for a long time
Generally, these activities exert pressure on the nerves. You can relieve the feeling by moving around.
In other cases, you may have numbness and tingling happening jointly. Trigger factors for such instances include:
- Radiation therapy
- Animal or insect bite
- Mercury and toxics in seafood
- Reduced levels of potassium, vitamin B12, sodium, and potassium
- Animal or insect bite
- Injury to the nerves
You may also suffer from numbness and tingling when you have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke, migraine, and seizure disorders. Getting medications that help with these illnesses may alleviate the numbness and tingling sensations.
Diagnosis for Numbness and Tingling
The process of diagnosing numbness and tingling entails a look into your medical history. Ensure that you provide detailed information. In addition, reveal all the symptoms that you experience even if you feel they may not have anything to do with the condition. In particular, let the doctor know about a recent infection, injury, or vaccination.
The doctor may also want to know information such as recent prescriptions or over-the-counter medications.
With these details, you can then undertake a physical examination. Besides, one or more of the following could be done:
- Toxicology screening
- Thyroid function tests
- Complete blood count
- Vitamin level tests
- Nerve conduction studies
- Electrolyte level tests
Furthermore, imaging tests in the area will help your physician arrive at a diagnosis. The imaging tests done are CT scan, X-ray, MRI, angiogram on the arteries, or ultrasound.
Recovery is possible. Many have even spoken with their doctors and either reduced or completely eliminated their medications. The amount of treatment needed to allow the nerves to fully recover varies from person to person and can only be determined after a detailed neurological and vascular evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some numbness and tingling signs?
There are many reasons why people suffer from numbness & tingling. The most common one is diabetes. 75% of all diabetics have some form of nerve damage. But you don’t necessarily have to be a diabetic to have numbness & tingling. Some of the other causes are spinal cord problems (like spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or a bulging disc), trauma, infectious disease, certain medications, exposure to toxins, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, and more.
When should I be worried about numbness and tingling?
Numbness and tingling typically go away on their own (like when your foot falls asleep. However, if the problem persists or is involved in the loss of bowel or bladder function, it is cause for concern.
Why are numbness and tingling bad?
Numbness & tingling could just be due to sitting too long or hitting a nerve (like when one smacks the elbow in a door frame). However, long-standing numbness & tingling may be a sign of a serious neurological problem or a sign of nerve damage.
Can medications cure numbness & tingling?
The short answer is no. There are four medications available that physicians prescribe for these problems. These include Neurontin, Gabapentin, Lyrica, and Cymbalta. Medications do not cure, reverse or stop the damage.
What is the prognosis for numbness & tingling?
Numbness & tingling is a degenerative, progressive disease. What that means is that in time, the symptoms get worse (in terms of frequency and intensity). In almost all cases, patients report that their symptoms are worse today than they were five years ago. If they follow the natural progression of things, they will be worse five years from now.
How do to test for numbness & tingling?
The first thing that we need to do is a consultation followed by a neurological exam. We will check your circulation (essential for seeing if the blood flow in the extremities is normal ). Next, we check your balance pathways. Tests are done with the eyes open and then the eyes shut. Following this, we check the sensory & motor pathways. We’ll quantify your results. 0 – 30% of nerve damage is minimal nerve damage. 30% to 50% of nerve damage indicates moderate severity. 50% to 85% of nerve damage indicates a severe case. And a score of greater than 85% means there is nothing I can do to help. By quantifying the amount of nerve damage, we can predict how long it will take to correct the problem.