Numbness and tingling in the body, paraesthesia: What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Numbness and tingling; Sensory loss; Paresthesias; Tingling and numbness; Loss of sensation; Pins and needles sensation

What is numbness and tingling?

Numbness and tingling – these are the symptoms, which are characterized by a tingling sensation, goosebumps or numbness in various parts of the body. They can be temporary or permanent and can affect different areas, like hands, legs, face or other parts of the body. These symptoms can be due to a variety of reasons and require medical evaluation and treatment..

Causes of numbness and tingling

There are many possible causes of numbness and tingling, including:

  • Sitting or standing in the same position for a long time
  • Nerve damage (a neck injury can cause numbness anywhere in the arm or hand, while a lower back injury can cause numbness or tingling in the back of the leg)
  • Pressure on the nerves of the spine, eg, due to herniated disc
  • Pressure on peripheral nerves due to dilated blood vessels, tumors, scar tissue or infection
  • Shingles or herpes zoster infection
  • Other infections, such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, syphilis or tuberculosis.
  • Lack of blood supply in the area, eg, due to hardening of the arteries , frostbite or vascular inflammation
  • Abnormal calcium levels, potassium or sodium in the body
  • Vitamin B deficiency, such as B1, AT 6, B12 or folic acid
  • The use of some drugs
  • Use of certain illicit street drugs
  • Nerve damage due to lead, alcohol or tobacco or chemotherapy drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Animal bites
  • Insect bites, mites, ticks and spiders
  • seafood toxins
  • Congenital diseases, affects the nerves

Numbness and tingling can cause other conditions, including:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (nerve pressure on the wrist)
  • Diabetes
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Convulsions
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) , sometimes called “mini stroke”
  • underactive thyroid gland
  • Raynaud's phenomenon (constriction of blood vessels, usually in the arms and legs)

Numbness and tingling symptoms

Numbness and tingling may be accompanied by other symptoms, including:

  • Feeling “polzaniya insect” or feeling, like goosebumps on the skin
  • Decreased sensation in the affected area
  • Weakness in related muscles
  • Pain or discomfort in the area, where numbness and tingling occurs

When to see a doctor

If you have symptoms of numbness and tingling, it is important to see a doctor to assess your condition and determine the cause. You must seek medical attention, if:

  • Numbness and tingling become chronic or worsen over time
  • Symptoms affect your ability to complete everyday tasks
  • Associated symptoms appear, such as pain, weakness or loss of coordination
  • Do you have a history of injury, diseases or medical conditions, which may be associated with numbness and tingling

Questions, which the doctor may ask

During a visit to the doctor, he may ask you the following questions to find out the cause and nature of numbness and tingling:

  • When did the symptoms of numbness and tingling first appear??
  • What parts of your body do you experience numbness and tingling??
  • Do you have associated symptoms, such as pain, weakness or loss of sensation?
  • Have you had any injuries, surgery or disease, related to the nervous system?
  • Do you have medical conditions, which may be associated with numbness and tingling, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis?

Diagnosis of numbness and tingling

Diagnosing numbness and tingling involves doing various tests to determine the cause..

Blood tests, which can be ordered, include:

  • General blood analysis (OAK)
  • Electrolyte level (measurement of chemicals and minerals in the body) and liver function tests
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Measurement of vitamin levels, especially vitamin B12
  • Heavy metals or toxicology screening
  • Sedimentation rate
  • C-reactive protein tests

Visual tests may include:

  • Angiogramma (test, which uses x-rays and a special dye, to see the inside of the blood vessels)
  • CT angiogram
  • Head CT
  • CT scan of the spine
  • Head MRI
  • MRI of the spine
  • Ultrasound of the vessels of the neck to determine the risk of TIA or stroke
  • Vascular ultrasound
  • X-ray of the affected area

Other Tests, which can be fulfilled, include:

  • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies to measure whether, How do your muscles respond to nerve stimulation?
  • Lumbar puncture (spinnomozgovaya puncture) to rule out damage to the central nervous system
  • A cold stimulation test can be done to check for Raynaud's phenomenon.
  • Genetic testing for nerve problems, hereditary

Treatment for numbness and tingling

Treatment for numbness and tingling depends on the underlying cause. Some possible approaches include:

  • Treatment of the underlying disease or condition, causing numbness and tingling
  • Pharmacological therapy to reduce symptoms and improve nervous system function
  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation to strengthen muscles and restore sensitivity
  • Surgery if needed, eg, to eliminate compression of nerve structures
  • Lifestyle changes, including healthy eating, physical activity and stress management

Treatment for numbness and tingling at home

In addition to professional treatment, there are home measures, which can help relieve symptoms of numbness and tingling:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and moderate physical activity
  • Avoid staying in one position for a long time and take regular breaks to stretch and move
  • Apply heat or cold to the area, where numbness and tingling occurs, to relieve discomfort
  • Avoid Factors, which can aggravate symptoms, such as compression of nerve structures or increased pressure on affected areas

Prevention of numbness and tingling

The following suggestions may help prevent or reduce the risk of developing numbness and tingling:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular physical activity and adequate rest
  • Avoid injury and excessive strain on muscles and nerves
  • Follow your doctor's recommendations for preventive exams and screenings for your age and risk factors
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen muscles and maintain good circulation
  • Avoid staying in one position for a long time and take breaks to move and stretch

Used sources and literature

McGee S. Examination of the sensory system. In: McGee S, ed. Evidence-Based Physical Diagnosis. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 62.

Snow DC, Bunney BE. Peripheral nerve disorders. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 97.

Swartz MH. The nervous system. In: Swartz MH, ed. Textbook of Physical Diagnosis: History and Examination. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 21.

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