Numbness and Tingling Q & A
What’s the Definition of Numbness and Tingling?
Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur most commonly in the fingers, hands, feet, arms, or legs. The two types of numbness and tingling you can experience are:
Paresthesia – a spontaneous abnormal sensation of “pins and needles” or “foot falling asleep” and Dysesthesia- an irritating sensation caused by a stimulus that does not normally produce pain. Almost everyone experiences paresthesia from time to time. It only warrants seeing the doctor if it is recurring, lasts longer than a few minutes, or does not go away by itself. Dysesthesia is a less frequent occurrence and can be the result of a more severe underlying cause such as a pinched nerve or joint displacement.
What are the Causes of Numbness & Tingling?
The feelings of numbness and tingling can be the result of simply putting undue pressure on an area, which cuts off the blood flow, or it can be the result of an injury to a nerve. For example, a neck injury may cause you to feel numbness anywhere along your arm or hand, while a low back injury can cause numbness or tingling down the back of your leg.
Other causes of numbness and tingling that should be evaluated are:
- Pressure on the spinal nerves, such as from a herniated disc.
- Pressure on peripheral nerves from enlarged blood vessels, tumors, scar tissue, or infection.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (pressure on a nerve at the wrist)
- Nerve Compression (Slight to Severe)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Golfer’s Elbow
- Tennis Elbow
- Muscular Trigger Points
- Myofascial Adhesions
- “Entrapped” Nerves
- “Pinched” Nerves
- Spinal Stenosis
- Nerve Irritation
- Thoracic Outlet syndrome
- Spinal Disc Lesions
- Severed Nerve
- Calcium deficiency
- Liver Disease
- Renal Disease
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
How Does a Chiropractor Help Numbness & Tingling?
Treatment for numbness and tingling begins with an exam and proper diagnosis to determine the underlying cause of the numbness and/or tingling sensation. Depending on the severity of the discomfort, the Dr. will begin with an examination, which includes a range of motion test, orthopedic tests, muscle tests, and neurological test. The doctor will also palpate the affected area, and take X-rays based on medical necessity. If further testing is necessary to diagnose the problem, the Dr. will then order an MRI and/or CT Scan as necessary.
Most cases of numbness and tingling respond well to conservative treatment under a chiropractor’s care. The aim is to eliminate irritation and restore proper function to the nerves. This can be accomplished through spinal manipulation, tractioning, ice, and various physical medicine modalities. The exact treatment will be determined on a case-by-case scenario based on the cause and symptoms of each patient.