Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in the body, but are most often felt in the hands, feet, arms, or legs. Also known as paresthesia, symptoms can also include pain, burning, pricking or creeping along the skin. Paresthesias are caused by disturbances in the function of neurons in the sensory pathway. This disturbance can occur in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), the nerve roots that are attached to the spinal cord, or the peripheral nervous system (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord). Other symptoms may accompany paresthesias, depending on the type and severity of the nerve disturbance. For instance, weakness may accompany damage to nerves that carry both sensory and motor neurons.
Common causes include:
- Remaining in a particular position for an extended period of time. This can cause an artery to become compressed, cutting off blood supply to a nerve. A common example of this is when your foot ‘falls asleep’ from crossing your legs.
- 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
- Pressure on the spinal nerves, such as that due to a herniated disk
- Lack of blood supply to an area – for example, plaque buildup from atherosclerosis in the legs can cause pain, numbness and tingling while walking (this is called vascular claudication)
- Abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium in your body
- A lack of vitamin B12 or other vitamin
- Toxins, including heavy metals and certain medications and chemotherapy
Other medical conditions, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
Medical Approach to Numbness & Tingling:
Treatment of paresthesias depends on the underlying cause. For limbs that have “fallen asleep,” restoring circulation by stretching, exercising, or massaging the affected limb can quickly dissipate the numbness and tingling. Physical therapy can also be helpful. If the paresthesia is caused by a chronic disease such as diabetes or occurs as a complication of treatments such as chemotherapy, most treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen are recommended if symptoms are mild. In more difficult cases, antidepressant drugs such as amitriptyline (Elavil) are sometimes prescribed. These drugs are given at a much lower dosage for this purpose than for relief of depression. They are thought to help because they alter the body’s perception of pain. In severe cases, opium derivatives such as codeine can be prescribed. Within the last few years trial were being done to determine whether treatment with human nerve growth factor would be effective in regenerating damaged nerves.
The NUCCA Approach to Numbness & Tingling:
The NUCCA chiropractic procedure focuses on correcting the underlying cause of your symptoms in order to allow for your body to heal. Paresthesias, such as numbness and tingling, are commonly caused by pressure on spinal nerves due to long standing misalignments that have led to degenerative disc and joint disease. Inflammation may also be present and contribute to your symptoms.
The NUCCA procedure gently realigns your entire spine back to a balanced, unstressed position, immediately relieving pressure from the spinal nerves and reducing the asymmetrical load to the discs. Read testimonials from real patients, on how NUCCA chiropractic helped them!