What is Paresthesia ?
- Paresthesia is a condition that is characterized by feeling of numbness, burning sensation that is common in extremities like in hands, arms, legs, or feet, but that can occur anywhere in the body as well.
- Almost everyone has experienced paresthesia on many times. People get familiar with feeling of pins and needle in their arms or legs .This sensation mainly occurs when there is pressure on a nerve. It generally resolves after you change your position to remove the pressure from the affected nerve , this is temporary type and usually resolves without any particular treatment. If this condition of paresthesia remains for longer time, you may need a treatment.
What are the symptoms of paresthesia?
- As paresthesia can affect any part of the body, but it is commonly noticed in the: hands, arms, legs, feet. It can be temporary or chronic condition. The symptoms of paresthesia can include feelings of:
- Tingling sensation
- Burning sensation
- In Chronic paresthesia people may have stabbing pain. When paresthesia affects your legs and feet, then there is difficulty in walking.
- You should consult with doctor if your symptoms of parenthesia persist for longer time or affect your quality of life. It could be a sign that you are suffering from any medical condition that needs treatment.
What causes paresthesia?
There is not any specific cause of paresthesia so it is difficult to determine the cause of paresthesia.
- Temporary paresthesia is often due to pressure on any nerve or poor circulation. This commonly happen when you fall asleep on your hand or sit with your legs crossed for too long or pressure on some parts of body for long time.
- Chronic paresthesia may be due to nerve damage. Two common types of nerve damage are radiculopathy and neuropathy.
In Radiculopathy nerve roots become compressed, irritated, or inflamed. This occur due to
- Herniated or bulging disk presses on a nerve
- Any unwanted growth compresses the nerve as it exits the spinal column
- A narrowing of the spinal canal
- When Radiculopathy affects your lower back then it is known as lumbar radiculopathy. Lumbar radiculopathy can lead to paresthesia in your legs or foot. In severe cases, compression of the sciatic nerve can occur and may lead to weakness, numbeness in your legs.
- In Cervical radiculopathy nerves that provide sensation and strength to your arms are affected. In cervical radiculopathy, common symptoms are
- Chronic neck pain
- Paresthesia of the upper extremities
- Arm and hand weakness
Neuropathy is a condition in which there is chronic nerve damage. The most common cause of neuropathy that is seen among people is hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.
Other causes of neuropathy include:
- Repetitive movement injuries or any Trauma
- Neurological diseases, such as MS
- Autoimmune disorders, like rheumatoid arthritis
- Liver disorders
- Kidney diseases
- Bone marrow or connective tissue disorders
- Tumors in the brain or near nerves
- Many Vitamin Deficiencies B-1, B-6, B-12, E, or niacin
- Hypervitaminosis of vitamin D
- Infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles, or HIV
- Certain medications, like chemotherapy drugs
- Exposure to some toxic substances, like chemicals or heavy metals
- Sometimes Nerve damage can lead to paralysis or permanent numbness.
Who is at risk for paresthesia?
Anyone can experience temporary paresthesia. People that are at risk or prone to radiculopathy are
- Who perform repetitive movements that compress your nerves, such as typing, playing an instrument, or playing a sport such as tennis
- Drink heavily and taking a poor diet that leads to vitamin deficiencies, specifically vitamin B-12 and folate
- Suffering from type 1 or 2 diabetes
- Having autoimmune condition
- Any neurological disorder
How is paresthesia diagnosed?
- Your doctor can diagnose the condition by taking your medical history and by some investigations to confirm the cause and to rule out other conditions.
- Give your proper medical history that will help doctor make a diagnosis.
- Blood investigation and other laboratory tests, such as a spinal tap, may help them rule out certain diseases.
- Imaging techniques, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans are helpful to know nerve compression.
What is the treatment for paresthesia?
- Treatment depends upon the cause of paresthesia. It is possible to treat your condition by avoiding the cause in some cases. For example, avoiding repetitive movements that compress nerves, some lifestyle changes or physical therapy may help to solve the problem.
- If your paresthesia is due to any disease or medical condition, then take proper treatment for that disease can be helpful ease the symptoms of paresthesia.
- Temporary paresthesia usually resolves within a few minutes.
- Chronic paresthesia can affect and complicate your daily life if the symptoms are severe. That’s why it’s very important to find the cause.
- The severity of chronic paresthesia is totally depends on the cause that leads to paresthesia. In some cases, treating the underlying condition can solve the problem.
How can you prevent paresthesia?
You can take some preventive measures that will help you to reduce the severity of your symptoms. For example, use of wrist splints at night may help to reduce the compression of the nerves of your hand and resolve the symptoms of paresthesia you experience at night.
Follow these tips for preventing chronic paresthesia:
- Avoid putting pressure on your body parts repetitively.
- Rest properly
- Do exercise or yoga in routine that will help to maintain proper blood circulation and prevent nerve damage.
- If you have diabetes or any other chronic or medical disease, then take proper treatment. Careful monitoring and management will help to lower your chances of having paresthesia.