Paresthesia symptoms of tingling and numbness can be bothersome, or they could be signs of larger problems.
What are Paresthesias?
Simply put, paresthesia refers to a tingling, pricking, burning, or tickling feeling on the skin “with no apparent long-term physical effect”. It can come and go or be a chronic phenomenon. The most common one is the “pins and needles” feeling of a body part “falling asleep”. Paresthesias can feel like tingling in the feet, tingling sensation in the head, tingling and numbness in the hands, numbness on the right side of the body, left side numbness, or numbness in the arms and legs, for example. The legs, arms, hands, and feet are the parts of the body most commonly affected by transient paresthesias. These sensations are generally caused by the blood supply becoming temporarily restricted to the nerves, such as leaning or resting on the limbs for too long. Panic attacks and hyperventilation can also cause transient paresthesia. Poor circulation and problems with neuron functioning may cause chronic paresthesia. Atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, thyroid issues, and diabetes may all be culprits in this condition. In addition, patients with inflammation and joint conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, compressed nerves, poor posture, and whiplash can also have chronic issues. Neuropathy could be triggered by Lyme disease, frostbite, autoimmune diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis, lupus), chemotherapy, or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Demyelinating diseases and shingles may also cause paresthesia.1
Treatment for paresthesia depends on the cause. If it is transient, then just removing the pressure on the nerve will suffice. Chronic conditions may require additional diagnostic tests before treatment.2 Paresthesias may be caused by nerve entrapment, such as with carpal, cubital, and tarsal tunnel syndromes and meralgia paresthetica. In some cases, dietary changes and nutritional supplementation may be advised.3 Medical doctors may prescribe medications to deal with symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory or antidepressant drugs. Medications carry risks and side-effects. Chiropractic treatment could be beneficial for cases of nerve entrapment. Chiropractors seek to address the underlying cause of the paresthesia, such as “pressure on the spinal nerves” that results from “long standing misalignments” which have contributed to “degenerative disc and joint disease” as well as inflammation. Realigning the spine can relieve nerve pressure and the load on the discs.4 Some patients may benefit from B-complex supplements. Others may find relief from capsaicin (a topical ointment), acupuncture, or massage. Wearing comfortable and loose-fitting clothing and shoes could also provide symptom alleviation.5