Causes of Tingling Sensation
Tingling sensations which arise in the hands and feet may be a symptom of causes which are temporary or benign. However, it can also potentially be the sign of the presence of a more serious condition within the patient that requires a more serious type of treatment. Some of the common causes of tingling feelings in the hands and feet are temporary, such as when a patient falls asleep on an arm, or they cross their legs for an extended period of time. That sensation is the one which might also be referred to as a feeling of “pins and needles.” When the pressure on the nerve is released, that pain will generally dissipate within a few minutes and feeling in the extremities will return to normal.
More Serious Causes of Tingling of Hands and Feet
There are, however, a number of cases of more serious situations where the extremities may have chronic or recurring itching, numbness, pain, weakness, or even muscle wasting. Nerve damage may be at play, and this can be due to a number of more harmful conditions. These include repetitive stress injuries, infections, toxins, diabetes, or traumatic injuries. When nerve damage occurs, it is known as peripheral neuropathy because the nerves affected are far away, or on the periphery, from the spinal cord and brain. In fact, there are known to be more than 100 various types of peripheral neuropathy. The people who are likely to be most affected by this condition are older adults. And the results of the effects of prolonged neuropathic complications may include disability and reduced mobility. Diabetic neuropathy makes up 30% of the cases.
Persistent sensations of tingling in the hands and feet should be discussed as soon as possible with a health care professional. Treatment is most effective the sooner it begins. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include vitamin deficiencies, alcoholism, nerve entrapment, which could occur due to carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, etc., systemic diseases, including the likes of kidney disease, liver disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, etc., infections, which might arise as a side effect of shingles, AIDS, herpes, Lyme disease, etc., toxins, such as those found in heavy metals, environmental toxins, and chemotherapy, inherited disease, injury, which could include herniated disk, dislocation of a bone, etc., and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.1
Doctors will perform a physical exam, take a family history, and examine the patient’s lifestyle to diagnose the causes of the tingling in the extremities. Diagnoses is most accurate when more variables are examined due to the large number of conditions which might be the cause of the neuropathy. Blood tests, looking at cerebrospinal fluid, EMG (electromyogram), NCV (nerve conduction velocity), and scans (CT, MRI) may also be ordered. The doctor might also take skin and nerve biopsies. Depending on the cause of the problem, the treatments recommended may be modifications made to diet, exercise, avoidance of alcohol and smoking, and possible prescription medications, such as antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs.2
It is important that patients receive immediate care for peripheral neuropathy. Chiropractors are also able to provide care and treatment for peripheral neuropathy and many of its causes. Diabetes and aging, as noted before, are common causes.3 Diabetics, for example, are slow to heal, and they may have numb feet and not realize when they are injuring them.4 More challenging cases of neuropathy occur in those patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, cancer, and AIDS. The simplest patients to treat are those whose neuropathy has been caused by trapped and compressed nerves and those with vitamin deficiencies.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
The most important thing to remember in treating peripheral neuropathy is that it is critical to get nutrients and oxygen to the nerves that are damaged. Eating a healthy diet, with antioxidants and vitamins, such as fruits and vegetables will help the nerves by destroying free radicals. Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight also are important to a patient’s overall well-being. When the body becomes preoccupied with fighting other conditions, it will not be able to focus on healing the cause of the neuropathy.
As the spine degenerates, it can press on the nerve roots, which could also be another potential cause of neuropathy. Chiropractors are specialists in adjusting the vertebrae into alignment, thus helping the patient avoid this particular cause of neuropathy and other conditions which are caused by a misaligned spine. Active Release (ART) and fascial release techniques can also help patients.5 Additional treatments, besides adjustments from chiropractors, may include concentrated oxygen, vibration therapy, thermal modalities, and electrical muscle stimulation. Patients should avoid toxins, repetitive stress motions, and cramped positions. Patients should practice proper ergonomics, such as standing up straight and sitting in chairs which have been optimized for a healthier sitting position. Some patients may also benefit from improving circulation with massage.6
4, 6 http://www.whitechiropractic.info/neuropothy.html
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