Tingling sensations in the hands and feet may have temporary or benign causes, but it can signal a more serious condition that requires treatment.
Causes of Tingling Sensation
Common causes of tingling feelings in the hands and feet are temporary, such as falling asleep on an arm, or crossing the legs for an extended period of time. That sensation is the one called “pins and needles”, and, when the pressure on the nerve is released, that pain will dissipate. There are, however, 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 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 from the spinal cord and brain. In fact, there are “more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy”. The people most affected are older adults, and the results 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 with ahealth care professional. Other causes of peripheral neuropathy include vitamin deficiencies, alcoholism, nerve entrapment (i.e., carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, etc.), systemic diseases (i.e., kidney disease, liver disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, etc.), infections (i.e., shingles, AIDS, herpes, Lyme disease, etc.), toxins (such as heavy metals, environmental toxins, and chemotherapy), inherited disease, injury (i.e., 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. 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 diet, exercise, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and possible prescription medications (i.e., antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs).2
It is important that patients receive care for peripheral neuropathy. Chiropractors can also provide care for peripheral neuropathy. 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 with multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, cancer, andAIDS. The simplest patients to treat are those with trapped and compressed nerves and those with vitamin deficiencies. 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. As the spine degenerates, it can press on the nerve roots, causing neuropathy. Chiropractors are specialists in adjusting the vertebrae into alignment. 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. Some may also benefit from improving circulation with massage.6
4, 6 http://www.whitechiropractic.info/neuropothy.html