Numbness or tingling are usually caused by nerve damage, irritation, or compression. It can be the result of damage or impingement to a single nerve, or it may be caused by a problem affecting several nerves or nerve branches.
Numbness is divided into four general categories:
Generally, numbness is felt in your arms and legs, or the periphery of your body. It’s rare for numbness to be caused by a problem in your central nervous system, which includes your brain and spine.
Experiencing numbness without other symptoms is not usually a sign of a life-threatening disorder, such as a stroke or a tumor.
Because there are so many possible causes of numbness, your physician at The Neurology Group perform a comprehensive exam including detailed information about your symptoms. A variety of diagnostic tests, such as an electromyography and a nerve conduction study, may be needed to help pinpoint the exact cause.
Conditions that can cause or contribute to numbness include:
Medication is rarely prescribed when numbness is the only symptom you’re experiencing, because it generally means that a specific nerve or nerve region is at the root of your problem.
For example, if you’re experiencing numbness and tingling in your fingers, hand, wrist, and lower arm, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition occurs when the median nerve, which runs down the inside of your arm from your forearm to the palm of your hand, becomes compressed or pinched. The main treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is rest, and a steroid injection may be used to help patients with severe inflammation.
Often, numbness can be improved by changing patterns of how you use your extremities. If your feet or legs go numb after long periods of sitting or standing, for example, simply moving between positions more often may help.
The treatment that’s right for you depends on the root of your problem.