The nervous system communicates with the entire body and reacts to internal and external changes using electrical and chemical impulses to send and receive messages. Messages travel/synapse from one neuron to another using specialized chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Paresthesia refers to sensations of numbness, tingling, prickling, skin crawling, itching, or burning, usually in the arms, hands, legs, and/or feet, but can affect other areas of the body. Chiropractic care, massage therapy, decompression therapy, and functional medicine can relieve tissue and nerve compression, improve flexibility, range of motion, and mobility, and strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected nerve to maintain optimal health and prevent worsening or further injury.
The sensation comes on without warning and is usually painless and described as tingling or numbness. There are different causes of paresthesia, including:
- Compressed or pinched nerve.
- Nerve injury.
- Nerve damage from diabetes.
- High levels of vitamin D or other vitamins.
- High blood pressure.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Tumor in the spinal cord or brain.
Some individuals have chronic or long-term paresthesia, which can be a sign of a more serious nerve injury or condition. Added physical stress can cause surrounding tissues to irritate or entangle the nerve leading to building pressure. This pressure causes paresthesia in the area interrupting circulation and function. A pinched nerve can happen anywhere in the body, like the neck, shoulder, wrist, back, and face.
- A herniated disc in the lower spine can cause back pain and paresthesia in the leg or foot on the affected side.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve in the wrist that causes numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers.
- Pinched nerve symptoms can be intermittent or constant.
- Usually, a temporary sensation is caused when pressure is placed on the affected nerve.
- Once that pressure is relieved, the discomfort goes away.
Individuals with an Increased Risk
- Individuals with jobs or hobbies requiring repetitive motions are at a higher risk for nerve compression, paresthesia, or injury.
- Anyone can get a pinched nerve, and most individuals will experience paresthesia at some point.
Prolonged Lying Down
- Extra weight places added pressure on nerves.
- Diabetes can cause nerve and tissue damage.
- Weight and water gain can cause swelling and increase pressure on nerves.
- This puts individuals at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- This causes inflammation, which can also compress nerves in the joints.
To diagnose paresthesis, a doctor will look at the individual’s medical history and ask questions about the symptoms. They will perform a physical examination and, depending on the findings, may recommend tests that can include:
Nerve Conduction Study
- This measures how fast nerve impulses travel in the muscles.
Electromyography – EMG
- To look at the electrical activity of how nerves and muscles interact.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging – MRI
- This looks at the different areas of the body in high definition.
- Used to produce images, this can be applied to the smaller areas to look for nerve compression or damage.
Treatment options depend on the cause of the paresthesia. Body misalignments can cause nerve interference that can lead to health problems such as migraines, or can disrupt nerve communication and block proper circulation. Chiropractic care focuses on treating the nervous system and is a safe and effective method for treating nerve problems that cause discomfort and sensations. After a thorough examination of problem areas, massage, decompression, and chiropractic adjustments will:
- Realign and restore proper nerve function.
- Restore proper blood circulation.
- Increase the function of the body’s systems.
- Promote optimal levels of health and wellness.
The Science of Motion
Bova, Joseph, and Adam Sergent. “Chiropractic management of a 24-year-old woman with idiopathic, intermittent right-sided hemiparesthesia.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 13,4 (2014): 282-6. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2014.08.002
Christensen, Kim D, and Kirsten Buswell. “Chiropractic outcomes for managing radiculopathy in a hospital setting: a retrospective review of 162 patients.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 7,3 (2008): 115-25. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2008.05.001
Freihofer, H P Jr. “Parästhesien” [Paresthesia]. Schweizerische Monatsschrift fur Zahnheilkunde = Revue mensuelle suisse d’odonto-stomatologie vol. 89,2 (1979): 124-5.
Karne, Sampada Swapneel, and Nilima Sudhakar Bhalerao. “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Hypothyroidism.” Journal of Clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR vol. 10,2 (2016): OC36-8. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/16464.7316
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