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What is Paresthesia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Are you experiencing unusual tingling or numbness in your skin? It could be a symptom of paresthesia. We understand that the scientific name can sound a little intimidating. But you do not need to worry. You have nothing to worry about if you know how to deal with the problem. Do you not? Well, we will tell you so that you will learn in the future.

In this blog, we will look at what paresthesia is, its symptoms and causes, and how to treat it. Paresthesia can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender, and lead to physical discomfort. 

Fortunately, many diagnostics and treatments allow people to manage this condition effectively. So if you are looking for help in better understanding paresthesia, keep reading!

 

What is Paresthesia?

Paresthesia is a neurological symptom. Doctors often describe it as an abnormal sensation in the skin. So, yes, paresthesia is a medical phenomenon. But popularly, people don’t call these feelings by that word. Rather, they speak more simply and refer to it as “needles and pins.” 

People who suffer from paresthesias often compare these sensations to needles. We talk about many, many pinpricks on different parts of the body. Usually, patients talk about numbness in some part of the body. You may feel it as some strange bodily sensation. It feels like it’s not your body part.

A variety of reasons can cause paresthesias. But it is generally accepted that neurological diseases are the most prevalent causes. Besides, some medications can also cause paresthesia. But, we will look at the causes of paresthesia in more detail below.

Fortunately, there are treatments for paresthesias. They can help reduce the discomfort associated with this condition. And you will improve your quality of life with this problem.

 

Paresthesia Symptoms

paresthesia symptoms

Doctors classify the signs and symptoms of this disease as tingling. It can be local or distributed all over the body. Symptoms of paresthesia may include:

  • A burning sensation in the hands or other parts of the body;
  • A prickling sensation in different parts of the body;
  • Itching;
  • Numbness of varying degrees of severity;
  • Tingling paresthesia;
  • Feeling of “creeping goosebumps” on the surface of the skin.

Such sensations can generally occur with many conditions and/or diseases. You can feel the problem in different parts of the body, too. The most popular places for paresthesias are:

  • Feet (especially on the rear surface);
  • The hands;
  • Neck (especially the side of the neck);
  • Head.

Most of the time, this sensation is uncomfortable. But it usually needs to state something more serious. And, more often than not, the sensation disappears over time with minimal intervention. 

You may need to treat the underlying cause in rare cases to cut the paresthesia symptoms. Then you will return to normal functioning.

 

Causes of Paresthesia

Specialists believe that the causes of paresthesia can vary considerably. It depends on each case, often falling into one of several categories. 

Certain medical conditions can cause paresthesia. These can include conditions such as:

But that’s not all! It’s not just diseases that can cause tingling paresthesias. Here are a few other causes you may not have even thought of:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency;
  • Emotional stress; 
  • Medical procedures. For example, these are carpal tunnel syndrome surgeries.

But, in some cases, people are not immediately able to determine the cause of the paresthesia. Affected people need to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. Then you can get the help you need. By doing so, you will avoid worsening your symptoms and increase your chances of recovery.

 

We suggest you consider two other separate categories of causes of paresthesias:

 

Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is one type of cause of the paresthesia. It happens when a nerve in the spine gets compressed or irritated. People can usually experience it in time:

Symptoms are usually standard for paresthesia: 

  • Numbness;
  • Tingling in the affected area.

People experience discomfort that ranges from mild to severe. In some cases, the pain spreads down the affected limb. In this case, patients may lose reflexes. 

Also, you may observe muscle weakness in the affected area. If you have any concerns, you should see your doctor. The doctor will find a treatment for this type of paresthesia for you.

 

Neuropathy

Neuropathy, or peripheral nerve damage, has many causes. One of those very causes is paresthesia. We can link the causes of this type of neuropathy to medical conditions such as:

  • Vitamin deficiencies;
  • Autoimmune diseases. 

Other less frequent but possible causes of tingling paresthesias include: 

All these can lead to impaired nerve function. To properly diagnose, you need to consult with your doctor. You will be able to discuss potential risk factors. And then, the doctor will develop an appropriate treatment plan.

 

Who Else Has Paresthesias?

So, we’ve looked at what paresthesias are and their leading causes. But what if we told you that there are also less obvious things? For example, pregnancy can contribute to the development of paresthesias. Did you know that?

The mechanism is simple: nerve impulse transmission fails in the nerve root, and irritation occurs. You can most often observe this when there is pressure on the nerve endings. As the nerve root gets more affected, the more extensive is the area of paresthesia. 

We decided to prepare a comprehensive list of 8 causes. These are the not-so-obvious causes of burning sensations in the hands and other parts of the body. We included in our list:

  • Gender;
  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Thyroid disease;
  • Diabetes;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Prolonged bed rest;
  • Overuse.

So read on, and learn something new:

 

Gender

In general, paresthesia can occur in both sexes and all age groups. But we have some reason to believe that it affects women more often. 

There are also differences in the intensity or localization of symptoms. That is, men and women experience paresthesia symptoms differently. 

Women are more likely to have problems. It is because of differences in hormone levels. Besides, the discrepancy exists because of another reason. We’re talking about the ability of hormones to cross the blood-brain barrier.

 

Obesity

Recent studies have shown a potential link between obesity and paresthesias. But an unhealthy diet is one factor. We need further research to pinpoint this connection. 

People who eat processed foods may be more prone to paresthesias. If the causes of paresthesias are due to obesity, you need to deal with those problems first.

You need that paresthesia, so you don’t make the problem worse. You don’t want the paresthesia to continue intermittently, do you?

 

Pregnancy

There is one demographic that suffers significantly from tingling paresthesias. These are pregnant women.

Studies have shown that many pregnant women experience. All because the baby presses on specific nerve pathways and blood vessels. They take part in pregnancy. 

Despite the discomfort, this type of paresthesia usually goes away. In the case of pregnancy, the paresthesia is benign. The paresthesia symptoms will go away as soon as the girl gives birth. But, besides, the doctor should check the condition of expectant mothers.

 

Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease is one of the conditions associated with paresthesias. Thyroid disease leads to an imbalance of hormones. It can cause changes in sensation, such as tingling and numbness. Here are a few common diseases that can cause paresthesias:

  • Hashimoto’s disease;
  • Graves’ disease;
  • hyperthyroidism.

Also, medications that doctors use to treat the thyroid can trigger paresthesia. 

You need to seek medical attention if you begin to experience unusual sensations.

Diabetes

Paresthesia is a common symptom of diabetes. It mainly affects people with type 2 diabetes. 

Why does paresthesia affect people with diabetes? Because of a long period of high blood sugar levels, paresthesia affects some nerves.

As a result, people experience a strange prickly sensation. It can happen to any part of the body. Usually, you feel a slow tingling sensation, and then it worsens.

 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It causes inflammation of the joints, leading to pain and stiffness. In some cases, arthritis can lead to paresthesias. 

Proper treatment is the key to minimizing the symptoms of paresthesias. 

 

Prolonged Bed Rest

Many people feel tingling paresthesias as a result of prolonged bed rest. It can cause decreased blood circulation in different parts of the body. As a result, the nerve endings get deprived of oxygen. 

 

How is Paresthesia Diagnosed?

Most often, the doctor diagnoses tingling paresthesias during a comprehensive neurological examination. The doctor will ask questions about the patient’s symptoms. He will ask about his medical history to better understand the condition. That way, the doctor will know that it is paresthesia. 

To rule out other possible problems, the doctor may use other tests. This way, he will accurately make the correct diagnosis. Here are some extra tests:

 

Electromyography (EMG)

An EMG can measure the timing of nerve signals between nerves and muscles. It measures nerve conduction and assesses muscle function by placing electrodes on the skin near the affected area. It helps determine if there are any obstructions in the nervous system. 

EMG can also detect any nerve damage caused by diseases such as 

  • Many sclerosis;
  • Lyme disease;
  • Stroke;
  • Other neurological problems. 

 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

It is often used to diagnose burning sensations in the hands and other parts of the body. It allows detailed images of both soft tissue and bones within the body. 

The MRI allows doctors to get an idea of possible underlying causes. These are the ones that can lead to the development of paresthesias. 

 

Ultrasonography (U/S)

Ultrasound can play an essential role in diagnosing paresthesias. An ultrasound of the musculoskeletal system will be beneficial. 

This type of imaging allows you to visualize body tissues. It also helps detect possible nerve entrapment. Besides, the doctor can see other soft tissue problems. These problems can associate with paresthesia. 

The doctor needs many imaging and other tests to provide a comprehensive diagnosis. Together, these diagnostic tools can help identify the cause of the condition. The doctor will be able to determine the best way to treat paresthesia for the individual.

 

Paresthesia Treatment

Treatment of paresthesia

There are many treatment options when dealing with the discomfort associated with paresthesia. For example, these include:

  • Physical therapy will help reduce painful symptoms.
  • Lifestyle changes will reduce the frequency or severity of pain symptoms. 

In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications to address the underlying causes. When talking about underlying causes, we’re talking about serious illnesses, such as:

  • Diabetes;
  • Many sclerosis;
  • Obesity;
  • And so on.

There are also alternative treatments. These include acupuncture or acupressure. They can also relieve pain and improve mobility. 

Ultimately, the best approach to treating paresthesias is a combination of treatments. But they should be chosen by your doctor and tailored to your needs. By working with your doctor, you can develop a holistic plan. It will help you reduce your symptoms and hopefully offer long-term solutions.

Don’t believe in improving tingling paresthesias? Then you haven’t been to our Lone Star Neurology clinic. We provide a comprehensive approach to treating our patients. So why are you procrastinating? Make an appointment today and get rid of your paresthesia symptoms. 

 

FAQs  

When is paresthesia serious?

Paresthesias can be severe, depending on the underlying cause. See a doctor as soon as possible if it does not go away.

How do you get rid of paresthesia?

You can relieve tingling paresthesias with physical therapy or medication. The best approach is to consult your doctor and develop a holistic plan tailored to your needs. 

What is the difference between paresthesia and neuropathy?

Neuropathy is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nerves. It is characterized by numbness. In some cases, you may feel pain. 

On the other hand, paresthesias are more associated with a tingling sensation. The main difference is that paresthesias are usually temporary, while neuropathy is long-term. 

Is paresthesia an emergency?

Paresthesias are not an emergency unless they are causing severe pain. In these cases, it is best to seek immediate medical attention. If tingling paresthesias become recurring and persistent, you should consult your doctor for further evaluation.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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