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.
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;
- 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);
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:
- Nerve damage due to diabetes or peripheral neuropathy;
- Trauma to the nerve pathways;
- Tumours that compress the nerves.
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 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:
- A slipped disc;
- Spinal stenosis;
- Arthritis of the spine.
Symptoms are usually standard for paresthesia:
- 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, 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:
- Compression of the spinal cord;
- Traumatic injury.
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:
- Thyroid disease;
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Prolonged bed rest;
So read on, and learn something new:
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.
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?
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 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;
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.
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 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:
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;
- 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.
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.
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:
- Many sclerosis;
- 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.
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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