If you have ever felt a tingling sensation like a limb falling asleep or pins and needles poking your skin, you must have just ignored it. More often than not, we tend to ignore any sensations we feel on our skin. Today we’re here to talk about paresthesia.
1 What is paresthesia?
How does it happen? The symptoms, prevention and other important need to know facts about paresthesia. Why are we talking about this? Because the tingling sensation you may be feeling in your feet and hands might be telling you about the condition of your body that you don’t understand. This article will tell you about all the signs you should not ignore.
2 Why does it happen?
Paresthesia can be understood simply as a kind of anesthesia that is put on our limbs. This is because of pressure being exerted on certain nerves and veins. As a result of this, blood flow is disturbed. Once the pressure is released, the numbness dissipates as the blood flow normalizes. We feel this when we sit or lie down in the same position for too long.
We have often felt like our limbs have gone numb after not moving them for a while. This is a symptom of paresthesia. Some other symptoms of paresthesia include itchiness or a prickly feeling, alternate feeling of coldness or hotness on the skin, numbness, and inability to move the limb. The tingling sensation can be more intense at times and can even feel like being stung by needs or pins.
4 “Falling asleep”
The most common experience we have is that after sitting in the same position for too long, our leg “falls asleep”. We are literally unable to move our limbs and it feels like we are not in control of our own body. If you try to stand while your leg is numb, you may not even feel your legs and fall.
5 “Pins and needles”
Another common experience is the feeling of numbness accompanied by a feeling of prickliness and itchiness. When a limb goes numb, it often feels like someone is sticking needles into it. This may not be true but it feels extremely painful. The feeling subsides once blood gets to circulate as the pressure is released from the affected area.
6 Reasons for the tingling sensation
There are several reasons for the tingling feeling. Deficiency of important vitamins like vitamins B, B1, B6, B12 or vitamin E can be a major cause of this. Interestingly, an excessive amount of vitamins D and B6 can also cause the tingling sensation. Another factor is alcohol, which can cause a condition called alcoholic neuropathy, which leads to nerve damage.
7 Infections and injury
Several infections like herpes, HIV/AIDS and shingles can cause the hot and cold feeling and the prickly sensation. Accidents, where nerves sustain an injury, can also be the cause of paresthesia. Nerves can be compressed or injured, bones can be dislocated and discs can be herniated due to accidents, working out the wrong way or lifting something too heavy suddenly.
8 Medications, toxins, and animal bites
Medications like chemotherapy, strong antibiotics and antivirals can affect the functioning of nerves greatly. Toxins like arsenic and mercury which enter the body from the environment like air and water can also cause nerve damage and paresthesia. Toxins can also enter the body through insect and animal bites, like scorpion bites or snake bites.
Paresthesia can be the result of long-standing issues like diabetes and hormone imbalances or sudden complications like strokes, etc. Problems in the body like an underactive thyroid, type 2 diabetes, hormone imbalances, liver damage, and strokes can cause paresthesia. Diseases like Lyme disease, blood diseases, etc can also cause the tingling sensation as most of them affect nerves and blood circulation.
10 Who is likely to suffer from paresthesia?
People who suffer from thyroid disorders are likely to feel this way a lot. Obese people suffer from this too because their extra body weight compresses the nerves. In general, women are more likely to suffer from paresthesia. This is not odd or random. It is because women have narrower nerve canals. This means there is more pressure on the nerves, causing tingling.
People who mostly have a stationary lifestyle or have to sit and work for long hours are at greater risk. It is best if they take breaks and walk around or do some quick exercises, as nerve damage is likely if one sits in the same position too long. This also applies to people who rest a lot or are in permanent bed rest or are immobile.
12 Temporary treatment
The temporary and easiest treatment is to just rest for a while. The part which feels numb and prickly should just be allowed to recover. Once the pressure is removed from the area, blood flow will normalize and the nerve tissue will recover. When your legs or arms feel numb, just stretch them out a little. Do not try to stand or pick something up while numb. You do not have full control of your limb.
13 Professional help
Medications are available to treat paresthesia, especially for those who suffer from diseases like thyroid problems, who are greatly affected at all times. This must only be used after consulting a doctor as complications could follow. Those who have been in an accident or have nerve damage can seek physical therapy. Therapy strengthens the muscle around the affected nerve. Eventually, therapy may even solve the problem.
To avoid paresthesia, the simplest trick is to exercise. You do not necessarily have to go to the gym to work out for hours. We are all busy with work and our hectic lives. Simply try to walk around a little bit and take breaks. If your job requires you to sit for long hours, make sure you take frequent breaks, just to move your muscles a little bit. Go to the washroom or just grab a cup of coffee.
15 Work out carefully
While going to the gym, make sure you ask a professional what exercises are perfect for you. Some people sustain unnecessary injuries while working out. Do not lift weights that are too heavy for you. In daily activities, try to be careful and patient and not reckless. Sudden movements or shocks can affect nerves and cause paresthesia.
We have been told since we were kids, by our parents and teachers, that posture is very important. Maintaining a good posture, while working or even resting is important. If you have poor posture, you are endangering your nerves, as they can easily be compressed or tangled. Try sitting straight and not slumping too much. Use a comfortable chair and pillow so as not to hurt your spine, neck, and back.
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