Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in your body, but they are often felt in your fingers, hands, feet, arms, or legs. If numbness and tingling persist and there’s no obvious cause for the sensations, it could be a symptom of a disease or injury, such as multiple sclerosis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Many things can cause numbness and tingling, including some medications. Things that we do every day can sometimes cause numbness, including sitting or standing in one position for a long time, sitting with your legs crossed, or falling asleep on the arm. These are all examples of blood flow being cut off to an area for a period of time.
HOW IS NUMBNESS DIAGNOSED?
The health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination, carefully checking the nervous system. Other tests may include:
• Angiogram (a test that uses x-rays and a special dye to see inside the blood vessels)
• CT scan
• MRI of the head and spine
• Ultrasound of neck vessels to determine your risk for TIA or stroke
• X-ray of the affected area
• Electromyography and nerve conduction studies to measure how your muscles respond to nerve stimulation
• Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to rule out central nervous system disorders
• Cold stimulation test may be done to check for Raynaud phenomenon
HOW IS NUMBNESS TREATED?
Treatment depends on the cause. In most cases, there is no treatment needed as the numbness may go away on its own.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rarely is numbness caused by problems in your brain or spinal cord. Numbness alone is only rarely associated with potentially life-threatening disorders, such as strokes or tumors.