Tingling, numbness or numbness we call paraesthesia. Paresthesia are all abnormal sensations that are felt in any part of the body that do not agree with the stimuli received from the environment.
The sensation of tingling or numbness are common in the extremities, in this article we will try to give you an idea of what the causes might be. The causes that we present below are not the only ones, we will only present some of them.
Tingling and numbness in upper limb
The paresthesia present in the upper limb may be due to a variety of pathologies. Some of them are the following:
Cervical spondylosis is the term used to talk about the wear of the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs that are found in the neck, it can also be called cervical osteoarthritis. This process is very common and appears, generally, in adulthood and is getting worse with age. The wear of the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs can generate a nervous compression at the level of the conjunction holes (holes through which the nerves exit) or at the medullary level, producing the paresthetic symptoms at the level of the upper limb (arm, forearm and hand).
Although cervical spondylosis is not reversible, its symptoms can be treated with physiotherapeutic treatment. I will leave an article where we talk in detail about this pathology: Cervical spondylosis: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment
Our cervical spine has a normal curvature called lordosis, this curvature has an inverted “C” shape. When the curvature disappears, or becomes a straight line, it means that there is a rectification of the cervical spine. Among the symptoms of rectification we have numbness in the entire upper extremity as well as other symptoms (headache, dizziness and vertigo, sleep disturbances …). The cervical rectification generates overload at the muscular level and joint problems that can press the nerves that leave the cervical spine.
This condition is reversible and the person can recover their normal curvature through physiotherapy. I will leave you an article where we explain everything you need to know about cervical rectification: Cervical rectification, a growing dysfunction, discover what it is and what should be done
Thoracic exit syndrome
The nerves and blood vessels pass between the first rib and the clavicle (thoracic outlet). The thoracic outlet syndrome appears when these structures are compressed, generating a tingling sensation, weakness in the entire upper limb, and the hand may also turn pale or bluish.
The treatment of this syndrome will depend on the cause of the compression and what is compressing the structures. Physiotherapy is a great help, but the option of surgery is also present.
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis
The lateral epicondylitis and tennis elbow is the inflammation of the tendons that are inserted in the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. When there is this inflammation there is intense pain in the lateral region of the elbow, weakness in the forearm and hand. The tingling sensation occurs due to compression of the ulnar nerve due to inflammation.
The treatment of lateral epicondylitis is physiotherapy, focused mainly on reducing inflammation and pain to subsequently recover the strength and flexibility of the affected muscles. I will leave an article on our page that will explain everything you need to know about the tennis elbow: Treatment for epicondylitis or tennis elbow.
Golfer’s elbow or epitrocleitis
El goldo elbow or medial epicondylitis is the tendon inflammation of the muscles responsible for the wrist flexion, the insertion of these tendons is in the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Its symptoms are: pain in the inner part of the elbow, weakness of the musculature, sensation of numbness and tingling.
To solve medial epicondylitis, physiotherapy has a variety of techniques that will help diminish / disappear symptoms, allowing the patient to return to their common activities. I will leave you a video where we explain better the treatment of the golfer’s elbow: Recommended treatment for epitrocleitis injury or golfer’s elbow
Neuropathy of the ulnar nerve or paralysis of the handlebar
Ulnar nerve neuropathy or handlebar paralysis is a lesion of the ulnar nerve. This nerve runs all the way to the hand, the characteristics of its symptoms depend on the part of the nerve where the lesion is located; It usually becomes inflamed at the level of the elbow or wrist and appears after an aggression that compresses the nerve. The symptoms are tingling, numbness and pain in the external or medial part of the forearm up to the little finger.
The treatment is to stop performing the activity that originated the problem along with physiotherapy sessions. If the therapies are properly performed and the patient stops the activity that caused the injury, the symptoms will disappear between two to four weeks. I’ll leave you an article on our page about this injury: What is ulnar nerve neuropathy or handlebar paralysis?
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the main cause of the tingling sensation in the hands. This syndrome occurs when there is a compression of the median nerve at the level of the carpal tunnel. Symptoms are tingling along the median nerve path (anterior face of the thumb, index finger and middle of the ring finger), weakness to hold objects and swollen hand sensation
The treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome can be conservative (physiotherapy) and surgical. We always seek to avoid surgical intervention through physiotherapeutic treatment. I will leave an article on our page where we detail everything you need to know about this common syndrome : Carpal tunnel syndrome. exercises and recommended treatment
The synovial cyst is a small nodule that appears at the level of the wrist, usually in its back. This nodule is usually asymptomatic, but there are cases where it can grow over time compressing nerves and generating the symptoms of tingling and weakness of the hand.
Many times it can disappear on its own, but there are other times where it does not. Physiotherapy can be of great help for its disappearance but there is also the surgical option. In the following link you will find more details about the synovial cyst: Treatment of the wrist ganglion or open wrists with exercises, self-massage and stretching
When the tingling and numbness appears in the left arm sharply together with other symptoms such as: chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, sudden urge to vomit; we must consider the possibility of a heart attack.
If there is a suspicion of a heart attack, it is necessary to call an emergency or go as quickly as possible to the doctor, the treatment must be done as soon as possible to prevent major injuries or even death.
Tingling and numbness in lower limb
The paresthesia present in the lower limb may be due to a variety of pathologies. These pathologies are the following:
Lumbar spondylosis is the term used when there is wear of the vertebrae and intervertebral disc at the level of the lumbar spine. This wear is progressive, is very common and tends to appear in adulthood. Due to the structural changes of the vertebrae, a compression of the conjunction holes can occur and this causes the nerves leaving the spine to be pressed, generating the following symptoms: tingling sensation, pain, muscle weakness, burning sensation; These symptoms can be felt at the lumbar level and along the leg.
The treatment of lumbar spondylosis is physiotherapeutic. Physiotherapy can not reverse the wear and tear of structures, but it can treat the symptoms generated by the condition. I will leave an article for you to know more about this pathology: Lumbar spondylosis: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment
The intervertebral disc is a gelatinous structure that lies between each vertebra of the spine. The function of this disc is a “cushion cushion”, protecting the vertebrae from damaging each other during movement.
The herniated disc is when the disc breaks and its internal content comes out; when leaving, it can compress the nerve roots or the medullary canal, generating symptoms of pain, burning sensation, weakness and tingling sensation due to the path of the nerve that is affected.
For herniated discs there are two treatments: conservative (physiotherapy) and surgical. Surgical treatment is only applicable when physiotherapy is not effective and other possibilities have been exhausted. Then I leave an article on our page so you know more in depth about herniated discs: Herniated discs
We also know the pyramidal syndrome as false sciatica. The pyramidal muscle is below the gluteus maximus, and is responsible for the external rotation of the hip. Through this muscle (in most people) the sciatic nerve passes. When the pyramidal muscle is contracted it compresses this nerve and generates the characteristic symptoms of a sciatica, but the nerve is not really injured. Among the symptoms are: tingling sensation, weakness and burning sensation along the path of the nerve.
To treat this syndrome, physiotherapy is very effective. In this article that I leave below you will find more information about pyramidal syndrome and its treatment: What is a false sciatica or sciatica due to pyramidal syndrome?
Neuralgia of the femoro-cutaneous
The neuralgia of the femoral cutaneous is not a common pathology but when it occurs it has characteristic symptoms that are important to identify. Its symptoms are: attitude in hip flexion, pain on the sides of the spine and tingling / numbness that goes from the inside and front of the leg to the ankle area.
The treatment of the neuralgia of the femoro-cutaneous is physiotherapeutic, focused on the mechanical imbalance that generates the compression of this nerve. We will explain in detail about this pathology in the article that I leave below: What is the neuralgia of the cutaneous femoro-leg?
Cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome or horsetail syndrome has many consequences if not treated in time, fortunately it is not very common. This syndrome occurs by total compression at some point of what we know as “horsetail” (nerve roots that leave from L1-L2). When these roots are compressed they generate the following symptoms: numbness, tingling, pain and loss of reflexes in the legs; inability to urinate or retain stools; sexual dysfunction
Its treatment is surgical and must be performed as soon as possible to avoid irreversible consequences. The physiotherapists act in the postoperative period and our objectives depend on the prognosis of each patient.
Restless Leg Syndrome
This syndrome generates strange sensations in the legs when they are not in movement, especially at night. Among the perceived discomfort is the tingling sensation, but it is not the only one, you can also feel pain, burning, cramping and itching; All this accompanied by insomnia. The symptoms are relieved by moving the legs and that is why it is known as restless legs.
His treatment is not physiotherapy, he is a doctor. Therefore, if you present these symptoms you should go to the doctor to tell you what treatment you should follow.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Tarsus syndrome is a pathology very similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, but occurs at the level of the ankle. This syndrome appears due to compression of the tibial nerve in the flexor retinaculum. When this compression occurs, the sensation of tingling and numbness appears in the sole of the foot and in the area of the ankle; This sensation increases when walking and when standing for a long time.
The treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome is based on the treatment of pain and the subsequent recovery of functional mobility of the ankle and foot. In the article that I leave below you will find what you need to know a little more about this syndrome and its treatment: All about the syndrome of the tarsal tunnel (stt)
When we talk about metatarsalgia, we refer to the pain that is felt at the level of the metatarsals, especially in the sole of the foot. In addition to the pain, there is also the sensation of tingling and altered sensation in the area.
Its treatment is through physiotherapy sessions, the main objective is to relieve pain and paresthetic sensations. Follow the link that we leave below to deepen more about this pathology: Metatarsalgia, symptoms, causes, complications and treatment
Neuroma of morton
When one of the nerves between the third and fourth toes (can also occur between the second and third) becomes inflamed, a series of symptoms appear in the area where the neuroma is: tingling, altered sensitivity and pain after walk for long periods.
The treatment of the neuron of morton is in conjunction with the doctor and the physiotherapist, always seeking to solve the symptoms with a conservative treatment. It can also be treated through a surgical treatment, but only when the options have been exhausted and the pain is very great.
I’ll leave an article on our page so you can learn a little more about the neuron of morton: Neuroma de morton, everything you need to know
Tingling and numbness in all four extremities
There are a group of pathologies that cause this abnormal sensation in all four limbs, among them we have:
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that causes gradual degradation of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. This disorder can occur at any age but is more common between 20-40 years; Among its symptoms are: loss of strength, tingling, numbness, much fatigue … among others. Because any part of the brain or marrow can be damaged, these symptoms can appear anywhere on the body (arms and legs).
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are treatments that can delay the disease. Physiotherapy can help the patient maintain a normal quality of life.
When the thyroid does not work properly, it can generate the following symptoms at a general level: tingling of the hands and feet, excessive tiredness, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, dry skin and hair loss.
The presence of these symptoms is indicative that the thyroid is not performing its function adequately, so it is necessary to go to the doctor as soon as possible to make the respective evaluation and indicate the treatment to follow
It will seem surprising but the lack of vitamins can also generate the sensation of tingling in the extremities; mainly the lack of vitamins B12, B6, B1 or E. When there is a deficiency of these vitamins, alterations occur in the nerves and that is why the tingling sensations appear in different areas of the body (arms and legs especially), in addition to other symptoms such as: irritability, fatigue, dizziness, pallor of the skin and psychiatric problems.
To solve this deficiency it is necessary to improve your daily food intake; The best way to achieve this is by visiting a nutritionist.
Diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. The sensation of tingling is common in this type of disease because it affects the normal blood flow, making it insufficient, in addition to blood glucose is toxic to the nerves and causes this sensation of paresthesia in hands, legs and feet.
It is necessary to have a medical control of diabetes to avoid spikes in blood glucose, as well as a healthy and balanced diet.
Stroke is when the blood flow in the brain is interrupted for one reason or another. During this time the brain cells die and this causes permanent damage. Among the first symptoms that appear when a stroke occurs is the sensation of tingling in any part of the body (depending on what part of the brain was affected), in addition to the appearance of other symptoms such as: speech difficulty, general weakness, difficulty walking , loss of balance and coordination of movement.
If a stroke is suspected, the first thing to do is quickly call emergency or take the patient to the nearest emergency.
The Raynaud’s phenomenon is uncommon but it is a disorder at the level of the blood vessels; When there is a lot of cold or the person is going through a lot of stress, the blood vessels narrow and the affected areas can turn white and blue. When the vessels return to their normal blood flow the skin becomes red and there is a tingling sensation and palpitation in the area.
This disorder mainly affects the fingers and toes. If the compression lasts a long time irreversible damage can occur in the affected areas, so it is important to have a medical check if you present this case.
Fibromyalgia is pain in the muscles and fibrous tissue (ligaments and tendons). It consists of an anomaly in the perception of pain, so that stimuli that are not painful are perceived as such. This disorder generates: feeling of stiffness, tingling (arms and legs), generalized pain sensation. In addition to other symptoms such as: tiredness, sleep disorder, anxiety and depression.
Fibromyalgia does not have a definitive cure, but its symptoms can be controlled through physiotherapy and other alternative methods.
Guillain Barre syndrome
Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s defense system attacks the nervous system by mistake. Due to this damage at the nervous level, symptoms of tingling, weakness and paralysis appear; these symptoms appear quickly, the weakness becomes general in a matter of hours and the symptoms are more serious if the immune system attacks the nerves of the thorax and the diaphragm, generating the need for a respiratory assistance.
There is no direct cure for this syndrome but body function can recover almost completely over time. This disorder has different phases, I invite you to review the article that I will leave below so you can know a little more about this syndrome: Guillain-Barré syndrome
Buerger’s disease is associated with the consumption of snuff, begins with a pain caused by the deficit in blood flow, known as claudication, affecting mainly the hands and feet (can affect arms and legs). The sufferer feels a tingling and numbness in the hands, fingers and feet.
This problem should be treated quickly if it is suspected because it can damage or destroy the skin tissues and lead to gangrene.
How you could see, there are a variety of causes that can produce the sensation of tingling, numbness or numbness in our extremities; the important thing is to identify which are the characteristic symptoms that the differences of others, for example: those that only affect the hands or feet or those that have a specific path.
This article is intended to be a guide for you to get an idea of what might be your cause, but do not forget that the best thing will always be to visit your doctor or a trusted physiotherapist to evaluate you and give you a more specific diagnosis , in addition to an appropriate treatment for you.