Paresthesia is the condition which causes burning sensation in the legs, arms and hands. This would be sudden feeling and is usually painless. Some people feel it as sudden numbness or tingling sensation in extremities. It is also described as “pins and needles” sensation by many people and is temporary feeling.
Many of you would have had such feeling after waking up with keeping the arm below the head or getting up after sitting for long time. Paresthesia is caused due to the nerve pressure and the condition improves once the pressure gets relieved.
If parasthesia becomes chronic then it can be indicative of neurological problem or nerve damage. The part that is affected (legs, arms or hands) is said to have fallen asleep for certain time causing numbness.
Paresthesia is felt in the form of pricking or tingling sensation in the legs or arms and hands. It will not cause any pain but it causes sudden numbness in the affected area. Nerves in that area become suddenly lifeless and hence there will not be any sensation felt in that region.
Some people with chronic paresthesia will have additional symptoms of pain and itching along with numbness. This can happen in diabetic patients where due to diabetic neuropathy the underlying nerve loses sensation temporarily. Depending on the severity of nerve damage, the symptoms may vary. Sometimes, the nerves become very weak that it will not send or carry any messages from the brain. If the sensory neurons are damaged the person may not think properly and gets confused.
The condition in either short term (felt for few minutes) or chronic based on underlying cause (like diabetes or multiple sclerosis).
Paresthesia or tingling sensation can be caused if the nerves lose sensation temporarily. People who have chronic health problems like diabetes or neurological disorders can also get this feeling. The neurons in the brain will not carry out the task of transmitting signals properly due to nerve damage.
This condition can be caused by variety of factors like nerve damage, infection, diabetic neuropathy, thyroid problem, malnutrition, stroke, heart attack, carpal tunnel syndrome, bone fracture, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, heavy poisoning, lupus disease, prolonged use of anticonvulsant drugs and motor neuron diseases.
The doctor will identify the symptoms and conducts physical examination of the patient. He may do tests like EEG, and EMG (for checking the muscle activity and nerve functioning), X-ray and CT or MRI scans.
Diagnosing the underlying cause is the crucial factor in treating paresthesia. Simple stretching exercises and massaging is enough for relaxing the circulation in the muscle and nerves. In case of severe pain, anti-inflammatory drugs are given.
For people with chronic type of paresthesia antidepressant drugs like amitriptyline is given for getting relief of the symptom. It is effective in changing the perception of the person by manipulation of brain signals. In severe cases, doctors may give opium derivatives for completely removing the symptoms of tingling sensation.
If the reason is mal-absorption for having tingling sensation or numbness you need to take healthy foods with vitamin supplement. Alternative medicines like acupuncture are effective in relieving the extra pressure from the nerves.
If the person is chronic diabetic, then the doctor may ask him to do physiotherapy or make dietary changes. In this case, the doctor has to monitor the symptoms closely and change the medications accordingly.
People who are wearing casting may get numbness if the splint or casting is very tight and in this case the doctor would cut open the casting to ease out the pressure felt by the nerves.For reducing the discomfort feeling your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid medicines.
Treatment lies on the causative factor and continuous tingling or numbness with pain should not be ignored.