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Numbness and tingling can occur anywhere in the body.

At first, it may seem like a minor annoyance, or you may assume that the area “fell asleep” and you just need to move around a little. But if numbness or tingling (also called paresthesia) continues, it may get worse or cause serious problems.

For this reason, you should never ignore numbness or tingling that recurs and has no apparent cause (such as sitting on your foot until it falls asleep).

What Are Some Grayson Numbness/Tingling Treatment Options?

First, we need to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. Numbness, tingling, or both are usually signs that a nerve has been affected, but there are numerous potential reasons why.

Sometimes the nerve is damaged, while in other situations, it responds to inflammation or pressure in the area. The problem may be local or caused by an issue in another area of the body.

Symptoms also vary – some people only experience numbness and tingling in one specific place, such as their right hand. Others may have numbness and tingling all over or in different places at different times.

Most often, patients have these symptoms in their extremities, like arms, legs, hands, and feet.

At Optimum Health Rehab, we collect a complete patient history, then ask questions about your symptoms, such as: 

  • When did the symptoms start?
  • Do you also sometimes have pain in the area where you experience numbness and tingling? Sometimes symptoms may vacillate between numbness/tingling and pain. 
  • Are the numbness and tingling limited to one area? 
  • Did it start small and then spread to a wider area? 
  • How often does it happen? 
  • Do you have mostly numbness, mostly tingling, or equal amounts of both?
  • Are there any activities that usually bring on the numbness/tingling or that make it stop?

We will also perform a physical examination and order tests as needed, which may include an MRI, a CT scan, X-rays, nerve conduction studies, and more.

When Should I See a Doctor About Numbness and Tingling?

Sooner rather than later. Numbness and tingling are often signs that a nerve is in distress. If the nerve remains compressed or inflamed for an extended period of time, you could suffer permanent nerve damage, which is more challenging to treat.

It’s possible that symptoms like numbness could become permanent. If you’ve had numbness/tingling for more than a few days, please make an appointment to see a doctor.

What Are the Common Causes of Numbness and Tingling?

Here are some common issues that can cause numbness and tingling:

Nerve Pressure

There are multiple reasons for pressure on a nerve. Any swelling or inflammation can impact nearby nerves, so in some cases, the numbness and tingling may be due to an injury, infection, or scar tissue from a previous affliction.

Autoimmune disorders that cause widespread inflammation may also affect nerves.

Pressure does not have to be constant to cause nerve compression. An example of this would be carpal tunnel syndrome, where a patient’s repetitive motions with their hand and wrist compress the median nerve.

Although the nerve is only compressed during these particular motions – such as typing on a keyboard – the nerve can still become damaged, sometimes permanently, over time.

There are many nerves in the spine, and these can also become compressed for a variety of reasons. For example, when one of the vertebrae (small bones in the spine) slips out of alignment, it may put pressure on a nerve.

Often this causes pain, but sometimes it may lead to numbness or tingling instead, especially if the problem continues for a lengthy period of time.

Bone spurs or slipped or herniated discs are also possible causes of nerve pressure in the back or neck. In many cases, an experienced chiropractor can perform a manual adjustment (also called spinal manipulation) to relieve pressure on the affected nerve.

Nerve compression issues are often diagnosed with nerve conduction studies, in which we use small electrodes to pass a harmless low-voltage current through a nerve. If this process takes longer than usual, it’s likely the nerve is inflamed or damaged.

We may also use imaging, like X-rays or a CT scan, to find the source of the issue so we can make a plan to correct it.

Some doctors may recommend surgery to correct pressure on a nerve. While surgery is helpful for some patients with compressed nerves, it also comes with risks, including infection, worsening of symptoms, and sometimes even permanent nerve damage.

If you’re considering surgery, we recommend seeking a second opinion from a chiropractor to learn if any other options are available first.

Neurologic Issues

Sometimes the problem isn’t local – in other words, we find that the area where the patient experiences numbness or tingling is healthy. There is no apparent pressure on the nerve, but the symptoms persist.

In these cases, there may be a broader problem at work. For example, certain types of traumatic brain injury can cause the brain difficulty communicating with nerves in various parts of the body.

In some cases, this manifests as difficulty with language or movement, but in others, the patient may feel numbness in one or more areas. 

For this reason, we may perform a neurological exam, asking you to do simple tasks so we can assess any difficulties. We might also do a CT scan, nerve conduction studies, and other tests to rule out some issues.

Additionally, we will ask about your diet, family history, and any personal history of head injuries or other neurologic problems.

Systemic Issues That May Cause Nerve Damage

Many conditions can affect the nerves and cause numbness and tingling as symptoms. Here are some examples:

  • Underactive thyroid. We may run a hormone panel to determine if your thyroid hormone levels are typical.
  • Diabetes. Diabetics are at high risk of nerve damage due to poor circulation and reduced immunity. In fact, nerve damage in the feet is one reason why many diabetics develop non-healing foot ulcers – they may not notice any pain (due to numbness) until they have a severe infection.
  • Atherosclerosis. This is the hardening of the arteries.
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon. This affects blood flow in the extremities – usually fingers and toes. Sometimes Raynaud’s occurs on its own, but frequently it’s a symptom of an inflammatory or autoimmune condition, so we may run tests to explore potential causes.
  • Migraine. These headaches are usually associated with severe head pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound, but there are other potential symptoms, including numbness and tingling. If your current migraine treatment isn’t working, we may be able to recommend alternatives.
  • Dietary deficiencies. The most common deficiency to cause numbness and tingling is B12 deficiency. This B vitamin is necessary for proper nerve functioning, and if you don’t get enough for any reason, numbness and tingling can be a sign your nerves are suffering. B12 deficiency also has multiple potential causes, including issues with absorption and utilization. Sometimes a lack of other nutrients, like zinc or other B vitamins, can also cause paresthesia, so we will often run blood tests to determine if you’re low on any nutrients.

Treating Numbness and Tingling

Once we’ve determined the cause of your paresthesia, we’ll create a treatment to address all root causes. We’ll also follow up with you to learn how your treatment is working and make changes as needed.

Some potential treatments include:

  • Spinal manipulation to relieve pressure on a compressed nerve. In some cases, we may adjust other joints.
  • Physical rehab can be used in combination with spinal manipulation or alone if an adjustment isn’t indicated. A physical rehab specialist will work with you to relieve pressure on the affected nerve. They may prescribe exercises to strengthen muscles and joints and improve blood flow around the nerve. Additionally, they might recommend occupational changes to reduce compression. For instance, they might suggest an ergonomic desk chair or a standing desk if you have pressure on the sciatic nerve (also known as sciatica).
  • Electrical stimulation, or E-Stim, is sometimes used to “wake up” a nerve when the patient has prolonged numbness. We use electrodes to pass a low-volt current through the nerve, similar to what we do in a nerve conduction test. But the current usually lasts longer in E-Stim, and the purpose is therapeutic rather than diagnostic. E-Stim is also helpful for pain relief in cases where the nerve damage is permanent. For this purpose, we use a frequency that interferes with pain signals.
  • Regenerative medicine. Sometimes platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP) can be used to help heal an inflamed nerve.
  • Medication, diet, and supplements. For some systemic conditions, we will work on treating the underlying cause with medicine or supplements. For instance, if you have a deficiency, supplementing with the necessary nutrient often improves symptoms quickly. At Optimum Health Rehab, we treat the whole patient, including making diet and exercise recommendations to help prevent recurring issues.

How to Get Help With Numbness and Tingling in Grayson

If you have numbness and/or tingling, please call Optimum Health Rehab to set up a consultation today. Our helpful office staff members are standing by to answer questions, assist with insurance coverage, and schedule an appointment that works for you.

The sooner you get answers about your symptoms, the sooner we can begin treating them. Call us today at (678)985-7286.

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