There are many possible causes of numbness and tingling, and often people struggle to get a diagnosis or to receive satisfactory treatment even after a diagnosis. The name for this mysterious symptom, which can come and go without warning or predictability, is paresthesia. It can occur in only one area of the body or many areas. Some patients also experience pain or a burning sensation, while others only have numbness/tingling.
Sometimes, these symptoms are mild and not very bothersome. But in other cases, they can cause serious issues. If your hands are numb, for example, you might have difficulty picking things up or doing other tasks that require feeling in your hands. Numb feet could make walking difficult. In some situations, these symptoms come and go, making diagnosis more challenging, while other patients may have nearly constant numbness or tingling that interferes with their daily lives.
Optimum Health Rehab strives to get to the bottom of your numbness and tingling challenges. We provide comprehensive diagnostic services followed by tailored treatment plans, all with the sole aim of bringing you relief.
If you’re ready to find out why you’ve been experiencing this and how to get relief, call 877-704-1761 or contact us online to schedule your first appointment today.
What Doctor Should I Go See for Numbness and Tingling?
Many sufferers of recurring paresthesia wonder what doctor to see for numbness and tingling, especially if they have already tried getting relief from their primary care physician.
These cases are often difficult to treat, as the underlying causes may not be revealed clearly through the most-common diagnostic methods. If you are struggling with numbness and tingling, it may be time to see a specialist.
A neurologist can be one of the best kinds of doctors to see for numbness and tingling because they are specifically trained to diagnose and treat issues with the nervous system.
Numbness and tingling will often result from secondary conditions affecting the nervous system, including nerve damage, nerve impingement, scar tissue from a prior injury, or other issues like muscle tension that cascade into nerve-related symptoms.
Through testing methods like nerve conduction studies, your neurologist can identify pathways experiencing nerve impedance in order to pinpoint the exact location where issues may be arising from.
Chiropractic specialists can help in cases where tingling or numbness is related to skeletal misalignment, which often causes issues within the spinal cord’s nerve pathways or primary nerves branching off from the spine.
Adjustments can also supplement medication, neurology therapy, and other treatment methodologies in order to improve movement and feelings of wellness while reducing symptoms like numbness and tingling.
Physical rehabilitation therapists are great allies in addressing nerve-related health issues.
Cumulative effects of repetitive stress, injury, tightness in the muscles, stiffness throughout the body, and pressures placed on the nerve often result in poor functioning.
By strengthening and stretching certain parts of the body — while getting the body moving in general — patients can not only find relief from nerve symptoms but also build a foundation of health and wellness to carry them into the future.
How Can You Get Numbness and Tingling Treatment?
At Optimum Health Rehab, we focus on correctly diagnosing the cause of your paresthesia first, then prescribe treatments to help get your symptoms under control. Our diagnostic suite includes X-rays, CT scans, and nerve conduction studies. We also take a complete medical history and may ask about your diet, activities, work, and other lifestyle factors to identify any potential causes of your symptoms. Once we have a diagnosis, we may recommend one or more treatments.
Neurology Services for Numbness and Tingling
Typically, paresthesia is caused by some sort of issue with a nerve, nerves, or the central nervous system. The problem can range from a local injury to a viral infection to a nutritional deficiency or nutrient imbalance.
Potential Causes of Paresthesia:
- Injury or compression of a nerve – If your numbness/tingling is restricted to one area, there is a good chance the problem is local. One example would be carpal tunnel syndrome, in which patients may have numbness or tingling in the hand and thumb due to a compressed median nerve in the wrist. Another example would be a runner who develops numb toes, which could be caused by damage to the nerves in the feet. You can also have a damaged nerve from virtually any kind of injury, such as a car accident or sports injury.
- Poor circulation – This can overlap with injury or compression of the nerve, or it might be caused by a general problem with circulation, such as the hardening of the arteries. If blood flow is reduced to a nerve for any reason, paresthesia may occur. One very short-term example would be the pins and needles you feel when your foot falls asleep after being in a position with poor circulation.
- Viral infection – Many viruses or other infections can affect the nerves, including shingles (the chicken pox virus), HIV, and Covid-19. Often viral infections cause more widespread numbness and tingling symptoms.
- Nutritional deficiency or imbalance – In some cases, nerve damage or neuropathy is caused by a B12 deficiency or a problem with B vitamin metabolism. Occasionally imbalances of minerals like zinc or potassium may also cause nerve problems. This is why we ask you about your diet and any supplements you take, and we may run tests to check your levels of various vital nutrients.
- Medications – Certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs, can cause nerve damage.
- Exposure to lead or other heavy metals
- Insect or animal bites – Sometimes this is difficult to diagnose because the patient may not even be aware of an insect bite. For example, Lyme Disease from a tick bite frequently leads to neurological symptoms, including numbness and tingling, but patients may not have noticed the tick bite that caused it.
- Diabetes – When blood sugar isn’t adequately controlled, patients may develop neuropathy.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurological Issues
Unfortunately, neurological issues can be tricky to diagnose, and many general practitioners are not experts in the field of neurology. Doctors also may not have many resources for treating nerve pain. If they believe you have a nerve problem, they will frequently prescribe an anticonvulsant like Gabapentin or antidepressants. These drugs affect the nervous system and can relieve nerve pain or symptoms in some patients. However, they don’t work for every patient. Some people get no relief, while others say the medication helped, but the side effects were intolerable. We’ve had patients tell us they need to find a new treatment because their medication makes them too groggy to function at work or take care of their kids. Yet when they don’t take any medication, the numbness and tingling also get in the way of their daily activities.
Fortunately, Optimum Health Rehab offers a number of treatments for neurological issues like numbness and tingling, most of which are drug-free and have few or no side effects. Here are some of the options we might discuss, depending on your diagnosis:
Exercise with Oxygen Therapy
In this therapy, we will give you oxygen while participating in various exercises depending on your fitness level. Exercise is very healthy, as it improves circulation and strengthens the muscles, but exercising with oxygen helps to improve oxygen levels in your blood. Paired with better blood flow, this also helps your brain and nerves to receive more oxygen. The improved oxygen exposure spurs the body to repair and strengthen brain nerve impulses and may also be helpful in situations where a nerve is compressed and not getting enough blood flow.
Some people think of physical therapy as a way to rebuild muscles and strengthen joints after an injury or period of convalescence, and it can be useful for these purposes. However, physical therapy is also beneficial in some cases of nerve damage. After studying your diagnosis and medical history, your physical therapist may help you with some of the following PT exercises:
- Nerve gliding exercises – Nerves work better with good blood flow, space, and movement. To facilitate these things, your therapist will demonstrate exercises that move or “glide” the nerve or nerves causing your numbness and tingling.
- Moderate-intensity exercises – These help increase blood flow and strengthen the muscles around a damaged nerve. In some cases, the improved strength can reduce problems that lead to nerve compression.
- Balance and coordination workouts – We use these to help patients whose nerve damage has caused problems with their balance or coordination – for example, nerve damage in the feet can make walking and balance more challenging. These activities can help improve your balance and ability to do various tasks, from walking to picking up items. It may also reduce your risk of a fall.
- Bracing – Sometimes applying a brace to the affected area can help to protect a nerve that’s being compressed or is otherwise injured. The right brace can ensure that the affected nerve gets as much blood flow and space as possible through your daily tasks. Sometimes we meet patients who already have a brace they bought at a local drug store, but this isn’t always the best solution. They may have the wrong brace for their injury, or it might not fit well enough to provide the needed support. A physical therapist can ensure you get the right brace in an ideal fit.
- Education – Your therapist may discuss changes you can make to help heal a damaged nerve. For example, some people with carpal tunnel syndrome see improvements if they adjust the height of their desk chair or find ways to use a mouse less. Patients with sciatica (compression of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down the legs on each side) may feel better if they work on improving their posture, spend less time sitting or invest in an ergonomic chair. Your therapist will also recommend “homework” or exercises to perform on days you don’t go to therapy.
Some people find that tingling increases temporarily when they exercise. This is a good thing, as it’s a sign that the nerve is getting more oxygen now. It may be irritating at the moment, but you should have less numbness and tingling in the long run. However, if you continue to see an increase in symptoms without any improvement, please let your physical therapist know. They may need to change your routine, introduce different exercises, or recommend complementary treatments.
Pain Management Injections
In some cases where a nerve is severely inflamed, the patient may have numbness and tingling with high pain levels (which may “trade-off” with the numbness and tingling). Pain can make it hard to do physical therapy, so we may begin with a pain management injection. These injections help to reduce the inflammation and swelling around the nerve. This is only a temporary solution meant to allow exercise that will treat the root cause of your neurological issue.
Sometimes we use plasma-rich platelet injections (PRP therapy) to treat damaged nerves. These injections are created from your blood, so compatibility is not a concern. We simply use a centrifuge to separate out a substance called platelet-rich plasma, which contains high levels of growth hormones and bio proteins. Many of the above treatments are used in conjunction with each other, and occasionally we may add other therapies, such as a chiropractic adjustment to relieve compression on nerves near the spine.
Get Help for Numbness and Tingling Today
You don’t have to live with these stressful symptoms any longer. Please contact Optimum Health Rehab online for a consultation, or call us at 877-704-1761 to learn how we can help treat your numbness, tingling, or other neurological issues today.