Paresthesia

Paresthesia Definition, Types, Causes, Diagnostic Procedures, and Treatment

What is paresthesia?

Paresthesia and the loss of sensation in a certain area of the body are two of the most frequently noted disturbances in sensation.

The paresthesia definition refers to a burning or prickling sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, and can also occur in other parts of the body. The sensation is usually painless and described as tingling or numbness, skin crawling, or itching. The manifestation of a paresthesia may be transient or chronic and may have any of dozens of possible underlying causes.

Types of Paresthesia

    • One of the most common kinds of paresthesia is the feeling as if a part of the body is "asleep" or the feeling of "pins and needles".

 

    • Another relatively common paresthesia is "formication."  This is the feeling of having bugs or insects crawling over and/or under the skin.

 

The Paresthesia definition is described as a sensation of burning, pricking, prickling, creeping or tickling on the skin without a cause. It is most often related to irritation or injury of a nerve root or a sensory nerve. A paresthesia might come and go, or it may be chronic.

It’s not always possible to determine the cause of paresthesia. Temporary paresthesia often happens because of a pressure on a nerve or brief periods of poor circulation. This can happen when you fall asleep on your hand or sit with your legs crossed for too long. Chronic paresthesia may be a sign of nerve damage.

Two types of nerve damage are radiculopathy and neuropathy.

    • Radiculopathy is a condition in which nerve roots become compressed, irritated, or inflamed. This can occur when you have a herniated disk that presses on a nerve, a narrowing of the canal that transmits the nerve from your spinal cord to your extremity, any mass that compresses the nerve as it exits the spinal column.

 

    • Neuropathy, on the other hand, occurs due to chronic nerve damage. The most common cause of neuropathy is hyperglycemia.

 

Causes of Paresthesia

Chronic paresthesia is often a symptom of an underlying neurological disease or traumatic nerve damage. Paresthesia can be caused by disorders affecting the central nervous system, such as:

    • Stroke and transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) wherein blood flow to the brain is cut off and causes damage.

 

    • Multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, and encephalitis are diseases of the central nervous system that affects the way your body feels. 

 

    • A tumor or vascular lesion pressed up against the brain or spinal cord can also cause paresthesia.

 

    • Nerve entrapment syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and

 

    • Sciatica can damage and cause pressure to the peripheral nerves that cause paresthesia accompanied by pain. 

 

    • Diabetes mellitus is a blood sugar disorder that damages the nerves over time.

 

    • Lack of some vitamins, especially low levels of vitamin B12 can also cause numbness sensations.

 

    • Certain medications such as some types of chemotherapy, antibiotics, and anti-seizure medications that cause nerve irritation or damage can eventually cause paresthesia.

 

Diagnostic Procedures

Diagnostic evaluation of Paresthesia is based on determining the underlying condition causing the paresthetic sensations. An individual's medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests are essential for the diagnosis. Physicians may order additional tests depending on the suspected cause of the paresthesia. The nerve conduction study usually provides useful information for making a diagnosis. A CT scan and MRI is sometimes used to rule out some causes from the central nervous system.

Treatment for Paresthesia

Depending on the results, they may refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, orthopedist, or endocrinologist. The appropriate treatment for paresthesia depends on accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause. In many cases, paresthesia goes away on its own. Medications offered can include the immunosuppressant prednisone, intravenous gamma globulin (IVIG), anticonvulsants, and antiviral medication, depending on the underlying cause. If your paresthesia is due to an underlying disease, getting treatment for that disease can potentially ease the symptoms of paresthesia. Your individual circumstances will determine whether your symptoms will improve. Some types of nerve damage are irreversible.

The prognosis for those with paresthesia depends on the severity of the sensations and the associated disorders.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
4 answers
Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers