Numbness and tingling
Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in your body, but are often felt in your hands, feet, arms, or legs.
Sensory loss; Paresthesias; Tingling and numbness; Loss of sensation
There are many possible causes:
- Remaining in the same seated or standing position for a long time.
- Injuring a nerve supplying the body part where you feel the sensation. If you have a neck injury, for example, you may feel the sensation anywhere along your arm or hand. Similarly, a low back injury can cause sciatica -- a sensation of numbness or tingling down the back of your leg.
- Lack of blood supply to the area. For example, plaque buildup from atherosclerosis in the legs can cause pain, numbness, and tingling while walking. (This is called claudication.)
- Pressure on the spinal nerves, as from a herniated disk.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. This can cause numbness or tingling in your wrist, fingers, hand, or forearm.
- Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, underactive thyroid, multiple sclerosis, seizures, or migraine headaches.
- Abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium in your body.
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke
- Certain medications.
- Toxic action on nerves, such as that from lead, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Radiation therapy.
Viera AJ. Management of carpal tunnel syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2003; 68(2): 265-272.
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