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Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling is an unpleasant sensation in which there is reduced or absent feeling in the skin or a "pins and needles" sensation. The most common reason for numbness or tingling is a problem with nerve function, either because the nerve itself is injured, something is pressing on the nerve, or an imbalance in the body's chemistry interferes with nerve function. Most causes are not dangerous, but when muscle weakness or paralysis is also present, numbness and tingling should be treated as an emergency.

There are rare causes of symptoms that will not be included here and would require more detailed evaluation than this guide can provide.

Please keep in mind that this guide is not intended to replace a face-to-face evaluation with your doctor. The goal of this guide is to provide information while awaiting evaluation with your doctor or additional information after you have seen him or her.

Certain symptoms suggest a serious cause of tingling and numbness that requires prompt attention. It's important to ask questions about these symptoms first.

Did your numbness or tingling begin after a significant injury, such as a fall or car accident?

dash  Yes, the numbness or tingling began after a significant injury.
dash  No, the numbness or tingling did not begin after an injury.

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Harvard Health Publications Source: from the Harvard Health Publications Family Health Guide, Copyright © 2007 by President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

Used with permission of StayWell.

Use of this content is subject to specified Terms and Conditions and a Medical Disclaimer.




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