Numbness

Information on nerve damage, tingling, and numbness in hands and feet.

Select a Topic

  1. What Causes Numbness?
  2. Numbness in Upper Extremities
  3. Numbness in Lower Extremities
  4. Causes of Numbness During Pregnancy
  5. Numbness in Children
  6. Help for Numbness

What is Numbness?

Physical numbness is an abnormal sensation that can occur anywhere in the body, but is most commonly felt in the hands, feet, arms, or legs. Numbness is a fairly broad term ranging from the harmless numbness you get when your fingers are too cold, to more serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.

In addition, the body can also go through bouts of periodic numbness and tingling due to certain health issues such as anxiety or the onset of a migraine. During an anxiety attack breathing becomes shallow and sporadic and breathing in this manner can cause periods of numbness and tingling especially in the fingers and around the mouth. Also, numbness in the extremities, face or tongue is a very common sign that a migraine is well underway.

What Causes Numbness?

Numbness can have all kinds of different causes, as it is a symptom of many different ailments, diseases and conditions. A proper diagnosis should be sought before assuming any one cause or conclusion. It is also important to take additional precautions as loss of sensation can lead to increased chances of accident and injury.

Possible Causes of Numbness

  • Underactive thyroid
  • Stress
  • Iron Deficiency
  • Poor circulation or lack of blood supply to the extremities
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dehydration
  • Migraines
  • Complication from diabetes
  • Nerve damage due to injury
  • Menopause
  • Bug Bite
  • Side Effect of Certain Drugs or Medication
  • High Potassium Levels
  • Obesity
  • A lack of vitamin B12 or other vitamin
  • Abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium in the body
  • Pressure on the spinal nerves, such as that due to a bad or slipped disk.
  • Stroke
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Certain Viral or Bacterial Infections
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Numbness in Upper Extremities

Numbness in the Hands

Numbness in the hands is a sensation of loss of feelings in the hands, often referred to as "falling asleep". Symptoms of hand numbness are tingling, pins-and-needles, prickling sensations. Sleeping on your hands or holding your hands above your head for a long period of time will cause numbness. Hand numbness can also be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, the compression of the median nerve traveling to the arms, hands, or fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are tingling, burning, weakness, or sometimes sharp pain.

Numbness in the Arms

Like hand numbness the symptoms of numbness in the arms can be attributed to the arms being held above the head, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness in the arms can be as simple as a pinched nerve; however, when arm numbness is accompanied by tightness of the chest, shortness of breath, and nausea, it is time to seek medical treatment immediately. Tingling feelings in the left arm, shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest are all signs of a heart attack- that is why it is important to note all the symptoms accompanying arm numbness.

Numbness in Lower Extremities

Numbness in the Feet

Numbness in the feet is a loss of sensation or feeling in the feet, as a result of improper communication between the nerves and the central nervous system. Commonly foot numbness can be attributed to a blood shortage in the foot. This occurs when someone is sitting cross-legged for an extended amount of time. Getting up and walking around through the day can help this issue. Extreme cases of foot numbness may be caused by nerve damage and should not be taken lightly.

Numbness in the Legs

Leg numbness can occur when an individual has been in the same seated or standing position for a long period of time. While most of the time leg numbness is a non-threatening condition it can be quite uncomfortable. Some sufferers have a low back injury that causes numbness or tingling down the back of the leg.

Causes of Numbness during Pregnancy

Pregnant women are faced with many body changes and for some, numbness is one of them. Some pregnant women develop carpal tunnel syndrome, believed to be attributed to water retention which causes body tissues to swell and the median nerve to compress. The symptoms of carpal tunnel in pregnant women are the worst in the morning, due to the water accumulated overnight. Carpal tunnel usually corrects itself after the birthing process and the body stops retaining water.

Numbness in Children

There are many reasons why children experience numbness in different parts of their body. Nutritionally, a lack of vitamins or minerals can cause numbness in the lower limbs; this is especially true for vitamin B deficiencies. Along with poor nutrition, sports related injuries can also cause numbness and tingling in the body. Parents should monitor complaints of numbness or tingling that lasts for more than a few minutes in athletic children as this could be a sign of trauma to muscles, tendons or bones.

Help for Numbness

Due to the variety of reasons for potential numbness, a proper diagnosis should be established to determine the best treatment options to correct it. However, a holistic and healthy lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction can benefit most everyone.

A healthy and balanced diet is crucial. Make sure to reduce overly processed foods, especially refined sugars. Eating wholesome organic foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables will help your overall health, including the regulation of hormone production. Herbal supplements such as NeuropathEase™ may temporarily relieve symptoms of burning, tingling, and numbness.