Understanding Extremity Numbness, Tingling & Pain
Numbness, tingling, or pain in the extremities (arms, hands, legs, or feet) usually indicates a nerve problem that needs to be addressed by a healthcare professional. In some cases, these symptoms may be caused by a temporary problem associated with sustained pressure on one or more of your nerves. If these symptoms persist, however, they may indicate the presence of a more serious underlying health concern.
Traumatic injury, infection, vitamin B12 deficiency, prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption, and diabetes are all possible causes of nerve damage and extremity numbness, tingling, and pain. This nerve damage is called peripheral neuropathy, and it’s common. Even more common, though, is extremity numbness, tingling, and pain associated with musculoskeletal problems, such as disc herniations, nerve entrapment syndromes, and degenerative changes in your spine. Dr. Mike Sorensen (chiropractor Redmond Oregon) can assess your extremity symptoms and make helpful treatment recommendations based on your unique situation.
The following is a more in-depth look at some of the most common causes of extremity numbness, tingling, and pain:
- Disc Herniations: Spinal disc herniations cause extremity numbness, tingling, and pain when a portion of the injured disc places pressure on a spinal nerve root—a direct offshoot of the spinal cord. Lifting heavy objects with improper form, twisting or turning while lifting, and performing repetitive motions are all risk factors for disc herniations.
- Nerve Entrapment Syndromes: Nerve entrapment syndromes occur when the nerves that travel to your upper or lower extremities become compressed or irritated as they pass through narrow spaces. The shoulder and collar bone, elbow, and wrist are common locations for nerve entrapment in the upper body, while the ankle is a common location for nerve entrapment in the lower body. Myofascial trigger points (tight nodules within a band of muscle) may be another common cause of nerve entrapment throughout the body.
- Degenerative Spinal Changes: Degenerative changes in the spine, especially near the openings through which the spinal nerve roots exit the spinal column, can lead to extremity numbness, tingling, and pain. In much the same way that disc herniations can affect the nerve roots, bone spurs (aka osteophytes) that form around or near this opening can also cause extremity symptoms.
- Diabetes: Diabetes mellitus is a systemic condition characterized by high blood glucose levels. Prolonged exposure to high blood glucose causes nerve damage. In diabetics, tingling and other symptoms usually start in the feet and ascend the legs, eventually affecting the hands and arms. About 60 to 70 percent of diabetics experience mild to severe forms of nerve damage, and a significant number of adults with undiagnosed diabetes show signs of extremity nerve damage.
How Can Chiropractic Help?
Extremity symptoms (especially of a musculoskeletal origin) often respond favorably to chiropractic care. Dr. Mike Sorensen, a leading Redmond Oregon chiropractor, may use any of the following therapies to treat the underlying cause of your extremity numbness, tingling, and pain:
- Joint manipulation
- Myofascial release
- Trigger point therapy
- Home care activities
If your extremity symptoms are caused by a systemic problem (e.g., diabetes), Dr. Sorensen will counsel you on healthy lifestyle habits to minimize further nerve damage and provide you with resources to assist your healing.
Call today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sorensen, Redmond chiropractor, at 541.516.1045.