We’re all familiar with some tingling and numbness. It can be the pins and needles we feel when we fall asleep in an awkward position or sit with our legs crossed for a long period of time. When we move, we discover a hand or arm or foot has “fallen asleep.”
Numbness, however, can be a symptom of something far more serious. The nervous system is a complex network of nerves – like an intricate latticework of cables – that carries messages to and from our brain and other parts of our body. The nervous system allows us to feel sensations such as warmth or pain, and when that network is interrupted, it can lead to permanent damage.
What is Numbness?
People usually experience numbness and tingling – “paresthesia” in medical terms – in hands, arms, feet, and legs. When part of our body experiences odd sensations such as pins and needles, there’s usually been some interruption in blood flow or the nervous system. When we fall asleep awkwardly on a hand or arm, for example, blood flow has been cut off. We need only to move our arm or hand, and the feeling returns.
Numbness can be a sign of a serious injury or medical condition, such as a pinched nerve, which can have a huge impact on our day-to-day lives. When our spines aren’t aligned quite right, for example, nerves can become pinched, which, depending on where in the body the impingement is occurring, can cause numbness in our extremities. Sometimes the nerve damage can become permanent, even if the cause is corrected.
Numbness and pins and needles that radiate down the arm and into the hand is often caused by a pinched or compressed nerve in the neck, while a pinched nerve in the lower spine is felt by pain and tingling that radiates in the hips, down the legs and even into the feet.
Numbness can also be a symptom of several other serious conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes, migraines, multiple sclerosis, seizures, strokes, hardening of the arteries, transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke), and an underactive thyroid.
Because our sense of touch warns us about dangers such as a hot stove, numbness can make us more prone to both burning and cutting ourselves.
If you feel any unexplained numbness, and numbness that lingers, contact your chiropractor, who can repair the nerve interference without any invasive drugs, injections or surgery.
A chiropractor will assess the entire nervous system, and skeletal alignment, to discover the source of any nerve impingement. Once the source of the pinched nerve is corrected – through a spinal adjustment, for example – the affected nerve will undergo its repair process.
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