What Exactly Is Numbness?

January 3, 2023

Numbness is defined as a lack of feeling or sensation in a certain part of the body. It might be full or partial. Although it is a common symptom of many different medical disorders, it is typically an indication of a problem with the nerves in the body.

The majority of occurrences of numbness are not significant. In more extreme situations, it leads to difficulties connected to not experiencing pain or being ignorant of what’s going on with portions of the body. It may also indicate a significant underlying illness such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

What Might Be The Reasons For Numbness?

There are several reasons for numbness. The symptom is generally caused by a problem with a nerve or nerves. When a nerve is injured or crushed, the body’s capacity to sense typical sensations is hampered.

Numbness in some situations is caused by inappropriate pressure on the nerves in and around the spine. The following conditions may induce this numbness:

  • Osteoporosis-related backbone collapse
  • Compressed spinal cord
  • Ruptured or ruptured disc
  • Arthritic pinched nerves, bone spurs

Other medical disorders that might induce numbness to include:

  • Diabetes
  • Infections such as HIV or Lyme disease
  • Kidney illness
  • Medications or drug usage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Tumor
  • Cancer spreading to the spine
  • Animal and bug bites

How Is Numbness Identified?

Your physician will inquire about the numbness and affected body part (s). Other inquiries will include when the numbness occurred, how quickly it happened, what events or activities you were doing at the time the numbness began, and whether you have any other symptoms. The answers to these questions will assist your doctor in determining the source of the numbness.

  • Blood Tests are used to determine the condition causing numbness. A blood sample is taken by a doctor to examine for indicators of illnesses such as diabetes, renal abnormalities, and vitamin deficiencies.
  • Nerve Conduction Tests. Electrodes are placed over the nerve(s) to be investigated as well as the muscle supplied by the nerve in this test. The nerve receives a transient electric pulse. The test reveals whether or not the nerve conveyed the signal correctly and at a regular pace. If not, this is a symptom of nerve damage or injury.
  • Electromyography. A tiny needle is injected into a muscle during this examination. When the muscle is at rest or contracted, electrical activity is recorded. This test, which is frequently combined with nerve conduction investigations, aids in the detection of nerve and muscle injury.

Healthcare And Treatment

The treatment for numbness differs depending on the reason. The objective of treatment is to treat the underlying disease that is causing the numbness. Based on the underlying disease and the nerves involved, your doctor will choose the best treatment for you.

  • Nerve pain medicines are among the most frequent treatments for numbness.
  • Blood sugar control in diabetics
  • Physical therapy activities to strengthen the spine or aid with mobility
  • Surgery to remove a tumor or fix a spine condition

When Should You Contact A Doctor?

Because the reasons for numbness vary so significantly, some instances need more immediate medical attention than others. Seek emergency medical assistance if your numbness is followed by any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty controlling bladder or bowel motions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of feeling in the face or trunk of the body
  • Paralysis
  • Changes in speech or vision

Most cases of numbness are less urgent, but they should still be evaluated by South Valley Neurology. If your numbness:

  • Has no evident explanation
  • Occurs during repetitive activities/motions
  • Causes loss of strength or muscular control over time
  • Is accompanied by a rash