Numbness and Tingling

Numbness and tingling generally results from some sort of nerve issue. Numbness refers to loss of sensation. In medical parlance, numbness and tingling is known as paresthesia. Numbing and tingling most often occurs in the feet, hands, arms and legs, but can affect any part of the body.

Numbness and tingling that lasts more than a day or so requires a medical diagnosis. These symptoms may underlie a serious illness. Any numbness or tingling after an injury needs immediate medical attention, and an individual should not hesitate before contacting a Tampa Bay spinal cord doctor.

Potential Causes

Numerous issues may cause numbness and tingling. Common conditions causing numbness and tingling include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – median nerve compression in the hand
  • Cervical spondylosis – neck arthritis, common in older people
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Herniated disk – herniation pressures the nearby nerves
  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuralgia – nerve damage
  • Peripheral neuropathy – damage to the nerves transmitting signals from the central nervous system to other parts of the body
  • Radiculopathy – a pinched spinal nerve
  • Sciatica – may cause numbness in the feet
  • Shingles – herpes zoster infection
  • Stroke – numbness and tingling in the arm is a sign of an impending stroke, which is a medical emergency
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Transient Ischemic Attacks – TIA, sometimes called “mini-strokes”
  • Tumors – growths may put pressure on nerves

People who smoke or drink excessively are at greater risk of developing some type of neuropathy, with numbness and tingling a primary symptom.

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may experience numbness and tingling, as can people taking certain antidepressant medications. Vitamin deficiencies can also cause numbness and tingling. To better understand the significance of your injury, it is important to contact a Tampa bay back pain doctor immediately.


Patients dealing with numbness may not feel pain properly, and may therefore suffer a cut, burn, or other injury and not realize it.

Patients dealing with numbness should inspect the numb part of the body regularly to ensure they have not inadvertently harmed themselves and gone without treatment. Risks of accidents are higher when a body part is numb.

Diagnosing Procedures

The doctor performs a thorough physical examination when diagnosing numbness and tingling, and asks the patient for a medical history, including whether the numbness and tingling is triggered by repetitive use of the hand or staying in one position for a long period.

Patients should inform the doctor of any medication they are taking. A detailed assessment and testing allows the doctor to make a diagnosis.

Common tests to find the cause of numbness and tingling include:

  • X-rays
  • Complete blood count
  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Electromyography – measure nerve function
  • Myelogram – the use of a contrasting dye in X-rays to look for problems in the nerve roots

Treatment Options

Treatment of numbness and tingling depends on the diagnosis. Conservative treatment, such as the use of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) may help control pain in many patients, although some will need stronger pain medications or muscle relaxants.

The doctor may recommend certain exercises to ease symptoms. Dietary changes or supplements may ease numbness and tingling due to vitamin deficiencies.

Depending on the diagnosis, some patients may require surgery. For example, patients with herniated disks who do not respond to conservative therapy may need to have the protrusion removed.

Contact a Doctor

If you are experiencing numbness and tingling, call a Tampa Bay spinal cord doctor today to arrange an appointment for an examination.