Paresthesia is a feeling of numbness, burning, or tingling, usually in the extremities, such as the hands and feet. There may also be a sensation of crawling or itching on the skin. It often stems from nerve damage, for instance, with diabetes.
Usually a temporary sensation, it is caused when pressure is placed on the nerve that supplies a limb. Once that pressure is relieved, the discomfort goes away.
A paresthesia is actually a symptom itself. It can feel like the affected part of your body has “fallen asleep.” Common sensations include:
• Pins and needles
• Shooting pain
• Hot or cold sensation
There are many different causes of chronic paresthesia, including –
• multiple sclerosis
• tumor in the spinal cord or brain
• high levels of vitamin D or other vitamins
• high blood pressure
• nerve injury
• compressed, or pinched, nerve
A pinched nerve occurs when there is too much pressure put on it by the surrounding tissue. This pressure causes paresthesia in the area supplied by that nerve, and its function is interrupted. A pinched nerve can happen anywhere in the body, such as the face, the neck, the wrist, or the back.
Risk Factors –
Anyone can experience temporary paresthesia. Some factors increase the risk of having a pinched nerve –
• Gender: Women are more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome, possibly due to a narrower nerve canal.
• Obesity: Extra weight can put pressure on nerves.
• Pregnancy: Weight and water gain associated with pregnancy can cause swelling and pressure on nerves.
• Thyroid disease: This puts a person at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Diabetes: Having diabetes can cause nerve and tissue damage.
• Rheumatoid arthritis: This causes inflammation, which can also compress nerves in the joints.
• Prolonged bed rest: Lying down for extended periods can cause nerve compression and increase the risk for paresthesia.
• Overuse: People who have jobs or hobbies that require repetitive motion of the hands, elbows or feet are at a higher risk for a pinched nerve, paresthesia or nerve damage.
Tests that could be done to identify the problem of paresthesia are –
• Blood tests
• Imaging tests such as CT scan, MRI etc.
• Nerve conduction test
If you have paresthesias that don’t go away despite treatment of an underlying problem, several types of medications could be helpful. Examples include:
• Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
• Topical treatments, such as capsaicin and anti-inflammatory creams
• Oral prescription medications, such as gabapentin and pregabalin
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for paresthesias, as treatment depends on the specific cause. It’s best to work with your healthcare provider to decide the best course of action for you.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
The sensation of touch is caused by disturbance of vata dosha (as Vata dosha is associated with touch) and skin is a place of pitta Dosha.
In case of numbness there is imbalance of Vata and Pitta Dosha.
Some Effective Medications –
Some Ayurvedic formulations that could help treating Paresthesia are as follows –
• Yograj Guggulu
• Sameerpannaga rasa
• Ekangaveer rasa
• Mahayogaraja guggulu
For External Application-
Paresthesia is sometimes impossible to avoid. For instance, if you frequently fall asleep in your arms, you probably can’t stop it. However, there are things you can take to lessen paresthesia’s frequency or intensity. For instance, wrist splints at night may reduce compression on your hand’s nerves and help with paresthesia symptoms.
To avoid developing chronic paresthesia, remember to:
• If at all possible, avoid repetitive movement.
• If you have to do repetitive motions, take frequent breaks.
• If you have to sit for an extended time, get up and move around as often as you can.
• Careful monitoring and illness treatment if you have diabetes or any other chronic disease will reduce your risk of becoming paresthesia.
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