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Insidious paresthesia: where do the “needles” in the fingers come from?
Insidious paresthesia: where do the “needles” in the fingers come from?

Manifestations of paresthesia - a condition characterized by a feeling of "crawling", tingling "needles", numbness of certain parts of the body (for example, fingers) - probably familiar to everyone. If you have had to sit a leg at least once, then you know what a sensitivity disorder is.

What is the evidence of numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes?

Paresthesia can be transient (short-term) and chronic.

You should not be afraid of passing paresthesia, in most cases it goes away pretty soon on its own, since it is caused by obvious reasons that are easy to eliminate. We are talking about direct mechanical stimulation of a nerve lying close to the surface.

When you sit or fall asleep for a long time in an uncomfortable position that leads to disruption of blood supply to the limb, or receive a sharp blow to the nerve area, numbness and tingling are considered normal reactions of the body. If you change the position or knead the affected area, literally in a couple of minutes, the numbness of the limbs will disappear without a trace. But chronic paresthesias can be symptoms of a number of diseases (from mild to intractable) and most often indicate damage to the nervous system or some of its parts.

Possible Causes of Numbness and Tingling in the Feet and Palms

The most common causes of chronic sensory impairment in the feet, palms, and fingers and toes are osteochondrosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and diabetes mellitus

With osteochondrosis, "needles" are felt for no apparent reason, the tongue and hands may become numb, and certain areas of the skin may lose sensitivity. If, along with chronic paresthesia, headaches and dizziness are observed, as well as characteristic pain in the back or neck, the presence of degenerative changes in cartilage and vertebral discs should be suspected.

The result of such changes is the infringement of the nerve roots. In the human body, a nerve can be squeezed for years by hard parts of the spine, gradually losing the ability to fully perform its functions, and it is far from always possible to correct the situation even by surgical intervention.

  • If you work at a computer for a long time and begin to feel numbness in your fingers along with pain, tingling, burning, perhaps we are talking about carpal tunnel syndrome, in which discomfort can eventually spread to the palm and the entire arm up to the elbow. The reason lies in the compression of the median nerve by the inflamed tendons of the muscles of the wrist: this attack often pursues sign language interpreters, pianists, computer typing operators, and artists.
  • Diabetes mellitus can lead to a tangible loss of sensation in the limbs like "gloves" or "socks": such numbness is one of the characteristic signs of diabetic neuropathy, in which the affected peripheral blood vessels do not provide the nerve fibers with sufficient nutrition, weakening their functions.

In addition, the reasons for the appearance of "goose bumps" and tingling in the fingers and toes can be:

  • Scars or tumors pressing on peripheral nerves;
  • Exacerbation of herpes zoster caused by herpesvirus Varicella zoster;
  • Decreased levels of potassium, sodium, or calcium in the body;
  • Violation of the blood supply to certain areas as a result of frostbite, atherosclerotic changes or vasculitis (vascular inflammation);
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Migraine attack;
  • General intoxication of the body after insect bites or poisoning with spoiled food;
  • Transient ischemic attack;
  • Raynaud's disease;
  • Thyroid problems.

It should be remembered that sometimes an unpleasant tingling sensation in the fingers or toes ("like needles") occurs not as a manifestation of the disease, but as a side effect of treatment. If you are undergoing conservative treatment and periodically feel tingling in the palms, feet, toes while taking medications, see your doctor to stop or replace the medication that causes paresthesia.

It is not recommended to stop treatment on your own or change the dose of the drug. If the limbs become numb, it is easier to injure them, therefore, until the visit to the clinic, try to reliably protect yourself from accidental cuts, burns and bruises.

When is numbness of the extremities considered a reason to see a doctor?

A single episode of short-term numbness or tingling sensation due to an obvious cause (such as trauma) is not a cause for panic.

  1. But if the symptom repeats or does not go away, and its genesis is not completely clear, it is better to consult a specialist - a therapist or neurologist.
  2. You should not hesitate, especially if tingling in the palms or soles of the feet is replaced by pain or accompanied by frequent urination, rash or swelling, dizziness, muscle cramps or weakness.
  3. If, against the background of a deteriorating general condition, the patient cannot move and control his limbs, loses consciousness or complains of hearing, vision and speech problems, it is better to call a doctor at home on an emergency basis - perhaps we are talking about critical damage to the central nervous system, so that action must be taken without delay.

To establish the cause of the appearance of paresthesia, the doctor will prescribe a number of examinations, including a general blood test, screening for the presence of toxins or heavy metals (if there are prerequisites for this), a study of the state and functions of the thyroid gland and nervous system, measuring the level of electrolytes in the blood, liver function tests.

If a pathology of the spine is suspected, additional instrumental studies are prescribed: magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography, ultrasound of the vessels (carotid and vertebral arteries), electromyography.

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