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Tingling in hands and feet is a common problem that you may have experienced several times. The problem can bother you at times. The problems, also known as pins and needles effect can occur when you put pressure on the nerves of hands and legs (for example, crossing your legs for too long or falling asleep with hands crooked under your head). In most of the cases, the issue may not cause you any physical harm. The temporary condition can relieve itself when you remove the pressure from the hands and feet.
But, certain underlying health conditions can trigger the tingling sensation in your feet as well as hands. In such cases, the chronic, episodic or severe problem needs medical attention. When you suffer from the severe problem of pins and needles, you can experience other signs in your body. So, it can point towards nerve damage, which needs treatment. Read ahead to know more about the problem and the ways to deal with it.
What Do You Mean By Tingling In Hands And Feet?
Have you felt pins pricking your skin? Tingling in hands and feet can feel that. So, you feel like several needles pricking your skin constantly. Some people explain it as a constant vibration or a low humming of electricity passing through your skin. You cannot ignore the sensation as it makes you uncomfortable. It can shift from bearable to agonizing. So, the zapping sensation can affect your activities. The aggravating feeling can cause a hindrance to your normal day-to-day activities. At times, you tend to shake your hands or legs to improve blood circulation and overcome the tingling feeling. In temporary cases, when you wiggle your finger and toes, you can shake away the sensation after some time.
Serious conditions can cause numbness for more than a day or two. You must never ignore the condition as it points towards something serious. The underlying problem can vary from severe nerve damage to infection. Here is some serious problem that can trigger tingling sensation:
- Traumatic injuries
- Infections (caused by virus or bacteria)
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Toxic Exposures
- Systemic Diseases
When you observe other signs along with the tingling sensation, then you have to see your doctor. Seeking medical assistance is important to overcome serious conditions without any complications.
Signs Associated With Tingling In Hands And Feet
When you experience pins and needles for a long time or frequently, then it points to some medical condition. Therefore, you need to consider getting evaluated by a medical professional to find the cause of tingling in hands and feet. The serious case of the problem comes with other signs. You need to identify the underlying cause as early as possible to bring it under control and avoid potential complications. So, you need to monitor your body for additional symptoms like:
- Hand or arm pain
- Burning pain in hands or legs
- Arm/leg weakness
- Arm or hand pain
- Hands and feet extremely sensitive to touch
- Frequent feeling of feet or hand has fallen asleep
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of balance and falling
- Feeling of numbness, prickling or tingling sensation in the hands or feet
- Prickling sensation spreads upwards into the feet as well as arms
- Paralysis of the affected area
- Decreased sensation or numbness in the affected area
- Outwards radiating sharp, burning or aching pain
- Jabbing, throbbing or freezing sensation in hands and legs
- Paresthesia (tingling sensation)
If you suffer from the above-mentioned signs, you need to get medical help. It indicates something serious. You need assistance from a medical professional to detect the exact cause and take necessary action.
Causes Of Tingling In Hands And Feet
The tingling sensation in the hands and feet can occur due to temporary or chronic problems. The chronic problem occurs due to nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy). It is the most common cause of the chronic or frequent tingling sensation. The problem affects your nerves distance from the spinal cord and brain. So, you can see its effect on your hand and feet. You can classify peripheral neuropathy into more than a hundred different types. If you ignore to get treatment for the condition, then it can worsen as time progresses. It gradually affects your mobility and leads to disability. The underlying problem that causes the tingling sensation in your feet and hands are:
It is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. The increase in blood sugar levels can affect the nerves as time passes. Almost 30% of the peripheral neuropathy cases have diabetes as its root cause. The tingling sensation develops at both your feet. It gradually moves up your legs and affects your hands. The tingling sensation can further move up and affects your arms. It is astonishing to find that two-thirds of the people affected by diabetes suffer from some form of nerve damage (mild to severe). In many cases, people detect their high blood sugar levels due to a tingling sensation.
Nerve Entrapment Syndromes
Several types of problem can occur due to direct pressure on your nerve. It is also referred to as a trapped nerve. You can also refer to the condition as nerve root compression. Different health issues can lead to nerve entrapment. But, the problem always accompanies with other signs like:
- Muscle weakness
Depending on the part of the nerve affected, you can experience the signs in a particular region. Some of the diseases triggering the problem are:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Peroneal Nerve Palsy
- Radial Nerve Palsy
- Ulnar Nerve Palsy
Systemic diseases affect your entire body rather than just a specific organ or body part. The following systematic diseases can affect your nerve:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disorders
- Connective tissue disorders
- Vascular damage
- Blood diseases
- Hormonal Imbalances (for example, hypothyroidism)
- Benign Tumors (which can impinge on your nerves)
Vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of your body. The lack of certain vitamins can trigger tingling in hands and feet. Vitamin B12, B6, B1, E, and Niacin are integral to healthy nerve function in your body. The deficiency or too much vitamin can cause problems. For example, if you suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, then it can lead to pernicious anemia. The problem can cause peripheral neuropathy. While excess vitamin B6 can cause a tingling sensation.
Consuming an excess amount of alcohol can affect your health adversely. Alcoholics find it difficult to get adequate vitamins due to poor dietary habits. It can lead to thiamine or other vitamin deficiencies that affect nerve health. Therefore, alcoholism can trigger peripheral neuropathy. Excess alcohol consumption can affect the nerves directly. The condition known as alcoholic neuropathy triggers nerve damage. So, people need to restrict their alcohol consumption to prevent severe nerve problems.
Exposure To Toxins
Industrial chemicals and environmental chemicals can affect your nerves. If you work or stay in a place with high amounts of heavy metals like thallium, arsenic, mercury, and lead, then it can cause adverse effects on your nerves. Using certain drugs can also trigger nerve problems. So, people who undergo chemotherapy (especially drugs used in chemotherapy for lung cancer), antiviral or antibiotic drugs can lead to tingling in hands and feet.
Some infections in your body can affect your nerve function. So, the following infection needs prompt treatment to avoid nerve problems:
- Shingles (Caused by the varicella-zoster virus)
- Lyme Diseases
- Herpes Simplex
- Diseases triggered by cytomegalovirus
When your body’s immune system starts attacking the healthy cells instead of external threats, it can trigger several problems. The problem referred to as autoimmune disease can affect your nerve function. So, the following autoimmune diseases can affect your nerves:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
You can inherit certain problems from your parents. It can cause sensory and motor problems. Charcot-Marie Tooth disease is the most common problem triggering nerve problem.
An injury or trauma can lead to nerve compression, crushing of nerves or damage to it. So, you can experience nerve pain. The problem can also trigger tingling sensation in your hands and feet. In most cases, dislocated bones or herniated disc can lead to the issue.
Diagnosis Of Tingling In Hands And Feet
If the pins and needle effect causes you distress, then you need to see a medical professional. Some serious health condition can trigger the problem. With early diagnosis, you can undergo the apt treatment. It will help you overcome the issue with ease. Early intervention helps manage the health problem and overcome the tingling sensation with ease. So, your doctor can use the following diagnostic methods to detect the actual problem triggering the tingling.
When you see your doctor, you need to answer questions about your medical history and the signs you suffer. In most cases, people who have an underlying medical condition can suffer additional signs along with tingling. Therefore, you need to address your symptoms. You also need to talk about your work environment, toxic exposure, social habits (smoking and alcohol use), risk of infectious diseases, and family history of neurological complications. It helps your doctor get an idea about your health. The doctor performs a physical assessment based on the information to detect the problem. Depending on the assessment, your doctor can suggest additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Your doctor suggests testing your blood sample in the laboratory to check for different health issues. So, a lab technician takes blood and evaluates it in the lab. The blood test can find a wide range of problems like:
- Liver dysfunction
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Kidney problems
- Abnormal immune system activity
- Metabolic disorder
The blood test can reveal the actual underlying issue causing the tingling or prickling sensation in your feet and hands.
Cerebrospinal Fluid Evaluation
You have colorless and clear fluid around your brain and spinal cord. The fluid is known as CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). The examination of CSF can provide evidence of peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, your doctor suggests for the CSF test (spinal tap or lumbar puncture). The change of color of the CSF indicates the presence of some neurological disorder.
If your doctor suspects anything wrong with the nerves, then EMG can offer a clear picture. Electromyogram usually measures your muscle’s response or electrical activity when you stimulate the nerves. It is the best test to detect neuromuscular abnormalities. Your doctor measures the electrical activity of your muscle during forceful contraction, slight contraction or during rest.
Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV)
It is the test used to determine the nerve damage in your body. During the NCV test, your doctor stimulates a nerve directly with electrical current. The reaction is measured to check for any problems. So, the test can reveal a diverse range of neuromuscular and muscular conditions.
Computed Tomography (CT)
It is the sophisticated imaging test, which produced a series of x-ray images. Using the images, you can detect the problems with the nerve. So, you can detect pinched nerve, compressed nerve, and other problems using the imaging test.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
It is the test that uses powerful radio waves and a magnetic field to produce intricate images of the body. The images available in multiple planes can help your doctor detect any nerve root compression. So, the sophisticated imaging techniques aids in diagnosing the nerve issues conclusively.
Nerve biopsy is a sophisticated test that helps identify inflammatory neuropathy. Your doctor can use the test to distinguish between damage to the nerve sheath (myelin damage is also known as demyelination) and destruction of the axonal portion of your nerve cell (also known as axon degeneration).
The skin punch biopsy can help the doctor look at your nerve fiber endings. The diagnostic test can detect the extent of damage to your nerve. It helps measure the nerve fiber density as the reduction in the levels can indicate small fiber neuropathy.
Treatments For Tingling In Hands and Feet
For the treatment to succeed, your doctor must diagnose the underlying health condition accurately. The proper diagnosis can only help develop a treatment plan to alleviate the problem. If your peripheral has not suffered permanent damage, then you can reverse the condition. The peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate. So, diagnosing the condition as early as possible can prevent complete damage to the nerves. Remember, you have no treatment option available to treat inherited types of peripheral neuropathy. But, treatment can improve the acquired types. After the accurate diagnosis, your doctor can come up with a treatment plan to manage or cure the condition. So, you have the following treatment options.
Diabetes is the most common problem associated with a tingling sensation. The high blood sugar levels can cause numbness and other signs in your body. The high blood sugar levels can affect your peripheral nerves and lead to diabetic neuropathy. Therefore, you need to take the medication properly. Follow a good diet and exercise plan to keep the sugar levels under control.
Treating Vitamin Deficiency
Some people suffer peripheral neuropathy and subsequent numbness in feet and hands due to vitamin deficiency. In such cases, dietary supplementation can overcome the problem. Your doctor can suggest taking vitamin supplements daily to overcome nutritional deficiency.
The tingling sensation can trigger nerve pain, which can restrict your productivity. Therefore, the tingling, pricking or numbness can agonize you. You can ease the painful condition by using medications without a prescription from the doctor. The over-the-counter medication can ease the painful and distressing symptoms due to neuropathy. Therefore, you can continue with your daily work without any interruptions due to pain.
When the over-the-counter medications fail to offer you relief, your doctor can prescribe other medication. The prescription-only medication can reduce the symptoms associated with the peripheral neuropathy. So, you can experience relief from tingling and pain. In most cases, doctors suggest medications used to treat depression and seizures. In some cases, you just need to adjust the dose to get relief. Doctors can also suggest alternative medications when the earlier one fails to provide you relief.
Infection can escalate when you fail to get treatment and affects your nerve. Therefore, you need to get prompt treatment for viral or bacterial infections. One of the main infection-causing tinglings in your hands and feet are HIV.
Sometimes, nerve compression or pinched nerve can lead to a tingling sensation. Therefore, your doctor advises undergoing invasive surgery to remove the cyst or correct the nerve compression. Therefore, it can eliminate the pins and needles feeling.
Following a good lifestyle can help you overcome the tingling sensation. The good lifestyle can limit your risk of nerve problems and associated complications. Therefore, you can follow the tips suggested below to overcome the problem.
Maintaining An Optimal Weight
Keeping your weight under control can prevent several health problems including diabetes. Since diabetes is one of the common reasons for tingling or numbness you experience, the ideal weight can prevent the problem. Eat a balanced diet to get all the nutrients necessary to strengthen your immune system. It also avoids the accumulation of fat under your skin. So, including physical exercise in your routine can keep you fit.
Avoid Bad Habits
Smoking and excess alcohol consumption can affect your health adversely. Smoking constricts your blood vessels, making it difficult to provide the necessary blood to your peripheral nerves. So, the lack of sufficient nutrients to the peripheral nerves can lead to a tingling sensation. Therefore, quit smoking and try to avoid or limit alcohol consumption to eliminate problems to the nerves.
If you experience the tingling in hands and feet for more than a few hours, then you need to get help from your doctor. The various underlying medical condition can trigger a tingling sensation. Therefore, you need to address the problem as early as possible. Some health condition requires early medical intervention to prevent severe complications. So, consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Getting necessary treatment for the condition can prevent other complications like severe nerve damage. So, see a doctor immediately to find a solution to the problem.View Article Sources