Dr. Mark Kestner
One of the more common complaints patients present to me is an uncomfortable tingling sensation, usually in their hands or feet.
They typically describe having a feeling as though their funny bone has been hit. Occassionally, I also have patients that tell me they are experiencing a feeling of numbness.
Often tingling in the hands or feet is the result of a sensory nerve being pinched, damaged or otherwise irritated.
The nerves in your hands start at the neck, run across to the shoulders down through the elbows, which travel to the wrists and into the fingers.
Although the problem could be anywhere between your neck and fingers, it is usually caused by a pinched nerve in the neck.
The nerves branch off the spinal cord, then pass between two vertebrae. The delicate nerves can be irritated or pinched by a bulging or swollen disk, arthritis, misaligned vertebrae or other problems.
In most cases, the problem is fixable.
For this type of problem, chiropractic care really shines. Chiropractors skillfully correct the spinal problem with gentle, manual hands-on treatment, which usually works quite well.
The nerve can also be irritated by pressure along the path down from the shoulder to the elbow and wrist. This usually happens as a result of long-standing tendonitis or muscle injuries that cause soft tissue swelling.
Again, these problems can normally be helped.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of the nerve being pinched as it passes through the space around the wrist bones. This type of problem also usually responds to manual manipulation in coordination with other appropriate therapies.
Tingling in the feet can be caused by the same kinds of problems, or it may also be a sign of peripheral neuropathy, which is a term that indicates certain nerves are not healthy.
This can be caused by diseases such as diabetes.
Although this type of problem can be a chronic degenerating condition, it is sometimes possible that the discomfort can be helped.
It is also possible for a temporary interruption in blood flow to cause a tingling sensation.
Sometimes, patients refer to this as feeling like their hands or feet have fallen asleep.
This could be as simple as recognizing a position that puts pressure on an artery and avoiding that position.
However, it could also be a sign of vascular problems. If this happens frequently, it should be evaluated.
It is important to note that any unusual tingling sensation should be examined to determine the cause.
Some people will be bothered by a slightly irritating sensation that is not exactly painful, but it is significant enough to interrupt their sleep. Some patients refer to this as restlessness.
Even this mild degree of discomfort can seriously affect overall health and should be evaluated.
it is important to remember, however, if a person experiences sudden severe tingling sensations that affect more than one area or has other unusual symptoms, such as difficulty smiling, speaking, or with movement, it is very important to seek emergency care immediately.
These could be warning signs of a possible stroke or other serious conditions.
In an emergency, minutes can mean the difference between complete recovery and permanent disability, or worse, death.