Uncomfortable Sensations

Numbness, Tingling, and Other Uncomfortable Sensations

These unusual and uncomfortable sensations typically involve the arms, legs, joints, hands, feet and even the neck, back and face.  These symptoms often confuse doctors and many of the patients that I see with these sensations are improperly diagnosed.  The most common causes of these sensations are pinched or irritated nerves.  Other causes can include inflammation or irritation of the ligaments, tendons, muscles or joints at or near the area of involvement.  Often symptoms involving the arms, legs, feet, hand and joints may be referred from the neck and back even though there are no symptoms of the neck and back.

Examples of a pinched nerve include carpal tunnel syndrome causing numbness, tingling pain or other sensations of the hand and/or wrist sometimes radiating into the arm.  Another common nerve problem is sciatica which is a pinched nerve in the back, buttock or upper thigh causing tingling, numbness or other sensations of the thigh, leg, buttock and sometimes the lower back.

A thorough neurological and musculoskeletal physical examination is crucial to diagnosing the condition.  In many cases electrodiagnostic studies will be needed to determine whether a nerve problem is present.  In some cases x-rays or MRI or CT scans are needed.  The correct treatment of course will depend on what the diagnosis is.  Treatments can include medication, orthopedic support of the involved area and physical therapy.  Those not responding to these therapies can be treated with cold laser/light therapy, iontophoresis and kinesio taping.  Occasionally surgery may be needed to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve.