Have you experienced tingling in your arms and hands?
What about numbness in your feet?
Many people think that a numbness or tingling sensation in their extremities is part of the aging process, but this type of secondary condition can be an indicator of a deeper problem.
If you’ve been ignoring unusual prickling sensations in your body similar to when your arm or leg falls asleep, you could be potentially making a problem worse without knowing it.
Putting pressure on your nerves, like falling asleep on your arm, can cause numbness that eventually dissipates. There are several conditions that can also cause you to feel numbness and tingling, such as:
- An insect or animal bite
- Toxins found in seafood
- Abnormal levels of vitamin B-12, calcium, or sodium
- Medications, especially chemotherapy
While these conditions can cause numbness and tingling, the most common cause is compression of one or more spinal nerves. This can be a result of a neck or back injury from a fall, car accident or degenerative condition. Injuries often times affect the spinal disc which can bulge or herniate onto a nerve compressing it.
How Does Nerve Damage Lead to Tingling?
Nerves in your neck travel down your arms, into your hands, and the nerves in your lower back travel down the legs into your feet. Sensations in these nerves are conveyed up and down at a very rapid rate – as fast as 120 m/sec.
A normal healthy unobstructed nerve will relay sensations like temperature, pain, vibration sense, motor movement, and organ function. If there’s damage or an obstruction at any point along the path of these nerves, the structural integrity of the cell walls will be compromised.
A nerve relays sensations through what is called an action potential. When a stimulus is strong enough sodium channels open at one end of the nerve allowing sodium to flow into the nerve cell. This creates an overwhelming positive (+) charge within the cell. When this reaches a threshold, potassium channels open letting potassium out of the cell to balance the charge. This opening and closing of channels continues down the length of the nerve cell like a wave.
In an obstructed nerve the sodium and potassium channels are distorted or the nerve channels won’t open or close properly. This physical obstruction, whether it be a pinched nerve, tumor, scar tissue budging or herniated disc causes a direct irritation to the nerve. This irritation will lead to the overwhelming stimulation of the sodium channels I mentioned earlier which starts the process of the action potential. It’s kind of like having an old wooden door that expanded in the humidity and doesn’t close properly. The signal keeps shooting down the length of the nerve because it is constantly being compressed at the opposite end.
Common Types of Nerve Pressure
Getting numbness and tingling checked out if it’s persistent could be the key to discovering a larger underlying problem.
Some conditions that place pressure on your nerves could be:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Scar tissue
- Enlarged blood vessels
In addition, some diseases produce numbness and tingling as a symptom, like diabetes, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, hardening of the arteries, and underactive thyroid.
You should seek medical attention if you have medical history of any of these conditions.
How can a Chiropractor Help with Numbness and Tingling?
Even though there are many names for these conditions, the primary source of numbness and tingling and the conditions that go with them begin in the neck or low back by way of segmental displacement.
Common solutions may not always work for the treatment of numbness and tingling due to a structural cause. If your numbness and tingling doesn’t respond to treatment by your primary care physician, an investigation by a specific structural correction chiropractor may be needed.
Come to Pivotal Chiropractic in Ann Arbor for a Chiropractor Who Puts You First!
If you have back pain, neck pain, or tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, it’s time to see a chiropractor. To schedule a complimentary consultation, where a conversation is never a commitment, contact us at 734-221-0362.