Most of us have experienced some type of numbness or tingling sensation on our skin at some point in our lives. They are both common sensations – for example, when you sleep wrong on your arm and it “falls asleep,” causing the feeling of pins and needles pricking at the skin. In most cases, numbness and tingling sensations are not serious or life threatening.
Those who suffer from peripheral neuropathy often experience these sensations much more often and more intensely. Numbness or tingling may happen unexpectedly or without any outside contributing factor. While these sensations alone may not be dangerous, they can lead to more serious problems or injuries. Understanding the difference of these sensations my help those experience them feel better prepared for how to handle them.
When nerves signals are unable to communicate with a single branch of a nerve, it can lead to a sensation of numbness. Numbness is literally a reduced or absent perception of sensation in a part of the body. With peripheral neuropathy, a person may suddenly experience numbness in their hands or feet without warning. This can lead to problems when walking or keeping balance. What is worse is that a small injury could take place in this scenario and person would never know. They might bump too hard into a door when walking and break a small toe, or they might step on something sharp and receive a small cut. Because these injuries cannot be felt, they can become infected and turn into even worse problems. This is why doctors highly recommend that those with peripheral neuropathy make it a point to check their feet everyday.
When there is a long period of pressure at a specific part of the body, it can cause what is known as paresthesias or a sensation of pins and needles pricking at the skin. Although this is a very strange sensation it is definitely not uncommon. People from all walks of life and at all ages have experienced this sensation before. However, those with peripheral neuropathy typically experience this sensation much more frequently. For them, there does need to be a prolonged period of pressure on a part of their body in order to feel tingling. They might feel it lying in bed or just sitting in a chair. The tingling can be quite intense and bothersome and can last for some time. In some cases, this tingling sensation can be so bad that it keeps the person from sleeping or relaxing.
Both numbness and tingling can become annoying and bothersome, especially for those with peripheral neuropathy who experience them on regular basis. We hope that you would reach out to Arrowhead Health Centers for help rather than let these conditions overwhelm you. Call us at 623-334-4000, option 9 to talk options we provide to help with peripheral neuropathy.