Paresthesia is having a sensation of pricking, tingling or numbness of the skin with no apparent cause. The feeling of needles and pins can literally drive a person up a wall. I know because I not only suffer from diabetic neuropathy but paresthesia of the feet and calves as well.
Different types of paresthesia can cause certain symptoms. One type is cause by putting inadvertent pressure on one of the superficial nerves. When the pressure is relieved, the paresthesia disappears. Other kinds of paresthesia are chronic as well as very painful and the sources are varied. Other symptoms of paresthesias include feelings of cold, burning, warmth, skin crawling and itching. Those people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome will often have irritable bowel syndrome paresthesia.
What causes paresthesia?
Sensation makes its way to the brain by way of nerve cells that run from the outer parts of a person's body to the spinal cord. The neurons in the spinal cord make the connection with other neurons which run up to the brain. When there is a disturbance in this sensory path, paresthesia occurs. This disturbance can occur in the nerve roots, the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system. The most common causes of paresthesia are those that are caused by peripheral disturbances.
You get the feeling that a limb of yours has fallen asleep because the blood supply to that particular nerve has been cut off. This is a condition known as ischemia. A person that was bothered by irritable bowel syndrome paresthesia noted that it felt like there was a tingling feeling in her stomach.
Another cause of paresthesia is when a nerve is directly compressed. This compression can either be short-lived or it can be chronic. The most common example of chronic nerve compression is carpal tunnel syndrome.
What's the treatment for paresthesia?
Before you treat paresthesia, you must first find the underlying cause. If a limb has simply fallen asleep, circulation can be restored by stretching, massaging or exercising the affected limb. If the parestheia is caused by one of a variety of chronic diseases such as diabetes then other complicated treatments may be necessary. Since I have paresthesia caused by my diabetes, I was put on Lyrica. It was just like a miracle drug !!!
All of the pins and needles were gone with just a few doses. If you have paresthesia caused by irritable bowel syndrome then it would be best to consult you doctor to see what his recommendations would be. If symptoms are mild, then ibuprofen may be a good choice. In some of the more difficult cases, antidepressant drugs may be prescribed such as Elavil. These are thought to be of some help because these drugs alter your body's perception of pain.
No matter what the cause of your paresthesia is, whether it is diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome paresthesia or a variety of other diseases, you should always consult with your doctor to try to narrow down its cause and then proceed with a treatment that is tailored to meet your needs.