Feeling numbness or tingling in your legs, arms, feet or hands can be a common experience, particularly if you happen to have been sitting or sleeping awkwardly. Limb numbness, tingling or lack of sensation is often attributable to pressure on the nerves or reduced blood flow. Once the pressure is released from the nerve, symptoms usually resolve.
The occasional bout of numbness is a harmless event, however if you experience numbness in a limb over a long period to time, you should seek medical advice, as it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
There are many causes of limb numbness. Usually, it’s just because you’ve compressed the nerves that go to the affected area. In the office, this frequently occurs when you sit at a desk in front of a computer screen for too long without taking a break or stretching. Numbness and tingling is also a common side effect of pregnancy and is also prevalent amongst the elderly who may have compromised circulation systems or impaired mobility.
Sportspeople often experience limb numbness due to compression or impact injuries such as a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. An injury to a nerve in your neck may trigger numbness anywhere along your arm, hand or fingers, whilst an injury to your lower back area can produce numbness or tingling through your legs.
Long-term numbness can be an indication of another more serious underlying disorder. These serious conditions can include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Underactive thyroid
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
As an indicator of a potentially more serious condition, you should not ignore tingling and numbness if it persists.
At the Southport Central Physiotherapy & Sport Injury Clinic, we conduct thorough consultations to identify the cause. We also test the strength and flexibility capabilities in the affected limb. If your condition is due to a pinched nerve, we have a number techniques that will help release the affected nerve.
In subsequent visits, we focus on building up your range of motion, through stretching, flexibility and strengthening exercises.