What is paresthesia?

Paresthesia is an abnormal condition in which you feel a sensation of burning, numbness, tingling, itching or prickling. Paresthesia can also be described as a pins-and-needles or skin-crawling sensation. Paresthesia most often occurs in the extremities, such as the hands, feet, fingers, and toes, but it can occur in other parts of the body.

Temporary numbness or tingling that disappears quickly can occur from sitting with your legs crossed for a long time or sleeping on your arm in a bent position. Most people have felt this type of sensation.

Chronic paresthesia or intermittent paresthesia over a long period of time is generally a sign of a neurological disease or traumatic nerve damage. Paresthesia usually arises from nerve damage due to infection, inflammation, trauma, or other abnormal process. Paresthesia is rarely due to life-threatening disorders, but it does occur as a result of stroke and tumors. Whereas paresthesia is a loss of sensation, paralysis usually involves both a loss of movement and the loss of sensations.

Because paresthesia can be a symptom of a disease, disorder or condition, you should talk with your medical professional about any unusual sensations that last more than a few minutes.

If you experience paresthetic sensations with loss of bladder or bowel control, paralysis, confusion, weakness in the extremities, or slurred speech, seek immediate medical attention in an emergency facility.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with paresthesia?

Paresthesia sensations can be described in many different ways, including tingling, numbness, pins and needles, itching, and burning. Paresthetic sensations may be accompanied by pain and other symptoms depending on the part of the body that is affected. Any associated symptoms can help your doctor make a diagnosis.
<... Read more about paresthesiasymptoms

CAUSES

What causes paresthesia?

Paresthesia usually arises from nerve compression (pressure or entrapment) or damage. Paresthesia can be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases, disorders or that cause injury to the nerves.

Temporary paresthesia can be due to any activity that causes prolonged pressure on a nerve or nerves, such as sitting cross legged or bicycling long distance. Paresthesia can also occur with ... Read more about paresthesiacauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves, Diabetic Neuropathy