Why do I feel numbness in my hands and feet?
Numbness in hands and feet, those kinds of “pins and needles” sensations that you can get–or complete loss of feeling–can happen to the healthiest of us, and they can be caused by a number of factors. For example, the numbness may have to do with lack of circulation due to pressure, or to cold temperatures. But sometimes the problem is a nerve disorder, and it can originate in your back and spine.
Nerves are the fibers that come from the brain and spinal cord that extend throughout the body, relaying signals of pain, heat, cold, or just the sensation of touch. Numbness and tingling in your hands and feet can be a form of radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy is when one of your peripheral nerves becomes a pinched nerve. Pressure on a nerve can be caused by bone spurs, a herniated disc, arthritis, repetitive motion injuries, spinal stenosis, or many other things.
Symptoms of radiculopathy include pain, weakness, tingling sensations, and numbness in many different parts of the body. It could be the back, legs, arms, feet, or hands–or a combination of all of these.
Cervical radiculopathy is numbness in the shoulder, hands, and arms caused by nerve compression of the spinal nerve in the neck. This is a common form of radiculopathy. In many cases the exact nerve can be identified by the spine specialist, and a course of treatment can be easily laid out.
Vertebrogenic pain, on the other hand, can often mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, with pain in the arm and numbness in the extremities. It can closely resemble radicular pain, but the spine specialist can identify the difference with MRI, X-ray, and even electrodiagnostic testing such as an EMG or NGV.
Other Possible Causes of Numbness in the Hands and Feet
Radiculopathy certainly isn’t the only reason for feeling numb in the hands and feet. There could be other serious disorders, like autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, thyroid problems, amyloidosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
The best way to know what is causing the numbing feeling in hands and feet is to visit Desert Spine and Scoliosis. While there is no quick fix to some kinds of numbness and tingling, our doctors have years of experience dealing with people feeling cold and numbness in hands and feet.
When you come into Desert Spine and Scoliosis, we begin by evaluating your condition, with tests performed by a trained orthopedic spine specialist. This will involve getting a thorough history of your past medical problem (clues can be hiding there that will elucidate the whole process). Then we move on to physical examination to identify patterns of sensory loss, weakness, or reflex changes.
There are also special tests that the spine specialist can perform to identify the problem. These may include X-rays and MRIs, as well as nerve conduction studies.
Treatments that we may recommend include physical therapy, steroid injections, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory medication. Very rarely will spinal surgery be required, but it is always an option and, when needed, has very good success rates in removing numbing feelings in hands and feet.
Such spinal surgeries will be done to address nerve compression. The surgery is minimally invasive and only requires small incisions. This means that you will heal faster and that there is little risk involved.