What is paresthesia?
Paresthesia means abnormal sensation on the skin that has no apparent physical cause. The term originates from Greek: para = disordered; aisthesis = perception. The most common abnormal sensations are numbness and tingling.
Types of Paresthesia
- Anesthesia means absent sensation or complete numbness.
- Hypoesthesia is decreased sensation or partial numbness.
- Hyperesthesia is increased sensitivity.
- Dysesthesia is abnormal sensation, such as tingling or "pins and needles" or "ants crawling" sensation. - Hypoalgesia is decreased sensitivity for pain
- Hyperalgesia is increased sensitivity for pain
- Allodynia (Greek allos = other; odyni = pain) is sensation of pain caused by stimuli that usually do not cause pain Causes of Numbness and Tingling More than 200 causes of numbness and tingling are known.
Permanent numbness and muscle paralysis (tetraplegia) that affects almost the whole body (from the neck to the toes) is usually caused by spinal cord injury due to fracture of the spine. When spinal injury occurs at the lower level, only legs can be affected (paraplegia).
Numbness on one half of the body (left or right) is usually caused by stroke and is usually accompanied by muscle paralysis (hemiplegia) on the affected side.
Numbness/Tingling in the Face Some causes:
- Stroke usually causes numbness on one half of the face
- In multiple sclerosis, numbness can come and go
- Hyperventilation due to anxiety or hard exercise can cause tingling around the mouth - Food allergies can also cause tingling around the mouth
- In Herpes zoster (shingles), numbness and tingling is usually followed by itchy rash on one side of the face - Transitional facial numbness can occur during seizures
Numbness in the Arm, Hand or Fingers
- Disorders of the neck spine (herniated disc, rheumatoid arthritis) - Compression of the nerves that supply the arm by the clavicle (thoracic outlet syndrome), common in overhead sport activities,...
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