7 Things That Tingling Hands And Feet Can Tell About Your Health

by Saumya Gaur

Hasn’t it happened to you that you sat in a particular position for a while and then when you finally stood up you could feel your legs go numb? This feeling of numbness also called as getting pins and needles, is a very common, mostly harmless condition. In medical terminology, it is known as Paresthesia.

It is a condition in which the person experiences a burning, or tingling sensation in his/her extremities (hands, legs, arms, feet). Alternatively, this sensation can also be described as itching or crawling on the skin. Usually, a person experiences this when they have been sitting cross-legged for too long or if they have slept with their arms under their head.

It happens because in these conditions there is continuous pressure on a nerve. Mostly this is a temporary condition, and it goes away after the pressure is removed (1). But if chronic, it can be a symptom of much larger issues.

Persistent Tingling Can Be A Sign Of These Conditions:


  1. The numbness could also be a result of an injury to the nerves. A lot of common everyday activities such as lifting weights can cause the nerves to become compressed. Also, dislocated bones or herniated discs can cause the same damage (2).
  2. It can also be due to a stroke as during a stroke the blood flow to the brain becomes restricted and causes nerve damage.
  3. Alcohol abuse. Heavy consumption of alcohol, over time, can lead to a condition called Alcoholic Polyneuropathy. In this condition, more than one nerve gets damaged. It happens because ethanol, which is one of the active ingredients in alcohol, has direct toxic effect on nerves which gets aggravated upon heavy consumption (3), (4).
  4. It can also be a sign of disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal disorders, multiple sclerosis, liver damage, and fibromyalgia (5).
  5. If you feel the hot and cold sensations on your skin consistently, then it can also be a symptom of an underlying infection such as herpes, shingles, and even, HIV/AIDS (6).
  6. Though quite uncommon, if one is experiencing chronic paresthesia, it can also be a sign of the presence of toxins in your body. In fact, toxins such as arsenic, mercury, and lead are known to alter the function of the nerves. There are a few medications such as a few antibiotics that can also alter your inner biochemistry and cause this (7).
  7. Deficiency of vitamins such as vitamin B, B12, B6, and vitamin E can also cause paraesthesia. In fact, it’s one of its most common causes. On the other hand, the presence of too much of vitamin D and vitamin B6 can also be the reason behind this tingling experience.

You’re Likely To Experience This Condition In The Following Cases:


Now that we have discussed the possible underlying causes of paresthesia in detail, let’s see who are more likely to experience this condition.

  1. Women are more likely to experience this disorder as their nerve canals are much narrower than men’s (8).
  2. People suffering from Thyroid disease are more likely to experience Carpel Tunnel Syndrome which again makes them a candidate for paresthesia.
  3. People who are obese are also likely to suffer from this as the extra body weight causes the nerves to become compressed.
  4. People who are more likely to lead a more sedentary lifestyle and are used to having little range of motion are also more likely to experience this condition.
  5. Even prolonged bed rest can put you at risk of paresthesia.

Treatment For Paresthesia


If you have been experiencing this tingling sensation or numbness in your extremities for quite some time, we suggest you consult your doctor. The doctor will probably recommend certain tests such as MRI, blood test, or an X-ray to get to the root of the issue. Treating the underlying cause can provide you relief with paresthesia.

Physical therapy is a treatment that can help strengthen the muscles and take the pressure off of the nerves. This can also provide you with relief from the tingling sensation. In extreme cases, surgical intervention can also be done to take the pressure of the compressed nerves. Rest and use of braces are also commonly recommended as measures for treatment of pinched nerves.

You can also reduce your chances of getting paresthesia by taking preventive measures such as maintaining a good body posture, and taking care to position your body in such a manner, that it doesn’t put undue pressure on the nerves. Also, one should be careful while doing activities such as lifting weights so that they don’t injure their nerves. Taking these precautions can ensure that your precious nerves are safe from damage and you don’t experience the annoying tingling sensation.

Have you experienced paresthesia? What are the measures that you took to get rid of it? Share your experience with us in the comments section.

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