Numbness is a condition when certain parts of the body are unable to feel the stimuli they receive. This condition can occur on one side of the body or both sides of the body (symmetrical). Although it can occur anywhere on the body, numbness most often occurs in the arms, legs, and fingers.

Under normal conditions, stimulation of the skin will be channeled to the brain and spinal cord. However, in people who experience numbness , this flow is disrupted. The disturbance itself can be caused by damage, irritation, or pressure on the nerves.

Therefore, people with numbness cannot feel touch, vibration, and cold or heat on the skin. In addition, people who experience numbness or numbness can also be unconscious with the position of the body part that is experiencing numbness so that the balance and coordination of the limbs is disturbed.

Causes of Numbness

Numbness results from damage, irritation, or pressure on the nerves. This condition disrupts the stimulation that is sent to the brain and spinal cord.

Although it can be caused by many things, numbness is most often the result of sitting or standing for too long. The numbness that occurs due to either of these is harmless and should go away after a while.

Numbness can also be caused by disease pressing on nerve tissue. Some of the diseases are:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Pinched spinal nerves ( hernia nucleus pulposus )
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal nerve injury

Apart from being caused by pressure on the nerves, numbness or numbness can also arise due to several conditions, namely:

  • Lack of blood flow to certain parts of the body, such as in vasculitis or stroke
  • Nerve infections, such as in leprosy or Lyme disease
  • Herpes zoster virus infection
  • Genetic disorders, such as Friedrich's ataxia
  • Metabolic disorders, such as diabetes , vitamin B12 deficiency, or poisoning
  • Inflammation of the nerve tissue, as in Guillain-Barre syndrome or multiple sclerosis
  • Frost attack ( frostbite )
  • Other diseases affecting the nerves, such as amyloidosis, paraneoplastic syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, syphilis , or Charcot-marie-tooth disease

Numbness risk factor

There are a number of factors that can increase a person's risk of experiencing numbness, namely:

  • Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Suffered an injury from an accident
  • Practicing poor posture when working, for example bending too much or sitting too long
  • Taking drugs that can damage the nerves, such as chemotherapy drugs
  • Undergoing surgical procedures, such as breast cancer surgery

Symptoms of Numbness

Numbness is a symptom of a nerve disorder. Numbness can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

  • Burning sensation
  • pins and needles
  • Feels like being pricked by a needle
  • muscle spasms
  • Itching
  • Skin rash

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor if you experience numbness, especially if it occurs repeatedly, during certain activities, or gets worse.

Numbness is generally harmless. However, see a doctor immediately if numbness occurs in the following conditions:

  • Occurs suddenly and spreads to other parts of the body quickly
  • Appears all over the leg or the whole arm
  • Appears on the face or genitals
  • Accompanied by muscle weakness in parts of the body that experience numbness
  • Difficulty controlling urination or bowel movements (incontinence)
  • Hard to breathe

Numbness Diagnosis

To diagnose numbness, the doctor will ask about the symptoms the patient is experiencing, such as when the symptoms appear and subside, as well as activities that trigger the numbness.

The doctor will also ask about the patient's medical history, both current and past. Next, the doctor will carry out a physical examination, especially on nerve function, which includes:

  • Stimulus against temperature
  • Stimulation to touch
  • Numb reflex of body parts
  • The function of the muscles in the part of the body that is numb

To establish a diagnosis, doctors can carry out supporting examinations, such as:

  • Blood tests , to measure blood sugar levels and the function of other organs
  • Lumbar puncture, to examine the brain and spinal cord by taking a sample of spinal fluid
  • Nerve conduction tests, to check the function of electrical signals in the nerves
  • Electromyography , to assess the electrical activity in the muscles
  • Scan with X-rays, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI , to detect abnormalities that affect the spinal cord

Numbness Treatment

Treatment for numbness depends on the cause, so the method of treatment may vary for each patient. In addition to addressing the cause, measures to treat numbness aim to prevent further nerve damage.

The following are several types of numbness treatment that are adjusted to the cause:

  • Administration of diabetes drugs, to control blood sugar levels in numb patients who have diabetes
  • Administering drugs to dilate blood vessels, such as isoxsuprine , to improve blood flow to the numb area
  • Physical therapy ( physiotherapy ), to strengthen the spine and facilitate body movement
  • Surgery, to correct disorders of the spine

Complications of Numbness

People with numbness will experience a decrease in their ability to feel stimulation, especially temperature, touch, and pain. This makes sufferers more susceptible to injury, such as burns or cuts.

Sometimes, people with numbness don't even realize that they have these injuries. Therefore, sufferers must routinely examine their body parts so that all forms of injury can be identified and treated immediately.

Prevention of Numbness

The best way to prevent numbness is to prevent or control diseases that can cause numbness, such as diabetes. In addition, you can also reduce the risk of numbness by doing the following:

  • Do not smoke
  • Eat healthy foods with balanced nutrition, including vegetables, fruits, and nuts
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain an ideal weight
  • Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Use personal protective equipment when driving or working outdoors
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