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The Many Faces of Nerve Pain

Condition and pain care information for paresthesia sufferers

Paresthesia describes unusual nerve sensations such as tingling, itching, burning, numbness or crawling. If you’ve ever slept on your arm and subsequently woke up to a “pins and needles” feeling, you’ve experienced paresthesia. However, some of these sensations can indicate a much more complex underlying condition.

Causes of Paresthesia

Anything that places prolonged pressure on a nerve can result in symptoms of paresthesia. This can be something as simple as sitting with your legs crossed for too long or as serious as a tumor. Paresthesia may also be caused by conditions that lead to nerve damage or entrapment. Some common culprits include:

• Back and neck injuries

• Carpal tunnel syndrome

• Degenerative disk damage

• Diabetes

• Fibromyalgia

• Fractures

• Migraines

• Multiple sclerosis

• Osteoporosis

• Restless leg syndrome

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Vitamin B12 deficiency

Given the long list of associated conditions, it’s important to visit your doctor if you experience prolonged or chronic paresthesia.

Pain Care Options

The treatment for paresthesia depends on what’s causing the problem. Your doctor will do tests to determine the source of the condition before making any recommendations. Generally, both the symptoms and the cause are treated with appropriate drugs and therapy. Some people get relief from simple over-the-counter pain medications. Others find that a low-dose antidepressant can help by changing the way that the brain deals with pain. In severe cases, prescription painkillers may be necessary.

If you prefer not to take strong medications, you may be able to reduce symptoms with alternative treatments. Massage, acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments have all been used to help patients with paresthesia. However, persistent pain shouldn’t be ignored, as untreated paresthesia can result in permanent nerve damage.

Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms along with paresthesia:

• Dizziness

• Loss of strength

• Confusion

• Trouble walking

• Difficulty speaking

• Loss of consciousness

These could be signs of a more serious or even life-threatening condition.

Is Nerve Pain Ever a Good Thing?

In some cases, paresthesia is a sign of healing. Patients with nerve damage resulting from illness or injury can experience intense symptoms as the nerves regenerate. Although the pain may be severe at times, it’s a temporary condition that indicates the body is on the mend. Body systems have an amazing capacity to heal themselves, and the relief of restored function is worth the discomfort of the process.

If you’re struggling with chronic paresthesia unrelated to healing, Advanced Pain Care can help. Our locations in Austin, Waco and other nearby areas offer comprehensive pain treatment programs to address the symptoms and causes of paresthesia. Visit our website to browse patient resources or to make an appointment.