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Pins and Needles

Patients often complain of abnormal sensations such as "pins and needles", a feeling of thickness or swelling, numbness, crawling sensations, or other discomfort in the hands, feet or even the head and face. These are called "paresthesias".

Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet can have many causes. It may be the result of a disease process which affects nerve function or circulation. The most common cause, however, is pressure or irritation on the peripheral nerves. This may be caused by swelling in the elbow, wrist, knee or ankle, but more often it is a problem with movement or alignment of the spinal joints.

Certain conditions can increase the likelihood of paresthesias. An extra, or "cervical", rib at the base of the neck is occasionally present. It usually will cause no symptoms at all, but under increased muscle tension caused by abnormal joint movement in the neck or upper spine, it may cause pressure on the nerves to the arm and hand.

Pregnancy, diabetes and other conditions accompanied by water retention can cause swelling of the ankles and wrists. This causes increased resistance to nerve transmission which can cause symptoms if it occurs along with pressure or irritation of the nerve at the spinal level. In such cases, referred to as "double crush" syndromes, correcting the spinal imbalance often allows the nerve to function properly in spite of pressure at other points. Swelling at the wrist can actually be caused by poor circulation due to spinal misalignments and resulting muscle tension, and can be a contributing factor in carpal tunnel syndrome. In such cases, restoring proper joint play in the neck can reverse the signs and symptoms.

Many cases of numbness or tingling or other odd sensations are due to a spinal imbalance causing pressure on the nerve from bone, ligaments or tight muscles. Correction of the joint dysfunction in the spine may eliminate the abnormal sensations and can prevent their return.

If you are experiencing numbness or paresthesias in the hands or feet, or anywhere in the body, consult this office. Dr. Mattern can determine whether there are joint restrictions contributing to the problem and can most effectively correct them.

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