What causes tingling in the legs?

Very often when we ask clients during the consultation process, “Do you have any tingling in the legs or any pins and needles?” they will say, “No. However I sometimes wake up in the night with tingling in my hands or if I’ve been laying on my leg for a long period of time, then I will have pins and needles that goes off after a few seconds”.

This is not the type of tingling that we’re referring to. Very often people will describe tingling in the feet both sides or one side independently. Pins and needles, numbness around the toes or the sole of the feet, numbness in the backs of the legs as well.

This is where we start to get interested and there could be a spinal component to what’s causing this.

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What is a polyneuropathy?

There are many different types of reasons for having tingling in the hands and legs including diabetes, polyneuropathies, and other external nerve entrapments.

For example carpal tunnel syndrome would be classified as an external nerve entrapment. This is where there is numbness or pain in the hands, mainly around the thumb area, due to the front part of your wrist causing pressure on the nerve that goes through the wrist into the hands. This is called the carpal tunnel.

Essentially the tunnel gets smaller. It can be pressed on by the tendons or build up with fluid in the area and this is usually resolved with surgery.

Another external entrapment would be one around the peroneal muscle on the outside of the ankle where the nerve gets entrapped after an injury like rolling the ankle and causes swelling, pain, numbness down the side of the foot going into the toes.

Does Sciatica Cause Numbness In The Leg?

The nerve entrapments that we get really interested in are more the spinal ones. For example a nerve being trapped in the base of the spine, usually the sciatic nerve by either a disc or a muscle putting pressure on that area very often will cause pain. But before pain, there are often warning sensation signs such as numbness in the legs, tingling in the toes, pins and needles running down the back of the leg as well.

There’s often an early warning indicator that there’s something wrong with the sciatic nerve. So it’s very important to get that checked as soon as you do feel those symptoms.

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Can numbness in the fingers be caused by the neck?

The nerve entrapments that we get really interested in are more the spinal ones. For example a nerve being trapped in the base of the spine, usually the sciatic nerve by either a disc or a muscle putting pressure on that area very often will cause pain. But before pain, there are often warning sensation signs such as numbness in the legs, tingling in the toes, pins and needles running down the back of the leg as well.

There’s often an early warning indicator that there’s something wrong with the sciatic nerve. So it’s very important to get that checked as soon as you do feel those symptoms.

Also, within the hands and arms, this doesn’t happen so much on both arms but one arm independently where you’re more getting pins and needles down one side and then going to either the first three fingers or the outer two fingers, either from C5, C6 or C7 in the neck. Being trapped by the disc muscle putting pressure on that nerve going down the arm. This is something that we will look at as well. Very common with people working behind a desk or who have been involved in a traffic accident.

Other types of tingling could be called referred pain. So from a muscle. Very often the gluteal muscle, the piriformis muscle. These are muscles around the buttocks. They can get tight, stretched, spasm and they can mimic the sciatic nerve entrapment by causing pins and needles and numbness down the legs. So really important we distinguish between the two by doing a thorough examination.

It’s important to be able to diagnose between other systemic issues such as vitamin D deficiency, B12 deficiency as these can cause global pins and needles and numbness. So it’s important you check with your GP beforehand just to make sure that you’ve had a blood test.

We would always do a full, thorough spinal examination to ensure that we can find out the root cause of the issue and be able to help yourselves or refer on somebody we think can better help

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