Causes of Tingling Sensations in the Body
We’ve all had that feeling. It’s like a bunch of tiny insects are crawling on one of our extremities, as though our leg, foot, or arm has fallen asleep. But do you know the causes behind the tingling sensations we occasionally feel?
Although this sensation isn’t painful and generally goes away quickly, it can be uncomfortable while it’s happening. We generally assume it has something to do with a circulation issue.
However, there are lesser-known factors that can also lead to these tingling sensations. Keep reading to learn about some of the explanations.
Why do we feel tingling?
Temporary paresthesia, also known as tingling, is a fairly uncomfortable sensation that can be experienced in any part of the body. However, it usually occurs in our extremities, which is to say our arms, hands, legs, and feet.
When this happens, it’s understood that the central and peripheral nervous systems are involved. To put it in simple terms, this occurs when some kind of pressure is exerted on the nerve terminals, generally in the extremities.
Now, you may be wondering why this sensation happens mainly in the arms and legs. The reason is that it’s quite common for us to exert pressure on these areas by sitting, leaning, or holding a certain position for a long period of time.
When this happens, we put pressure on the nerves in the area in question, which are responsible for transmitting information between the body and the brain.
Additionally, the pressure involved in the posture cuts off the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the nerves. As such, these cannot send information to the brain.
Tingling begins when the pressure is relieved and the nerves resume transmitting their signals, albeit in a delayed manner.
These are the primary reasons behind the tingling sensations we feel in our bodies. However, there are other causes that are symptoms of specific pathologies. Let’s examine these below.
Other reasons for tingling sensations
People suffering from circulatory problems often feel tingling in their extremities. This makes sense, given what we’ve learned about blood bringing oxygen to the nerves.
In the case of circulatory problems, though, the obstruction of blood flow isn’t due to a certain posture, but rather depends directly on the circulatory system.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
When a person suffers from diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the blood sugar levels tend to increase considerably, causing damage within the nervous system.
This produces symptoms in the lower extremities such as tingling, burning sensations, and even loss of sensitivity.
With nerve injuries, such as spinal cord compression, damage due to trauma, or the presence of hernias that affect the nerves, episodes of temporary paresthesia are common.
It’s quite common for us to exert pressure on these areas by sitting, leaning, or holding a certain position for a long period of time. When this happens, we put pressure on the nerves in the area in question, which are responsible for transmitting information between the body and the brain.
Alcohol and tobacco consumption
Frequent consumption of the toxic substances found in alcoholic beverages and tobacco can lead irreparably to the appearance of paresthesia. In both cases, the body is intoxicated to a degree that the nerves become damaged, or fail to respond to commands.
Restless leg syndrome
This syndrome also stems from a neurological disorder, and usually manifests at night, when the person is lying down and trying to rest.
It’s known as restless leg syndrome precisely because those who suffer from it feel the need to move their legs to alleviate the unpleasant tingling sensation.
Finally, let’s take a look at some other potential causes for this sensation:
- Abnormal levels of potassium and calcium in the body.
- Lack of vitamin B12.
- Snake or scorpion bite.
- Anaphylactic shock.
- Side effects from medications or drugs.
- In athletes or those who do demanding physical exercise, it can be a response to exhaustion, fatigue, and overworked muscles.
With all this information, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to identify the reason behind this unpleasant experience.
If the symptoms get worse, or go on for too long, your best bet is to visit a doctor. This will allow you to rule out more serious issues.