Orem Chiropractor Discusses Causes of Numbness
Numbness can have several different causes. In fact, on one site they list 475 causes of numbness. That’s a lot! That tells us several things. One, we can’t really use numbness as a way to diagnose anything. Meaning, numbness as a symptom, doesn’t mean very much all by itself. It means that diagnosing numbness can take some work. Also, if there are 475 causes to numbness there are probably a lot of people who experience numbness. Thus, understanding what causes numbness and how to eliminate it can be quite valuable. To simplify numbness I classify those 475 causes into three categories. Category number one is where a person has the pain, burning and numbness that is due to a nerve being compressed somewhere in their body. I should also point out that compressive lesions are far more common in the arms and legs than they are in the spine. If someone has a condition where a nerve is actually being compressed this is identified by atrophy in the distal musculature innervated by that nerve. For example, the Median nerve is a nerve that originates in the neck, travels by the shoulder, down the arm and eventually into the hand. If this nerve is compressed somewhere in it’s course we will first see atrophy, or a withering of the muscles in the hands. An easy place to notice this is in the that meaty area below the thumb when looking at the palm.
Another thing to make clear is that your doctor may have said “you’ve got a pinched nerve” – when you really don’t. Often times we doctors will use this analogy as a simple way of explaining this complicated process.
Category number two is where the cause is related to a disease process. An example of this is the numbness and burning associated with diabetes. To be honest I typically don’t see people with this cause of numbness because in those instances I’m not the first place someone will go.
Category number three is what is numbness that has a central cause. By central I mean brain or spinal cord. For example, have you ever spoken to someone who has lost one of their extremities? If so, ask them if their missing leg or foot ever hurts. It’s called phantom pain. The foot isn’t there but the part of the brain and spinal cord that would control that foot is still intact. So if the area of the brain or spinal cord that represents the foot has a problem the person may FEEL pain, numbness or burning in their foot – even when it’s not there. The same thing happens in numbness. For example, when someone wears a cast after breaking a bone what is that body part like when the cast comes off? It’s smaller, weaker, and kind of shriveled. It’s called atrophy and that’s what happens when any body part doesn’t receive adequate stimulation. Well the same thing can happen in your brain. If a part of your brain fails to receive adequate input from your body it gets weaker and the part of the body that it controls can experience pain, numbness and burning.
As a neurologically trained chiropractor I have discovered diagnosis & treatment measures that are highly effective in permanently eliminating numbness due to causes in the first and third categories.
If you or someone you know experiences numbness and you would like to find a solution please visit www.AskDrNed.com where you can watch videos on numbness, listen to podcasts, read my blog, see me on facebook, follow me on twitter and subscribe to my newsletter.
If you would like to schedule a complimentary visit with me call or text my office at 801-225-1311