Many people have experienced tingling or numbness in their hands, arms, legs and feet. “Pins and Needles” or “Going to Sleep” are two of the common phrases associated with this symptom. These symptoms can occur while sleeping, sitting for prolonged periods or during periods where you might have to hold your arm over your head for long periods (like changing a lightbulb, or styling your hair).
If you look at the anatomy of our arms and legs, you’ll see that the nerves and blood vessels travel from quite a ways away in the body. Nerves in the arm don’t start in the hand – they start in your neck and end in the tips of your fingers. If you think of the nerves and blood supplying your hands as a river, your neck would be the reservoir. Normally a river would run smoothly from the reservoir into the surrounding areas. In a healthy body, your nervous signals and blood flow smoothly from your spinal column into your hands and feet. But what happens if a tree falls across this river and stops the flow? A pinched nerve or restricted blood supply dulls the signal your fingers and toes are getting – and can cause numbness along the way. By diagnosing a problem that originates in the wrist, you may be ignoring the blockage further up stream – constrictions in the neck, or larger restrictions occurring further up the arm.
There are numerous places in the body your nerves can become restricted. One common misunderstanding of Chiropractic care is assuming it is all about the spine. Chiropractors are really treating the nervous system – the core of this system being the spine. But by properly examining your symptoms, and by conducting a full exam of the causes, a Chiropractor can more accurately determine where in your nervous system a blockage is occurring – whether in the spine, or along the ribs, upper arm, elbow or wrist, or in the legs from the hips down to the heels.
If you’re experiencing tingling, a chiropractor is your best bet to examine the entire length of the affected limb and determine exactly the cause of your symptoms. There are 8 different bones in the wrist alone – a qualified practitioner will examine all 8 to ensure they are functioning normally. They’ll also examine the entire length of the arm or leg and determine that there are no abnormalities located “further up stream”.
A note on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
When someone has frequent tingling or numbness in the hands they’ll often diagnose themselves (or a careless doctor may diagnose them) with carpal tunnel syndrome. Frequently this diagnosis is incorrect, and the causes for numbness and tingling are numerous. Don’t let a lazy practitioner peg you with carpal tunnel without a proper examination – this is the new “easy out” answer, and you won’t feel any true relief from your symptoms until you are properly diagnosed.
A Chiropractor’s job is to find the source of nerve irritation and apply the appropriate method to relieve the pressure. This will restore your nerve flow and reduce your symptoms, and will eventually heal the irritation which was causing the symptoms.