Numbness in Arms and Legs
The functions of the nerve include supplying sensation to the skin as well as activating the muscles to work. If the nerve is being compressed over a long time, and/or the compression is severe, the nerve may gradually lose its function, due to lack of blood flow delivering nutrients to the nerve. Accompanying symptoms of numbness may include tingling, described as “pins and needles”, “burning”, or “ants biting” feeling. Common causes of “pinched nerve(s)” leading to numbness are herniated or prolapsed disc and bone spurs. The prolapsed or herniated disc is usually more acute, and the prolapsed disc may compress the nerve to the extent that the sensation of the skin supplied by the nerve starts to be affected. Bone spurs are usually more insidious and slow developing, but the end result is the same, i.e. numbness in the affected arms and legs supplied by the nerve.
Clinically, the patient may complain of numbness in the arms and legs, as well as pain radiating down the affected limbs(Figure 1). Tingling can be associated in such instances. In profound cases, the results may be weakness in the muscles of the affected limbs.
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