Numbness is a condition which is defined as a loss of sensation or a reduced sense of touch. Primarily, numbness results from blockages in the blood vessels or any damage to a nerve. Numerous studies suggest that numbness is a side effect of medical conditions and there is no single medical condition that can cause numbness. But, there are several medical conditions that can affect the nerves and causes problems with sensations.
Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder that is often accompanied by numbness and tingling. It is a most common neurological disorder which affects the peripheral nerves. These nerves also carry signals from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles to generate movement. Whenever any damage occurs to the peripheral nervous system, an interference occurs with these vital connections.
Since, the peripheral nervous system consists of motor, sensory and autonomic nerves, the symptoms fall in all the three categories. The early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Sensitivity to touch
- Muscle cramping
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition which results from an increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. The pressure on the median nerve occurs when the tendons in the wrist become swollen and they press on the nerve.
The carpal nerve consists of the bones in the wrist and a ligament which run across the base of the palm. Various tendons and median nerve run through the tunnel to supply movement and sensation to the fingers. An increased pressure on the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness, tingling, pain in hands and wrist are some of the most common symptoms of this disorder. Other possible symptoms of this disease include:
- Pain in the shoulder
- Weak grip
- A tendency to drop things
3. Brachial plexus injury
Brachial plexus is a severe peripheral nerve injury that affects the upper extremities and results in functional damage and physical disabilities. Brachial plexus is a network of nerves that supply sensation and motor function to the upper extremity. It involves sudden damage to the nerves and causes symptoms like
- Loss of feeling
- Loss of movement in the shoulder
A porphyria is a group of metabolic disorders that involve the skin, disorders of the liver or nervous system and the combination of all the three. Porphyria is divided into two types - acute and chronic.
- Acute porphyrias - This type of porphyrias is defined as periodic acute attacks of neurovisceral symptoms and can stay for a long time. It includes four major disorders, namely doss porphyria, acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria, and variegate porphyria. These disorders are usually characterized by symptoms like abdominal pain, neurologic defects, colored urine, and psychiatric symptoms.
- Chronic porphyrias - This type of porphyrias do not occur as an acute attack of neurovisceral symptoms and may not involve liver or nervous system. Chronic porphyrias include syndromes, congenital erythropoietic porphyria, erythropoietic porphyria, and porphyria cutanea tarda.
Some other common symptoms that occur in patients having porphyria are as follows:
- Loss of sensation
- Back pain
- Muscle weakness