Have you ever experienced pins and needles? The sensation – called paresthesia – is usually caused when nerves (typically in the extremities) lose blood and cannot communicate important information to the brain.
This typically happens when you sleep strangely, or if you keep your legs elevated for a long period of time. The condition is often harmless and fades away once the blood supply returns.
However, in some cases, the condition can occur apropos of nothing, and no amount of moving about can seem to shake it.
In these cases, the tingling sensation is commonly associated with nerve damage or neurological problems, and can be a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Though usually painless, the prickling and burning sensation caused can be uncomfortable and disquieting, and in extreme cases can even affect activities such as walking and writing.
As such, it is important to keep an eye on it should it occur, and consult your physician should the symptom persist.
Fibromyalgia is a condition which causes changes in the way that the brain and spine interpret pain signals. Because of this, the symptoms of the condition are largely physiological.
The most common symptom associated with fibromyalgia is chronic pain, which is often widespread and exacerbated by pressure.
However, this symptom is often accompanied by various other, and often subtler, symptoms. Among these are chronic fatigue, quick exhaustion, muscle weakness, and – of course – paresthesia.
Paresthesia is usually something that will come and go, with episodes lasting between a few hours and a few days.
For some suffering from fibromyalgia, though, it can be an ongoing issue which can be very upsetting and frustrating.
Despite the fact that paresthesia is normally painless for most adults, those suffering with fibromyalgia can find the episodes very painful and disruptive. In addition to tingling, sufferers of fibromyalgia may describe the sensation as prickling, burning, or itchy. Paresthesia can range from a minor irritation to a major distraction, and even to a significantly painful experience.
Since paresthesia is a nerve issue, it is often a symptom of conditions other than fibromyalgia, such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes.
However, in these conditions the condition is usually more numbing than it is painful. If the tingling is accompanied by pain, it is sometimes a sign that the brain is misinterpreting the signals sent by the nerves, which is the major underlying issue of fibromyalgia.
If you find yourself suffering from paresthesia unexpectedly in conjunction with other symptoms of fibromyalgia, you should consult a physician and explain your symptoms to them.
A doctor can use your symptoms to eliminate other possible diagnoses, as well as run tests in order to rule out other conditions.
A firm diagnosis is a positive step in tackling a chronic condition, as medical professionals will have a much better idea of what to do in order to help with your specific problem.
So what can you do? As mentioned above, your first step should be to contact a medical professional.
By charting your symptoms, you and your doctor can then flesh out a plan of action involving changes to lifestyle and medical treatments which can help to make the condition more manageable in day-to-day living.
There are also many things that you yourself can do in order to help manage the condition, and keeping yourself informed about the condition and its myriad effects can help you to cope with the condition.
With fibromyalgia, since there is no cure, the best that medical professionals can do is help to alleviate symptoms when and where they occur.
In the case of paresthesia, common treatments consist largely of physical therapies. These can range from simple massages applied to the affected area to more holistic approaches such as acupuncture, which targets nerves in order to cease the burning and tingling sensations.
There are some theories surrounding the causes of different symptoms, and many doctors might prescribe vitamin supplements in order to bolster the body’s’ natural processes.
Vitamin D, in particular, is presumed to be helpful to many suffering from nerve-related illnesses.
However, the effectiveness of such treatments is subjective, and people will react differently to different treatments.
Working closely with medical professionals to find the treatment that works for you is an important first step.
For some, psychiatric treatments can help in coping with the physical symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can often help patients to overcome their pain and live a much more active lifestyle by teaching them new ways to compartmentalize and deal with the symptoms they experience.
Notably, one of the things that can greatly exacerbate the physical symptoms of fibromyalgia is stress.
Stress is something that every person experiences in different levels, at different times, and in response to different stimuli.
With fibromyalgia, stress can arise from the grind of dealing with symptoms, the disrupted sleep, or from any number of psychiatric problems such as anxiety.
As a result of this, receiving psychiatric help to reduce stress and improve sleeping patterns can help alleviate physical symptoms, or at least keep you better prepared to deal with symptoms when they come.
Pain adds to stress and stress adds to pain, so it is of paramount importance that you tackle the condition head on and proactively seek to reduce stress.
If you find yourself experiencing paresthesia, it is important to monitor the symptom as it could be indicative of some underlying problem.
Keeping abreast of changes in sensation and overall feeling can help you to catch the development of a chronic condition early and – by actively seeking medical attention – help you to live more comfortably with the condition.
New treatments are being developed every day, so symptoms such as paresthesia are becoming ever more manageable and possible to relieve.
Prolonged episodes of paresthesia should not be ignored and should be reported to your physician.
It is best to seek their help in diagnosing the underlying cause than to immediately seek relief from physical therapy as this can result in simply masking the condition rather than tackling it.