Numbness describes a loss of sensation or feeling in a part of your body. Numbness often is accompanied by other changes in sensation, such as a pins-and-needles feeling, burning or tingling. Numbness can occur along a single nerve, or it may occur on both sides of the body in a symmetrical pattern.
Numbness can have a variety of causes. Most are harmless, but some can be life-threatening.
Call 911 or go to the emergency room if your numbness:
- Begins suddenly
- Follows a recent head injury
- Involves an entire arm or leg
Also seek emergency medical care if your numbness is accompanied by:
- Weakness or paralysis
- Difficulty talking
- Sudden, severe headache
You are likely to have a CT scan or MRI if:
- You've had a head injury
- Your doctor suspects or needs to rule out a brain tumor or stroke
Schedule an office visit if your numbness:
- Begins or worsens gradually
- Affects both sides of the body
- Comes and goes
- Seems related to certain tasks or activities, particularly repetitive motions
- Affects only a part of a limb, such as your toes or fingers
Apr. 20, 2013
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