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What's the treatment for paresthesia?

Treatment of paresthesias depends on the underlying cause. For limbs that have "fallen asleep," restoring circulation by stretching, exercising, or massaging the affected limb can quickly dissipate the numbness and tingling. If the paresthesia is caused by a chronic disease such as diabetes or occurs as a complication of treatments such as chemotherapy, most treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen are recommended if

symptoms are mild. In more difficult cases, antidepressant drugs such as amitriptyline (Elavil) are sometimes prescribed. These drugs are given at a much lower dosage for this purpose than for relief of depression. They are thought to help because they alter the body's perception of pain. In severe cases, opium derivatives such as codeine can be prescribed. As of 1998, trials are being done to determine whether treatment with human nerve growth factor will be effective in regenerating the damaged nerves.

Several alternative treatments are available to help relieve symptoms of paresthesia. Nutritional therapy includes supplementation with B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B 12 (intramuscular injection of vitamin B12 is most effective). Vitamin supplements should be used cautiously however. Overdose of Vitamin B6 is one of the causes of paresthesias. People experiencing paresthesia should also avoid alcohol. Acupuncture and massage are said to relieve symptoms. Self-massage with aromatic oils is sometimes helpful. The application of topical ointments containing capsaicin, the substance that makes hot peppers hot, provides relief for some. It may also be helpful to wear loosely fitting shoes and clothing. None of these alternatives should be used in place of traditional therapy for the underlying condition.

More information on paresthesia

What is paresthesia? - Paresthesia (paraesthesia) is a sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness of the skin with no apparent physical cause.
What causes paresthesia? - Paresthesias are caused by disturbances in the function of neurons in the sensory pathway. Peripheral disturbances are the most common cause of paresthesias.
What're the symptoms of paresthesia? - Paresthesia is a burning or prickling sensation. Other symptoms may accompany paresthesias, depending on the type and severity of the nerve disturbance.
How is paresthesia diagnosed? - A careful history of the patient is needed for a diagnosis of paresthesias. Distribution of symptoms may also aid diagnosis of the underlying disease.
What's the treatment for paresthesia? - Treatment of paresthesias depends on the underlying cause. Several alternative treatments are available to help relieve symptoms of paresthesia.
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