What are the Symptoms of Paraesthesia – Causes Diagnosis and Treatment

Paraesthesia is a medical condition characterized by a tingling, burning, prickling, or numb sensation in the body’s limbs or extremities. The condition is often temporary and harmless, but in some cases, it may be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of paraesthesia, including its causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.

an illustration of Symptoms of Paraesthesia
Symptoms of Paraesthesia

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What is Paraesthesia?

Paraesthesia is a medical condition that causes abnormal bodily sensations, particularly in the limbs and extremities. It is often described as a tingling or numb sensation but can also feel like burning, prickling, or crawling sensations. The condition can be temporary or chronic and can occur in any part of the body.

Common Symptoms of Paraesthesia

Paraesthesia can present itself in various ways, and the symptoms may vary depending on the condition’s underlying cause. However, some common symptoms of paraesthesia include:

Numbness or tingling

One of the most common symptoms of paraesthesia is a numb or tingling sensation in the body. This can occur in any body part but is most commonly experienced in the fingers, toes, and limbs.

Burning or prickling sensations

In addition to numbness or tingling, some people may experience burning or prickling sensations in the affected area. This can feel like pins and needles or a crawling sensation on the skin.

Weakness or clumsiness

Paraesthesia can also cause weakness or clumsiness in the affected area. This can make it difficult to grip objects or perform fine motor tasks.


In some cases, paraesthesia may also cause pain in the affected area. This can range from mild discomfort to severe stabbing pain.


Paraesthesia can also cause itching in the affected area, which a rash or redness may accompany.

Causes of Paraesthesia

Paraesthesia can have many causes, ranging from temporary to more serious underlying medical conditions. Some common causes of paraesthesia include:

Nerve damage

Nerve damage is one of the most common causes of paraesthesia. An injury, infection, or a medical condition such as diabetes can cause this.

Poor circulation

Poor circulation can also cause paraesthesia, particularly in the extremities. This can be caused by peripheral artery disease or Raynaud’s disease.

Vitamin deficiency

A deficiency in certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12 or vitamin E, can also cause paraesthesia.


Hyperventilation, often associated with anxiety or panic attacks, can cause paraesthesia in some people.

Compression or injury

Compression or injury to a nerve can also cause paraesthesia. This can occur when a nerve is pinched or compressed by surrounding tissues, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Paraesthesia

The diagnosis and treatment of paraesthesia will depend on the condition’s underlying cause. If the paraesthesia is temporary and mild, no treatment may be necessary, and the symptoms may go away independently. However, medical treatment may be necessary if the symptoms are severe or persistent.


A doctor will perform a physical exam to diagnose paraesthesia and may order diagnostic tests, such as an electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction study (NCS). These tests can help identify nerve damage or other underlying medical conditions.


Treatment for paraesthesia will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Some treatment options may include:

  • Medications: Depending on the cause of paraesthesia, medications may be prescribed to relieve pain or treat an underlying medical condition.
  • Physical therapy:
  • Physical therapy: If paraesthesia is caused by nerve damage or compression, physical therapy can help alleviate symptoms and improve function.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of nerve compression or injury, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Lifestyle changes: In cases where poor circulation or a vitamin deficiency is the underlying cause of paraesthesia, lifestyle changes such as exercise or dietary changes may help improve symptoms.

Prevention of Paraesthesia

While it may not be possible to prevent all cases of paraesthesia, there are some steps that people can take to reduce their risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding repetitive motions that can cause nerve compression, such as typing or using a mouse for long periods
  • Wearing protective gear during sports or other activities that can cause injury
  • Eating a balanced diet that includes all necessary vitamins and minerals


Paraesthesia is a common medical condition that can cause abnormal sensations in the body, particularly in the limbs and extremities. While it is often temporary and harmless, it can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you experience persistent or severe paraesthesia, it is important to seek medical attention to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.


Can paraesthesia be a sign of a stroke?

Paraesthesia can be a symptom of a stroke, particularly if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness or difficulty speaking. If you experience sudden onset paraesthesia along with other symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately.

Can anxiety cause paraesthesia?

Yes, anxiety or panic attacks can cause paraesthesia in some people.

How is paraesthesia treated?

The treatment for paraesthesia will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Treatment options may include medications, physical therapy, surgery, or lifestyle changes.

Is paraesthesia a serious condition?

Paraesthesia can be a symptom of a serious underlying medical condition, but it is often temporary and harmless. However, if the symptoms are severe or persistent, medical attention may be necessary.

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