Paresthesia: why parts of your body tingle and fall asleep


What happens when you watch TV or read in your favorite chair with your leg hanging over the arm of the chair, when you relax after a long day and your arm or leg falls asleep ?

When you try to move, your legs or arms may feel strange. They may feel numbness, tingling, or an almost painful buzzing noise. You discover that getting your muscles to work properly is next to impossible.

When we feel that some part of the body is falling asleep, it can be paresthesia. Contrary to popular belief, this situation is not so much related to blood circulation as it is to nerves.

Paresthesia is an abnormal sensation in your body due to compression or irritation of the nerves. Nerve irritation can be mechanical, such as a " pinched nerve ," or caused by disease, injury, or disease.

Symptoms of paresthesia can range from mild to severe, short-term or long-term. Knowing what paresthesia is and how you should (and should not) behave can help determine when and if you need medical care.

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Symptoms of paresthesia

Paresthesia can cause a variety of symptoms in the hands or feet. They may include:

  • Numbness and tingling
  • Tingle
  • Itching
  • Difficulty contracting the muscles and using the affected arm or leg
  • I am cold
  • Burning feelings
  • Feeling that your leg or arm has fallen asleep.

Symptoms are usually felt in one arm or leg, but both arms and legs may be affected, depending on the cause of your abnormal paresthesia sensations. Symptoms are usually short-lived (30 minutes or less) and are generally not severe or severe.

But in some cases, paresthesia can last for a long time. In these cases, you may need to see your doctor to find out the cause of your symptoms.


Rest assured, most cases of falling asleep on pins and needles or on your foot are simply due to an unnatural position and are quickly resolved with a small movement. Most cases of paresthesia can be prevented by sitting in the correct posture , watching television, or reading.

Other reasons may include:

If you have persistent symptoms of paresthesia, you should seek medical attention from your doctor.

When to seek help

Typically, if symptoms of numbness and tingling appear while sitting in an awkward position, they should go away within minutes after you move. After about half an hour, you should be back to normal.

If after an hour you still feel a tingling in your foot or arm or if it is difficult for you to move, it may be time to see your doctor. If the cause of your paresthesia is related to an acute disease of the central nervous system, such as a stroke, timing is important. A correct and immediate diagnosis and medical attention is needed.

If you have paresthesia that comes on gradually and if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, you may not be overly concerned when the tingling or numbness gets worse. It could simply be due to high blood sugar levels. But your doctor should still be on the lookout for worsening paresthesia.

Peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes usually begins with a sensation of paresthesia in the foot or feet and should be treated appropriately by your healthcare provider.


Whenever you feel needles or numbness in an arm or leg, it is paresthesia. In most cases, you know exactly what to do to fix the problem: shake your arm or leg a little, get into the best position, and wait a few minutes.

This method of self-care, which we have all learned over time, often helps relieve stress from an irritated nerve and quickly return to normal. It is most effective when your leg or arm falls asleep when you are sitting in an uncomfortable position. Change your position, wait a bit, and the symptoms of paresthesia will disappear.

If symptoms of paresthesia persist, you may need to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of the condition that is causing abnormal sensations in your leg or arm. He or she can work with you to understand your problem and perform the correct diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your condition.

Common diagnostic procedures for paresthesia may include:

The tests your doctor chooses to diagnose paresthesia depend on your clinical presentation. A thorough examination by your healthcare provider will force you to investigate several ways to determine the cause of your paresthesia.

For example, if paresthesia is accompanied by back or neck pain and your spinal movement changes, your healthcare provider may suspect spinal nerve compression is the cause of your problem. If you have a history of poorly controlled diabetes, your healthcare provider may suspect peripheral neuropathy.

The test results obtained by your healthcare professional can provide an accurate diagnosis of your condition and suggest the appropriate treatment for you.

Watch out

For persistent paresthesia, in which symptoms persist after shaking the body, the correct treatment depends on the cause of the abnormal stinging sensation or numbness.

If your symptoms are caused by a central nervous system disorder, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, you should work closely with your doctor to obtain the appropriate treatment. Medicines can help relieve your symptoms, and your healthcare provider can give you an idea of how your symptoms should change over time. Physical therapy can help improve your overall functional mobility.

If your paresthesia is caused by compression of a spinal nerve, such as sciatica , physical therapy may be helpful in relieving the tension on your nerve.

Your physical therapist may prescribe spinal exercises to help relieve nerve compression and restore normal sensation and movement to your arm or leg. If there is weakness, your physique may prescribe strengthening exercises to restore normal mobility.

If a herniated disc is causing an abnormal sensation in an arm or leg, and if you have not been able to recover with conservative measures such as PT, surgery can help relieve pressure on the nerve or nerves.

The goal of a surgical procedure, such as a laminectomy or discectomy, is to decompress the nerve and restore it to normal function. After surgery, physical therapy can help you regain normal mobility.

Occasionally, peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes can cause paresthesia and abnormal sensations in the feet or feet. Often in these cases, the symptoms are relatively constant and may change slightly with medication.

Treatment for paresthesia depends on your specific diagnosis, and your healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of action to take.

Get the word of drug information

If you have numbness or tingling, or needles in your foot, leg, or arm, you may have paresthesia. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about; the symptoms will go away if you move a little.

If your symptoms persist or your leg is sleeping and you won't wake up, you should see your healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. In most cases, simple things can be done to treat your condition to relieve paresthesia and return to your normal work and rest.

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