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I am Starting to Feel Numbness

Abnormal sensations travelling down arms or legs are called radiculopathy. This is when a spinal nerve is pinched or inflamed to cause pain, numbness or tingling in specific areas of your limbs.

Pinched nerves most commonly occur with changes in surrounding bones and cartilage from wear and tear, or from injury. These changes may cause pressure on a nerve root, which connects to your spinal cord through an opening in your spine.

One common example of cartilage change is herniated spinal disc, often known as slip disc. This starts with a weakening or tearing of the outer rim of the disc. The nucleus, or inner part, then pushes outward and exerts pressure on a nearby spinal nerve.

An example of bone change is growth of osteophytes, commonly known as bone spurs. This is when extra stiff bone forms on part of the spine and narrows the space where nerves are located, causing them to be compressed. Bone spurs can develop because of trauma or osteoarthritis.

Symptoms vary depending on which type of radiculopathy you have. The symptoms may affect different areas of your back, arms, and legs, and can include:

  • a sharp pain that may worsen with certain movements
  • a shooting pains
  • numbness
  • weakness and tingling
  • loss or change in sensation
  • loss of reflexes

Back pain or neck pain is often related to spinal wear and tear and can be the precursor to nerve compression. Timely and appropriate treatment can reduce or even prevent these symptoms.

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