Numbness is an altered sensation and loss of feeling. This is due to an abnormal sensory nerve function. Many times there is numbness that is a very specific spot and is often accompanied by tingling in the same area. The numbness and tingling sensation similar to the feeling of having a foot "fall asleep" is a familiar one. This same combination of numbness and tingling can occur in any region of the body and may be caused by a wide variety of disorders.
Why does this happen? Messages in the body travel along a path from the brain down the spinal cord and out through the spinal nerves. These same nerves also carry the feelings of sensation up and down that same pathway to and from the brain. When there is interference in that pathway that is when you notice a change in sensation. Direct compression on nerves causes paresthesias, or loss of sensation. There can be short-lived compression from things such as carrying a purse or backpack or more chronic compression, with entrapment syndromes like carpal tunnel syndrome.
As chiropractors if we can determine the exact area of numbness or loss of sensation, we can better determine which nerves are being compressed and irritated. The nerves in the cervical spine and neck control all the functions and sensations in the neck, shoulders, arms, elbows, hands and fingers. Many times it is a chronic compression of the nerves in the neck from a misalignment. We will assess your spine for misalignments or (subluxations) and use a chiropractic adjustment to begin to realign your spine. This will help alleviate the symptoms of numbness and tingling or loss of sensation. We also adjust extremities including hips, knees, ankles, feet, shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. Extremity adjustments are more beneficial if there is an entrapment syndrome causing the numbness and tingling and loss of sensation.