Why are my legs numb?
Probably, everybody knows that strange feeling of numbness, when the legs become like “wooden” and completely naughty, while it seems that little ants are crawling on their feet and biting the skin with their stings. Such a feeling sometimes arises in the legs as a result of prolonged sitting or lying in an extremely uncomfortable position, therefore, the people often describe this state of numbness with the words “spent (or lying down) legs”. But the banal "served" - not the only explanation for this feeling. In fact, there are quite a few reasons for which the legs go numb, but somehow they all boil down to any kind of blood supply and / or innervation of the lower limbs.
Why legs are numb: the main reasons
In most cases, numbness in the legs causes any degenerative changes in the lumbar or sacral spine. Changes of this kind primarily include:
- Osteochondrosis, leading to osteophytes (bone growths of the vertebrae), which can pinch the intervertebral nerves responsible for the sensitivity of the legs.
- Intervertebral hernia or protrusion, in which the nerve roots are infringed by the displaced core of the intervertebral disc.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause a violation of the innervation of the legs. Arthritis affects the joints of the legs, as a result of the inflammatory process, the joints become deformed, as a result of which the nerves are pinched.
- Neuropathy of the lower extremities is a characteristic lesion of the nerve endings in the legs, in most cases developing on the background of diabetes mellitus. In some cases, the cause of neuropathy can be benign or malignant neoplasms or leg injuries.
- Raynaud's disease is a rather rare and as yet poorly understood disease, as a result of which small terminal arteries are affected and peripheral circulation is disturbed. May cause numbness in the legs.
- Atherosclerosis is one of the most common causes of leg numbness in older people. In the case when atherosclerosis affects the large vessels of the lower extremities, the legs not only become numb, but also sore and swell. In addition to these symptoms, another characteristic sign of atherosclerosis is leg cramps.
- Multiple sclerosis is a severe autoimmune disease, mainly developing in people of young or middle age. When multiple sclerosis affects the sheath of nerve fibers, which may be the cause of recurring numbness of the legs.
- A microstroke can be the cause of long-lasting numbness of one leg.
- Vitamin deficiency - a deficiency in the body of vitamin B12 and some trace elements can provoke a feeling of numbness in the lower limbs.
- Poor circulation in the legs, caused by prolonged sitting or lying in one uncomfortable position, is the most common cause of numbness in the legs.
Diagnosis, treatment and prevention of numbness
If a feeling of numbness in your legs occurs quite rarely and you are sure that it is caused by a long stay in an uncomfortable position, then there is nothing terrible about this feeling. In order for it to pass, you only need to change your position, massage your legs, stand up and walk for a few minutes.
In all other cases, to establish an accurate diagnosis, you first need to contact a specialist (neurologist), who will carry out a full examination.After carrying out a number of diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and computed tomography of the spine, ultrasound of the vessels of the legs and electroneuromyography, the doctor will make an accurate diagnosis (perhaps for this he will need additional advice from a traumatologist and orthopedist) and select the appropriate treatment for you.
To prevent numbness in your legs as a preventive measure, perform various physical exercises that help to improve blood circulation in the lower limbs: jog, walk on toes and heels, just walk in the evenings, go to the pool or dance. To strengthen the vessels daily pour cool water on your legs and make for them contrast baths.
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