Paresthesia is a feeling of tingling, burning, pricking, or
numbness of the skin with no apparent physical cause. Some people call it a
feeling of "pins and needles."
Paresthesia that comes and goes (transient paresthesia) is
usually caused by pressure on a nerve, and it disappears gradually as the pressure
is relieved. Other kinds of paresthesia can be chronic and painful and are
often a symptom of underlying nerve damage or disease.
Comparing the affected area with an unaffected area will determine
whether paresthesia is present.
When the affected area is touched, does the touch
cause the same feeling or sensation as when an unaffected area is
Does loss of normal sensation spread beyond the affected
area (usually away from the center of the body down a limb)?
Treatment for paresthesia depends on what is causing the
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine