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Numbness and Tingling After
COVID-19: Care Instructions
What causes numbness and tingling?
Numbness and tingling, also known as paresthesia, is a burning or prickling
sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but can also occur
in other parts of the body. The sensation, which happens without warning, is
usually painless and described as tingling or numbness, skin crawling, or
Most people have experienced temporary paresthesia -- a feeling of "pins and
needles" -- at some time in their lives when they have sat with legs crossed for
too long, or fallen asleep with an arm crooked under their head. It happens
when sustained pressure is placed on a nerve. The feeling quickly goes away
once the pressure is relieved.
Chronic numbness or tingling can be a symptom of any number of disorders:
stroke, tumor, multiple sclerosis - to name a few. Also, nerve entrapment
disorders, where a nerve gets compressed or restricted by nearby tissues can
cause paresthesia accompanied by pain. (Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is an
example of a nerve entrapment disorder). COVID-19 can also cause numbness
and tingling in some people. It is difficult to predict who may get paresthesia
How is paresthesia diagnosed?
Diagnostic evaluation is based on determining the underlying condition causing
the paresthetic sensations. Medical history, physical examination, and
laboratory tests are essential for the diagnosis. Doctors may order additional
tests depending on the suspected cause of the paresthesia. If there is concern
your symptoms are related to your history of COVID-19, your doctor may ask
you about your course with the illness.
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How is paresthesia treated?
Proper treatment of paresthesia depends on the exact diagnosis of the
? Be sure you take any medication as directed. If you think you are having a
reaction, please call your provider.
? Do not miss any appointments and please call if you are having trouble.
? It is important that you know your medications and test results and can
share them with your provider so they can better care for you.
? Working closely with your medical provider is an important part of your
When should I call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you need emergency care. For example, call if:
? Have symptoms of a stroke like:
o Sudden loss of movement in one side of your face or body.
o New numbness, tingling, or weakness to one side of your body or
o Trouble speaking or understanding what someone is saying to you
o Sudden trouble walking or balancing.
o Sudden and worst headache of your life.
? Signs of other emergent conditions like:
o Sudden loss of bowel or bladder control.
o Weakness, numbness, or tingling in both legs or in the pelvis.
Call your doctor now or seek urgent medical care if:
? Your symptoms are worse than normal
Monitor your symptoms and health closely. Please call your health care
provider if you are not improving like you normally do. Following up with your
doctor is a very important part of your health and safety.
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Disclaimer: This document contains information and/or instructional materials developed by
Michigan Medicine for the typical patient with your condition. It may include links to online
content that was not created by Michigan Medicine and for which Michigan Medicine does not
assume responsibility. It does not replace medical advice from your health care provider
because your experience may differ from that of the typical patient. Talk to your health care
provider if you have any questions about this document, your condition or your treatment plan.
Adapted from: NINDS. Paresthesia Information Page. Access at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/
Reviewer: Heather Vance MD
Plain Language Editor: Ruti Volk, MSI, AHIP
Patient Education by Michigan Medicine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License. Last Revised 05/2021
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How to relieve numbness in arm? One of the most simply idiotic solutions is to just sit down and relax your arm. ... Secondly, you can try rotating your arm in both clock wise and anti-clock wise direction, or you can just delicately, and mildly swing it. Thirdly, you can massage your arm till you feel the blood circulation in the arm starts again and it comes back alive. ...
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