According to the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, 52% of fibromyalgia patients experience fibromyalgia with numbness and tingling. Another report found that as many as 84% of fibro patients experienced these symptoms as well. While the numbness and tingling primarily occur in the legs and feet, it is can also be present in arms and hands. Sometimes it’s so severe, that waking in the morning and getting from the bed to the bathroom might take extreme effort. That’s because the numbness and tingling can be downright debilitating and may even include stiffness and throbbing. Sleeping at night is supposed to be rejuvenating, right? But when you have fibromyalgia, you don’t often get much sleep. Part of the reason is likely related to the numbness and tingling you feel in your legs throughout the night and upon waking. It can keep you up at night. You may be dealing with restless leg syndrome, which, when treated, can minimize your fibromyalgia symptoms considerably due to improved sleep. But what about the numbness and tingling itself? What is it and what causes it?
You know that prickly or “pins and needles” feeling you get a nerve is pinched in arm or leg? For example, if you’ve ever woken in the middle of the night with a numb arm from where you’d been sleeping on it for an extended length of time. It’s the sensation that we experience when we say something like “my arm fell asleep.” That uncomfortable and even sometimes painful feeling that accompanies that is called paresthesia. It may feel like your skin is burning, itching, or “crawling.” It can actually be a very painful symptom of fibromyalgia.
Paresthesia in general can have many different sources. For example, nerve damage, diabetes, or sciatica to name a few. But when it comes to fibromyalgia, researchers still aren’t sure what causes paresthesia. In fact, fibromyalgia with numbness and tingling can come and go for fibro patients without any explanation at all.
Treatment options for fibromyalgia with numbness and tingling
Treating paresthesia on its own is one thing. Treating it when you have fibromyalgia with numbness and tingling is another. Again, they still can’t determine just what the cause of paresthesia is with fibromyalgia patients, so it’s a whole different ball of wax, as they say. But proactive treatment seems to be helpful. For example, many fibro patients have benefited from physical therapy specifically to treat paresthesia. The therapist will often manipulate the neck and back in an effort to relieve the pain associated with paresthesia.
Sometimes monitoring oneself and making lifestyle changes are beneficial to minimizing the numbness and tingling. Apparently, many fibromyalgia patients experience an increase in these symptoms when anxiety is worse. In other words, changing circumstances in order to reduce anxiety can often lead to less numbness and tingling in fibromyalgia patients. Have you noticed a difference with that?
Other fibro patients have found relieve from paresthesia from massage, vitamin supplements such as B-12, serotonin, and magnesium, and even acupuncture. Of course, these options tend to be helpful to many fibromyalgia symptoms anyway. But it certainly depends on the person and the circumstances. You can also try aquatic therapies which are a gentle way to develop muscle and increase cardiovascular endurance. And let’s not forget heat and cold therapy. The heat is relaxing to the muscles because it increases blood flow. And cold actually decreases blood flow, thereby reducing any possible inflammation.
One more note regarding magnesium: my chiropractor put me on an easily absorbable magnesium supplement because he said that nearly everyone in America has a magnesium deficiency. This can have a profound impact on our overall well-being, our cardiovascular health, and our ability to recover. That is why fibromyalgia patients may find a great deal of relief from their numbness and tingling symptoms by soaking their feet or body’s in Epsom salt. It is full of magnesium, which raises blood circulation and can possibly prevent the sensations from coming back.
Identifying the right treatment for your fibromyalgia with numbness and tingling may require some trial and error. But talking with your healthcare practitioner is the first place to begin. Have you already found any one or combination of treatments that have been effective for numbness and tingling? Please share it with us. Since dealing with fibromyalgia also means dealing with so much unknown information, it’s important to share as much as possible. And, of course, what works for one, may not work for the next. But that’s why it’s even more important to share methods and treatments. So tell us what has worked for you!