Tingling – causes, treatment


Tingling , medically also part of paresthesia , is a sensitivity disorder (see also sensory disorder ) of the nerves. This discomfort can occur anywhere on the body. From a medical point of view, tingling is classified as paresthesia (abnormal sensation of the skin nerves) and can have many causes.

What is tingling?

Tingling can occur on any part of the body. This is usually a temporary discomfort that goes away on its own.

However, it can also happen that the so-called tingling paresthesia lasts for a longer period of time and sometimes severely affects the affected patients. In these cases, a medical clarification of the cause is advisable, because harmless causes are not always responsible for the tingling.

Typical tingling symptoms are tingling in the fingers, hands or arms, as well as tingling in the toes, feet or legs. Tingling in the nose is also a discomfort that occurs frequently.


Tingling can have many causes. Harmless and quickly transient nerve irritation can trigger a tingling sensation. But inflammation and severe neurological diseases can also be a reason for this discomfort.

The most common causes include damage to individual nerves caused by toxins, infections or pinched nerves. In the case of infections, both viral infections and bacterial infections can trigger the tingling. Pinched nerves sometimes occur with herniated discs . Allergies , deficiency symptoms or side effects of medication can also be reasons for the tingling.

The discomfort is often caused by circulatory disorders . This can sometimes be due to serious diseases of the cardiovascular system. Tingling is also a typical symptom of restless legs syndrome .

In some cases, the tingling can be triggered by other serious illnesses. These include strokes , brain and spinal cord tumors, and some neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis . If no clinical findings are found for the tingling, psychological causes must also be considered as triggers. Stress comes first.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

Any long-lasting tingling should always be medically evaluated. In order to find a correct diagnosis, the doctor will first try to narrow down the possible causes by asking various questions. This includes an exact questioning of the occurring symptoms and the medical history of the patient.

You will also be asked if you are taking certain medications. A physical and neurological examination as well as a blood test are definitely part of the examination program. Depending on the suspected diagnosis and preliminary findings, special examinations follow. This may include further blood tests or orthopedic examinations.

X-ray examinations , CT ( computed tomography ), MRI ( magnetic resonance imaging ), EEG ( electroencephalography ) or ENG ( electroneurography ) may also be necessary. In some cases, a cerebrospinal fluid examination (liquor puncture) or various allergy tests are also carried out to get to the bottom of the causes of the tingling.


Tingling on the skin can be both harmless and a symptom of a serious medical condition. It is often accompanied by numbness . The tingling is harmless, among other things, if it occurs after warming up cold hands or feet. Since the blood vessels contract when they cool down, the above-mentioned paresthesias occur during the warm-up process as a result of initially lower blood flow.

However, when tingling and numbness become chronic, a more serious condition, such as atherosclerosis , diabetes , or central nervous system disorders, can sometimes be suspected as the cause. As a consequence of severe diabetes, the tingling can develop together with the numbness into the so-called diabetic foot syndrome.

As part of this syndrome, the blood supply to the foot is reduced, which can lead to tissue death. The foot turns black. Amputation is often the only option left. Sudden tingling and numbness associated with unilateral paralysis are often signs of a stroke . Tingling and numbness often occur with severe burns , poisoning , medication (heart medication, chemotherapy medication ) or anxiety disorders .

Tingling in the legs can indicate the beginning of multiple sclerosis. Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, brain tumors , and immune responses to cancer can also cause tingling and numbness. Most of the time, the tingling is a result of underlying medical conditions. However, if it is chronic, it can also be the cause of sleep disorders and mental illnesses.

When should you go to the doctor?

Long-lasting tingling should always be checked out by a doctor. The symptoms may be due to a serious illness or it is a harmless nerve irritation that can be alleviated by taking measures yourself. A visit to the doctor is recommended, especially if the tingling occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason. The same applies to sensory disturbances, which occur again and again and are accompanied by intense discomfort. This is especially true when the tingling is accompanied by certain alarm signs such as pain, blurred vision, nausea or dizziness. Tingling with signs of paralysis indicates a serious nerve disorder that needs to be treated quickly to avoid further complications.

Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus or another disease should always have changes to the body surface clarified. An ambulance must be called if sudden numbness and paralysis are added to the discomfort. Corresponding complaints can occur on one side in the arm, leg or face and indicate a stroke. Sometimes the symptoms are also caused by other damage to the upper spinal cord or the brain. In any case, it is advisable to react immediately and call the emergency services.

Treatment & Therapy

Tingling doesn’t always require specific treatment. The causes are often harmless and the tingling goes away within a short time, even without medical treatment. A longer-lasting discomfort should always be clarified and treated by the doctor.

The therapy always depends on the causative disease. With any treatment, the focus is on curing or alleviating the underlying disease. Many underlying diseases can be treated with medication. These include, for example, bacterial infections and restless legs syndrome.

With some underlying diseases, surgical interventions may also be necessary. Herniated discs and tumor diseases are typical diseases that usually have to be treated surgically. Medications can also cause tingling as a side effect. In this case, the doctor will check whether the unpleasant tingling sensation can be avoided by taking another preparation.

However, under no circumstances should a drug be simply discontinued without the doctor’s instructions. The range of treatment methods is as diverse as the causes of the tingling can be.

Outlook & Forecast

In many cases, the tingling in certain parts of the body is only temporary and is accompanied by a feeling of numbness. In these cases, the tingling is harmless and does not lead to any further symptoms. It is caused by pinched nerves. The tingling is harmless even if it is caused by cold and the body part in question is suddenly warmed up afterwards.

It is not uncommon for the tingling to occur with diabetes and can damage the extremities. This can lead to decreased blood flow to the feet. This causes tissue to die . In the worst case, the foot has to be amputated. If the tingling comes with severe paralysis , it is a sign of a stroke. In this case, urgent treatment by a doctor is necessary.

If the tingling is caused by poor nutrition , a healthy and varied diet with lots of vitamins will help. Medical treatment is only necessary in serious cases. Your success depends heavily on the cause of the tingling. In a few cases, tingling occurs in parts of the body after taking a certain medication. Here a doctor should be consulted to discontinue the drug or replace it with another.


Some triggers of tingling can already be avoided by taking preventive measures. Bad living and eating habits often lead to deficiency symptoms. A balanced diet with enough vitamins and minerals protects against vitamin, iron or magnesium deficiencies . Stress and mental stress can also sometimes trigger unpleasant sensations in the skin nerves. In these cases, more exercise and conscious stress management can be helpful.

You can do that yourself

A healthy lifestyle is essential for tingling hands, feet and other parts of the body. This includes physical exercise. Sport strengthens the muscles and relieves tingling sensations. In addition, blood circulation is improved. Swimming, relaxation exercises and/or yoga are recommended to reduce tension.

People who feel tingling should not remain in the same posture for too long, whether sitting or standing. If tingling occurs during sleep, the sleeping position should be changed. With the help of pillows, the legs can be positioned higher. Tight clothing or synthetic materials should also be avoided as they inhibit blood circulation. People who feel tingling should walk a few steps, especially after sitting for a long time. It makes sense to stand on tiptoe and then return to the normal position. This exercise should be repeated about ten times and done every night before bed to stimulate circulation.

Massage or vigorous rubbing of the affected areas can also help with tingling . [[Iron deficiency] can cause tingling. Lentils , eggs, walnuts , beetroot , milk, beans, peas and leafy greens such as chard or spinach are particularly recommended for tingling and iron deficiency. Alcohol and coffee should be avoided after dinner. Likewise, lavish or heavy meals in the evening should be avoided.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.