Tingling is an abnormal sensation. It can be felt in a specific body part, or occasionally all over the body. The sensation is felt like pins and needles pricking in the body, which is usually transient and gets better with changing the posture. It is usually caused by reduced blood supply or nerve compression and is experienced more in advanced age. Occasional tingling is usually harmless but some medical conditions can lead to a more severe form of tingling which does not get better with changing position or moving around.
Causes of Tingling All Over Body
Anxiety can produce a diverse array of symptoms, including a tingling sensation all over the body. When a person is stressed or anxious, the body releases a lot of stress hormones. These hormones prepare the body to deal with any threat. This mechanism is called fight or flight mechanism. During this process the blood supply to all the vital organs increases,whilethat to less important organs iscompromised. This can lead to a feeling of pins and needles.
When this occurs over and over again the body stays in a hyper stimulated state and the feeling does not vanish away completely. Anxiety also leads to hyperventilation which can precipitate this sensation of tingling.
2. Nerve Entrapment
Nerves carry the messages from brain to various body parts. When, due to any reason, the nerve gets trapped or compressed, false signals can be conveyed, which result in a tingling sensation. When the nerve supplying the hand is compressed, in carpal tunnel syndrome, pins and needles are felt in the hand. The same thing occurs after prolonged sitting. Herniated discs, tumors and muscle spasm can also put pressure on nerves and lead to tingling sensation.
3. Metabolic Disorders
- Persistent high levels of blood sugar can damage the nerve fibers of the body. If you have diabetes, diabetic neuropathy can occur and cause numbness, tingling and pain, especially in feet and hands.
- Alcohol excess can also damage nerves and can be a reason for tingling all over body. However, alcohol causes symptoms through a different mechanism.
- Vitamin B 12 deficiency is also responsible for this uneasy feeling.
4. Autoimmune Diseases
In autoimmune diseases, the body identifies its own parts as foreign objects and starts to destroy them. These diseases can affect any part of the body and damage the nerves resulting in a tingling sensation or a feeling of pins and needles stuck in the body. Most common autoimmune diseases which can cause this symptom are SLE, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
5. Circulation Problems
When the blood supply to any area of the body is compromised altered sensations are experienced.
- In peripheral vascular disease, the blood vessels become blockedas a result of plaque formation and the blood supply to peripheries is compromised. This can lead to a feeling of tingling and numbness.
- Exposure to extreme cold temperature can also affect the blood supply to certain areas, causing tingling sensation.
- Blocked blood blow in brain, such as in cases of transient ischemic attacks and strokes, can also cause tingling in body.
Some infections can result in a feeling of tingling all over body. HIV, herpes, Lyme disease and shingles can damage the nerves and cause altered sensations. Other less common infections which can damage the nerves and lead to similar symptoms are rabies, syphilis and leprosy.
7. Side Effects of Mediation
Some medicines can damage the nerves and a feeling of pins and needles can arise as a side effect. Chemotherapy medications like cisplatin, carboplatin and paclitexil are neurotoxic and can cause neuropathy. Anti viral medicines used for treatment of HIV are also known to cause neuropathy.
8. Other Causes
- Some chemical substances can lead to nerve damage and cause tingling sensation.
- Certain poisons like carbon monoxide, lead and arsenic can damage the nerves and cause tingling in body.
- Tingling can be experienced after insect bites.
- Tingling all over body in elderly people can be one of the signs of stroke.
Warning: Most of the times tingling sensation is not dangerous. However, if it is getting worst, or there is fever,rash, slurring of speech or any other neurological deficit, urgent medical attention is necessary.
Possible Treatments for Tingling All Over the Body
The ideal treatment for tingling is the correction of underlying disease process. Therefore it is very important to ascertain the cause of tingling. Your physician can advise various tests to determine the exact reason for this uncomfortable feeling.
- If this is due to B12 deficiency, B12 supplements are advised. A diet rich in B12 is recommended. Dairy products, meat, fish and eggs are good sources of B12.
- Having garlic and onions helps to keep the blood thin and this can be helpful in peripheral vascular disease.
- To prevent diabetic neuropathy, it is essential to control the diabetes.
- Antihistamines are effective to control the tingling caused by insect bites.