Back numbness can be the possible neurological result of a number of different back pain conditions.
Numbness is described as the lack of feeling in a given anatomical region. Numbness can exist in the entire back, but is far more commonly localized in a specific area. It can also exist in the limbs, even when caused by a spinal issue.
Numbness can be a scary experience for the patient and might be a symptom of a serious health concern. Make sure to get all cases of unexplained numbness in the back checked out by a qualified physician.
Numbness can be objective, meaning a condition involving no sensory perception can be positively confirmed via neurological testing, or subjective, meaning that the patient feels numb, but actually does maintain some sensory perception in the area.
This is the classic question of perception of a symptom versus the actual clinical expression of it.
Numbness in the back can be caused by several possible scenarios including all of the following:
Pinched nerves can definitely cause numbness in a given area, especially after an extended period of time. Long-term nerve compression has been proven to usually cause objective numbness rather than pain.
Spinal stenosis can cause numbness anywhere below the affected vertebral levels. Numbness may be subjective in cases of moderate stenosis, but may escalate to objective forms for truly severe canal narrowing.
Oxygen deprivation can definitely cause pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in a small or large area of the back. This is one of the most common forms of subjective numbness in patients with chronic and unresponsive symptoms.
Muscular injuries can constrict circulation and cause swelling which might lead to a subjectively numb sensation in the affected muscles. This type of symptomatic numbness is nothing to be alarmed about and will usually resolve shortly, without the need for treatment.
Thoracic outlet syndrome can create objective or subjective numb sensations in the neck, upper back or arms.
Serious health concerns, such as cancer or stroke, can also cause numbness. This is why it is crucial to undergo a complete examination by a doctor to rule out the chances of a potentially lethal health condition.
The most important part of a proper treatment program for numbness, or any other neurological symptom, is an accurate diagnosis. Misdiagnosed back pain conditions have little chance of resolving, since treatments are directed at a mistaken causation.
If you have tried a variety of treatments for your chronic back pain and numbness, but have not found lasting relief, there is a very good chance that your diagnosis may be incorrect.
This was the main reason why my own back pain resisted all treatments for 18 long years. Once I finally achieved a correct diagnosis, the actual cure was relatively easy to enact. Just wish it would have lasted, since my pain eventually returned after many years of delightful resolution.
A numb sensation can be very uncomfortable and debilitating. For many patients, this is their primary symptom and chief health complaint.
Numbness in the legs is especially common with lower back pain and sciatica syndromes. This condition can make it very difficult to work or function effectively. This is also a concern which plagues me daily.
I highly recommend going to your doctor and undergoing a thorough exam and imaging studies to diagnose any chronic numbness in the back or limbs. Finding the actual problem will give direction for proper treatment.
If no apparent cause can be located, there is a chance that your condition is ischemic, so considering mindbody therapy may be the way to go.