Numbness or Abnormal Sensation
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Reviewed By:

Benjamin Kummer, MD

Benjamin Kummer, MD (Neurology)

Dr Kummer is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), with joint appointment in Digital and Technology Partners (DTP) at the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) as Director of Clinical Informatics in Neurology. As a triple-board certified practicing stroke neurologist and informaticist, he has successfully improved clinical operations at the point of care by acting as a central liaison between clinical neurology faculty and DTP teams to implement targeted EHR configuration changes and workflows, as well as providing subject matter expertise on health information technology projects across MSHS. | Dr Kummer also has several years’ experience building and implementing several informatics tools, presenting scientific posters, and generating a body of peer-reviewed work in “clinical neuro-informatics” – i.e., the intersection of clinical neurology, digital health, and informatics – much of which is centered on digital/tele-health, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. He has spearheaded the Clinical Neuro-Informatics Center in the Department of Neurology at ISMMS, a new research institute that seeks to establish the field of clinical neuro-informatics and disseminate knowledge to the neurological community on the effects and benefits of clinical informatics tools at the point of care.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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Content updated on Nov 7, 2023

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About the Symptom

Numbness describes a loss of sensation, a loss of feeling, or abnormal sensations in a part of the body. Occasionally, "numbness" will be used to describe muscle weakness.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Peripheral cyanosis

  • Back pain

  • Numbness of lower limbs

  • Different degrees of numbness on each side

  • Recent weight loss

  • Unexplained weight loss of 5% or more in 1 month

  • Numbness / sensory disorder

  • Abnormal sensation (tingling, prickling)

  • Difficulty urinating

  • double vision

  • Involuntary movements

  • Low back pain

Possible causes

Generally, Numbness or abnormal sensation can be related to:

  • Hereditary sensory neuropathy

    Hereditary sensory neuropathy is a disorder characterized by abnormal nerve function in the arms, legs, and feet. The nerves that are affected transmit sensation and touch information to the brain. People who are affected cannot feel with their limbs and may develop muscle wasting. The disorder is caused by mutations in certain genes and as a result, runs in families.

  • Familial amyloid polyneuropathy

    Familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAPs) are life-threatening, multisystem, inherited disorders where amyloid (an abnormal protein that can be deposited in any tissue) accumulates in nerve fibers and around nerves.

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

    Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by pain affecting the trigeminal nerve (carries sensation from the face to the brain). Even mild stimulation of your face, like brushing teeth or combing hair, might trigger it. Causes include contact between a blood vessel and the trigeminal nerve, which puts pressure on the nerve, nerve compression by a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma.

  • Spinal cord intramedullary tumor
  • Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL)

  • Ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF)

  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Piriformis syndrome

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Numbness or abnormal sensation may be related to these serious diseases:

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you feel any numbness or altered sensation?

  • Is the numbness worse on one side of your body?

  • Has your skin sensation changed?

  • Do you feel off-balance, making it difficult for you to stand still?

  • Do you feel tingling without touching your skin?

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Find Similar Symptoms

Similar symptoms or complaints

References

  • Jankovic J, et al., eds. Disorders of peripheral nerves. In: Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Elsevier; 2022.

  • Freedman M. Numbness. Merck Manual Professional Version. Oct 2023

    https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/symptoms-of-neurologic-disorders/numbness

Reviewed By:

Benjamin Kummer, MD

Benjamin Kummer, MD (Neurology)

Dr Kummer is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), with joint appointment in Digital and Technology Partners (DTP) at the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS) as Director of Clinical Informatics in Neurology. As a triple-board certified practicing stroke neurologist and informaticist, he has successfully improved clinical operations at the point of care by acting as a central liaison between clinical neurology faculty and DTP teams to implement targeted EHR configuration changes and workflows, as well as providing subject matter expertise on health information technology projects across MSHS. | Dr Kummer also has several years’ experience building and implementing several informatics tools, presenting scientific posters, and generating a body of peer-reviewed work in “clinical neuro-informatics” – i.e., the intersection of clinical neurology, digital health, and informatics – much of which is centered on digital/tele-health, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. He has spearheaded the Clinical Neuro-Informatics Center in the Department of Neurology at ISMMS, a new research institute that seeks to establish the field of clinical neuro-informatics and disseminate knowledge to the neurological community on the effects and benefits of clinical informatics tools at the point of care.

Shohei Harase, MD

Shohei Harase, MD (Neurology)

Dr. Harase spent his junior and senior high school years in Finland and the U.S. After graduating from the University of Washington (Bachelor of Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology), he worked for Apple Japan Inc. before entering the University of the Ryukyus School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Okinawa Prefectural Chubu Hospital, where he received the Best Resident Award in 2016 and 2017. In 2021, he joined the Department of Cerebrovascular Medicine at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, specializing in hyperacute stroke.

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