NUMBNESS Numbness, as you would imagine, could have many causes; from cancer to spinal stenosis, disc herniation to cold exposure, to list but a few.
The most common cause is due to a condition called subluxation, (sub-lux-a-shun "In the News”).
Subluxation refers to a chiropractic condition not a medical condition. A medical subluxation would be a more egregious abnormality approaching a dislocation of a joint. A chiropractic subluxation refers to a joint abnormality leading to nerve irritation. The nerve irritation would be properly termed “Neura Proxia” (wikipedia). This condition may cause numbness and is usually corrected without drugs or surgery in a chiropractic clinic.
The cause always involves stress of tissue. Tissue stress may be due to some type of trauma, a strain or sprain, or a repetitive motion syndrome such a carpal tunnel. In all cases, inflammation is involved as well as abnormal joint movement.
Symptoms may be misleading. Let’s use carpal tunnel as an example; if a person were to have this condition called “Subluxation” in their neck, they could be experiencing numbness or tingling, possibly weakness in the wrist, yet the neck and arm would be spared of symptoms. Subluxation causes nerve irritation/ inflammation, hence causing the wrist symptoms. The cause is actually coming from subluxation in the neck. ( “Carpal Tunnel”)
In a chiropractic office, the doctor will routinely exam the neck, shoulder, elbow, upper back, arm as well as the wrist to determine the real cause of the symptoms. Now the same would hold true if a person was experiencing numbness in their legs or feet. A chiropractic approach would be to exam not only leg or the foot, but the knee, the hips and the low back. Once again, to determine the actually cause of the numbness we would not isolate our clinical investigation to just the area of the numbness.
Now, this is not to say that the wrist wouldn’t be treated, or the leg or the foot wouldn’t be treated, it certainly would. However, we would incorporate treatment of the subluxated area as well.
Frequently a numbness complaint will be accompanied by other symptoms as well, such as tenderness, and pain in related areas of the body. One of the hints that would tell us if a person was suffering from a chiropractic condition is if the numbness had become chronic or reoccurring in spite of exercise, therapy or medications, possibly the person has even had surgery, yet the symptoms come back. When symptoms reoccur in spite of the efforts that have been made, a chiropractic evaluation is required ASAP. Surprisingly, a medical doctor’s credentials and experience are not qualifications for determining a chiropractic subluxation condition. I’m writing this as a chiropractor and if I wanted to know if I had this condition, I would actually have to go to another chiropractor.
This last comment comes as a surprise to many people. We think our doctors should know everything and every discipline, the truth is that a medical doctor is no more qualified to form an opinion about a chiropractic problem or a chiropractic solution then he is to formulate a dental diagnosis and solution. Simply put, there are medical problems, dental problems, and chiropractic problems. Chiropractic problems can only be diagnosed by a chiropractor.
Don’t give up. Consult a board certified chiropractor.