Numbness Fact Sheet

Numbness is a common complaint with many causes. Use this fact sheet to find out what yours is telling you about your health.

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When to Seek Help

Your doctor can help you determine the cause of your numbness, many of which can be treated. However, be sure to know when you need emergency treatment.

Go to a Hospital or Call 911 Immediately If:

  • Your numbness is accompanied by weakness or the inability to move.
  • Your numbness occurs directly following injury to your head, neck or back.
  • You cannot control the movements of your extremities or involuntarily lose control of your bowels or bladder
  • You feel confused or have lost consciousness for any amount of time.
  • Your speech is slurred or altered, or you have experienced vision changes or trouble walking.
  • Your numbness is accompanied by a severe, sudden headache or dizziness.
  • You have numbness of the pelvic region (including the buttocks and perineum) in a "saddle" distribution.
  • Your numbness begins suddenly or involves an entire arm or leg.

Contact Your Doctor If:

  • Your numbness has no obvious cause (such as whacking your funny bone or sitting on your foot for too long).
  • The numbness starts gradually and worsens over time.
  • Your numbness comes and goes or is related to particular tasks such as repetitive motions.
  • You also have pain in your neck, arm or fingers.
  • You have also noticed increased urination.
  • The numbness or tingling worsens consistently when you walk.