What’s Causing My Occasional Spinal Numbness?

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Machine Vibration Spine Pain

If your arm is numb because you slept in a weird position or your leg falls asleep after an extended session in your favorite recliner, odds are these are not signs of a major health issue. But what if this numbness or a tingling sensation occurs more frequently, and what if the area of the numbness is in your spine or neck? We explain what could be causing occasional spinal numbness and how it should be treated in today’s blog.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is an umbrella term for an abnormality with the nerves outside the spinal canal. If these nerves become damaged, the signals they relay can become interrupted, leading to pain or loss of sensation and numbness. Some contributors to peripheral neuropathy include:

  • Diabetes
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Rheumatologic conditions
  • Damage from heavy alcohol consumption
  • Circulatory problems

While your doctor may suspect peripheral neuropathy is to blame, they’ll need to conduct additional tests to determine the root cause of the issue, because treatment varies based on the true underlying health problem.


This is a condition categorized by a slipped spinal vertebrae that can compress a nerve and lead to pain, numbness or muscle weakness. Oftentimes spondylolisthesis responds well to conservative treatments that include physical therapy, exercise and posture improvements.

Spinal Infection

An infection can also lead to numbness or sensation loss in your spine. If you’ve recently undergone spine surgery, make sure you’re caring for your wound site or having someone help with cleaning the site if it’s difficult for you to reach, because infections are much more common when you have a wound where bacteria can more easily enter.

Spinal Tumor

Finally, another potential cause of occasional spinal numbness is from the presence of a tumor. A tumor can compress spinal nerves or impede other soft tissues and structures, leading to sensation loss. Simple imaging tests can look for the presence of a tumor and help develop a treatment plan if one is uncovered.

Treating spinal numbness will come down to the underlying cause. With a nerve impingement issue, many times treatment is as simple as partaking in some active conservative techniques, like physical therapy, stretching and being posture aware. For other problems, medications and dietary changes can help reduce symptom onset and make each day more comfortable. And for those with significant nerve damage or a tumor, a minimally invasive corrective surgery may be all you need. For more information about occasional spinal numbness, reach out to the experienced medical team at Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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