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Numbness
March 2003

Q. I am a 26-year-old female and I have been experiencing a numbness in my left leg. It feels as if my leg is asleep, but I can't get it in a position to regain the normal feelings. It isn't a constant numbness.

I had the first episode about a week to a week and a half ago, and it lasted for two days. I started having the sensation again last night and I still am today. I thought maybe I am feeling this because of my lack of calcium intake, so I started taking multivitamins.

The vitamins make me sick, so I didn't take the vitamin on Saturday or Sunday. So on Sunday, the numb feeling came back. I am so scared that I may have MS all I do is cry all day. I'm too afraid to call my doctor! Can you help?

A. When a nerve is damaged or irritated, the symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in any area supplied by that nerve. So your symptoms certainly sound like a nerve is irritated. There are many minor conditions that can be the cause of numbness, so by all means call your doctor for an appointment. A simple physical exam may clarify the situation!

Your doctor may want to order some tests to determine the location and cause of the problem. Tests often include x-rays to look for problems in the spine as the nerves originate here (examples: bone malalignment, arthritis) and possibly an EMG which examines nerve conduction (example: carpal tunnel syndrome).

The treatment will depend on the results of your exam and any other tests establishing the diagnosis. A specialist in neurology can help with this evaluation if the situation persists.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000593.htm

http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual/section14/chapter183/183f.htm

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