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304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
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When you are at your desk deeply focused on your work, slouched over at your computer, your posture is probably the last thing you think about. Although most of us are probably not actively thinking about our posture throughout the day, we probably should. This is because poor posture can affect your health in surprising ways like numbness, body aches, and other serious health problems.
For this particular post, we will be looking at how poor posture can cause numbness. But before then, let us have a holistic view of this condition.
Numbness, also known as hypoesthesia is a common side effect of various medical conditions that manifest as a reduced sensation or feeling of touch. It can also be said to be a partial loss of sensitivity to sensory stimuli.
Numbness results mainly from damage to the nerves and blockages in the blood vessels, resulting in ischemic damage to the tissue supplied by the blocked blood vessels. This damage is detectable through the use of various imaging studies. Damage in this way is caused by a variety of different illnesses and diseases.
Some diseases that can cause numbness include;
Decompression sickness occurs during a rapid ascent, which covers 20 feet or more (usually underwater). It can express itself in several ways, including hypoesthesia. Numbness results due to air bubbles that form in the blood, which prevents oxygenation of the downstream tissues. In the case of decompression sickness, treatment to relieve the symptoms of hypoesthesia is quick and effective. Hyperbaric oxygen is used to maintain long-term stability, which includes breathing oxygen at a 100% level.
IETSC is a spinal cord cancer. It involves numbness of all parts of the body associated with the affected spinal nerves. The inability to transmit information from the body to the central nervous system will cause a total lack of sensitivity in the associated regions.
Hypoesthesia arising in (and spreading centrally from) the feet, fingers, navel, or lips is one of the typical symptoms of beriberi. These symptoms are due to thiamine insufficiency.
Trigeminal schwannoma is a condition in which a tumor forms in the trigeminal nerve (also known as cranial nerve five). This avoids feeling in the area associated with the nerve. In the case of the trigeminal nerve, it is the face, which means that hypoesthesia of the face is felt. Excision is the only effective treatment for trigeminal schwannoma. This, although, may not treat associated hypoesthesia if the damage has already occurred. After surgery, many patients still experienced hypoaesthesia and some even experienced an increase in effects.
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Hypoesthesia is one of the negative sensory symptoms associated with cutaneous sensory disorders (CSD). In this condition, patients have unpleasant abnormal sensations in the skin. This may be due to increased activity of the nervous system (itching, stinging or burning). It can also be due to a decrease in the activity of the nervous system (numbness).
Romencephalitis involves a bacterial invasion of the brainstem and trigeminal nerve. It presents a wide variety of symptoms that can vary from one patient to another. Similar to the trigeminal schwannoma mentioned above, this can cause facial hypoesthesia. Romencephalitis can also cause hypoesthesia of the V1 through V3 dermatomes. The main treatment option for this infection is antibiotics, such as ampicillin, to kill bacteria.
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Numbness usually goes hand in glove with tingling. The two symptoms of numbness and tingling are known as paraesthesia. This term includes other sensations such as pins and needles, tingling, itching or even burning. Loss of sensation in a limb or a large part of the body can make it difficult to fulfill your daily routine. We all experience these symptoms temporarily when a limb falls asleep due to an awkward position. However, chronic numbness or tingling that returns regularly may indicate a condition that needs attention.
Cervical radiculopathy is often referred to as the pinched nerve in the neck or upper back. In addition to numbness, it can also cause pain and weakness. Numbness can occur at any time in many areas of our body. From poor posture in sleeping to poor posture in sit for a prolonged period, most of us have experienced some kind of numbness at some time.
Sleeping at an awkward angle can pinch a nerve. Poor posture or lying down for long periods of time can also damage the nerves in your neck, back or shoulders, leading to numbness.
You can pinch a nerve in your upper back if you hurt your spine. Standing and working in stooped or awkward positions may be the cause. A pinched nerve can also result from more physically traumatic activities.
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Other back injuries that can cause numbness in the shoulder include spinal cord injuries and vertebral fractures.
A herniated disc or slipped in the spine can also pinch a nerve.
Although the condition only lasts for a short time, the underlying health conditions can make the problem worse.
A patient with hypoesthesia symptoms is often asked a series of questions to determine the location and severity of the sensory interruption. You can perform a physical exam during which a doctor can touch the skin to determine the amount of sensation present. Depending on the location of the symptoms, a doctor may recommend certain tests to determine the underlying cause of hypoesthesia. These tests include computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nerve conduction studies to measure the electrical impulses that pass through the nerves for nerve damage and several reflex tests. An example of a reflex test would be the patellar reflex test.
As the spine and other bones change position due to the long-term effects of poor posture, the skeletal system begins to come into contact with the surrounding nerves and pinches them.
Nerves travel from the neck and back (spine) to the shoulder. They cross your shoulder and your arm to the tips of your fingers. Damage to the nerves in the shoulder can cause numbness in the hand and in other areas.
These tight nerves can cause neck and back pain. Also, they can cause pain in areas of the body that are seemingly unrelated.
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For instance, forward head posture and sagging/slouching shoulders can restrict the nerves and blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest that supply the arms. This is known as thoracic outlet syndrome. The symptoms that come with this are often numbness and tingling. That is to say, poor posture can cause numbness.
Compression often occurs due to a congenital or acquired change in the bones or soft tissues around this area.
Potential compression sites can occur in the following locations:
Furthermore, according to the Cleveland Clinic, thoracic outlet syndrome brought about by poor posture, does not only cause numbness and tingling but can also cause pain and poor blood circulation. In addition, if the disorder is not treated, it can cause more serious problems, such as swelling and blood clots.
Before you can correct this condition, you must first know where the cause of the tingling comes from. It usually comes from one of three places:
If you have a carpal tunnel collapse, you may experience numbness and tingling in your fingers as well as severe pain in your wrist and hand. This is usually caused by repetitive strain injury, especially for those working on keyboards or using motorized equipment that sends a vibration through the arms. The diagnosis can be established through thorough history checks and tests, as well as nerve conduction tests.
This is the least common of the three. Chronic aggravation of the tendons at the base of the forearm, just below the elbow can irritate the nerves as they pass. You may have heard the terms “golfer elbow” and “tennis elbow” which explain the flare-ups of these tendons. It does not mean that you have to play golf or tennis to cause strain on these tendons. The diagnosis can be made through an exhaustive evaluation of your daily habits, palpations, and orthopedic tests.
This is the most common of the three. All of the peripheral nerves in the body join the spinal cord at some point. To reach it, they go through small holes on the sides of the spinal column. These holes can be closed by localized inflammation, bone spurs, disc degeneration, and spinal misalignment. This may be due to previous accidents or poor posture over time. If they come close enough, they can irritate the nerve. Diagnosis can be made through a thorough medical history, nerve exploration, x-rays, and orthopedic tests.
Visiting a clinic with the right technology to assess and diagnose your problem is the first step in recovery.
Good posture keeps your spine in the optimal position for it to work. The spine is made up of stacked bones called vertebrae. The nerves run between the vertebrae and then branches to provide sensation to the skin and power the muscles of the arms and legs.
Poor posture can put pressure on the spinal nerves and cause pain, numbness, and tingling. Over time, nerve compression can cause complete numbness and muscle weakness.
A prolonged sitting session often leads to a forward head posture. You may notice that your shoulders are down and your head protrudes forward. This poor posture can compress the spinal nerves in the neck and cause numbness in the arm.
The forward head posture also causes tension in the chest muscles and weakness in the upper back and neck muscles. According to a study published in 2017 by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, performing a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises twice a week for 16 weeks can successfully reverse the position of the head forward.
The corner stretch targets chest muscles that become tight due to the forward head posture.
For you to do this, stand facing a corner with your feet staggered. Raise your arms to shoulder height with your elbows bent. Place a forearm flat against each wall.
Slowly lean toward the corner until you feel a stretch, but no pain, on your chest. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.
Perform scapular grips to strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blades that help maintain a good neck posture.
To do this, sit straight on a firm surface. Tighten the shoulder blades as if you were trying to hold a pencil between them.
Be careful not to shrug your shoulders towards your ears during this movement: tighten the shoulder blades down and together. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat several times.
Poor posture affects not only the nerves in the spine, but the branches of the spinal nerves can also be compressed and therefore cause numbness. Poor posture often includes leaning the elbows on the armrests. This can lead to ulnar tunnel syndrome or compression of the ulnar nerve, commonly known as the funny bone, inside the elbow.
The compression of the ulnar nerve causes numbness in the little finger and half of the ring finger. In addition to avoiding the use of armrests, nerve gliding exercises can help reduce these symptoms.
To do this, start with your arm sideways, palm up, at shoulder height. Slowly bend your elbow while tilting your wrist back. Keep your wrist bent, slowly straighten your elbow. Repeat three to five times.
Many people automatically assume that carpal tunnel syndrome is the main cause of hand numbness. It is a valid cause of numbness linked to poor posture.
The median nerve passes through a small tunnel in the wrists (It shares this space with nine tendons) to provide a sensation in the thumb, forefinger, middle and half of the ring finger. It also nourishes many small muscles in your hands. Excessive use of the hands during activities such as writing, playing the piano or knitting can cause inflammation and swelling of the carpal tunnel, putting pressure on the median nerve. This can cause numbness.
To reduce pressure on the median nerve, keep the wrist posture neutral or directly aligned with the forearms. Many “ergonomic” keyboards and mouse pads tilt your wrist back, which can actually increase the pressure on this nerve.
In addition to proper positioning, stretching the forearm muscles that connect to the carpal tunnel tendons can help reduce inflammation and pressure on the median nerve.
To do this, simply keep your elbow straight, raise your arm to shoulder height with the palm up. Grasp your right palm with your left hand. With your left hand, slowly stretch your right hand back until you feel a stretch along your forearm.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat three times. Stretch both arms, even if your symptoms are one-sided. The two are most likely tight.
Poor posture can lead to compression of the spinal nerves in the lower back, a condition called lumbar radiculopathy or, more commonly, sciatica. In addition to pain, this condition can cause numbness and tingling in the leg, hip, or foot, depending on the specific nerve affected.
In addition to ergonomic interventions, such as placing a rolled-up towel behind the lower back while sitting or driving, strengthening exercises help support the lower spine and improve posture to decrease nerve compression.
Strengthen the muscles of the lumbar and abdominal region to support your lumbar spine and improve your posture. Master the pelvic tilt or abdominal stretching exercise first, to make sure you’re targeting the right muscles.
Lie on your back on a firm surface, knees bent and hands on hips. Slowly tighten the abs as if you were pulling the navel toward the spine and pressing your lower back against the floor. You should feel the muscles under your fingers tighten.
Hold for a few seconds, then relax. repeat ten times, working up to three consecutive sets.
Once you have mastered the pelvic tilt, add arm and leg movements to increase the difficulty of this exercise. These movements can include:
To further increase the difficulty of these exercises, try them while sitting on a therapy ball.
Although numbness can be caused by different health conditions, it is important to get the right treatment as soon as possible.
In cases where numbness is caused by damages to the nerve due to poor posture, all the symptoms are relieved once the nerves are healed.
Complete all physical therapies and other treatments even if you have no more symptoms. This will prevent the numbness from poor posture to reoccur.
Don’t ignore your symptoms. Consult your doctor if you have numbness or any other symptom in the neck, upper back, shoulder, arm or hand.