Numbness and tingling in your back can be caused by a variety of factors, including most commonly, nerve compression, nerve entrapment, and neuropathy.
Numbness can be the result of:
- Sitting or standing for a long period of time, or restricting blood flow to a certain body area from prolonged periods in the same position.
- Injuries. Injuries that affect the nerves and cause numbness can range from minor to extremely severe, and you should notify a doctor immediately if you’re experiencing numbness as the result of an injury.
- Herniated discs. The pressure on the nerves of the spine can cause numbness and tingling sensations.
- Nerve pressure caused by enlarged blood vessels, scar tissue, infections, or tumors.
- Medicines and high levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium.
Finding nerve issues that accompany numbness typically requires diagnosis using an MRI or similar technique to find nerve structure damage. Sometimes, surgery is required to accurately treat symptoms.
Numbness and tingling is most frequently caused by nerve compression.
There can be various sites of nerve compression and various structures which can cause nerve compression. The most common location of nerve compression within the body is nerve root compression at the spinal levels. This is usually caused by herniated discs, but other structures such as bone spurs and tumors can cause compressive neuropathy.
The second most common location of nerve entrapment is the carpal tunnel.
The numbness and tingling occurs from a lack of signal or energy flow down the nerve due to the nerve being compressed or “pinched.” The nervous system can be thought of as a highway of energy flowing in a particular direction, but when traffic backs up, the signal stops and never reaches its target destination such as the hands and feet. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome provides its own set of challenges.