Have you ever felt a pins-and-needles sensation in your upper, middle or lower back? This tingling sensation may be sudden (acute) and short-lived or chronic and may radiate down into your feet and hands.
If you’ve experienced this, it’s important to find out why. Here are some reasons your back is tingling and ways you can find relief.
Common Causes for Tingling in the Back
What does it mean when your back is tingling? There are a few reasons you could be experiencing this sensation. Certain conditions, like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, shingles and abnormally shaped blood vessels in the spinal cord or brain (arteriovenous malformations) could be causing it.
A tingling sensation in your back could also indicate an underlying spinal condition. These include:
- Disc herniations
- Degenerative disc disease
- A pinched nerve
- Spinal stenosis
- Tumors on the spinal cord
- Spinal infections due to surgical complications or conditions like diabetes, HIV or meningitis
- Spinal fractures
If you’re experiencing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain in your back as well as your hands and feet, this could be due to peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the nerves outside of the spinal canal. This neuropathy can be caused by a range of illnesses, such as diabetes, deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals, circulation issues, kidney failure, alcoholism and more.
Sciatica, which is caused by sciatic nerve inflammation, can also cause pain and a shock-like sensation that runs from the lower back down through your legs, all the way to your feet.
Is Tingling in My Back Serious?
Occasional tingling in your back isn’t extremely concerning. However, if you’re experiencing recurring or chronic tingling in your back, don’t ignore it.
You should seek immediate medical attention if the tingling is accompanied by serious symptoms such as loss of bowel and bladder control, fever, difficulty using your arms or legs, decline in or loss of coordination, difficulty walking or a sudden and severe numbness and pain in one or both of your legs.
You should see a doctor if the tingling lasts more than a few days, is severe enough to interfere with daily life, is accompanied by pain and numbness or if it’s a result of a traumatic incident, like a car accident. These symptoms could indicate a condition that could get worse if it’s untreated.
Ways To Stop and Prevent the Tingling Sensation in Your Back
There are various surgical and non-surgical treatment methods that can help alleviate your back tingling. Before resorting to surgical treatments, your doctor will likely recommend at-home treatments, such as:
- Hot and cold therapy, with ice packs and heating pads
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Practicing good posture
- Physical therapy
- Massage therapy
- Chiropractic care
The most important step before trying any at-home remedies is to see a spinal specialist, as they will be able to properly diagnose the cause of the tingling and advise you on the best course of treatment. At Citrus Spine Institute, for example, we will work with you to create a tailored treatment plan based on your medical history and the cause of your back pain or tingling.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office in Crystal River or Orange Park.