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Symptoms » Numbness » Diagnostic Tests
 

Diagnostic Tests for Numbness

Diagnostic Test list for Numbness:

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Numbness includes:

  • General appearance - abnormal posture, muscle wasting, abnormal limb movements.
  • Mental state examination - including appearance, behavior, rate and continuity of speech, mood, affect, thought content, evidence of any hallucinations or abnormal beliefs, orientation to time, place and person, attention and concentration, short-term memory, insight and judgement. May help detect and evaluate anxiety and panic states which may cause rapid breathing (hyperventilation) and consequent numbness around the lips, lightheadedness and tingling in the extremities.
  • Physical examination
    • Examine for physical signs of low calcium including Chvostek's sign (gentle tapping over the facial nerve causes twitching of the facial muscles) and Trousseau's sign (inflation of the blood pressure cuff above diastolic blood pressure for 3 minutes causes muscular contraction of the fingers and wrist)
    • Examination of cranial nerves ( if affected would suggest a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease , a mass in the brain, migraine or multiple sclerosis)
    • Test muscle tone, power, reflexes and co-ordination of upper limbs
    • Test sensation of upper limbs ( including pain , touch , temperature and vibration sensation)
    • Examine each nerve of the upper limb (including radial , median, ulnar nerve and also brachial plexus)
    • Test muscle tone, power, reflexes and co-ordination of lower limbs
    • Test sensation of lower limbs ( including pain , touch , temperature and vibration sensation)
    • Examine each nerve of the lower limb (including lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, femoral nerve, sciatic nerve and common peroneal nerve)
    • Feel the pulses in the legs - if reduced or absent should suggest peripheral atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or obstruction of the abdominal aorta and its branches by atherosclerosis.
    • Examine for a positive straight leg raising test (straightening the leg at the knee while lying on a bed causing pain in thigh, buttock and back) and/or a reduced ankle reflex- indicates herniated disk f L4-5 or L5-S1, lumbar spondylosis, spinal stenosis, cauda equina tumor or spondylolisthesis
    • Examine for a positive femoral stretch test (with the person laying on their stomach, flex knee with hip lifted in extension causes pain in the front of the thigh and the back) or a decreased knee jerk - indicates a herniated disk of L3-4 or L2-3 or lumbar spondylosis.
  • Blood tests
    • Full blood test and ESR
    • Electrolytes
    • Calcium level to detect hypocalcemia which can cause facial numbness
    • Elevated phosphate levels may cause hypocalcaemia
    • Low parathyroid hormone may cause hypocalcemia
    • Low Vitamin D metabolite levels may cause hypocalcemia
    • Renal function tests to detect chronic renal failure which may cause hypocalcemia
    • Blood glucose and/or glucose tolerance test to rule out diabetes if peripheral neuropathy or peripheral nerve lesions are present
    • Arthritis screen (including Rheumatoid factor, ANA, ENA and ds DNA autoantibodies)
    • B12 and folic acid levels
    • Thyroid function tests to rule out hypothyroidism (which may cause carpal tunnel syndrome) and hyperthyroidism
    • Serum protein electrophoresis to diagnose various collagen vascular diseases that may cause neuropathy
    • Syphilis serology, if indicated
    • HIV test, if indicated
    • Lead or arsenic levels, if suspect lead or arsenic neuropathy
  • Urine tests
    • Urinalysis
    • Porphyrins and porphobilinogen to rule out Porphyria
    • 24 hour urinary calcium
  • Radiological investigations (depending on area that is numb)
    • X-Ray of the lumbosacral spine
    • CT Scan of the lumbosacral spine
    • MRI Scan of the lumbosacral spine, may be necessary
    • Myelography may be useful when contemplating surgery
    • Neck X-ray (look for cervical rib which may cause thoracic outlet syndrome
    • Upper Thoracic spine X-Ray
    • Elbow , forearm, Shoulder X-ray
    • Wrist and Hand X-Ray
    • CT Scan or MRI of Cervical spine, if there is numbness of the upper limb(s) but nil numbness of the face or there are cranial nerve signs; can detect nerve root entrapment in the intervertebral foramina of the cervical spine or a disc prolapse
    • CT Brain or brain stem if there is numbness of an extremity and also numbness of the face or cranial nerve signs to detect cerebrovascular disease or mass in brain such as a tumour or abscess
    • MRI Brain and Spinal cord, if CT Scan is not helpful or inconclusive; or to detect multiple sclerosis
    • X-ray and CT scan of petrous temporal bone, if facial numbness, a history of trauma and have 7th nerve palsy
    • X-Ray of paranasal sinuses to detect infection which may cause cavernous sinus thrombosis and facial numbness
    • Carotid ultrasound scan, if stroke is suspected
    • Cerebral angiogram, if suspect cavernous venous thrombosis
  • Nerve conduction velocity study - to establish the presence of a neuropathy.
  • Electromyelogram (EMG) - to establish the presence of a neuropathy such as entrapment syndromes of peripheral nerves.
  • Spinal tap - if suspect multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome or neurosyphilis.
  • Electrophysiological tests such as visual-evoked response (VER) - may be required to diagnose Multiple sclerosis.
  • Lymph node biopsy - if sarcoidosis is suspected.
  • Muscle biopsy - if suspect various collagen diseases.

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Numbness causes:

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Numbness:

The following list of conditions have 'Numbness' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Numbness or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Numbness:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Numbness' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.

 

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