Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Dysesthesia, as a term, are known to denote painful sensations that could unpleasant and even painful sometimes. They are generally the result of damages that are caused to the peripheral nervous systems (PNS) or central nervous systems (CNS). When there is a discomfort of dysesthesia, it could actually take on a number of forms and does not need to manifest itself in one single form.

In some cases, people might describe their dysesthesia in the form of a pain that can be categorized as being a `burning' sensation. This is referred to as burning dysesthesias. In other cases, people might describe it as bringing in a sense of wetness or even shock; while yet others describe some sort of increase in sensitivity or even experience complete and total numbness.

Dysesthesias will usually be caused due to some abnormalities which could occur in the central nervous system (CNS), which would include the spinal cord, the brain or the peripheral nerves that will ideally lie in the region right outside the central nervous system.

A host of other conditions can cause burning dysesthesia or other forms of altered sensation such as Lyme disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, shingles, HIV, certain medications, exposure to heavy metals, compression of a nerve root or peripheral nerve, and even vitamin deficiencies - particularly vitamins B6 and B12.


    Dysesthesia is commonly seen in diabetic patients.

  • Dysesthesia, along with polyneuropathy can be a symptom of nerve damage caused by Lyme disease.

  • Dysesthesia is a common symptom of a withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs.

  • Dysesthesia is also a common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis or MS. It is an effect of spinal cord injury.

  • People who experience chronic anxiety dysesthesia have facial numbness and various tingling on different parts of their body.They may likewise have a temporary loss of vision and feel a heavy fatigue along with a spastic bladder.


The diagnosis often can be assumed based on the description. Dysesthesias are a result of specific stimulus. Patients find these unusual sensations difficult to describe, and may use many descriptions as listed below.

Positive phenomena: These include tingling, pins and needles, pricking, bandlike sensations, lighteninglike shooting feelings (lacinations), aching, drawing, pulling, crawling, tightening, burning, searing, electrical, and raw. Pain may or may not be perceived. These sensations are not always accompanied by a sensory deficit on examination.

Negative phenomena: Decrease or loss of feeling in a particular distribution. These sensations are generally accompanied by abnormal findings, and include terms such as hypoesthesia, analgesia, hyperesthesia, and hyperpathia. Dry skin, motor weakness, orthostasis, autonomic dysfunction, and cold extremity are other forms of negative symptoms.


Treatment for this neurological issue is dependent on finding the cause. It may be possible to pinpoint the location where the sensory signals are getting scrambled. In such cases, patients may be offered options such as electrical stimulation of a nerve to stop the signals, or a neurotomy, in which the involved nerve is simply severed. Pain management medications can also be administered to dull the sensation of pain and keep the patient more comfortable.


Not all dysesthesia are severe enough to require treatment, although the burning dysesthesia of diabetes and shingles usually do. Fortunately, there are prescription medications including antidepressants and anticonvulsants to reduce the discomfort. Capsaicin, an ingredient found in hot peppers, helps to soothe the burning dysesthesia of diabetic neuropathy when it is applied topically to the skin. Dysesthesias caused by vitamin deficiencies are usually relieved by supplying the missing vitamin.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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