The key difference between paresthesia and dysesthesia is that paresthesia is an abnormal painless sensation felt in the arms, hands, legs, or feet, while dysesthesia is an abnormal painful sensation that is felt in arms, hands, legs, or feet.
Paresthesia and dysesthesia are two abnormal nerve sensations. An abnormal sensation refers to prickling, tingling, or numbness anywhere on the body. It can be caused due to various reasons such as injury to a nerve, stroke, multiple sclerosis, pressure on spinal nerves, lack of blood supply to an area, transient ischemic heart attack, or staying in one position for too long. Moreover, physiotherapy is helpful for people with abnormal sensations due to neurological problems.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Paresthesia
3. What is Dysesthesia
4. Similarities – Paresthesia and Dysesthesia
5. Paresthesia vs Dysesthesia in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Paresthesia vs Dysesthesia
What is Paresthesia?
Paresthesia is an abnormal burning or prickling sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Paresthesia is normally painless. It can be temporary, such as pins and needles, or chronic. The sensation can be described as tingling, skin crawling, numbness, or itching. Temporary paresthesia is caused by pressure placed on a nerve. It can happen when a person falls on his/her arm or sits too long with legs crossed. Chromic paresthesia can be due to central nervous system disorders, stroke and transient ischemic attacks, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, encephalitis, tumors or vascular lesions pressed up against the brain or spinal cord or nerve entrapment syndromes (carpal tunnel syndrome).
Paresthesia can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, neurological examination, X-ray, blood test, laboratory tests like a spinal tap, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Furthermore, treatment options for paresthesia may include lifestyle adjustments, physical therapy, and treating the underlying conditions.
What is Dysesthesia?
Dysesthesia is an abnormal prickling, burning, stabbing, ice-cold or electrical sensation feeling in arms, hands, legs, or feet. Dysesthesia is a chronic painful condition. Dysesthesia can interfere with daily activities such as sleep and quality of life. The sensation can be described as prickling, stabbing, burning, electrical sensations, pain with a light touch, cold feeling hot, or hot feeling cold. Dysesthesia can be caused due to nerve damage caused by conditions like autoimmune disorders, multiple sclerosis, acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Lyme disease, peripheral neuropathies, drug or alcohol withdrawal, certain types of strokes, and chemotherapy.
Dysesthesia can be diagnosed through physical examination, blood test, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, X-ray, MRI, nerve conduction test, and skin biopsy. It can be treated through medications like antidepressants, anticonvulsants, pain relief cream that has lidocaine or capsaicin, narcotic pain medicine, hydrocortisone creams or ointments, acupressure, acupuncture, biofeedback in which electrical sensors that give information about the body, surgical cutting of damaged nerves, exercise, hypnosis, meditation, and stress management.
What are the Similarities Between Paresthesia and Dysesthesia?
- Paresthesia and dysesthesia are two abnormal nerve sensations.
- Both sensations can be caused by nerve damage.
- They can be chronic.
- Both sensations can be diagnosed through physical examination and nerve examination.
- They can be treated through physiotherapy.
What is the Difference Between Paresthesia and Dysesthesia?
Paresthesia is an abnormal burning or prickling sensation feeling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet, while dysesthesia is an abnormal prickling, burning, stabbing, ice-cold or electrical sensation feeling in arms, hands, legs, or feet. Thus, this is the key difference between paresthesia and dysesthesia. Furthermore, paresthesia is not painful while dysesthesia is painful.
The below infographic presents the differences between paresthesia and dysesthesia in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Paresthesia vs Dysesthesia
Abnormal sensation normally occurs when people feel tingling, prickling, or numbness anywhere in the body due to various reasons. Paresthesia and dysesthesia are two abnormal nerve sensations. Paresthesia refers to an abnormal burning or prickling sensation that is felt in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. It is a painless sensation. Dysesthesia is an abnormal prickling, burning, stabbing, ice-cold or electrical sensation that is felt in arms, hands, legs, or feet. It is a painful sensation. So, this is the key difference between paresthesia and dysesthesia.
1. Pietrangelo, Ann. “Parethesia: Causes, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media.
2. “Dysesthesia Pain from MS: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” WebMD.
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