Pins and needles (paraesthesia) feels like pricking, tingling or numbness on the skin. It happens when the blood supply to the nerves is cut off. This is usually when you sit or sleep on part of your body and usually only lasts a few minutes.
You often get pins and needles in your arms, hands, legs and feet and it usually stops when the weight is taken off the body part and your blood supply returns to the nerves. Any numbness is soon replaced by the tingling and prickling sensation, as the nerves start sending messages again to the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, pins and needles are caused by nerve damage or certain disorders of the central nervous system.
What causes Pins and Needles or Numbness
Pins and needles or numbness is caused by damage or compression to a nerve. This damage can affect nerves that supply muscles, areas of skin or joints. This can happen for a large number of reasons including:
- Tight muscles crushing the nerve e.g. your piriformis getting tight can be a cause of sciatica
- A sudden stretch on the nerve e.g. landing on your head and shoulder at the same time
- Stiffness in a joint e.g. T4 syndrome can affect the nerves supplying both hands causing a feeling of wearing gloves
- A disc prolapse where the disc in your spine presses on or leaks on to the nerve
- Trauma or surgery e.g. a broken bone can injure the nerve at the same time, often surgery involves cutting through superficial nerves that supply the skin in the local area
- Temporary crush syndrome for example when you lie on your arm too long and it ‘goes to sleep’
The occasional bout of pins and needles is a harmless event. However, chronic pins and needles can be symptomatic of some other underlying disorder.
How can physiotherapy help with pins and needles?
As with all physiotherapy, treatment starts with a comprehensive understanding of your symptoms. Our physiotherapists will then carry out a detailed examination to confirm a diagnosis (the cause of your symptoms). From this point we can formulate a plan to treat the problem and reduce the symptoms. At Home Physio Group we are manual therapy experts so expect some hands-on treatment such as joint mobilisation and manipulation. We will also treat the soft tissues and will suggest some management exercises.
If you have are having pins and needles, our physiotherapists at Home Physio Group can create a personalised program for you to help you with pain relief and recovery.
For more information please contact us on 0330 335 1016 or alternatively please fill out our contact sheet and we will get back to you.