Pins and needles or limbs ‘falling asleep’ is medically termed as paresthesia; it is a sensation of tingling, typically felt in the hands and / or feet. One of the commonest causes for pins and needles sensation is an awkward posture that compresses the nerves. It may also be due to nerve damage or a nervous system disease.
Paresthesia is invariably manifested as tingling and numbness or a prickling that is felt in the hands and / or feet. Lying uncomfortably on a limb tends to impinge on to the nerve or may decrease the blood supply to the area.
The peripheral nerves send data back to the brain and the spinal cord. When sensory nerves get impinged because of a cramped position, it stops working. The affected area ‘falls asleep’, meaning sensory messages get blocked. Once the impingement is taken off, normal functioning resumes. ‘Pins and needles’ occurs because of the restarting of pain messages from nerves to the brain.
Always confer with your doctor in case you suffer from frequent or constant attacks of pins and needles.
What Causes Pins And Needles Feeling In Hands And Feet?
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: swollen tendon sheathes decrease the room inside the wrist and press on to the nerve of the hand, causing tingling numbness.
- Cervical nerve root irritation: nerves present in the neck leave the spinal cord via spaces in between the vertebral bones. If these spaces get narrowed due to inflammation, trauma or outgrowths, the nerves get compressed, causing pins and needles feeling in the arms.
- Sciatica: the sciatic nerve starts as four nerve roots between the vertebrae of the lower back. A prolapsed disc extrudes and compresses the sciatic nerve, and sets off a ‘pins and needles’ sensation within the leg.
Commonly seen etiological factors include:
- Impingement of the nerves.
- Trauma to the nerves.
- Diminution of blood supply.
- Breathing excessively.
- Certain drugs.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Transient ischaemic attack (TIA).
Treatment For Pins And Needles Sensation
The treatment plan largely depends up on the cause. An impinged nerve requires physiotherapy and / or massage or surgery to relieve the pressure and normal nerve functioning. Thyroid irregularities, diabetes and vascular causes need suitable treatment regimens.
- If the ‘pins and needles’ feeling is because of staying in one position for a prolonged interval of time, frequent exercises are necessary to boost circulation. In contrast, if it is due to excessive activity, you need to get adequate rest.
- Never stay in the one position for protracted periods of time, keep starching your arms and legs.
- Physiotherapy and regular Yoga helps enhance blood circulation and prevents nerve impingement.
- Doctors recommend vitamin B complex and vitamin E supplements.
- Magnesium supplements are also advocated in certain cases, especially if your doctor feels there is a disorder in the cardiovascular system.
- Prim rose oil is an efficient home remedy for tingling numbness. Massage the oil in to the affected area every day. It shows speedy results.
- Stay away from alcohol and caffeine; they decrease blood flow to the extremities.