21 January, 2021
Pins & Needles
Approximate reading time: 4 minutes
Your fingers are tingling. Stinging even. Shaking them may help - or maybe it doesn't.
What are Pins & Needles?
Pins and needles are the uncomfortable prickling, tingling sensation. Medically we call it paraesthesia.
It occurs when there's some disturbance in the sensory nerves. That could be anything from sitting too long and getting pins and needles in your feet to ongoing painful sensations that don't change no matter what you do.
What causes Pins and Needles?
There are lots of different causes of pins and needles. That's why your Chiropractor, GP or other health practitioner will ask questions and perform some simple tests. You might be asked if you can feel something soft and something sharp (but not painful!). Your muscles will be tested and your reflexes tapped.
- Poor posture
- Quick breathing
- Nerve entrapment like carpal tunnel syndrome
- Poor blood supply like with atherosclerosis
- Hormone changes such as hypothyroidism
- Pregnancy related swelling
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Multiple sclerosis
- Blood sugar changes
How to Get Rid of Pins & Needles?
Move and shake the affected area. If you have tingling fingers, clench and unclench your fist or shake your hand. If it's in your feet after sitting for long periods, get up and move.
Should I be worried about my pins & needles?
Most the time, no.
It's very normal and common to have pins and needles from sleeping in weird positions. If you move your arm, it should then go away.
If you experience muscle weakness, pain or other symptoms along with the pins and needles, then get it assessed by your Chiro, GP, osteo or physio.
If it comes on suddenly with facial drooping, arm weakness or slurred speech, then ring 000.
Treatments for Pins & Needles
First you need a proper diagnosis. From there you can treat the cause.
Treatments you might try:
- Adjustments, massage and strengthening exercises (Chiropractor)
- Dietary changes or supplements (Dietitian or Naturopath)
- Stress management (Counsellor, Acupuncturist or Psychology)
- Change medication (speak to your GP, pharmacist or specialist)
- Lymphatic drainage massage (Remedial Massage Therapist)
- Surgery (your Chiro, GP, osteo or physio will suggest if this is necessary for you after trying conservative therapies first)
- Pins and needles come from blocks in the sensory nerves
- Pins and needles can be caused musculoskeletal, hormonal, neurological or medication problems
- Treatment depends on the cause
About the Author
Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton - Chiropractor, Brain Health Coach & Biofeedback Practitioner
Dr Cassie is a Chiropractor and Brain Health Coach. Having a special interest in treating nerves and brain-based conditions like nerve pain, chronic pain, dizziness, whiplash, migraines and fibromyalgia. She's one of a handful of practitioners to be trained in Neuro-Rehabilitation, Neurofeedback, QEEG Functional Brain Scans and Brain Health Coaching.
She’s had concussions and atypical migraines as well as a vestibular disorder called Labyrinthitis. During this time, she would hold on to tables to avoid falling over. She understands the journey coming from a family of chronic pain and migraine sufferers.