What is Paresthesia? Understanding the ‘pins and needles’ feeling

Do you ever feel burning, tingling or numbness in certain parts of your body? If yes, you may have paresthesia, commonly known as a pins and needles sensation. The sensation usually occurs in the arms and legs, but other areas can also be affected.

Feeling pins and needles in your feet or hands can be frustrating, however, there are remedies and other simple ways to get rid of it.

Paresthesia occurs when a nerve becomes irritated due to excessive pressure and starts sending extra signals to the body. Although this is a temporary condition that can occur when part of your body falls asleep, for some people, it can cause a permanent problem or be a sign of a serious health condition.

Causes of paresthesia

Some common causes of temporary and chronic paresthesia include:

Temporary:

  • Pinched or pinched nerve
  • Panic attacks
  • whiplash
  • Dehydration
  • Hyperventilation
  • Visits
  • Repetitive motions
  • Circulation disorders
Panic attacks are a major cause of temporary paresthesia.  (Photo via Pexels/SHVETS Productions)
Panic attacks are a major cause of temporary paresthesia. (Photo via Pexels/SHVETS Productions)

Chronic:

  • Toxic exposure
  • Severe infection
  • Medicines
  • Systematic disease
  • Hereditary disorders
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Malnutrition

You usually feel pins and needles in your hands, legs, or feet, but it can happen anywhere on your body. You may experience itching, burning, and tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation all over your body.

Why do you feel pins and needles?

This sharp sensation is basically a sign that the nerve is irritated and sending more signals to the body than usual. If your nerve is pinched or compressed for a long time, it causes a block and doesn’t get the energy and oxygen it needs to send signals to the brain.

This constant pressure on the nerves causes pins and needles sensations throughout the body, mostly affecting the hands and legs. The sensation goes away after the pressure is reduced.

You can experience temporary paresthesia at any time – it can happen when you sleep with your arm under the pillow or when your legs are crossed. Chronic paresthesia, on the other hand, can last for a long time and is a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Treatment of paresthesia

Treatment options mainly depend on the cause. Although the temporary will go away on its own after some time, there are some ways to reduce the pins and needles sensation.

Relax.

Getting adequate rest is one of the best things you can do for a pinched nerve. Stop all activities that can cause stress on the nerve and allow it to heal properly. A person with Carpal tunnel syndrome May use a wrist brace to immobilize your wrist.

Medicines

Certain medications can also be taken to relieve pain and reduce swelling and tingling sensations. Medications can also help reduce inflammation, however, they should be taken as directed and prescribed by a doctor.

Medicines can help reduce pain and swelling.  (Photo via Pexels/Pixabay)
Medicines can help reduce pain and swelling. (Photo via Pexels/Pixabay)

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can also be effective in reducing symptoms and helping to build muscle strength. Strong and healthy muscles can reduce excessive stress and prevent it from reoccurring.

If the above treatment options do not provide relief, the doctor may recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the pinched and pinched nerve. Depending on the problem and severity of symptoms, surgery may involve removing the bone spur or carpal ligament.

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