Most everyone has experienced that pins-and-needles sensation when a certain area of the body “falls asleep,” and then comes roaring back to life with strange and uncomfortable sensitivity. This is perfectly normal, but ongoing problems with pins and needles (or numbness and tingling) may signal a larger problem.
If you want to find relief from ongoing pins-and-needles sensations, the first step is understanding what causes them, as well as what condition may be behind the problem. As experts in musculoskeletal injuries, Dr. Moisés Irizarry-Román and the team at No Mercy Sports Medicine in Miami, Florida, are well versed in problems that can lead to odd sensations in your body.
Here, we review the mechanism behind these sensations, the conditions that lead to them, and your treatment options.
When an area of your body falls asleep, it usually means that the supply of oxygen-rich blood to your nerves has been cut off. When you move again, you allow blood to flow back to your deprived nerves and they respond with uncomfortable sensations that are described as pins and needles. These sensations typically last only seconds or minutes as your nerves stabilize.
When you have ongoing problems with pins and needles, or numbness and tingling, it usually means a nerve is damaged or compressed, causing it to signal abnormally.
There are many different problems that can damage or compress nerves. Some of the more common include:
Neuropathy is the technical term for nerve damage, and half of those who have diabetes will experience neuropathy, typically in their lower or upper extremities (hands, arms, legs, and feet). The damage occurs due to unregulated levels of sugar in the blood that damage peripheral nerves.
While sciatica is known for pain that radiates down one leg, the condition can also cause numbness and tingling in your leg. This occurs when the sciatic nerve in your lower back is compressed, causing the nerve to malfunction down its length.
If you experience frequent and strange sensations in your hands and fingers, including pins and needles, the problem may lie in the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Called carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms occur due to compression of the median nerve, which passes through your carpal tunnel.
If you sustain an injury, such as a fracture, you may have also damaged nerves in the area, which can lead to strange signaling.
Many more conditions can lead to malfunctions in nerve signaling, but the above are those that we see more often.
Your treatment options for abnormal nerve signaling depend upon the underlying cause. For example, treating diabetic neuropathy often involves managing blood sugar levels and instituting lifestyle changes. If the problem stems from a musculoskeletal issue like carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica, we can help by stabilizing the area and reducing the nerve compression.
Whether we turn to corticosteroid injections to relieve the pain and inflammation around your nerves or we promote longer-term nerve health through regenerative medicine, we can help keep ongoing problems with pins and needles at bay.
To learn more about your treatment options for recurring pins-and-needles sensations, contact Dr. Irizarry-Román to schedule a consultation.