Also known as paraesthesia, pins and needles happen when a nerve is irritated. It's very common and completely normal to feel the occasional temporary tingling sensation in our hands or feet. It can happen if we fall asleep on our arm or sit with our legs crossed for too long. Other sensations pins and needles are associated with include numbness, pain, or weakness.
Generally, pressure, trauma, or damage to nerves can cause the tingling to occur. If symptoms are particularly troublesome and persistent, please address this with your GP.
Movement: Moving around should improve circulation and relieve the uncomfortable sensations of pins and needles.
Get a massage: massage can relieve muscle tension and encourage better blood flow. Some find improvement in paraesthesia symptoms after a massage.
Yoga or meditation: can help relaxation of muscles and to focus less on painful sensations. Improving muscle flexibility may also help as a preventative measure.
Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can enhance pain perception. Be sure to get enough rest each night.
1. Vitamin deficiency:
Examples include: vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin E and folate. A shortage of B12 in the diet can cause neurological damage, which may present as tingling in your hands or feet. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, plays a role in nerve impulses and neuron repair. Meat, legumes, whole grains, and nuts are good sources of B1. Similarly, folate deficiency can cause pain or tingling in the hands and feet. Nutritional Therapy.
2. Pinched nerve:
This can occur when there is excessive pressure on a nerve from the surrounding tissues, due to injury, repetitive movements, and inflammatory conditions. Consider Bowen Therapy.
3. Carpal tunnel:
This is a very common condition that happens when your median nerve is compressed as it moves through your wrist. Consider Bowen Therapy.
Pregnancy can put pressure on some of your nerves, which may result in tingling in your hands and feet. These symptoms typically disappear after pregnancy.
A variety of medications may cause nerve damage, which can cause you to feel a tingling sensation in your hands or feet. In fact, it can be a common side effect of medications used to treat cancer (chemotherapy) and HIV. Other examples include heart or blood pressure drugs, such as amiodarone or hydralazine, antibiotics such as metronidazole and dapsone and anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition whereby your immune system attacks the tissues of the body. It can affect the nervous system.
7. Coeliac disease:
In some cases, coeliac disease may result in symptoms of neuropathy, including tingling in the hands and feet. These symptoms may also occur in people without any gastrointestinal symptoms.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Although uncommon, severe hypothyroidism may cause damage to nerves, leading to tingling sensations or numbness.
9. Toxin exposure:
Exposure can cause a variety of symptoms, including tingling in your hands or feet. Some examples of toxins include: heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and arsenic or acrylamide, a chemical used for many industrial purposes or ethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze or hexacarbons, which can be found in some solvents and glues. A good product to help detoxification is Dr. Schulze's Superfood.
Fibromyalgia includes a group of symptoms, such as widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and changes in mood. Tingling in the hands and feet is also a symptom for some people.
11. Raynaud’s phenomenon:
Raynaud’s is a condition which affects blood flow to the arms and legs. The blood vessels in these areas get smaller in an extreme reaction to cold temperatures or stress. This reduction in blood flow can cause numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes.
12. Alcohol-related neuropathy:
Long-term alcohol misuse can lead to the development of peripheral neuropathy, which can lead to tingling in the hands and feet. The condition progresses gradually.
Various medical tests may be used to make a diagnosis such as:
Nutritional Therapy may help to assess your nutrient status and any contributing factors to the pins and needles. Once deficiencies are corrected the symptoms resolve themselves. If you'd like to speak to a therapist please call or email us.
Vitamins B1, B6, B12, E, and niacin are crucial to a well-functioning nervous system. For example, a B12 deficiency can cause pernicious anemia, a substantial cause of peripheral neuropathy, which can cause pins and needles. On the other hand, too much vitamin B6 can cause pins and needles in the hands and feet, so ensure doses are within the recommended daily allowance. If you are unsure, please speak to a specialist.
Perkins AT, Morgenlander JC. Endocrinologic causes of peripheral neuropathy. Pins and needles in a stocking-and-glove pattern and other symptoms. Postgrad Med. 1997 Sep;102(3):81-2, 90-2, 102-6.
Patten JP. Pins and needles. Br J Hosp Med. 1978 Sep;20(3):334-5.
Purkaple B, Middleman A. On Pins and Needles: Complex Pain and Malnutrition. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2017 Jun;56(6):589-592.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.