Question: what are pins and needles and why do we have them


  1. Pins and needles (medical term is ‘parathesia’) is a sensation of tingling, tickling, prickling, pricking, or burning of a person’s skin with no apparent long-term physical effect. It can be short term (transient) or long term (chronic).

    Common examples happen in the hands/feet when sustained pressure has been applied over a nerve, inhibiting/stimulating its function. Removing the pressure typically results in gradual relief of sensation. It can also be felt as part of hyperventilation and panic attacks.

    Paresthesia can also be a symptom of vitamin deficiency and malnutrition, as well as metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypoparathyroidism. It can also be a symptom of mercury poisoning.

    Irritation to the nerve can also come from inflammation to the tissue resulting in the sensation. Joint conditions such as arthritis can cause this.

    There’s a huge list of other things that can cause it over on wikipedia – take a look!



  2. Mia’s right, the most common example of pins and needles is when you fall asleep on an arm or have been sitting on your leg. Many people used to think this was because you’re blocking blood flow to that area, but it just aint true. If you could block your blood so easily, you’d have really big problems!

    So, it is all about squishing your nerves cables, not just the endings. It’s not uncomfortable to do because nerve endings are the parts that pick up the information of feeling or pain etc. When you squish the nerve cables it blocks the transport of salts that keep your nerve cables working.

    When you move off your arm or leg all of the salts that were building up and being blocked can now flood back down the cable. This gives you the hypersensitive feeling of someone stabbing you with little needles for a while. As long as they go away after a minute or two, theres nothing wrong. If they dont go away, you should probably see a doctor.