What Causes Pins and Needles?

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What Causes Pins & Needles?

Have you ever wondered about the reason behind that sensation known as “pins and needles“? Let’s discuss the topic of paraesthesia, which is the medical term for this phenomenon. The primary culprit behind the sensation of “pins and needles” is often a moderately pinched nerve. Interestingly, this sensation can sometimes be even more concerning than experiencing direct pain in your arm or leg. Surprisingly, when a nerve is significantly compressed, you might not even feel pain anymore.

Moving beyond “pins and needles,” we encounter an even more alarming state known as “numbness” or “anaesthesia.” This condition entails a complete absence of sensation. Severe nerve compression can lead to such anaesthesia. If this numbness lingers for an extended period, it could indicate lasting nerve compression. Seeking timely medical attention becomes crucial to prevent irreversible nerve damage and a substantial weakening of the innervated muscles.

The majority of instances involving pinched nerves and nerve compressions are transient and respond well to early treatment. However, negligence in seeking appropriate care can result in lasting nerve compression injuries, which might not fully recover.

Exploring the Common Causes of Pinched Nerves

Nerve compression most frequently occurs in spinal joints. This can stem from a disc bulge or a bony arthritic spur that irritates and compresses the nerve. Sciatica is an example of an impaired nerve from your lower back.Additionally, compressions can manifest as the nerve navigates its way through or around muscles. Fortunately, your physiotherapist possesses the clinical skills to pinpoint these areas of concern.

Addressing the Issue of “Pins and Needles”

Should you come across someone grappling with chronic or persistent “pins and needles,” numbness, or muscle weakness, it’s crucial to encourage them to seek urgent professional advice. The cornerstone of a swift recovery lies in obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Entrusting this task to a well-trained healthcare practitioner, such as your physiotherapist or doctor, is the most prudent course of action.

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