Pins & Needles and What Does it All Mean?
Have you ever had the feeling where your foot has fallen asleep? When this happens, the feeling usually lasts for a short period of time and goes away quickly. Tingling and numbness is a type of nerve pain that typically subsides with movement of the limb. In this case, the pain is usually due to restricted blood flow. The tingling can feel awkward and unpleasant, but it is only temporary. However not all nerve pain is short lived; some tingling or numbness is constant and can be linked to more serious medical conditions.
Here are some important causes of numbness or tingling to pay close attention to:
- Staying in one position for too long (ex: sleeping with your hand over your head, sitting cross-legged for a long period of time)
- Repetitive use of a specific body part (ex: repetitive hammering)
- Compression of the nerve or blood vessels by an external factor (ex: too tight-fitting brace)
- Compression of the nerve or blood vessels by internal factor (ex: tight muscle, swelling)
It is important to also have a good understanding of condition where numbness or tingling is a common symptom. Below are a few examples:
- Nerve injury
- Lack of blood supply
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Disc herniation anywhere in the spine
- Ganglion cyst in the wrist
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Many other conditions can also cause numbness or tingling
Is there anything you can do to treat your numbness or tingling? Why yes there is! Physical therapy services can and should be considered with your health care provider as an effective minimal invasive option for treatment. There are a few pointers to get immediate symptom relief listed below:
- Movement of the limb out of the stationary position
- During the day, try to move every hour – stand up, or walk down the hallway at work. Take a micro break every hour. This means you put technology down, you unplug and change body position. After all this is your health we are talking about.
- Stretching of the neck muscles can help with relieving tingling in arms and fingers
- An easy neck stretch is to gently let your head go toward your shoulder like your ear will touch the top of your shoulder; hold for 10 seconds then switch to the other side repeat these 10 times on each side.
- Stretching of the hamstrings may assist with relieving tingling in the leg and foot as hamstrings can get tight with prolonged sitting
- Lie on your back, use a dog leash or long towel around your foot and raise the leg until a stretch is felt in the back of the leg
- Aerobic exercise can help increase blood flow throughout the body which can help relieve nerve pain
- Examples of good aerobic exercises include walking or riding a bike
If your pain worsens or tingling has remained unchanged for several days, please make an appointment with your primary care provider sooner rather than later.
Hope these tips were informative.
As Always Yours in Healing,
Dr. Rachel Lys DPT