If you are not sitting in the dermatologist’s chair, or using your home microdermabrasion kit, or you haven’t been sitting on one limb or another until all the sensation disappears from it, you wouldn’t expect to feel needle pricks in your skin. So why does this phenomenon occur? And what can you do to stop it? We are here to answer all your “why do I feel needle pricks in my skin?” questions!
The fancy scientific name for feeling needle pricks in your skin is Parasthesia. It can feel like stinging, prickling, burning or numbness, and often there is no apparent physical reason. This condition can be chronic or acute, and most commonly affects the arms and legs – though it can occur on other parts of the body too.
Why Do I Feel Needle Pricks In My Skin?
This little video explains the science behind feeling pins and needles, and a few tips to remove the sensation if they are of the temporary kind:
We all know what it’s like to get pins and needs after restricting the blood flow to a limb, or the sensation when you bump your funny bone (oh, how very not funny this is!)
The feeling of needles in your skin is generally caused by pressure on a nerve which then wildly sends unwanted signals to your brain. You can identify this when there is a reason for it – but what about those times when you feel prickling but you can’t pinpoint a cause for it?
Strangely enough, these very physical symptoms can actually be attributed to mental state. A huge number of people report feeling pins and needles sensations when they feel nervous, anxious or stressed. Panic attacks can also cause this feeling; in fact for some the needle like prickling is a forewarning of a coming attack.
For some, heat can cause this sensation – being in really hot weather for prolonged periods, or getting into a hot bath or standing under a scalding shower, can all cause the sensation of being pricked with invisible needles.
If you are noticing needle like sensations on a daily basis and there appears to be no cause for it, it is very sensible to book an appointment with your GP. It may be that there are some neurological causes that you are not aware of, or even something as simple as a trapped nerve. Your GP can refer you to a specialist who can run various tests to find out the root cause of your needles.
Causes Of Needle Prick Feelings In Your Skin
If you are experiencing these feelings because of one small incident of sitting too long on one leg, then ignore this section. If, however, your symptoms are going on for a long time and you are avoiding going to the doctor because you think you’ll be wasting their time, you should read this.
Needle pricks in the skin, when there is no underlying cause, can be a symptom of a great many, quite scary sounding issues. It could be a sign of damage to the spine, nerves, or even brain damage. You should go and get checked out to ensure that your skin tingling is not caused by a stroke or TIA; Multiple Sclerosis; Diabetes; a tumour; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or an inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
Not to scare you, of course, but if you have long term, chronic needle pricking in your skin that is not caused by anything obvious, then you really should go and get it checked out.
How To Stop Pins And Needles Feeling
Needle pricks feelings caused by restricted blood flow can be relatively easily got rid of:
- Remove the pressure from the affected area. This allows the blood to flow to the area, which can bring back sensation.
- Do a little dance. Moving about vigorously will improve the circulation of blood, and can release any nerves that might have been trapped by sitting or lying in one place.
- Needle-like sensations that are ongoing and not caused by restricting blood flow can also be improved:
- Get a massage. This can stimulate blood flow, and improve the circulation of oxygen to the muscles.
- Practice meditation. Getting plenty of rest and relaxation is vitally important to the body and the mind, and keeping your mind healthy can actually have an amazing effect on the body.
- Make sure you sleep. A lack of sleep can have hugely detrimental effects on the body, plus it can enhance the body’s susceptibility to pain, so get enough sleep and see if this helps.
Can Lotions And Potions Stop You Feeling Needle Pricks In Your Skin?
If your skin prickling is a chronic problem that has no underlying health cause, some topical numbing creams can help provide some relief. Products containing Lidocaine or Prilocaine are often used, but care must be taken with how much is used and how often, so it is recommended that you only use things like this on the advice of your doctor. Most of these products only provide short term relief to the condition, so it is in your interests to get to the root cause of the problem.
Some patients with chronic skin tingling episodes have reported that medical cannabis, or CBD oil, have helped to improve or manage their symptoms, but this is another thing that should only be tried with the support of a medical professional.
Feeling needle pricks in your skin temporarily, because of a bump, or a short period of restricted blood flow, is annoying enough. But to feel these needle pricks on a daily basis can get very debilitating, and worrying. Once you have ruled out scary medical reasons for this, hopefully you are now armed with a little more knowledge as to what causes this sensation, and the things you can do to deal with it.