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Person rubbing feet due to constant pins and needles
By In-house Team, Circle Health Group

Five reasons why you’ve got constant pins and needles

We explore the most common causes of pins and needles

Don’t panic – pin and needles are very common

Everyone experiences pins and needles now and then. The familiar tingling, numbing feeling can happen when you put pressure on a part of your body, which cuts off the blood supply to the nerves in that area. It can be felt in any part of your body, but it’s most common in your hands, feet, arms, and legs. You’ll often experience pins and needles if you sit in an unusual position for too long, or even if you wear shoes that are too tight.

Pins and needles at night is also very common. It usually happens if you fall asleep in an unusual position

Pins and needles at night

Pins and needles at night is also very common. It usually happens if you fall asleep in an unusual position that cuts off the blood supply to your nerve for a significant length of time (this can be for hours while you sleep). You’ll find that moving the affected body part will help the blood flow return to normal, although pins and needles might happen again if you fall back asleep in an awkward position.

If you experience pins and needles several times throughout the day and find yourself regularly waking up with pins and needles, you might have an underlying condition that is causing the blood supply to your nerves to be cut off. If you’re becoming increasingly frustrated by regular pins and needles, we’re here to help you uncover why.

In this article, we take a look at the five most common causes of pins and needles.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at your wrist. This nerve is responsible for sensations in the palm side of your thumb and fingers (except your little finger), as well as for the impulses sent to some of the small muscles in your hand that allow your fingers and thumb to move.

The ‘carpal tunnel’ itself is a narrow passageway in your wrist (it’s around an inch wide). Swelling, which may be caused by inflammation or something else, can narrow this tunnel and cause the median nerve to be compressed. This can result in pain, weakness, or pins and needles in your hand and wrist that radiates up your arm.

If you consistently have pins and needles in your hand and wrist, which travels up your arm, you might have carpal tunnel syndrome. Speak to your doctor or one of our consultants if you are worried that you might have this condition.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

You probably know that Vitamin B12 is important for the function of your brain, nervous system, and the formation of your blood – but did you know that a lack of Vitamin B12 can also lead to constant pins and needles?

Vitamin B12, which is also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the proper functioning of your brain and nervous system, as well as for the formation of your blood. It is found in a wide variety of animal foods, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products. It is also available in multivitamin/mineral supplement form, in B-complex supplements, and in supplements containing only vitamin B12. Your doctor or a pharmacist can ensure that you get the right supplements for your needs and help you to understand how often to take them.

If you’re lacking in Vitamin B12, in addition to pins and needles, you might experience fatigue and tiredness, brain fog and memory problems, mouth ulcers and weakness.

Get a health assessment to check your vitamin levels


Diabetes is a common condition that occurs when the sugar levels in your blood become too high. It’s a lifelong condition that causes many symptoms, but it’s one that can be managed effectively – especially if you understand the key warning signs of diabetes and how to treat it.

Diabetes affects how your body regulates the hormone ‘insulin’. Insulin is produced by your pancreas and is the hormone that controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. You need glucose in your bloodstream because it stores sugar from the food you eat and acts as your body’s main source of energy, keeping you fit and healthy and able to function. When your body is not able to regulate insulin, it can have dangerous and even life-threatening effects.

If you have diabetes, you might experience a range of symptoms, including pins and needles. Speak with your doctor about any concerns you have about whether you might have diabetes.

Read about the top 7 warning signs of diabetes

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to a condition resulting from damage to your peripheral nerves, which refers to any nerves in your body that are not in your brain or spinal cord. This damage disrupts the normal functioning of your nerves, affecting their ability to transmit signals between your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of your body. Peripheral neuropathy can cause a wide range of symptoms because your peripheral nervous system is responsible for various functions, including:

  • Relaying sensations, such as pain, temperature, and touch, from your skin and muscles back to your brain
  • Controlling your muscles and movement
  • Regulating bodily functions such as your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and bladder function

Some of the main causes of this condition include drinking alcohol for prolonged periods of time, physical damage to your nerves during injury or even surgery, inflammation of your blood vessels, infections, and an underactive thyroid gland

Your doctor can diagnose this condition with a nerve conduction test (NCS), which involves small metal wires called electrodes being placed on your skin. These release very small electric shocks to stimulate your nerves. The speed and strength of the nerve signal is measured to understand whether your peripheral nerves are damaged.

Electromyography (EMG) is another test to diagnose peripheral neuropathy. A small needle is inserted through your skin into your muscle and used to measure the electrical activity of your muscles.
Speak with your doctor if you have constant pins and needles and think you might be suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

There are many neurological symptoms of MS, one of which is constant pins and needles.

Multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects your central nervous system. It is characterised by your immune system mistakenly attacking the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerve fibres, causing communication problems between your brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.

The exact cause of MS is unknown, but it's thought to involve a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, such as viral infections, smoking, and vitamin D deficiency.

There are many neurological symptoms of MS, one of which is constant pins and needles. If you have MS, your doctor will work with you to build a treatment plan that works for you.

Get to the bottom of your pins and needles

There you have it… just some of the reasons why you might have constant pins and needles.

If you suspect you might have any of the above conditions, you can book an appointment with one of our specialists to get a diagnosis and help managing your symptoms.


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If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on this subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Circle Hospital.