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  • Writer's pictureDr. Yako Merogi


Have you heard of anaesthesia and paraesthesia? Can you guess what these medical terms refer to? Read on to find out more!

Anaesthesia means loss of sensation. You can experience it in small or large parts of your body if there is something wrong with your nerves. It is also a medicine that is used to numb sensation or pain for medical purposes. This could be a small area of the body for minor procedures (aka local anaesthesia), or where you’re placed unconscious for a major procedure or operation (aka general anaesthesia). Paraesthesia is the medical term used for ‘pins and needles’. Most people have experienced pins and needles before, it’s the uncomfortable prickling or tingling sensation felt when you sit or sleep in an awkward position. In short, anaesthesia vs paraesthesia = numbness vs pins and needles

What are the symptoms of paraesthesia?

People most commonly experience pins and needles in their hands, arms, legs or feet, though it can happen in other parts of the body. Paraesthesia can feel like burning, prickling, tingling, itching, or numbness. For example, if you wake up after sleeping awkwardly on your arm, it may tingle, or go numb and heavy. This should not last long once you change position!

If you are experiencing chronic paresthesia, this may be a sign of a more serious problem such as nerve damage or disorders of the central nervous system.

What causes paraesthesia?

In most cases, pins and needles occur when you lean or lay in a position that presses against the nerves, reducing blood flow to the area. This is known as temporary paraesthesia. Even though it is uncomfortable, it should return to normal once you’ve changed position and the nerve begins to function as normal.

Chronic paraesthesia is when pins and needles don’t go away, or when they come back regularly.

This can be caused by:

  • an injury or accident

  • a compressed or pinched nerve

  • carpal tunnel syndrome

  • sciatica

  • diabetes

  • multiple sclerosis

  • disc bulge

  • tight muscles

  • stroke or mini-stroke

  • nerve disease or neuropathy

  • a tumour, though this is rare

If you are experiencing chronic pins and needles, it’s important to seek medical advice. Diagnostic tests may be required to determine the underlying cause. This will help you to receive appropriate treatment to resolve or minimise your symptoms. There are multiple treatment options, depending on what is causing your pins and needles.

What are the risk factors?

There are some contributing factors that can increase your chances of experiencing pins and needles caused by a pinched nerve.

These include:

  • Pregnancy due to the swelling and weight gain putting extra pressure on the nerves.

  • Having chronic conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Being overweight or obese can put pressure on nerves.

  • Jobs that require repetitive motion or manual labour.

How can chiropractic help?

As chiropractors, we regularly treat issues with the central nervous system. Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, non-surgical intervention, which could be used to resolve pins and needles, tingling and numbness as the first line of treatment.

During your appointment, we will discuss your symptoms, medical history, and overall health to get an understanding of your condition. We may be able to help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. We will then work with you to form an appropriate treatment plan that may include techniques such as spinal alignment, soft tissue massage, and joint mobility exercises, to get you back to your best!

If you are experiencing pins and needles and tingling and need help managing it, then give us a call at (905) 265.0006 or email to book your appointment!

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