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Pins and needles

Everyone can get pins and needles, but see a GP if you keep getting it or it lasts a long time.

Pins and needles feels like pricking, tingling or numbness on the skin.

It happens when the blood supply to the nerves is cut off. This is usually when you sit or sleep on part of your body. It lasts only a few minutes.

You often get pins and needles in your:

  • arms
  • hands
  • legs
  • feet

It usually stops when the weight is taken off the body part and your blood supply returns to the nerves.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you constantly have pins and needles
  • it keeps coming back

Use these links to get an idea of what you can do about pins and needles. But do not self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Long-lasting pins and needles may also be caused by:

  • treatments – such as chemotherapy
  • some medicines – such as HIV medicine, medicine to prevent seizures, or some antibiotics
  • toxic substances – such as lead or radiation
  • poor diet
  • nerve damage – after an injury or illness
  • drinking too much alcohol