We have all experienced the dreaded pins and needles after we have sat on our feet too long or laid on our hands incorrectly. But what if that severe irritating intense buzzing pain did not resolve after a few minutes and began to radiate up our arms or legs? Simply said, it would make our life uncomfortable and question the state of our health.
What Causes the Pins and Needles?
The feeling of pins and needles is described as a symptom of a “pinched” nerve or nerves. “Pinched” nerves can occur anywhere in your spine; they can affect nerves that go to your arms, fingers, wrist, neck, back, shoulder, head, legs, muscles and internal organs, and can affect your general health, posture, energy level, resistance to disease – even your emotional health. Although the nerves are not technically “pinched”, the descriptive word is most commonly associated with the nerve impingement and irritation. As the nerve remains trapped the nerve sends signal sensations. These sensations range from intense heat or cold to pins and needles. Pins and needles most often occur at the end of the affected root, for example the hands and feet.
Understanding the Billions of Nerve Fibers
There are billions of nerve fibers in your body, often arranged in bundles called nerves. Billions of them are laid out like an intricate road map inside the spinal column as part of the spinal cord and exit through openings between the vertebrae. After leaving the spinal column, the nerves separate into smaller and smaller bundles and travel to every nook and cranny in your body. Nerves regulate your breathing, internal organ function, heartbeat, digestion, excretion, blood supply to different organs and blood pressure. Without nerves, you could not see, hear, touch, taste or smell. You also would not be able to feel hot, cold, pain or pleasure. Your body would be paralyzed and simply not able to respond to any of your commands, and you’d be a prisoner within yourself.
How Can I “Pinch” A Nerve?
A pinched nerve can be easily created. A fall or an accident, even a very mild one that happened years ago, may be enough to mis-align your spine. Some common causes are also related to repetitive actions, for instance unnatural sleeping positions, bad posture, fatigue, a difficult birth, emotional stress, poor nutrition or a combination of stresses. Left over time the nerves deliver weaker and weaker signals to the areas that are “pinched” leaving the health of the area or or organ in a degenerated or even failing state.
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For Your Health,
Dr. Salvatore Minicozzi