Have you ever sat with your legs crossed for a while and then when you stand up, one of your feet feels numb? Everyone is probably familiar with the pins and needles feeling of your leg, arm or foot “falling asleep”. That feeling is referred to as “paresthesia”. It is categorized as tingling or numbness that appears in a part of your body without warning.

The sensitivity to the affected area is usually decreased as it starts to go numb, however, there are also causes when the sensitivity is increased and even a light touch can feel like pain to our brains. The most common type of paresthesia is called “transient paresthesia”, and it last from a couple of seconds to a few minutes.

This pins and needles feeling can be caused by any number of things and, depending on whether or not there’s an underlying health concern, can be relatively harmless. However, when there is another health concern, paresthesia can also become chronic. Let’s examine some of the causes of the tingling or numbness.

5 Causes Of Paresthesia And How You Can Fix It


This is what causes the feeling of pins and needles when your arm or leg has fallen asleep. The cause is a prolonged pressure against the nerves, which then starts to slowly cut off feeling. This type of paresthesia decreases and disappears altogether once the pressure is relieved, such as well you uncross your legs after sitting for a while.

The feeling slowly and gradually returns to the affected area.


When you have a panic attack, your body often isn’t getting enough oxygen as you tend to hyperventilate. When this happens, your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen for your nerves to fire off correctly. This can cause your limbs to slowly lose feeling and experience paresthesia.

This is temporary, and once the panic attack fades and you’re able to breathe normally, the pins and needles feeling will gradually remove from your limbs. Panic attacks can be combated by removing yourself from a distressing situation as well as breathing exercises that focus on getting the oxygen flowing.


When your body isn’t getting enough water, nothing is going to be working right. Dehydration can cause all kinds of unpleasant side effects, and a pins and needles feeling is one of them. If you’re experiencing transient paresthesia and the nerves on the affected area haven’t been recently compressed, make sure that you’re getting enough water.

Drinking the daily recommended amount of water can reverse the pins and needles feeling, and keep further paresthesia at bay.


Everyone has had that uncomfortable moment where they turn their head too quickly and sharp pain blossoms in the side of their neck. Whiplash happens when the muscles in your need speed up and slow down at a high velocity. That is why you often feel it when you’re turning your head quickly.

Paresthesia can occur directly after whiplash. Sometimes, the feeling can subside within a few minutes. However, whiplash can be a potentially dangerous injury to your muscles, so see a doctor if you experience pain, dizziness and numbness.


Our bodies are always only as healthy as the things that you we give it. Paresthesia can be caused by certain deficiencies in the nutrients that we put into our bodies. A healthier and more inclusive lifestyle can turn this around in the long term, however, doctors may suggest supplements such as vitamin B12 to help with the immediate paresthesia.

Transient paresthesia can be relatively harmless, if not slightly annoying. There are plenty of ways to reverse the feeling if you have a quick and easy case of transient paresthesia. On the other hand, chronic paresthesia maybe something a little more serious.

If you experience the symptoms of numbness and tingling in your limbs or other parts of your body for long periods of time, you may want to see your doctor. They will make sure that you don’t have a more serious, underlying condition, such as a brain or spinal cord disorder, or connective tissue and autoimmune disease.

As always, make sure you keep your doctor informed on what changes your body is experiencing so that you can stay happy and healthy.