What Causes Pins & Needles in the Hand?

Updated April 17, 2017

The sensation of pins and needles in your hands, also commonly referred to as your hands falling asleep, is medically referred to as paraesthesia. This causes a sensation of tingling and prickling in limbs or digits.

Common Cause

The most common cause of pins and needles is from weight being exerted on a nerve or as a result of blood supply being limited to the area by leaning or lying awkwardly on your hands.

Other Causes

Pins and needles can also be caused by nerve damage or disorders that affect the central nervous system. If paresthesia has become a persistent problem, seek medical attention. Breathing excessively, toxic substances, certain medications, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism and stroke can all contribute to the occurrence of pins and needles.


Hands and feet are the most common body parts that are affected. There is an initial numbness, during which you can't feel your hands. Then, there is a prickly and tingly sensation once you move them. After a few moments of movement or by changing your position the tingling sensation will subside.

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About the Author

Emily VanUmmersen has always had a way with words. She has enjoyed an education filled with classes that required writing essays and stories. She enjoys writing and learning about health, green living, fashion, art and cooking. She has been a contributing writer for eHow and Pluck on Demand.