I don't get pins and needles anymore, is this a health problem?
November 15, 2016 4:54 PM   Subscribe

For the past few weeks, I've woken up in the middle of the night every night because my arms and/or legs have fallen asleep and gone numb. But I've noticed that as my limbs wake back up I don't feel any pins and needles like I did in the past. Is this something I should be concerned about?
posted by heart's ease to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I notice I get pins and needles if I cut off circulation, and just numbness if I'm compressing a nerve. I've had to pointedly adjust how I sleep (straight arms or hugging a pillow) so I stop doing that to myself.
posted by platypus of the universe at 5:37 PM on November 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I noticed the same lack of pins & needles, probably about 15 years ago. Still alive, with all appendages.
posted by mewsic at 6:15 PM on November 15, 2016

Same, mine faded about 5 years ago (I am 40).
posted by Cosine at 6:24 PM on November 15, 2016

I get this too.

As I understand it, pins and needles is the result of nerve compression and subsequent lack of signal in the nerve. In absence of any signal, the brain slowly ramps up the sensitivity of the nerve's 'microphone' to try and hear something. When the nerve is released, the "random background" nerve impulses resume and that is felt as pins and needles. If you actually move or massage the area that the compressed nerve senses, the microphone needles go off the chart, due to the brain's increased sensitivity setting, and that amplified signal nearly blows your speakers, and is felt as pain.

All this to say, maybe at a certain age our brains figure out that it's just a compressed nerve, and therefore no longer increase the sensitivity, so we just experience the numbness.
posted by guy72277 at 7:13 AM on November 17, 2016

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