pins and needles

Hi, wonder if anybody has got what I'm suffering at the moment. I'm getting pins and needles in my hands and lower arms, particularly at nighttime. Simultaneously, the joints in my fingers have recently become painful. Since at every visit to the rheumatology nurse I'm asked about my hands, I assumed that my painful finger joints were another progression of the RA. But at my meeting recently with the RA consultant, after examining my hands he thought that it wasn't RA but possibly osteo arthritis and is referring me to OT. Has anybody got anything similar to this? I must admit I'm a bit confused. Thanks

17 Replies

  • Hi

    For me pins and needles like you describe was a sign of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. I had this problem before I had the late diagnosis of RD when I found out that bilateral CTS is often a sign of RD.

    I was about to have surgery on the worst wrist when I was put on MTX and Hydroxychloroquine and wrists settled down. I did wear wrist supports. There was never any mention of OA.

    Hope you get a clear diagnosis and the right treatment.


  • Hi thanks. Glad you didn't have to have surgery and the drugs worked for you. I always think surgery should be a very last resort. I'll have a look into the bilateral CTS - I've never heard of it before and I do a lot of computer work so may be what I have. Thanks again.

  • Hi, I have similar, or do if I don't take B12. My hands, forearms and elbows would drive me mad with the tingle, more like internal nettle rash, it would wake me in the night.

    I suck a sublingual methylcobalamin (b12) 1000mcg every night, and touch wood, unless I run out, I am tingle free.

    Maybe worth asking what your b12 level is next time you have bloods for your other meds.



  • Thanks, I do take B12 but it's been a bit random lately because I've been away and so my routine has been out of sync. Just as an aside, do you get restless legs at night? For the last few nights my right leg has been twitchy, like muscle spasms, not painful but enough to stop me sleeping. Lasts about an hour and then goes. It has nothing to do with exercise as I get plenty of that. I wonder whether that has also got something to do with a vitamin deficiency?

  • I have this too and at my last consultant appt he put it down to carpal tunnel. Was in right wrist/hand only but now the left hand has joined in! I have just had an ultrasound guided steroid injection in worst wrist and it does seem to help. I tend to wear wrist splints s lot now - especially when doing housework - just to protect my wrists a bit. Does seem to work. Hope you find a solution soon.

  • Thanks. Will definitely look into the carpal tunnel thing. I was wondering whether it was connected to the painful joints but perhaps not. I'm being referred to occupational therapy so will discuss it with them, although goodness only knows how long I'll be waiting for an appointment.

  • Hi - I have had this in hands, wrists, feet, knees and mouth for about six years now. Mine isn't carpal tunnel related or b12 deficiency, but the neurologist thinks it relates to imflammation damaging my small nerve fibres when my mild RA was active. So if yours doesn't relate to carpal tunnel then it could possibly be part of the inflammatory process and mean your RA isn't well controlled enough. It's quite straightforward finding out whether you have carpal tunnel or not I believe.

  • Thanks. I saw the RA consultant three weeks ago (after waiting over a year to see him) and typically the pins and needles have worsened since then - at the time I didn't think it worth mentioning. He wants to keep my meds the same, with another appointment to see him in three months (which will probably be six) to check my inflammatory levels. However I think I'll go to the doctor and discuss with him if it doesn't go. Thanks again.

  • Your GP should be able to help diagnose if it's carpal tunnel.

  • My pins and needles definitely fits with spinal nerve dermatomes (C6 and C7), so for me its quite clearly coming from my neck.

    You do need to see your doctor to figure out what is causing it, because every cause has a different way of dealing with it.

  • Hi thanks. Yes, I've made an appt with the doctor as I think it's worth checking out.

  • I have this issue with numb and tingling hands and lower arms i call it fizzing joints. I had tests and it appears to be damaged joints, hard to explain but it happens a lot if i nod off and have to shake and lower my arms

  • Thanks, I like the expression 'fizzing joints' - ha ha!

  • I get pins and needles in my hands and upper arms and its due to cervical spondylosis, wear and tear in the neck and sleeping in an awkward position at night, so when it happens I have to change my sleeping position and shake my hands, its putting pressure on the nerves in the neck area.

  • I have had arthritis for 24 years, about half my life. I was unfortunately diagnosed at age 25. There are times that I have woken in the middle of the night with awful pain in my hand like there are a million pins and needles poking it. Usually only one hand. It is so painful that it feels like my hand is on fire. I often wonder how I was sleeping through all that pain before I woke up. Sometimes I can tell an episode is coming on before I go to bed, and I'll wear one of my many hand braces I have required over the years. I've figured out on my own that it can be triggered by having my hand accidently bent at the wrist while sleeping, making my wrist joint swell and cut off the circulation to my hand. Doesn't happen that often thank God, because the pain is almost unbearable. If I wake up in the middle of the night in pain, I have to get out of bed, put one of my wrist braces on and sit up for about 20 to 30 minutes before the pain goes away and I can lay back down. For some reason I have to sit up to get rid of pain. Maybe that is the only way to get the circulation going again.

  • Sorry to hear that you've had arthritis for so long. So it seems that the pins and needles are connected to the arthritis then. I wasn't sure. Good luck with your problem...I really hope you get some relief soon. It's a horrible desease isn't it... So many problems. Take care

  • Hi yes I do have this. In early March had a ultra sound on wrists and told me it was carpel tunnel was given steroid them has been good but are starting again. Apparently the Ra does it . Hope yours gets better soon.

You may also like...