Pernicious Anaemia Society

Pins and needles

How would you describe it? I am a bit uncertain what is normal and what is not when it comes to numbness, tingling and pins and needles. I have been ill for so long cannot say how a person is supposed to feel!

Are those feelings constant when lacking b12, or coming and going? I can have tingling i.e today after some physical action. I have been off of stronger b12 for 6 days. Sort of an experiment, but also trying to get other nutrients and vitamins in balance as well. Had good and not so good results before with b12. I feel I am running out of b12, sleeping less, waking up in the middle of the night to pee.

But during the years I have often a lot of pins and needles, just sitting down for a while, not even in uncomfortable position. Now I can have some on my hands when reading on bed. I definitely had long term numbness on my right side of back, which I figured out after using b12 for a while since it passed. I thought my back is just bad, my right side was so stiff and under shoulder blade it was constant numbness. Now it feels much more normal. Even my posture changed after few days on b12 since I was able to stand still properly! Now I just have normal muscle ache for having such a bad posture for years.

I have few times lost sense of feeling from my middle finger after knitting a pair of socks. Took approximately 6 months to gain the sense back each time. But for me they come and go. I wonder is that normal or is it just something else ?

I had doctors appointment on friday and he confirmed I should continue on b12, that I do have autoimmune reaction/disease but could not say more about it and only ordered another blood test, serum levels. But he said the best indicator is how I feel.

Have not yet figured out how to deal with physical stress. When I do more physical stuff then 1000 mcg/sublingual does not seem to be enough.

5 Replies

Yes I had neurological symptoms which came and went over a number of years before discovering it was due to B12 deficiency. I started with 1mg sublingual tabs to supplement injections but upped it to 5 mg which has been very helpful for finger pain/burning/numbness. This has been my longest standing symptom, which started about maybe 6 years ago, on and off but became a constant thing 2-3 years ago, so much so that it became normal for me and took me a while of B12 treatment before I twigged on it was starting to get better!


Thanks for responding! I have always thought I am just that way, when other people are never complaining of numbness, tingling nor pins and needles. To me it has become normal and I always have to be very careful when standing up, my legs are actually painfully and pins and needless really hurt. Cannot even describe that pain. Once I injured myself when walking after sitting down some time. My other leg was so numb that I could not feel it and twisted my ankle really bad, small ligaments were injured and it took several years to heal my ankle.


There are a few conditions that fit with the numbness that you are describing that may have been caused or made worse by B12 deficiency

a) hands and fingers: carpel tunnel syndrome:

carpel tunnel is a small ring of cartilege and bone in the centre of the wrist - the nerves that control and carry signals to and from your fingers and hands run through this. If it becomes constricted ... or if you have problems with the protective sheath that surrounds the nerves in the case of B12 involvement then you will loose feeling in the hand and or fingers. Keeping the wrist in a straight posture can help minimise pinching of the nerve.

I had problems with pins and needles in my hands that affected my fingers and came to a head when I would wake up in the morning and wouldn't be able to unclench my hands but sleeping in a wrist brace and then learning to sleep with the wrist in a straightened position has helped with the problems ... I tend not to use a wrist brace these days.

There is a specific test that can be done to check if you have carpel tunnels syndrome which involves sending a signal down through your wrist to see what happens. The usual treatment is an operation to broaden the channel if it really gets to the point where you can't move your fingers any more.

I gave up on knitting a while ago as it involves awkward wrist posture that just deadened the nerves completely.

b) degeneracy in the neck - can affect the arms and shoulders. This is where a nerve running up the spine is getting caught between vertebrae in the neck. Using a soft neck brace at night - or getting a sleeping posture that keeps the neck straight can help - I sometimes wake up at night with pain or numbness on one side but if I shift to a position where the neck is straight it will go

c) tarsal tunnel syndrome - similar to carpel but the nerve running through the ankle. This can be eased by using arch supports that slightly relieve the constriction of the nerve - it can result in sharp shooting pains up the legs from the ankles or it can be shooting pains in the feet, or numbness. I think a lot of people get it at night - I tend to find it affects my left foot quite a bit at night. I'm very stiff in the ankles when I get out of bed and trips to the loo are the walk of the bride of frankenstein :). Sleeping on my back with one foot out of the bed and on the floor seems to help - but not ideal in the middle of the winter!

In all cases they can occur without B12D but I think B12D makes them more likely and probably gives them a different character because the real problem isn't so much constriction of the relevant nerves as the lining around the nerves being degraded so signals are all over the place.

The muscle weakness and back problems are also something I can relate to - I used to get really bad problems but since I got my B12 levels right they have gone.


A caveat - you should never use any brace continuously as this can result in fusion of bones/weakening of muscles and make problems worse.


This had confused me as well. I had originally thought it had to be constant for it to be a symptom. I often wake with numb/pins and needles in hands - thought it was down to low blood pressure. Also get pins and needles easily sitting on sofa or loo 😊. Occasionally random pain in fingers, lasts seconds.


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