According to the Mayo Clinic, stress/anxiety can cause "pins and needles" (neuropathy) sensations all over the body.

But how can this be? My understanding of the sensory pathway is that sensory receptors (nerves) fire "pins and needles" signals to the brain whenever there is a lack of blood flow to them.

So does stress reduce blood flow to nerves? Is it a chemical reaction, perhaps where stress releases hormones that prevent the nerves from functioning correctly? Something else?

I'm looking for a biological/physiological/scientific explanation of what stress does to make nerves misbehave.

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    $\begingroup$ Something related biology.stackexchange.com/questions/24492/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @Jvrek (+1) - thats a pretty darned good answer to that question! So, can you (please) confirm my newfound understanding here: that stress produces various hormones that in turn regulate blood flow/pressure, which can then (under the right circumstances) reduce bloodflow to individual nerves? Am I on track or way off? Thanks again! $\endgroup$
    – smeeb
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ pins and needle sensations are not always pointed to lack of blood in nerves. biology.stackexchange.com/questions/24555/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again @Jvrek (+1) - I understand; however can you at least confirm that stress-induced neuropathy is chiefly a result of hormones which interact with neurons and cause them to malfunction? Thanks again! $\endgroup$
    – smeeb
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ There is a big difference between a pins-and-needles sensation and neuropathy. Are you sure stress can cause *neuropathies? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 2:43


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