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Arms going numb while I'm sleeping

For the past week and a half my left and right arms take turns going numb while I'm sleeping. I woke up a week ago with a "rubber arm" (right), but it is almost just as frequently my left arm (I just usually wake up before it's too numb). Rubbing it for a minute or two has returned feeling.

I'm concerned because this is new... I have always slept on my side, typically with my arms above my head and under my pillow (at least one arm, depending on the side).

I have been seeing a physical trainer for the last 3 months, and my last session (right about when this started) involved heavy bench pressing and squats (something I haven't done since high school - I'm a 28 male now, 5'11", 180 lbs). This exercise resulted in my shoulders being bruised and my elbows.

I also started taking flonase for cat allergies right around this time too, but I don't think that is related.

I am a programmer by day, though I do stretch periodically to keep good blood flow. I don't have this problem at any other time except when I am laying down. I have also noticed over the past week that when reading my iPad in bed at night, just the act of holding one arm over my head while laying on my back can result in that tingling sensation in my arm.

Is this just as simple as a swollen set of muscles preventing good blood flow, or is it something else I should check into? I had a blood test last week - I have the report, but my doctor has not had a chance to review it and get back with me yet (he's unavailable until June). Cholesterol is slightly high and low (in a bad way) - is there anything related I should look for?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
-David
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replied November 30th, 2016
Welcome to e health forum.


The description of your symptoms is not helpful to make a proper medical diagnosis.

Numbness and tingling are abnormal sensations that can occur anywhere in your body, but are often felt in your fingers, hands, feet, arms, or legs.

The most common cause of such symptoms can be due to the following -

1. Abnormal body positions during sleep, work or resting.
2. Vascular disorders - affecting the blood supply, like Transient ischemic attacks, Strokes, Raynaud's syndrome, etc.
3. Neurological injury - due to trauma, low back injury, pressure on nerves (herniation of spinal discs), etc.
4. Peripheral neuropathy - associated with Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
5. electrolyte imbalances
6. Thyroid disorders
7. Diabetic neuropathy, migraines
8. Hyperventilation disorders , panic attacks
9. Repetitive stress injuries - Carpal tunnel syndrome, pressure neuropathy.

Hence for proper diagnosis of your condition, additional medical history as well as few tests may be helpful. Hence you might consult your doctor for proper advice.

Treating the condition may make the symptoms go away or stop them from getting worse.

In case you have symptoms like transient numbness, tingling or temporary paralysis that resolve soon within minutes or hours after waking up, they might be due to pressure on the nerves or blood vessels possibly due to abnormal sleeping positions, eg. Sleeping with the hand under the head, keeping the hands above the level of the heart, sleeping in abnormal leg positions, etc. In such situations, there is no need for specific treatment other than proper sleep hygiene and avoiding abnormal sleep positions.

I hope this helps.





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