View Full Version : arm going numb?

12-10-2006, 08:52 AM
Ok how can i explain this? When i go to sleep at night I like to sleep on my sides. I have always slept like this. I have also always had neck problems from years of sculpting for work. I have noticed this past year that sometimes when i wake up my arm will be numb. Now the wierd part is this it is not the arm I am laying on. does that make since? Does any one have suggestions. I don't see a Dr very often anymore for my neck stuff cause it is mostly always muscle related. I have learned through the years how to treat it. Unless I throw it out really bad then I see him.

12-10-2006, 09:55 AM
Hey, Brandi! Since you have known neck problems, this might indicate a pinched nerve. I'd recommend seeing a chiropractor or a neurologist. Nerve issues aren't anything to fool around with, especially since you have a physically demanding career (sand sculptures, right?).

Then again, if it's an isolated situation, maybe you just had a crazy dream and were clenching your fist or something!!!

If this isn't an isolated situation, I wouldn't ignore it.

12-10-2006, 09:58 AM
Take it from someone who tried to brush off numbness, go see a doctor! Please.

12-10-2006, 02:27 PM
Does your arm go numb during the day, at any other time other than waking up? Where is the arm numb - anywhere in particular? Is there anything in your sleep style that may be causing this numbness.... is it a nerve issue or a circulatory issue....

I have been dealing with numbness in my hands since mid summer - my right ring and little finger would go numb when my hand was in a dependant position (like riding my bike) - and I was being treated for ulnar tunnel syndrome (look it up). It wasn't until months later - end of october - that i had sudden onset of SEVERE muscle spasms in my left shoulder blade area, down my left arm, elbow to my fingers with - you guessed it - numbness in my left ring and little fingers. I was in exquisite pain. MRIs were done showing bulges in the cervical vertebral discs - which explains the numbness on the right side (ulnar nerve), but right now there is no explantion for the pain/numbness on the left. With many therapies and about 2 weeks of bedrest/narcotics/muscle relaxers and anti - inflammatories the right side numbness is resolving - but the left - although I feel better pain wise I still have numbness and muscle spasms on the left... so take this as you want but you may want to look into your numbness problem - or not. But my life has right now been severely compromised.

12-11-2006, 08:02 AM
the numbness only happens when i am sleeping. It seems to help if i put a small pillow under my arm. There is no pain though and the secound I move it goes away. And it seems to be my hand that goes numb.

12-11-2006, 08:19 AM
I had an issue with this several months ago. Sleeping in the same position and I would wake up with a dead arm/hand. Always from the hand that I would curl up under my head/pillow. The weird thing was that I had been sleeping in that same position for my entire life.

It really bugged me, and so I tried to force myself to sleep on my back, but I can't do that.

After awhile it went away and I never really figured out what it was... (not saying you shouldn't get it checked by the doc though if it worries you)


12-11-2006, 08:53 AM
This SAME thing is happening to me and three doctors are completely perplexed by it.

One doc had said it sounded like degenerative disc disease of the back ... when you're sleeping, your body is in one position for a long period of time, which is why in theory it'd happen more at night than during the day because of a nerve being pinched. But my X-rays and MRIs come back normal with no abnormalities.

I have always slept on my right side, and now I can't even sleep on the left because my right arm will go numb then, too. Sometimes even happens when I'm on my back.

This is really, really disturbing to me because I'm not getting any sleep. It's extremely difficult for me to fall asleep these days.

For me it's not just the hand (which can indicate carpal tunnel) but the entire arm from shoulder to fingertips. It can be either arm, but it's primarily my right.

It also has happened to my legs, but not recently.

Only happens at night.

I still have no explanation. Have not had an MRI of my head but I don't have headaches or dizziness or anything like that.

12-12-2006, 08:04 AM
hmmm? I guess like always it is hard to say without seeing a dr. I just feel sometimes I go to often and most of the time he says "you are young, you are healthy"! I don't want him to think I am over reacting on every little thing. My husband always says "welcome to getting older". I don't know? Thanks for your insites ladies it means a lot!

12-12-2006, 09:46 AM
I have a lower back vertebral crush injury - have had since I was in my 20's.

I also have for many years had problems with my arms going to sleep when I am in bed. I can't sleep on my back or stomach due to the lower back vertebral crush injury so I always have to sleep on my sides. I wake up probably numerous times during the night and just turn over to the other side. Most of the time, my arms are asleep. I've never seen anyone about it and never thought to talk to a doctor about it. Just thought it was something I had to live with. So far, I do not have any long term effects, i.e. numbness in the daytime, etc.

Now you have me thinking about seeing a doc about this too? This probably doesn't help you, but at least, you know you are not alone!

12-13-2006, 12:10 PM
Definitely get it checked - to save yourself from the discomfort if nothing else. For a long time I would wake up in the middle of the night with several fingers or my whole hand numb and pins & needles. But it wasn't until I bought my bike (Trek 7200fx hybrid) in March that I knew something was wrong - I would start to get pins & needles in my fingers after only about 15 minutes of riding. Saw a hand specialist and ended up being told I had both ulnar nerve damage and median nerve trouble (carpal tunnel syndrome). So I had to start sleeping in splints and with my arm wrapped up in a towel to keep it straight! Now everything is much better when I sleep, but still not when I ride! My bike was never fitted to me when I bought it but I thought it didn't matter because I am fairly upright on it. But right now I am thinking I need to have someone good look at me on my bike. Hopefully they will make some adjustments so I can ride with both hands on the handlebar instead of frequently having to let go one hand to prevent numbness.

12-14-2006, 02:22 PM
Now that I've been diagnosed with celiac, it is quite possible my arm and leg numbness is linked to that. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause permanent nerve damage -- and tingling in the arms and legs. I've started on a supplement.

Not that you have celiac, but another possible cause if you're deficient in some vitamins and nutrients.

12-19-2006, 08:08 AM
Wow, Brandi - I have the EXACT same thing. Exactly.

I've always slept on my sides and until recently, I never had any arm numbness (unless, very rarely, I fell asleep ON the arm and woke up with it completely dead...but that was different). Now, it happens in both arms and more often than not, it's the arm that's on top that goes numb. It's not like blood is cut off either...because with movement, sensation returns almost immediately, not after a minute or two of feeling the blood rush back in.

I've been attributing it to shoulder issues, because that's where the numbness starts (and extends down my whole arm and includes my whole hand). I also never had this until I started riding, so I figured it had something to do with the way the small muscles and tendons in my shoulders are changing due to cycling for my cardio instead of doing other activities. I figure that since I've bascially stopped upper body weight training (bad, I know) that once I get back in shape again, it might resolve itself.

I have also never felt any issues during the day. Weird!

12-19-2006, 11:36 AM
Went thru a phase like this during one of the pregnancies . Fixed it by adding another pillow (to my head end)
Sounds dumb after all the above complex theories , I know, but still worth $0.02

12-19-2006, 06:38 PM
It could certainly be a lot of different things.

I was having similar problems a year or two ago when I was doing a lot of cross-country skiing (not currently a problem since it's still downright summery for December on the East Coast). I attributed things to carpel tunnel (compression of the median nerve) or ulnar nerve compression. If you bend your wrist when you sleep (something most of us do without thinking about it) it puts more pressure on the nerves.

I found that sleeping with wrist splints helped (you can get these over the counter- just tell them you're looking for a splint for carpel tunnel). Again, it could be a lot of things, but if it seems to be mainly coming from the hand and you're avoiding going to the doctor, the wrist splints might be worth a try (just try them on before you buy them- the sizing can be a little funny).

12-22-2006, 08:51 AM
I have found putting a neck pillow (round tube like pillow) under my arm seems to help a lot. I started doing this over the summer and it really helps if I can keep there.