/ medical problem: numb hands while sleeping

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Duncan Bourne - on 22 Dec 2012
Here I am 5.50 am and awake because once again I was awoken at 3.30 (sometimes it is earlier) with "dead" arms. In other words my arms are numb just as if the circulation had been cut off, from the elbow to hands. It is annoying as I have to get up early for work so I can't get back to sleep for a good rest and so I am constantly tired. I do get Reynaulds syndrome but my arms aren't cold when this happens.
A visit to the docs the other day was of limited use. They didn't really know what it could be and took my blood pressure which was normal, as expected.
Does anyone else get this?
vark - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
Carpal tunnel syndrome. Google Tinnel's and Phalen's test and see if these provoke your symptoms
Andy Nisbet - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

I'm guessing of course but there may not be anything medically wrong. A similar thing happens to me sometimes. Exactly what causes it is unsure, but perhaps pressure on the nerves in your neck or shoulders, but I'm guessing it might be solved by changing the height of your pillows and if necessary with a new mattress, either firmer or softer.
ben b - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne: More info needed please:

Both hands at the same time?

All the fingers or are some unaffected? Same on both sides?

Apart from the numbness, is the strength normal?

And legs both ok?

How long does it last? Only happens while asleep?

Is there anything that you can do which will definitely make it happen?

I'm away over the w/e so sorry if I don't get a reply back in time.

(dr) b
Duncan Bourne - on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to ben b:
both arms at the same time, though the left tends to get it more than the right. From the elbow down. The ache seems to be mostly centred on the forearms.
Strength normal, although a few years back I was too drunk to wake up and the left arm was completely dead and I was unable to grip for half a day.
Legs ok.
Only happens while I am asleep. I can still feel it now nearly 5 hours later.
It is hard to say what definitely makes it happen as I wake up with it about 4 hrs after going to sleep. Seems to be worse after a hard climbing session in the day.
dale1968 on 22 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne: hi I have numbness in the right hand (part of ppms)so its lesions in the neck causing the numbness, maybe you have wear and tear issues in the neck, hth
captain paranoia - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to dale1968:

I'd second the suggestion of a possible spinal column nerve compression issue. It may be that your sleeping posture is mucking about with nerve bundles emerging from one of the vertebral outlets in the spine. Search for 'dermatome chart' to see what vertebra it might be, and then review your sleeping habits, mattress and pillow to make sure they're giving you support. Or, if you sit in a chair all day, review your posture.
chrisprescott - on 25 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne: Exactly the same symptoms i've had for the last 3 years (my left is also worse than my right). Had conduction tests for carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel, but both came back negative. Next step is an MRI scan on both my shoulders as the neurologist thinks it might be some sort of shoulder impingement like cervical rib (tests for thoracic outlet didn't show any symptoms). Its been driving me mad as it really affects my sleep and I really hope i'll be able to make some progress on it soon. Best bet is to ask the GP to refer you to the neurologist (most likely after they've done blood tests to rule out anything else). Give me an email if you want to chat about anything else.
captain paranoia - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Hmmm... Re-read your OP and the bit about being like circulation stopped. So, to clarify, when you say 'numb', do you mean loss of sensation, or loss of circulation (arms and hands cold and white/blue)?

If it's loss of sensation, what parts of the arms are affected? All the fingers, or just some? Outer or inner arm, front or back? Try to be clear about what goes numb before looking at a dermatome chart, so you won't be influenced...
Gazlynn - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

Do you suffer from migraines at all?



hedgepig - on 26 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne:
I got the numb arm problem after getting a new laptop, around the time I started needing glasses for reading. It was due to stiff neck muscles from holding my head in a funny posture to see the screen while lifting up my hands to type. I got some bifocals that have a mid-distance lens at the top, whic worked.
daveyji - on 27 Dec 2012
Go back to the doctor and ask to be referred to a specialist. Much better than advice from non medics who can't examine you... Wild guesses at best.
Good luck.
nedmoran on 27 Dec 2012 -
In reply to Duncan Bourne: I also wake up about 3-5 times each night with this problem. I can't think why, accept i'm not rolling over enough in my sleep. I also think it may be when i have my arms kinked at the elbows, so straightening them helps a bit.
ianstevens - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne: Any chance you (or anyone else) lays on your arm(s)? Would cut off the circulation, giving you symptoms similar to, well, cut off circulation.
ben b - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to Duncan Bourne: sorry Duncan, am up the Rangitata and not much reception round here. Did you say all fingers equally, including the little ones on each hand?

Will pm you when I return to civilisation

mkean - on 30 Dec 2012
In reply to chrisprescott:
Sounds like my problem.
mgco3 - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to Duncan Bourne: I asume that your GP has checked your blood sugar levels?

A classic sign of diabetes.. Looking at your profile 50 + years of age I would put my money on you being a type 2. (like myself)

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