Part of my job is finding out what the patients true objective is. Is she here just to make sure this is nothing to worry about, or is this really affecting her activities of daily living? Both are good reasons to see the Doctor.
If you wake with an arm that is "asleep" consisting of being numb and tingly that goes away within 20 minutes after rolling over, that is almost never related to any serious condition. As you get older and heavier and your fat/muscle ratio changes (sorry...), this sort of thing happens more often and does not mean anything is wrong with you.
This sensation is called a parasthesia and have been written about in the medical literature for centuries. It is not unusual (or hypochondriacical) to worry about such things as you get older. Some symptoms, however, should prompt a visit to your doctor...
Warning signs that you should see the doctor for include but are not limited to:
- waking to find both arms "asleep" at the same time
- moderate to severe neck pain associated with an numb/tingly arm
- if your arm falls "asleep" while you are driving, walking or sitting, or while at work
- if it stays "asleep" for more than 30 minutes after you discover it
- if there is tingling or numbness in the arm/hand/fingers the next day, even a little bit
- any fever or weight loss associated with your arm falling "asleep"
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