Puritan Ad

Personal Care - 468X60

My Arm Gets Numb During the Night...-

Many times have I had a very worried patient tell me they have noticed that they wake from sleep with an arm that is numb and tingling lately.  This is usually someone between the ages of 30-60, ranging from average size to a little overweight.  Some just want to make sure this is a normal thing, and some are convinced they have brain cancer...

Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery, 5th Edition (Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness and Surgery)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"
The Merck Manual of Patient SymptomsI probably have 2 patients a month see me in the office with this question each month.  With a little bit of knowledge, this is one of those conditions that often does not require a visit to the doctor.  Hopefully, this post will set someones mind at ease; it is a parasthesia, not brain cancer!  Feel free to share this with your hypochondriac friend or relative...

You can email this to a friend any friend who would benefit from this info by clicking the little envelope icon () just below...

No comments:

Post a Comment