We have all been there. You swap positions in your sleep, lay directly on top of your arm, and wake up with a sensationless noodle attached to your shoulder. Using your other hand, you massage the blood back into the limb, suffering the cost in the form of burning pins and needles as sensation returns. It’s a normal, occasional occurrence for most people. But if you find yourself regularly experiencing your arm(s) falling asleep at night, then it could be a symptom of a greater neurological issue. Let’s look at the question: why does my arm fall asleep at night?
Sensation and your Nervous System
If your nervous system is functioning normally, it is constantly carrying signals back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body. With every change in texture, temperature, and pressure, your body relays information to your brain, essentially requesting feedback on the appropriate action.
We experience the feeling of a limb falling asleep when those channels become restricted. Normally, the source of pressure is exterior. You might be sitting on your foo. Or a loved one may have been lying against your arm for too long. In these cases, physical pressure on the limb is limiting the extremity’s ability to receive signals from the brain.
However, several neurological disorders can also block or limit communication between your brain and your body. As a result, you may experience a limb falling asleep without any visible explanation. If this is a regular occurrence, then it is time to speak with your doctor and locate a highly respected neurosurgeon in your area. Together, your primary care physician and neurosurgeon can help you to determine what may be causing frequent paresthesia.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common causes of frequent paresthesia. This is especially true for women, who are generally more prone to the condition. It is caused by an internal increase in pressure on the median nerve. It’s the primary nerve in your hand. The syndrome can lead patients to experience numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the affected hand and forearm.
Several contributing factors can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. But, repetitive actions involving the hand and wrists can make you more susceptible. Obesity, fluid retention, and medical conditions that cause inflammation are other common risk factors for carpal tunnel.
If your neurosurgeon positively determines that carpal tunnel is causing you to lose feeling in your arm(s), then you will start a conservative treatment plan that will target the condition with as little intervention as possible. At Yashar Neurosurgery, this treatment plan will typically begin basic activity modifications and medication. However, if the patient follows through with the treatment plan and sees no results, Dr. Yashar will reevaluate the patient’s condition to determine what the next step should be.
A pinched nerve along the line of communication can also lead to the regular loss of feeling in a limb. As such you arm can fall asleep at night. A patient with a pinched nerve is likely to experience more consistent and exaggerated symptoms.
If you’ve been regularly experiencing abnormal sensations in a limb for at least a week, then you should contact your neurosurgeon for diagnosis and treatment.
Your surgeon will perform a range of diagnostic tests to determine if a pinched nerve is at the root of your discomfort. If they can positively identify the condition, you can expect your neurosurgeon to create a treatment plan tailored to your case. In many instances, your neurosurgeon will not immediately jump to a surgical conclusion. Instead, they may try medications, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections to treat the condition without exposing you to additional risks.
If you suspect that you could have a neurological issue, don’t hesitate to speak with a medical professional. Diagnosing and treating your condition has the potential to improve your quality of life drastically. As always, be open with your doctor about any concerns you may have and ask as many questions as you need. Dr. Yashar and his team at Yashar Neurosurgery want to make sure you receive the best care in a compassionate atmosphere.