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Ask Dr. Abby Your Own Question
Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Why does my right arm keep falling asleep It has been happening

Resolved Question:

Why does my right arm keep falling asleep? It has been happening on and off for the past 2 months although more recently lately. It is mostly at night when I curl my hand under my head and sleep on my right side. It has happened during the day when I curl my arm and seem to cut of the circulation. Tonight, it happened when I sat down for the first time. I leaned my weight to the right and curled my arm while watching TV. Since then I have had trouble completely getting it to go away because I fell asleep on my right side. It is tingling a little now typing this. Even after shaking it and going back to sleep on the other side, it still doesnt feel awake all the way.

I have 22 month old whom is almost 30 pounds. I lift and carry him with this arm. I did have a miscarriage 4 weeks ago and this did start around the time I found out I was pregnant 8 weeks ago. (Didnt know if it was "pregnancy induced carpal tunnel") There is a chance I could be pregnant again, as my OBGYN said it was ok.

I was also told 1 year ago that my cholesterol was slightly high, but not enough to warrant meds. Yes, I am overweight as well.

I am worried as to what is going on. Why is my arm falling asleep so much?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Abby :

Hello, is your hand falling asleep also? If so, which fingers are falling asleep?

Customer :

yes, my hand as well. My fingers, but not thumb really

Dr. Abby :

Is it all the other fingers or primarily the index and middle?

Customer :

Feels like mostly my index and middle (I think) although I do feel it in the other 2 a little, hard to tell

Dr. Abby :

How far up your arm does the numbness go?

Customer :

to about right at or before my elbow

Dr. Abby :

Are you having any neck pain?

Customer :

no

Dr. Abby :

Ok, thank you. It does sound like you may have carpal tunnel, which is compression of the nerve that supplies the thumb, index and middle finger....although you don't have all of the classic symptoms. The nerve (called the median nerve) can get irritated at the wrist (most commonly...as it passes through the carpal tunnel) but also can get irritated at the elbow area or the neck.

Dr. Abby :

Because you do a lot of lifting, it may be due to that.

Dr. Abby :

And it is very common for symptoms to be worse at night.

Dr. Abby :

The symptoms can radiate up the arm as well...

Dr. Abby :

The initial treatment is to try wearing a wrist splint that keeps your wrist from bending at night.

Dr. Abby :

Since you may be pregnant, you want to avoid any antiinflammatories.

Dr. Abby :

Your doctor should also consider performing a nerve conduction study on your arm to determine exactly where the nerve is being irritated.

Dr. Abby :

Called an EMG test.

Dr. Abby :

Depending on the severity of the irritation of the nerve, and if it is occurring at the wrist, a steroid injection may also be helpful for you.

Customer :

Should I go to a Gen Practitioner for this? Should I avoid holding my son on this side, although it is hard to not lift him.

Dr. Abby :

If you can avoid holding him on that side, that would be ideal, yes.

Dr. Abby :

Your GP can order the appropriate testing and can also treat you initially.

Dr. Abby :

If you have medical supply coverage with your insurance, he can order the splint for you as well.

Customer :

How urgent is this to go in? We are moving, ect.

Dr. Abby :

If you are noting that your hand/arm is staying permanently numb or for long periods, you at least want to get the splint started. It is not an emergency situation.

Dr. Abby :

The splint should help you.

Dr. Abby :

I would try to get in over the next few weeks.

Dr. Abby :

If you notice any weakness in your grip or in your arm, then you need to be checked out now.

Customer :

Thank You, XXXXX XXXXX you answer my question.

Dr. Abby :

Good, I am glad :)

Dr. Abby :

Happy New Year.

Customer :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX you. Good Bye.

Dr. Abby :

Feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have,
Dr Abby

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