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Dr.Sawhney, Orthopedic Surgeon
Category: Orthopedics
Satisfied Customers: 7180
Experience:  More than a decade of post qualification experience
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I fell asleep in recliner with my upper arm was resting

Customer Question

I fell asleep in recliner with my upper arm was resting agaist a table for like 6 hours. When I woke up I have no feeling in my arm or hand and fingers. I cant move my wrist at all. And my arm and hand are very cold. Been awake now for 12 hours and have
moved arm alot and its still like that. Dont know what to do will it go normal again or did I damage something. Please help. Am on vacation in New York and have to drive home Wednesday to Alabama I cant drive with one arm. Also can not move thumb at all.Help!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Orthopedics
Expert:  Dr.Sawhney replied 2 years ago.


I am an Orthopaedic surgeon and I would be happy to help you today.

You have suffered a condition commonly known as Saturday night palsy. Because of the pressure exerted on radial nerve when it kept lying in one position for several hours against the table it has stopped functioning. That has caused numbness as well as inactivity in the muscles supplied by radial nerve .

But the good thing is that the nerve almost always recover completely with sufferers recovering normal function and sensation.

Time to recovery is variable and may extend from a couple of days to 3 - 4 weeks.

There is not much you can do by yourself to treat the condition. You will need to wait for the nerve to recover.

Feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
then there is no need for me to go to doctors right? Also should I rest my arm and hand or try to keep moving it? Does the coldness mean there is no blood circulation?
Expert:  Dr.Sawhney replied 2 years ago.
Coldness can be due to the nerve palsy but it would be safer to check for pulse at wrist.If you can feel the pulse it means there is no problem with blood circulation.
If you can feel your pulse going to a doctor would not serve much purpose.
There is not much to gain by trying to move your arm.