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arms numb and painful when sleeping
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arms numb and painful when sleeping


  : I am a healthy 48 year old female (although I am overweight).  Lately I am experiencing pain and numbness in my arms when I sleep.  When I stand up or use my arms the pain goes away.  It also feels better to sleep with my arms down by my sides when I sleep however there is still some pain.  I have absolutely NO other symptoms.  I noticed tingling in my arms while shopping one day after my hands had been in an upright position moving hangers along a rack.  Maybe this is related.  My blood pressure is normal with a slight leaning toward the lower end.  What is my next move?  Thank you!
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Dear Jane,
Ever fall asleep while watching TV and wake up to notice your arm or leg has 'fallen asleep'?  It sounds like this is what is happening to you.  Sleeping in certain positions causes compression on the nerves of the arms resulting in transient numbness and tingling when you awaken.  A few extra pounds will exacerbate the situation.  Experiment with different positions in sleeping and see if you can't find one that doesn't cause the tingling.  Generally speaking, many find that keeping their arms high above their heads or low by the sides is not the best position.  
Occasionally in this situation a patient may have something called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  This is due to pressure on the nerves and vessels of the arm when the 1st rib and clavicle are too close together.
It causes numbness, tingling and decreased pulses in the arm when it is elevated above the head.  It is doubtful in your case because of the bilateral symptoms.  If your numbness and tingling persist in spite of the above, mention it to your physician for further consideration.  
Good luck.







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