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Nerve compression while sleeping - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1722 Questions
User :   Ever since I had twins 3 years ago, when I lay on my left side (to sleep), my entire left side goes numb/falls asleep. My left hip also pops when I lift it (to dress) or exercise. I'm having no pain, but fear it will get worse.
Doctor :   Hi Dr
Doctor :   let me read your query
Doctor :   ok
Doctor :   so the numbness on the left side do you feel it regularly ?
User :   Only when I lay on it. When standing/walking, no numbness
Doctor :   does the numbness resolve over time or is it persistant
User :   When I lay on my back or right side, the numbness subsides quickly
Doctor :   Waking up with a numb arm is a relatively common problem.
Doctor :   If the numbness is the lone symptom, and is transient and it resolves within a reasonable time (1-2 hrs) it could be due to nerve compression
Doctor :   The numbness is due to compression of the peripheral nerve at a point where it is near the surface.
Doctor :   As the compression is relieved the numbness resolves.
Doctor :   Usually just taking steps to avoid the compression is enough.
User :   since it is only in my left leg, could it be from pregnancy and is there some kind of misalignment?
Doctor :   no this is not associated with pregnancy
Doctor :   this is due to pressure on the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg
Doctor :   If the numbness is associated with motor deficits like weakness, paralysis, etc it could be due to a more serious cause which would require additional evaluation.
User :   so I shouldn't expect this problem to progress?
Doctor :   no not at all
Doctor :   so the next time you sleep, make sure that the posture is right
User :   Do you recommend chiropractic care?
Doctor :   and you keep some good pillows on the side of the body you sleep
Doctor :   it can help to some extent,
Doctor :   but do some stretching exercises, physical workouts etc
Doctor :   this will strengthen the muscles and tendons
Doctor :   and may help to reduce the pressure on the nerves
Doctor :   in addition physiotherapy will also help
User :   I have also been dealing with knee pain (patelleo-femoral disorder) and pain in ankle/foot--is this related?
Doctor :   no they are not related
Doctor :   the knee pain could be due to tendon laxity or arthritis
Doctor :   usually post pregnancy, tendons in the body become lax due to effects of the hormones
Doctor :   physical workouts and aerobic exercises are helpful to regain muscle and tendon tone and strength
User :   I fear exercise is what has caused all my injuries and pain! I have reduced my workouts to pilates and swimming.
Doctor :   yes they are ok
Doctor :   swimming is a better alternative to start up slow
Doctor :   you should also get evaluated to rule out sciatica , which could play a part in all your symptoms
User :   Are these conditions usually chronic or is there a chance I will ever be able to return to heavy exercise?
Doctor :   over time, you will become normal
Doctor :   the arthritis or tendinitis may persist for some time, but will fade with treatment with NSAIDs or supportive therapy
Doctor :   I hope i have cleared your doubts
Doctor :   is there anything else i can help you with ?
Doctor :   Are you there ?
User :   I see. I have done 10 weeks of physical therapy with little effect. But my MD thinks once my children are older and not as "high maintenance" that my physical symptoms may subside. You have indeed been a great deal of help which I appreciate. I have been alerted that I am almost out of time. Thank you so much!
Doctor :   yes your doc is right
Doctor :   your symptoms could also be due to stress related to parenting
Doctor :   you are most welcome
User :   I have been treated for panic disorder and had success with cymbalta--I'm sure it's all related and I'm in need or rest! Thank you again
Doctor :   take care and have a good day
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