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Slept on arm. Now getting numbness and tingling sensation on arm. Safe remedy?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
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I fell asleep with my son on my arm, when I woke up my hand was dead-that is couldn't move fingers for a few seconds. When I started shaking my arm it started to regain feeling.
Posted Sat, 25 May 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Achuo Ascensius 2 hours later
thanks for the query.

The symptoms you have describe are related to ischemia or reduced blood flow to tissues. When there is reduce or no blood flow to a part of the body, the first appearing symptoms are sensation of pins and needles on the extremity, blue coloration of the skin, pain and then weakness sets in. If the blood flow is cut completely for longer periods of more than 6 hours, permanent damage can occur to the underlying tissue.

In your case, the most possible cause is occlusion of vessels as you carried your son in your arm. Following occlusion, the tissue that are supplied by the occluded vessel are deprived of oxygen and so they under a type of respiration called anaerobic ( without oxygen) respiration. Anaerobic respiration has many unwanted products such as lactic acid that turn to cause pain and destroy cells.
It is the effect of the accumulated waste which can not even be removed because of poor circulation that produce the characteristic symptoms associated with ischemia.

However, when the situation is address early enough,, permanent damage is prevented and the toxic substances are gradually remove from circulation with the restoration of the extremity's function.

Mild compression could be severe in people with vascular disease like in diabetics and hypertensives who have what is called atherosclerosis. However, since you do not have hypertension or diabetes and given your relatively young age, atherosclerosis can be excluded.

Hope this answers your query. If you have further query, i will be glad to contribute help.
Best regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Slept on arm. Now getting numbness and tingling sensation on arm. Safe remedy? 1 hour later
Thanks! He was sleeping on my arm when it happened. It was eerie because normally I have pins and needles from this type of sleeping position-me on my side and my son laying on my arm-and I can quickly open and close my hand to stop symptoms. In this case however, my hand would not move for about 10 seconds or until I shook my arm all around. It frightened me a bit since this has never happened before-numb yes but not paralysis. My hand is fine today and I have full mobility. Does this sound normal and just a result of my son cutting off oxygen? Thanks for your help!
Answered by Dr. Achuo Ascensius 51 minutes later
thanks once more for the query.

Its normal and there is no need to be afraid. Its the ischemia thing and that is why you felt improved as the products of anaerobic respiration where gradually being cleared off. You do not need to worry but subsequently you should consider alternating the arms.

Hope this answers your query. If you have further query, i will be glad to help. If you do not have further query, you could close the discussion and rate the answers.
Best regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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