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What causes the inability to move the arm?

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Neurologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 2007
Answered : 830 Questions
I have been awake and moving for over an hour and my left hand is "asleep", pins and needles thing, which is normal when you sleep on a limb hard and don't move, but it has been over an hour and still feels that way, this can't be normal. and I have to go work a 12 hour shift at noon. I can't have my left arm and hand not working..... I have ptsd but the only med I am currently on is prazosin for my high blood pressure and to help with my nightmares. I went off my paxcil 8 days ago because it doesn't help and I don't like being on meds. so am I going to have a stroke at 38? what's wrong that my left arm wont wake up?

Fri, 18 May 2018 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Left-hand numbness causes

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX, thanks for asking from HealthcareMagic.

I can understand your concern. Your left hand is numb for more than 1 hour. It can be due to

- Neuropraxia - Neuropraxia is a type of temporary nerve injury which results from persistent pressure on the nerve for a long duration. It can happen after sleep/bad posture/sleeping on a hard surface. It is a totally reversible condition after pressure is removed. It may take hours to a day.
The main symptoms are tingling/numbness/feeling cold/inability to move limbs and extremities.

- Acute neuropathy due to viral fever/drug toxicity/ischemic/traumatic. It is unlikely in your case.

- Thoracic outlet syndrome - It means compression of either vascular or nerve or both, which supply left side hand. It can be confirmed by examining your pulses in different positions, X-ray chest/MRI shoulder and chest. It can be suspected if rest diagnoses are excluded.

- Stroke - Ischemic or bleeding. It can be suspected of deficit persists and/or worsens. Your age is against it (young). However, if it persists/ worsens, consult ER and neurologist for examination. MRI brain with DWI images may be needed to confirm. It can be completely treated if the duration is less than 4 hours.

I am suspecting neuropraxia in your case. Continue hand movements and avoid any tight clothes. Observe it for 1 more hour, if it worsens, do consult the ER.

Hope it will help. If you have any doubts, do let me know.
Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes the inability to move the arm? 10 hours later
it's been over 9 hours now and I still have pins and needles in my left arm and hand. I worked on my feet for 7 hours, then Ive been resting at home the last few. Do you think I should wait another day or go to er.

really, four hours..... why did i pay money for this? er and urgent care are faster.... f you my limb has been asleep for almost 24 hours.... I'm scared I'm going to have a stroke..... I'm unhealthy, i have ptsd.... f you i want my money back.

please say somthing
Answered by Dr. Ishu Bishnoi 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Stroke is ruled out

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXX, welcome back.

Sorry for the delay. I was busy in operating an emergency trauma case.

You are having sensory symptoms (pins and needles) in your left arm and hand. As there is no weakness, stroke is already ruled out. Don't worry about it. You are stressed because of paresthesias.

You can go to ER to get neurological examination done, if you are very very scared.

But I suggest you can wait. I am keeping possibility of sensory neuropathy/neuropraxia and less likely thoracic outlet syndrome. For relief, you can take

- tablet Pregabaline (usual adult dose is 75 mg twice a day what I prescribe) after prescription.

- take neutron specific vitamin like B12, B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, benfotamine for at least 21 days. It will treat any nutritional deficiency.

Wait for routine check up by a neurologist. You can send me your examination and investigations records. I will guide you further.
I am sorry again for the inconvenience.

Hope it will help. Thanks. Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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