My arms become numb while sleeping and I get disturbed. How to fix this problem?

Q. What causes numbness in arms while sleeping?

Answered by
Dr. Penchilaprasad Kandikattu
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 11, 2020 and last reviewed on: Feb 10, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am a 35-year-old male. I have been to several doctors (neurologist) and I have not been told what is wrong and what I can do to fix it?

My symptoms are: for the last ten months, when I go to sleep I wake up with one or both of my arms being numb from my elbow down to my pinky and ring finger. So I know there is something up with my ulnar nerve. This happens when I am asleep on my back, which is why I got an MRI of my neck to see if it was happening from there. When I saw the spine specialist he said my MRI was normal for my age.

This is what the MRI report showed.

C5-C6 = 2 mm disc protrusion, mild effacement of thecal sac, AP canal diameter 9.5 mm. C6-C7 = 2 mm disc osteophyte complex, moderate effacement, AP canal 9.5mm. C7-T1 = 2mm disc protrusion, AP diameter 11.5 mm.

He looked at the images and said nothing would be happening to the nerve from the neck. Also, I saw a neurologist and they did an EMG, nerve conduction study, EEG, and MRI of the brain. They said everything was normal. Everything I have found online points to ulnar neuropathy or cubital tunnel syndrome. I just have not had any doctor confirm what is going on and I do not know anybody personally that has experienced this issue. It is disrupting my sleep causing me to wake up multiple times each night.

My questions are, what can I do to fix this physical therapy, surgery, etc.? Are there long term effects for having this?



Welcome to

Sorry about your present health condition. Usually during sleeping on supine position or sleeping on sitting position with hands side by side may can cause some compression of ulnar nerve lead to temporary signal interference call neuropraxia which is common in all individuals, but more in obese people, or hypothyroidism, or diabetic, or B12 deficiency, or hypocalcemia, or anemia, or hypokalemia conditions. So prevent medial rotation of arm while sleeping.

Get it done serum calcium and electrolytes. Als,o get done your blood sugar and thyroid status. Use vitamin B12 and Folic acid tablets. Tablet Pregabalin 75 mg is useful at night time.

If no improvement, please review with the above investigations. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption because it aggravates the condition. Rest your arms on pillows by the side.

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