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#50984 - 10/10/06 09:47 PM Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Sterny Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 09/11/04
Posts: 197
Loc: Virginia
Hi all. It's been awhile since I've visited. I have a question about some new symptoms I'm having. You know the feeling when your foot or leg "goes to sleep" if you cross your legs to long? Recently, I've awakened from sleep with one or both arms/hands "asleep." One night I couldn't even move my right arm; had to massage it with my left arm; it started to tingle, then I could use the muscles in my right arm to bring it back to completely normal feeling/functioning.
Last night I awoke with numbness in my left arm going into my left hand, but only the little finger and ring finger. From my medical school days, I know that there is a nerve called the "ulnar nerve" that goes down the arm into your hands, but only affects the little finger and ring finger; another nerve activates the other fingers and thumb. So I'm thinkin' maybe nerve compression. It's happening on both upper extremities (oops, I mean arms). I'll see my rheumatologist and see what he thinks. Maybe I need to see a neurologist and have a lovely EMG test (sticking needles into muscles, turning on the juice--electricity--and checking the conduction of different nerves. Weird, because in part it seems like a circulatory problem, like when normal people have their foot fall asleep after crossing their leg for too long.
Anyone have problems like this?
Now I also had intensive radiation treatment to the right side of my neck/face for recurrent benign tumors, and when I swim, I get tingling sensations down my arms--this is called L'Hermitte's syndrome (sp?).
Now the good news. My divorce is final, I don't have to pay lifetime alimony to my abusive and lazy ex-wife, and I have a wonderful girlfriend! Who'd a thunk it? AS is of course having an impact on both of us, but she is a nurse, a natural care giver, and wants to help me. I also get a powerful relief of pain/fatigue/suffering when I'm with her. I assume massive release of endorphins. So falling in love is powerful medicine. But this arm stuff is getting scary. It only happens at night when I'm lying down, so I expect it has something to do with nerve compression and/or circulatory problems.
Yes, I need to go to a doctor.
I'm trying to write some chapters for a book on AS. I've read a book by a doctor who has AS, but can't believe some of the statements. Like, "patients with AS can lead a normal and productive life." Normal? Can you say "denial?"
My biggest problem with AS continues to be that massive fatigue, which someone on the board once beautifully described as "an oppressive blanket of fatigue." Pain, oh ya, but the fatigue...I can't believe that anyone with AS has anything approaching a "normal" life. Opportunities for being heroic, yes, but I'd rather be average and not have AS. But as my girlfriend reminds me, "everyone has something." Though you can't see it from the outside.
Thanks for any input and hi all!

#50985 - 10/10/06 10:36 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Meli Offline

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 6
I have the exact same thing. I was just diagnosed with inflamatory arthritis last week, probably AS. I have had joint pain for years but just recently developed problems in my neck. Personally I believe it is the neck involvement because the arms going to sleep started in the last year when my neck started hurting. Mine go to sleep while I am asleep. They also have gone to sleep while I am awake and just walking around. That is really weird. They feel dead. My new rheuma.told me to go to a neurologist. I think it is some kind of nerve compression too.

#50986 - 10/10/06 10:42 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Ides Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 635
Loc: WA
I have ulnar neuropathy in both arms. The neurologist has not done an EMG on the other nerves yet because he is trying to accurately diagnosis my small fiber neuropathy in my feet first. I am due for complete EMG on the arms next month. My neurologist cannot tell where the ulnar nerve problem is without further testing. He indicated it can be difficult to locate sometimes. He said the arthritic changes could be a factor but there are also simple things like postional/overuasgae problems. All that I know is that I want him to locate the problem before the damage is irreversible. The small fiber neuropathy in my feet is extremely painful and went misdiagnosed by my former neurologist for 2 years. There is no doubt that the nerve damage in my feet is now permanent.

Get thyself to the neurologist and get worked up! And congrats on having a new love!
Besides, AS, dealing with Crohn's, peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis,, PAD, and a host of other issues.

#50987 - 10/10/06 10:44 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Meli Offline

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 6
So what does the neurologist do to stop it? How do you stop the damage?

#50988 - 10/11/06 02:38 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Registered Visitor

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 3195
Loc: Mississippi
Sterny, Glad to hear that your life is on course and about the book.Yes it is good to hear about people with [minor] pain but what about all
of us that have major pain and fatigue.Thumbs up on the book.
I have had an improvement in neuropathic pain and numbness by using a low dose of Topamax the last several months.I take only 25mg. to a max of 75mg. a day.
Best, Mike smile

#50989 - 10/11/06 03:06 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Doll Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 09/24/06
Posts: 132
Loc: California
I am so glad you posted this. For the past three weeks I have woken up and my little and ring finger on my left hand are "asleep" They are completely numb. I thought I was sleeping on my arm wrong, but for a week my arm has felt like someone gave me "dead arm" so maybe I have compressed nerves.

#50990 - 10/11/06 03:26 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Sara S-C Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 01/22/04
Posts: 126
Loc: New Jersey
Glad to hear some things are on the upswing! Keep that upward momentum going!
Re: the arm thing-sounds like the ulnar nerve indeed. Have similar issues-usually after sleeping -particularly in my right (because of course I'm right-handed). Mine is coming from the cervical spine C5&C6 - 2 herniated discs, with one of them that ruptured to the right and compressed the nerve(can't remember which disc). Woke up with it one morning - who knows what the heck happened. Although healing, cervical spine is problematic and compressing the nerve. Physical Therapy helped the immense pain that was present for about 5 weeks, but have been told that this (tingling,nerve compression,etc.) will be an issue and that I need to pay attention in the event it gets worse. In other words (Short Version): Hie thee to thine Physician, my friend (get it checked. Who knows what lurks in the mind and heart of AS? - Sorry, my age is showing).
Good Luck!
Sara S-C

#50991 - 10/11/06 04:08 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
Sparks1956 Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 06/08/06
Posts: 56
Loc: Pinellas Park, Florida

I have the same problem with my right arm and leg from time to time. It feels like a piece of rubber hanging from your shoulder, and you have no control over it. Once I got up from bed when my right leg had became numb, and fell flat on my face, as I had no control over the right leg. So if you have a problem with your leg becoming numb, be carefull and make sure that you have the feeling back in it before getting up.
I also had the left side of my left leg from the knee down to my foot remain numb for over 2 months once. It was really wierd. 2 toes felt normal, and the other 3 felt numb. My doctor thought it was due to nerve compression, but by the time I got to see a specialist, I was already getting the feeling back.

good luck,

#50992 - 10/11/06 04:29 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
MichiganWolverine Offline

Registered: 09/26/06
Posts: 789
Loc: Cleveland/Akron Ohio
I've had problems off and on with the pinky and ring finger being numb for a while. Haven't noticed in being when I wake up though. I had X-rays a year ago on my wrist and they showed sclerotic bone cysts on the ulnar side in both wrists. My rheumie at the time didn't seem to think it was connected or a big deal. I also have something similar to trigger finger in both those fingers as well. They seem to catch sometimes, but don't actually get "stuck". Doctor said it was possibly inflamed tendons.

I also have noticed for over a year that if I sit on my knees, they immediately fall dead asleep from the knee to foot. Within seconds! It's VERY painful and started around the same time as everything else. Makes getting on the floor with the kids difficult, as can't sit on my knees, wouldn't DREAM of trying to sit indian style, and can't sit with legs to the side as that hurts my hips and bottom!! I'm interested in anyone else has this problem. My doctor said it's a nerve in my knee that's causing it, but didn't say why. All of these numbness/falling asleep issues started at the same time as my first real "flare".

Good luck on your book, and new love!

#50993 - 10/11/06 07:47 PM Re: Arms and hands "go to sleep'
EthansMom Offline
Registered Visitor

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 135
Loc: Placerville, CA
My son is the A.S. patient at our house (11 years old) and recently he's been complaining about his arms feeling "asleep" too (in the middle of the day, not just arising inh the morning) so I was so surprised to see this post! I have no idea what it is (I know, I'm SO much help) but its interesting that he's not the only A.S. patient experiencing it...
Ashley, Ethan's Mom
(both Ethan, age 15, and myself have A.S.)

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