“Tingling” in the hands

Body MechanicsBody MechanicsBody Mechanics October 12, 2011

I recently had someone send me the following question: “I sleep on my stomach, and most mornings I wake up with either my arm or hand or both numb from my weight being on it as I slept. Have you heard of someone getting a long term injury from something like this?”

My best guess as an ergonomics consultant and a Physical Therapist without more information on this individual is that the tingling is due to posture & pressure on the clients arm when he sleeps with it underneath him. This causes decreased blood flow to the arm and hand and the resultant symptoms of “tingling.” I assume once he moves the arm around the tingling disappears.

There is no ABSOLUTE answer to this question. It may not cause any permanent damage to the arm or hand, but if there are other issues, such as work stress, medical issues like diabetes, etc., he could definitely be more prone to a medical issue.

I would use the old story from the Doctor. The patient says to the Doctor, when I do this I get tingling. The Doctor says, “ Don’t do that.”

Hope this helps.


One thought


  • Fred Stark

    I personally have experienced this and I have attributed atrophy in one of the tingling hands’ fingernails to prone sleeping. Perhaps coincidental, but the fingernail has recovered since I’ve modified away from prone sleeping with my arm extended horizontally above my head (like superman). It seems likely that the (vascular) impingement may have originated in the cervical plexus or shoulder, or ulnar nerve. Thanks, Fred

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