T Nation

Pins and Needles in my Arms


I wasn't sure where to post this its not exactly an injury or rehab thing.
I've noticed that I increasingly get pins and needles in my arms when I lean on them while watching TV or whatever. I also quite often (more than once a week) wake up in the morning with a completely dead arm, cant feel it or even move my fingers for a minute or two.
Obvioulsy I try to avoid sleeping on my arms or with them overhead but I never used to have this problem, My hunch is that its because I've gotten bigger so I want to know if anyone else gets this.
I'm not a really big guy so I can't imagine how difficult it would be to avoid this kind of thing while sleeping for the big guys on here.


Yep - same thing. Just try not to sleep on your arms...lol...I know that's pretty obvious advice...


I wouldn't worry about it too much unless it became very frequent. I know that there are actual conditions that disallow blood from properly circulating through limbs, but can't remember what it's called.

Wish I could be more helpful, but I can't even sit Indian style for more than like 5 minutes without my legs falling asleep, haha.


Dude, thatused to happen to me too. I had my girl watch me sleep once and we found out my right arm gets under me when I roll around in sleep.


I sleep in a chair now. Lol


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Yes same thing is happening to me after putting on about 25 pounds. It's mostly my hands but also feet sometimes too.


It doesn't sound like it has anything to do with blood flow, it sounds like it's the nerves in the arm getting compressed. Depending on what parts of the arm/hand are numb you could pinpoint what part of the brachial plexus is being compressed (inability to move fingers would imply median/radial nerves) and there's a number of things that could cause it.

Stretching/soft tissue work might help, but altering the position in which you sleep is probably going to be the biggest thing.

Transient compression probably isn't that big of a deal but if you're waking up several times a week with numbness it probably isn't healthy for the nerves.


Some of the muscles of the neck have been removed, and the pec major and deltoid have been reflected off, but you can see several places where compression would be very possible.


I got the same thing going on. If i'm laying down and put my arms behind my head in like 30 seconds my arms fall asleep its just an annoyance


Thanks for the replys, its comforting knowing I'm not the only one. what do you guys find the best way to sleep is? I find sleeping on my back stops it happening unless I have my arms above my head but I dont want to be snoring and getting shitty sleep.


This was kind of an unexpected response but I trust your opinion. I didnt really think I had a problem in those areas, is there a test which I can do myself you would recomend?


wow thats an epic pump!


Yeah I would guess you are right, I had some constant issues with my left arm last year (weak grip, numb sensation) that the physio said was stemming from an impingment of the nerves in my shoulder. However that was related to me playing prop in rugby and went away when the season was over. Anyway the sensations are similar so it makes sense that it would be a nerve thing.

Most of the time it involves pretty much my whole arm not just my fingers. when it first started happening once both arms were really bad after sleeping on my stomach with my arms above my head lol weirdest thing ever.
Do you think that the nerves will get longer or something over time and it will be less of an issue?


Your physio was talking about the same large nerve cluster, the brachial plexus, it supplies all of the nerves for movement of muscles as well as cutaneous sensation to the shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist and hand.

Sleeping with your arms in the way you described would definitely put the nerves in a stretch for sure.

To answer your question, no, nerves don't really stretch over time.

Don't really know what to tell you other than to try to police how you're sleeping.


Somewhat related:
When I do heavy dumbell rows, I get a nerve tingle that goes all the way down my arm through a set. so far, I haven't noticed anything, but it bothers me. Anyone else get this?


I felt something similiar after a set of chins today.


I stretch out my neck. this helps me with said pain during the day. when sleeping on my back I use no pillows. it keeps my neck straight. when sleeping on my side I use two pillows to keep my neck straight with my spine. plus I have a third pillow to prop the arm that's up. I am a light sleeper with excellent nighttime pillow management. That's how I manage those pins and needles.


Its not uncommon.

This afflicted Ronnie Coleman in the later years of his career, the left side of his upper body atrophied compared to his right...I'm sure he did everything he could to try and fix it


@ Blaze

Yes, I get it during some arm-intensive movements as well. Annoyance but thats all at the moment.