Who else has woken up and tried to reach over to shut their alarm off, only to realize their entire arm hasn't moved at all because it's entirely numb?
I'm not going to pretend like I haven't knocked my cellphone to the floor because my hand wouldn't actually grip it in the morning. It's happened a lot if we're being completely honest, and it's annoying every single time.
But why does this happen? Why do our arms take so long to regain their mobility in the morning? Is it just because we slept on them funny, or is there something more going on?
It's called Paresthesia
Paresthesia is what the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke call that pins and needles feeling in your arms and legs.
It can also be completely numb, but basically it's the medical term for that feeling when your limbs fall asleep.
Most often it is caused by pressure on a nerve.
When your limb is placed in a way that results in an unusual amount of pressure on a nerve, it can cause it to go numb. Typically the feeling returns once you switch positions. This is why it happens to us while we sleep.
But sleeping wrong or sitting in a weird position isn't actually the only reason that your limbs go numb, it could actually be something that you should probably correct.
Vitamin B Deficiency
While we all know that it's important to get enough vitamins, we don't always put all that much effort into actually getting them.
But if your body is lacking vitamin B, you may notice that you become more prone to having that pins and needles feeling in your arms and legs.
Here's the thing, it's not just a simple numbness, when caused by a vitamin B deficiency, it could actually mean that you are suffering from anemia.
Anemia can cause a lot of symptoms, including poor circulation and tingling limbs, which are often mistaken for paresthesia.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also be the cause of those tingling feelings in your hands, as it compresses the median nerve, and then the repetitive motions like typing can cause it to flare up.
Retaining fluid is annoying on its own, but it actually causes the circulation to get blocked up, creating a tingling sensation in your limbs.
This is often caused by salt intake, and fluctuating hormones, and is often localized into one area of the body.
Having diabetes is hard enough, but if you constantly experience tingling in your limbs it could mean that you have peripheral neuropathy, which is caused by a consistent high blood sugar levels.
If your blood sugar remains too high for too long, it can cause a lasting nerve damage that mimics the harmless paresthesia, but has a more permanent effect.
When should you see a doctor for numbness in your limbs?
Always talk to your doctor about your concerns, especially when you find that the pins and needles sensation lasts longer than a few moments, or if it starts to cause a great deal of pain.
Also, if it is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Trouble speaking
- Issues with coordination
If you're noticing that it's happening a lot, try to track the episodes. Jot down when it happens and for how long, noting how severe it feels. That will help your doctor determine whether or not it's a real concern.