ZocdocAnswersMy forearm has ached since it fell asleep while resting the other day, how long will this last?

Question

My forearm has ached since it fell asleep while resting the other day, how long will this last?

I am a 43 year old male. I fell asleep watching a movie with my son on my lap three days ago and when I woke up my arm was "asleep" from where he had been leaning on it. Since then my forearm has ached constantly, more when I start moving from a period of inactivity or stretch outward to pickup something, but at least a small amount at all times. I am currently using pseudoephedrine HCL for congestion and have taken ibuprofen for the ache in my arm. is this an atypical reaction to a body part being asleep? should I make an emergency appointment with my GP (two weeks for a scheduled appointment)

Answer

I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor (your GP). If you need an urgent or scheduled appointment depends on a few things...see below. In general, forearm pain can be caused by a few conditions. Nerve problems are very common. Nerve problems can occur from compression of a nerve. For example, sleeping on the nerve (known as Saturday night palsy) can cause arm numbness and weakness. This normally resolves over 12-24 hours. However, if there is any weakness or clumsiness associated with the arm, then this is more worrisome and warrants urgent evaluation. Other causes of forearm pain are possible. Muscle sprain or strains are possible. These normally are worse with movement and should improve with ibuprofen. Rarely, a tiny bone fracture can occur that causes similar pain. Another cause is a blood clot in the veins of the arm. This is normally associated with swelling. You should certainly see your doctor. The arm pain requires evaluation as, as I am sure you are aware, the arm is an important and complex tool. Any derangement can lead to long term malfunctioning. If you have any associated weakness, clumsiness, headache, fevers, shortness of breath or chest pain you should see your doctor immediately. Good luck.

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