Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why are my limbs falling asleep for days at a time?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy are my limbs falling asleep for days at a time?


I'm a 23 year old woman. In the past two years, my hands, arms, feet, and legs have been falling asleep for 1-5 days at a time. At first, the problem was minor. I would have a few fingers fall asleep for a day. Recently, though, my whole arms and legs have been falling asleep for days at a time. They are also very weak when they are asleep. Sometimes, I also get an intense tickling sensation in the arch of my left foot. I had an MRI about a month ago, which was normal. I'm not taking any medications, just a multivitamin.


Your symptoms are concerning. There are many possible causes of your conditions -- some of which are minor and some of which are very serious. I would strongly recommend that you see a neurologist ( a brain and nerve specialist) to have this evaluated. The sensation of limbs falling asleep is medically known as a parasthesia. This is often caused by irritation to the nerves. This "irritation" can occur anywhere from the brain to the nerves in the skin. One common concern for irritation of the brain is Multiple Sclerosis or MS. MS is a condition where inflammation of the brain causes weakness, numbness, visual changes etc that often come and go. It is possible to have a normal MRI at one point in the course -- as the inflammation comes and goes. I would discuss this with a neurologist. It could also be the nerves outside of the brain causing the problem. Known as a peripheral neuropathy, this can be caused by low vitamin levels (like b12), thyroid problems, infections (like Lyme's or syphilis or HIV), or other cancers like multiple myeloma. There are certain tests of the blood that can help. Talk to a neurologist. He or she can help diagnose and potentially treat your symptoms.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.