Numbness and pain in right arm at night

Patient

Q: When I lay down at night my right arm goes to sleep to the point where it becomes painful and difficult to sleep. When I sit up or stand it mostly goes away.

Doctor

A:   With your previous history of alcohol abuse , the numbness in your right arm may be due to an Alcohol neuropathy produced by a  vitamin B deficiency. I suggest that you stop drinking, continue your rehab and begin to take Vitamin B complex supplement to help to regenerate the affected nerve. The other possibility to consider is a Rotator Cuff impingement. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that support the shoulder. These tendons can be injured during weight lifting, extreme efforts, when playing sports with a lot of throwing, after repetitive use over a long time or suffer degenerative changes with the aging process. Typically, the pain worsens at night, a dull ache in the upper outer arm and shoulder, it results from mechanical impingement of the rotator cuff tendon beneath the anteroinferior portion of the acromion (one of the bones of the shoulder joint), causing changes in the distal part of the rotator cuff tendon, which is at risk due to poor blood supply. Conservative treatment of the Rotator Cuff tendonitis involves: physical therapy to control pain and keep range of motion of the shoulder, avoidance of painful movements and activities; anti-inflammatory medication (i.e.: “Advil”, “Aleve”). If there is poor or no improvement, then, local corticosteroid injection may be considered.

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