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December 22, 2020 7 min read

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is the foundation for a great day, but actually getting a good night of rest sometimes seems like a distant dream. From noise nuisances to uncomfortable mattresses and buzzing bedtime thoughts, there are a number of common offenders that can come between you and quality sleep, and without a resolution, you could see a negative impact on your overall well-being.  

If neck pain and arm numbness while sleeping is on your list of bedtime offenders, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll take a look at how a pillow for arm numbness works as a solution to nighttime restlessness. Use the links below to navigate throughout the article or read end to end for a comprehensive overview on the topic.

What is Neck Pain?

Neck pain is a discomfort in the structure of the neck, typically caused by muscles strained by poor posture. Symptoms include headaches, tightness of the muscles or muscle spasms, pain by holding your head in one position for too long, and an overall decrease in the ability to move your head. 

Sometimes neck pain can also be caused by chronic health conditions, including fibromyalgia. In rare cases, if the pain is very severe, we highly recommend that you contact your doctor and seek medical care.

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain is often caused by poor posture, even while you sleep. In turn, poor posture while sleeping can be caused by the position you sleep in and/or the pillow that you use. While neck pain can occur in any sleeping position, sleeping on your stomach can be especially egregious if it impacts the alignment and curvature of your neck and your spine. It's recommended that you sleep on your side or back to reduce the likelihood of neck pain.

The same logic applies to your pillow and how it positions your neck relative to your spine. A 2016 study found that increasing the height of your pillow, without adjusting the placement of your spine, can cause neck pain. The material your pillow is made of can also play a role, as a 2020 study found that memory foam and latex pillows are less likely to cause neck pain than traditional pillows. This is because some materials, like memory foam, are better at providing support for your neck than traditional materials.

When to see a doctor about your neck pain

Seeking a professional medical opinion is advisable if:

      • Your neck pain is very severe.
      • Your symptoms don't go away after a week.
      • You have fever or severe headaches.

What is Arm Numbness?

If you’ve ever felt a tingling, pins and needles sensation in your limbs, like when you cross your legs for too long or hold the same position without moving, you’re probably familiar with the discomfort of arm numbness. When you’re sleeping, you’re likely resting in the same position for hours at a time, which can cause pressure to build up on your nerve endings and lead to a tingling feeling of numbness. 

When your arms fall asleep at night, it’s generally because you’re applying extra pressure on your limbs by pinning your own arm down with your body or resting your arm underneath your partner’s body weight. This sensation can also affect other parts of your body, like your hands or legs.

What causes arm numbness?

what causes arm numbness infographic

Arm numbness while sleeping can happen for a number of reasons, including:

      • Applying excess pressure on nerve endings, like when you sleep with your arms pinned under your own body or your partner’s body for an extended period of time. This is also known as nerve impingement.
      • Existing peripheral neuropathy nerve issues can also contribute to the presence of arm numbness at night. These conditions may include:
        • Carpal tunnel syndrome
        • Tennis or golfer’s elbow
        • Hypothyroidism
        • Diabetes
        • Rheumatoid arthritis
      • Excessive alcohol consumption can result in alcoholic neuropathy, which may cause arm numbness.
      • Vitamin B12 deficiency can disrupt the functionality of your nervous system and contribute to arm numbness while active or while sleeping.

When to see a doctor for arm numbness

In the majority of cases, the most concern nighttime arm numbness should cause is an uncomfortable disruption of your sleep, but certain cases of arm numbness may signal a deeper underlying issue. If your arm numbness persists while you’re awake or is significantly impacting the quality of your sleep, you may want to schedule a visit with your doctor.

man suffering from arm numbness holding wrist

At your appointment, your doctor will take a look at your medical history, discuss your symptoms, and likely perform a physical examination. With this information, your physician can help identify your condition and direct you toward effective solutions, which may include a pillow for arm numbness. 

How to minimize arm numbness at night

If nighttime arm numbness is coming between you and a good night’s sleep, it’s probably time to take a look at your treatment options. Depending on the severity and cause of your numbness, appropriate treatment options may fall into one of the following categories:

    • Medication: Anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure medicine, and antidepressants can be used to address nerve issues and reduce both daytime and nighttime arm numbness. 
    • Surgery: Though it's typically a last-resort option, surgery can be used to resolve more severe cases of nerve damage that may be the underlying cause of your issues.
    • Physical therapy: Strengthening your wrists with basic stretches can reduce symptoms of carpal tunnel and other conditions that may be causing your arm numbness.
    • Adjusting your sleep position or using a pillow for arm numbness: As you know by now, one of the most common causes of nighttime arm numbness is due to the excess pressure that’s applied to the nerve endings in your arm while you sleep. Adjusting your sleep posture or using a pillow for arm numbness can alleviate the pressure from your arm, and as a result, reduce or potentially eliminate symptoms while you sleep.

In this next section, we’ll discuss how pillows for arm numbness work and how you can find the best pillow for numb arms.

How a Pillow for Neck Pain and Arm Numbness Can Help

A pillow for neck pain and arm numbness works by properly aligning your neck and spine, as well as taking the pressure off of your downside arm, allowing your arms to rest without restricting blood flow or applying extra weight to your arm’s nerve endings while you sleep. MedCline’s Shoulder Relief System is a three-component solution that gently elevates your torso to take pressure off of your downside arm, while at the same time allowing that arm to rest within a comfortable, flexible pocket.


pillow for arm numbness medcline infographic

MedCline’s pillow for side sleepers with arm numbness is a patented design that features components designed to alleviate arm numbness and shoulder pain. The Shoulder Relief System utilizes a symmetrical design, gradual incline, and flexible arm construction to relieve pressure and restore restful sleep in no time.

Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Arm Numbness FAQs

Any time you’re evaluating solutions to improve your wellness, it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time and consider all options available to you. In this section, we’ll describe some ways to help you find the best pillow for arm numbness.

How to use a pillow to relieve neck pain and arm numbness?

Using MedCline’s Shoulder Relief System is simple. Here’s how it works:

    1. Set Up: Your Sleep System can be put together by following the easy instructions provided with your order. Once you’ve put your pillow for arm numbness together, simply place it on top of your mattress.
    2. Get In:Allow your downside arm to drop into the provided arm pocket as you rest on your side.
    3. Find Your Comfort:Adjust your position as needed until you find your ideal comfort. Not finding your comfort immediately? Speak to one of our Sleep Specialists for help finding your preferred position using our pillow for arm numbness.

    how to use medcline shoulder pillow infographic

    What is the best pillow for neck pain and arm numbness?

    The best pillow for neck pain and arm numbness should keep your head and neck at the right position, and allow your arms to rest comfortably by alleviating the pressure and pain you experience on a nightly basis. Our shoulder relief pillow  is engineered to maintain your body in the right position and comfortably eliminate arm pressure while still giving you enough flexibility to find a comfortable sleeping posture that’s tailored to your needs.

    What is the best sleeping position to reduce neck pain and arm numbness?

    Sleeping on your back with your arms at your side can help you avoid arm numbness, but it could also result in discomfort in other ways, like if you suffer from back pain or acid reflux at night. That's why we recommend sleeping on your side.

    Note: If you do deal with nighttime reflux and heartburn, consider trying our acid reflux pillow, which uses the doctor-recommended sleeping position for nighttime heartburn relief.

    Can using the wrong pillow cause arm pain?

    It could. When you sleep with pressure directly on your downside arm — like when your head rests on a pillow that’s on top of your arm — you could experience arm numbness. By elevating your body and taking pressure off of your arm, you can sleep more comfortably, without shoulder pain or arm numbness.

    Can using the wrong pillow cause neck pain?

    Yes, pillows that elevate your neck and head against the natural curvature of your spine can cause neck pain. Furthermore, a 2020 study found that traditional pillows are more likely to cause neck pain than latex or memory foam pillows.


    woman waking up without pain

    Meet MedCline’s Shoulder Relief Sleep System

    "I bought this for a friend of mine with shoulder and neck pain and they continually thank me as headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain is gone with excellent sleep achieved."
    — Michelle C. (read more reviews)

    Not only can our Shoulder Relief System help alleviate shoulder pain symptoms, but it can also act as a pillow for arm numbness. Our patented three-component system allows your arm to rest comfortably within the provided arm pocket while your torso is positioned at a gentle incline, taking the pressure off of your muscles, joints, and nerves.

    To learn more about how our pillow for arm numbness works and how else MedCline can help, visit our FAQ page.