There is even a great song about it!
This happened to a really alarming degree on two occasions. Once I slept on the deck of a ship (while very drunk, yeah) and lost motor control of my right hand. I could close my fist, but not open it again... Pretty worrying as I'm an artist. But full control came back over a few days.
The other time I got what I can only call "lover's leg". After cuddling in an odd position for a night I became permanently numb in one shin! Amazingly it took something like a year for the effects to go completely.
I suffer from thoracic spinal stenosis and have lived with bilateral neuropathy in my legs and feet for years. It's not pleasant and can drive you mad after a while. It's not just numbness but strength, balance and dexterity are all impacted.
Surgery has restored some feeling to my legs but axial nerve regeneration is extremely slow (1-2 mm per year) and some areas may never come back. What most people don't know is the head of the nerve is in your brain and the nerve cells radiate outward from there so any regeneration starts from the head down. This is why recovery is so slow and in the case of severing of the spinal cord due to trauma, usually permanent.
This is why stem cell research is so promising for nerve damage. Looking forward to new breakthroughs in this area.
Arg! You beat me to it
I knew a woman who passed out in a kneeling position and came very close to losing her legs. Not good.
Slept on my arm one night, had bad dead-arm the next day but had motor control. MD checked heart, put me on a course of prednisone, which didn't do much. Took about a month to feel normal and that arm still seems more touchy and quick to go numb.
I tend to get very warm under blankets so I through them off - or stick my arms and legs out from them - in my sleep. In winter I often wake up with cold, numb hands, arms, and feet. Similar effect?
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