CPAP hand numbness and pain

by Bryan G.
(Cooper City ,Florida USA)

I wake up with both of my hands hurting and i sleep on my back.

The CPAP is set on 12 and I have had the machine a month.


Your problem got my attention, because CPAP hand pain, numbness and tingling exist in few patients with sleep apnea.

Even if these issues are rare, that doesn't mean we should ignore them. On the contrary, I found them to be challenging.

How is it possible that some CPAP users complain of hand pain, numbness or tickling after they start the CPAP therapy, and why these sensations disappear when they stop using their CPAP?

I searched in many scientific and medical studies about the CPAP hand numbness or pain, to understand what is the cause or the risk factor for this issue, but there is almost no information related.

Just when I was close to giving up, I found a medical publication in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) describing the epidemiologic associations of carpal tunnel syndrome and sleep position.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is primarily caused by repetitive strain of the hands, usually due to performing a task frequently.

This syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve which is located in a "tunnel" in the forearm and wrist, called "carpal tunnel".

Here is a video that explains more about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

The article discusses the possibility of developing hand pain, numbness or tickling due to the abnormal wrist position in patients with sleep disorders. The researchers observed that:

  • CTS and sleep apnea increase in prevalence with the age of the person,

  • like sleep apnea, the CTS is more common in men than women,

  • obesity, which is a risk factor for sleep apnea, has also an influence on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,

  • sleep position can affect sleep apnea and the development of CTS.
In sleep apnea, a person stops breathing in sleep by collapse of the tongue and obstruction of the airway. This happens mostly in that persons is sleeping in the supine position, and is exacerbated by increased body weight and by age.

Sleeping on a side rather than on your back can prevent sleep apnea evens, where almost 90% of normal weight people have a good response to this sleep position change.

That's why positional therapy for sleep apnea is recognized as one of the best alternatives to CPAP or dental devices.

However, there is a catch here! The article mentions that sleeping on the side is related to positioning the wrist in flexion or extension, which could be a casual pathway for nerve compression.

Bottom line... Sleep position has been suggested as a direct mechanism in nerve compression, which will cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

People with sleep apnea can be at risk of developing hand pain, numbness or tickling (CTS) if they:

  • have a higher BMI - an obese or overweight person may search for comfort in the cervical spine or back causing him to sleep on his side,

  • are older,

  • sleeping on the side - people who sleep on their side more than other persons are more prone to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome,

  • pregnant women.
As you can see, I didn't find any information that mentions a relationship between CPAP and CTS. The only explanation might be that you're spending more time in REM sleep recovering your sleep debt from sleep apnea. In REM sleep, your body doesn't move much.

I found that hand pain can also be caused by fibromyalgia, which is a syndrome that affects your soft tissues, muscles and tendons.

Many people with sleep apnea also have fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, it's hard to diagnose it, and though it may be suspected, it takes an average of five years to reach a diagnosis.

Although the onset of fibromyalgia can be gradual, it can sudden appear after a traumatic event in your life, such as severe ilness (severe sleep apnea) or injury.

For your hand pain or numbness, I recommend visiting a rheumatologist, your primary doctor and your sleep doctor.

You need an inspection from your doctor, because other surprising health problems can cause your hand pain. One of them that I'm thinking can be Gout.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for CPAP hand numbness and pain

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 18, 2023
Don't blame other conditions without reason NEW
by: Anonymous

I have Fibromyalgia, my hands don't tingle when my mask is off? Same with carpel tunnel. This feels like such a brush-off of our problems. Carpel tunnel too what the hell? If you don't know them you don't know. And yes I AM traumatized from doctors blaming everything on my Fibro when my body has literally had separate problems.

Comments are wonderful tho I just find this article very problematic.

Oct 13, 2022
Fingers, arm, and face numbness left side when waking up. NEW
by: Michael Young

Male, 54 on CPAP. With or without the Cpap I often awake with little to no feeling in my left arm. My most sever events include left side facial numbness.

During an event, deep breathing always leads to an immediate improvement although the after effect of a minor tingling sensation can go on through the day. I believe it is related to low blood O2 levels.

Nov 14, 2021
Think it is caused by aerophagia NEW
by: Billy

I read some comments and I think this (hand numbness) situation is more complex than we thought, but in my opinion it should be harmness.

I am pretty sure the finger numbness in my case is caused by either aerophagia or gerd because it only happens when I breath in alot of air.

I am different from most CPAP patients. I am of a younger age in my late 30 and my BMI is very healthy. I'm very thin compare to most CPAP patients and I go swimming 3 times a week. My sleep apnea was caused by small airway in my nose(or so my doctor said).

Nov 09, 2021
Numbness in hands and legs
by: Velika Gancheva

I am using cpap machine for more than a month. My problem is a excessive bloating, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs that wake me up at night. I have high blood pressure and the doctor insist to keep using it. If these side effects don't stop, I don't think I will keep using it. Anybody else has same problem?

Mar 02, 2020
Numb hands with CPAP
by: Kathy

I am new to CPAP and have adjusted well. Sleep on my back. I am 67, 150 lbs, fit and healthy. No high blood pressure, no diabetes, no fibromalgia.
My hands have no pain but tingle or are numb when awakening. Flexing them a few minutes-ok.
Air pressure is 4.0 with no oxygen. Curious!

Feb 11, 2020
sleep apnea and numbness
by: Anonymous

I have also begun to have hand numbness on CPAP and wonder if it could be respiratory alkalosis and that this could be the case for others as well. Surely at least some of your doctors have tested you for this?

Sep 07, 2019
cpap and numbness
by: Anonymous

cpap for 21 days- numbness in 3 middle fingers. extreme pain wakes me up 3 times a night. Trying all kind if home remedies. will try deep breathing. also have torn shoulder muscle and bad neck. Trying to figure out Yikes!!

May 21, 2019
Fingers Numb
by: Chuck in FL

I just started using CPAP (auto PAP) 4 weeks ago and one thing i noticed that I thought was weird, was I have on many occasions woken up in the morning and my fingers are kind of numb, they feel like I was clinching my hands for a long time. I thought, that's odd, and today did some googling and came across this post. Seems I am not the only one. I will be talking to my doc about it next time I go in. I promise this only started occurring since i started CPAP therapy..

Oct 01, 2018
Numbness both hands
by: Anonymous

I have sleep apnea but had too many problems with the CPap so I was fitted with an oral appliance. I have improved sleep but if I sleep deeply on my back my hand went numb. I woke up suddenly and checked my oxygen saturation it was very low at 81. Normal range is 95 to 99 percent oxygen saturation.
I wonder if the desaturation contributed to the hand numbness. I used oxygen and the numbness went away in a few minutes.

I don’t know if this helps. Try checking you oxygen saturation in the morning as soon as you wake up. To see how well you are really breathing.

Feb 12, 2018
Arm numbness and cpap
by: Anonymous

I ha e noticed when my mask is too tight i also share this experience. Once i let off of the tightness my circulation improves. Just my experience.

Jan 31, 2018
I'm.a 35 year old guy who has no thyroid due to cancer, I have FSH Muscular Dystrophy
by: William

I use a cpap at night and when I'm resting I have ulner nerve neuropathy and carpal tunnel!is there any link of all this and dash muscular Dystrophy

Jan 16, 2018
Pain below the right elbow, going to the pinky finger
by: Anonymous

I am 52 (female), diagnosed with sleep apnea. I am not overweight. I exercise regularly. The doctors say its due to my facial structure.

I've been using the CPAP for almost two months now. It's the most annoying thing ever😡

I tried 2-3 different rmachines and 4-5 different masks and I thought FINALLY I found the perfect fit! But no, for the last 3-4 nights I've been waking up after 4-5 hours of sleep with this annoying pain in my right arm and fingers, especially the pinky finger.

I just don''t understand how this can be a side effect of the CPAP machine. It's frustrating enough having to deal with the entire process of being hooked to a mask, head gear and pipe, etc. all night and then being woken up with pain! It makes me question the CPAP as I feel I was sleeping better most nights without it and certainly no pain!!!

Jan 13, 2018
Numb hand
by: Anonymous

I've had a numb hand when I wake up at night for a couple of years, now. I've used a carpal tunnel brace, slept on my back and a number of other things to try and stop it from happening and nothing worked....except...not using cpap. It is clearly NOT carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel. CPAP is causing this unrecognized symptom!

Sep 14, 2017
Arms numb in sleep Apnea CPAP
by: Anonymous

Im man with 45 yrs 260 Pound and 5.11 height
i have sleep APNEA i do have CPAP and whenever i use it i feel numb i both arme not just hands and that always wake me up ,, i dont knwo if anyone feel same not just hands both arm
i always sleep at my sides no supine sleeping
anybody have an idea how this numb goes

Jun 15, 2017
Not a-typical
by: Anonymous

I am 58, diabetic, high blood pressure,high cholesterol and my hands off and on go numb while I sleep. I wake up with them numb every 2 hours. I go to the bathroom also. Tired of no answers since July 2016 when I found out I had diabetes. They say my sugar is okay and so is blood pressure. Been to the heart doctor and he says heart is okay. I weigh 129 and was 169 in July and can't stop weight loss. I have no more patience with doctor's. I am on 10mg. Lisinopril, 500er metformin at breakfast and dinner and 20 mg. Atorvastatin, which is Lipitor. Can anyone shed any light?

May 28, 2017
Hand Numbness
by: RC

I just started having hand/finger numbness with my cpap. It wakes me up at night, so I don't know that the cpap is really helping. I flex my hand a few times, and it's all better. Like Jean, I've wondered if someone was putting something in my water to kill me???? Paranoid maybe...So it's good to hear I'm not the only one to have this issue. All the comments are helpful. I think the best bet is to loos 25 pounds and stop using this ridiculous machine. Not so easy, but the idea of using this thing and dealing with all the crap associated with the cpap is not attractive. Hope all on this page will join in (if your issue is weight related). Be blessed!

Nov 26, 2015
Tingling in both hands since using CPAP machine.
by: Jean

I didn't start having this problem until I started using the machine. Matter of fact I had no indications of sleep apnea, they just based it on qualifications for a DOT medical card. Suspect being over 50, overweight, over neck size, and taking bp medicine. They told me it was severe however it took them a month to get me hooked up with a machine. Didn't sound so severe to me. I actually had to get nasty with them to move forward. Nonetheless, now I have this problem which is causing me more problems then sleep apnea ever did. If I were paranoid I would believe they were trying to kill me. It does make me believe that there is something more to this then they want you to know. Bottom line this is a problem and I'm certain it's related and not just a coincidence.

Sep 13, 2015
Oxygen With Your CPAP Machine
by: Don

When I first started using my CPAP machine, I was deficient in oxygen during sleep and so I DID have oxygen. There is a fitting were your hose hooks to the CPAP machine, it has an inlet for a tube that is run from the Oxygen generator.

Dec 13, 2014
Hand numbness while using cpap
by: Ranjum

I've been using CPAP since a week now. I experienced numbness in my left hand on two occasions, each one on a different night. No matter any side I slept it happened. I also felt that I swallowed a lot of air. Can anyone comment on th the above mentioned issues?

Mar 12, 2014
Deep breathing stops hand numbness
by: Ron DeSpain

I've been on cpap for years (10+) and have recently retired and am sleeping more hours lately (8-10).

I recently started getting Carpel Tunnel Syndrom numbness in my hands after 8 hrs of sleep. Sleep is fine. I am a side sleeper, arm under pillow, and am overweight (6ft tall 260lbs), however this has been the case for over 10 years, so the only change is the length of sleeping, and of course, getting older (70).

I awake with painful numbness in either the thumb and next two fingers (a wrist tunnel pinch), or the little pinky and the next finger (an elbow tunnel pinch).

I can stop the numbness by either massaging the proper tunnel, or just breathing deeply for several breaths. I'm thinking I'm not getting enough oxygen because breathing fixes it, and I don't want surgery if I can help it.

Does anyone know of a way to add oxygen to the cpap machine to see if that helps?

Thank You

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to CPAP and Mask Questions and Answers.

Share this page:
Enjoy this sleep apnea page? Please pay it forward. Here's how..

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.