When a part of your body "falls asleep", can it cause any lasting damage?

I had a similar experience to a few of these comments. So one day, I went to bed and woke up the next day with my right hand asleep. I ignored it and set it aside so it can recover on its own in a few minutes then went back to sleep. When I finally did wake up, it was still asleep! I thought it was strange, I could not lift my hand up at the wrist, it was just limp and droopy, like retard hand. I immediately used my other hands to squeeze my fingers, I had feeling in them, my whole hand had feeling, I could move my arm, bend my elbow. I just couldn’t lift my wrist but I did have very minimal lifting for my fingers. I started to freak out thinking my dominant hand would be like this for the rest of my life and I don’t even know why, all I did was fall asleep just like any other night. I wasn’t playing sports, did not injure it, it just happened.

I was abroad as a college student at the time and the doctors wanted to do a blood test first which was expensive at the time for me. I decided to wait to see if it would get better on its own. I did a whole lot of Googling after the doc visit, and came across a few resources: Wrist Drop/Radial Nerve Palsy, Radial nerve dysfunction and apparently there are splints. After reading, a common cause of this is being drunk and falling asleep on your arm funny, funny enough to pinch a nerve in a way it does not like. I had never even heard of anything like this and had no idea this can happen!

One day within a week of the doc visit, I was able to make progress attempting to lift my wrist! It was slight but it was noticeable improvement. I got so so excited! I let it be to rest and patiently waited for the next day. Again, there was more slight improvement! I was starting to see hope that I could recover from this all on my own. It was amazing to see steady improvement everyday!

This whole ordeal took about a month and I was then able to function all on my own, I was back to normal. However when lifting heavy things in a certain way, I will feel a small sharp pain in my forearm, I’m pretty sure this has something to do with the palsy as I did not have this before. And again, I did not use that hand at all for over a month so it was pretty weak at the end.

/r/askscience Thread