What causes left arm numbness? Is it a normal situation? Do you need to see a doctor? Is there anything we can do to make it pass? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is left arm numbness?
Left arm numbness is an abnormal condition in which you experience loss of feeling in part or all of your left arm. Left arm numbness can sometimes even extend to the fingers.
Left arm numbness is usually caused by a lack of blood supply to an area or nerve damage . Left arm numbness can also be caused by infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy, and other abnormal processes . Many cases of arm numbness are not caused by a life-threatening condition.
Left arm numbness is usually associated with or precedes a pain-like pins and needles or burning sensation called paresthesia . Arm numbness is a loss of sensation, while paralysis involves loss of movement with or without loss of sensation in the area.
Depending on the cause, you may experience left arm numbness when you move from an extremely hot environment to a cold environment or when you move from an extremely cold environment to a warm environment. The numbness may come on suddenly or progress slowly. Chronic arm numbness usually indicates some damage to the nerves . Sometimes the numbness may be worse at night.
It is recommended that you talk to your doctor about any unusual sensations or numbness in the arm that lasts longer than a few minutes, as numbness or general numbness in the arm may be a sign of a disease, condition, or condition.
If you experience arm numbness in your arm along with paralysis, confusion, weakness in the arm or hand, or slurred speech, seek medical attention immediately . If your arm numbness is persistent, recurs, or worries you, it’s wise to consult a doctor.
Causes of left arm numbness
Left arm numbness can be a symptom of a wide variety of diseases, disorders, or conditions that restrict blood flow or cause injury to nerves.
Temporary arm numbness can occur after prolonged pressure on a nerve or nerves, such as fine motor activities (drawing) or sleeping incorrectly on your arm.
Left arm numbness can occur with moderate to severe orthopedic and circulatory disorders, as well as conditions and diseases that damage the nervous system. In some cases, drowsiness is a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated as soon as possible in an emergency setting.
Numbness of one or both arms will help diagnose the underlying cause. Bilateral arm numbness is more likely to result from body-wide disorders such as diabetes , multiple sclerosis, or pernicious anemia . Numbness in only one arm, such as in the left arm, may occur due to nerve compression , bone fracture, or paralysis .
Circulatory causes of left arm numbness
Arm numbness can be caused by a lack of blood flow to the arm due to conditions such as:
- Arteriovenous malformation (tangled knot of arteries and veins)
- Buerger’s disease (acute inflammation and coagulation of arteries and veins)
- Extreme heat or extreme cold
- Peripheral artery disease (narrowing of the arteries and insufficient blood flow)
Orthopedic causes of left arm numbness
Arm numbness can also occur due to moderate to severe orthopedic conditions that damage nerves, such as:
- Bone fracture or a very tight cast
- Cervical spondylosis (degenerative disc disease in the neck)
- herniated disc
- Neck or spinal cord injury
- Nerve compression or nerve pressure (like sleeping on your arm)
- Bone resorption (osteoporosis)
Neurological causes of left arm numbness
Arm numbness caused by nerve compression or damage can be caused by conditions such as:
- Alcohol addiction (alcoholism)
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes)
- Heavy metal poisoning such as lead poisoning
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Multiple sclerosis (disease that affects the brain and spinal cord)
- Peripheral neuropathy (disorder of peripheral nerves)
- Spinal cord injury or tumor
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (a disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)
- Transverse myelitis (neurological disorder that causes inflammation in the spinal cord)
- Vitamin B12 deficiency (as in pernicious anemia)
Questions to diagnose the cause of left arm numbness
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will likely ask you a few questions about arm numbness, including:
- Where exactly do you feel numb in your arm?
- When did the drowsiness start?
- How long does the numbness last?
- Are there any activities that cause the numbness?
- Do you experience other sensations such as left arm pain , burning or itching?
- Do you have cold or warmth in your arms, hands, or fingers?
Symptoms that may accompany left arm numbness
Left arm numbness can occur with other symptoms or a combination of symptoms. For example, a combination of numbness, tingling, and itching can be signs of multiple sclerosis. Arm numbness caused by a bulging cervical disc in the neck can be associated with extreme pain that extends to the shoulder, arm, and some fingers.
Left arm numbness can occur with other symptoms, including:
- burning sensation
- cold arm or fingers
- Increased arm numbness or tingling when typing or any similar activity
- itching sensation
- muscle spasms
- Neck pain
- prickling sensation
- touch sensitivity
- Shoulder, arm, hand or finger pain
In some cases, left arm numbness may occur with other symptoms that may indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. It is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately if you or anyone has any of the following potentially life-threatening symptoms:
- Arm numbness after head, neck or back injury
- Confusion or loss of consciousness, even for a brief moment
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty walking
- vision loss or vision changes
- loss of movement, paralysis
- speech disorder
- sudden numbness
- loss of strength, weakness
Possible complications related to left arm numbness
Any complications associated with left arm numbness can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Because arm numbness can be due to serious illness, leaving it untreated can lead to complications and permanent damage. It is important to contact your doctor if you experience any persistent numbness or other unusual symptoms. Once the underlying cause has been diagnosed, it’s also important to follow the treatment plan outlined by your doctor to reduce your risk of possible complications related to arm numbness.
Possible complications with left arm numbness include:
- arm injury
- Inability to perform daily tasks
- power loss
- loss of movement, paralysis
- Permanent loss of sensation
- persistent pain
- low quality of life