The sensation of numbness or tingling in your left arm sometimes is a minor annoyance, but in certain cases, indicates a serious medical condition.
In many cases, the “pins and needles” feeling down your left arm that may are sometimes likely to cause numbness, but it isn’t usually anything to worry about. You may lose sensation in your left arm due to for example sleeping on your arm, poor circulation, or a minor injury.
In this article, you will find out about the various causes of left arm numbness and tingling.
Symptoms of Left Arm Tingling and Numbness
The most common causes for numbness and tingling in your left arm are nerves in your shoulder, back, or arm getting compressed. This may cause a burning feeling that tingles down your left arm from your shoulder to the tips of your fingers.
A prickly burning feeling is likely to occur due to blood vessels getting compressed for a period of time. As circulation returns to the affected arm, you will often feel tingling and itching when the numb sensation disappears.
If you have enduring or chronic left arm numbness, your doctor will check other symptoms. For example, your doctor will ask you how far the tingling sensation goes down your arm and if you also have tingling in your right arm.
If the loss of feeling in your arm occurs due to an injury, the doctor will check for damage to ligaments and bones. Of course, if you experience any kind of sudden loss of sensation in your arm along with chest pain and discomfort, you should visit your doctor immediately.
Left Arm Numbness or Tingling – Causes and Treatments of
Here are different reasons for a loss of sensation in your left arm that results in numbness and tingling.
Sleeping on left arm
Sleeping in the wrong position with your arm under your body or falling asleep with an arm over the edge of a chair are the most common reasons for temporary numbness and tingling in your left arm.
Prickling or “pins and needles” caused by pressure on a nerve is known as paresthesia.
Injury to left arm
If you have damaged nerve caused by an injury to your left arm or left shoulder you could experience loss of sensation or tingling in that arm. If your arm or shoulder injury is severe you may experience complete loss of sensation in that arm, while minor injuries may only cause a prickly sensation.
Severe injury to your left arm or shoulder during sports or falling on an outstretched arm can also result in left shoulder or arm numbness. This is likely to cause an injury to your brachial plexus nerves that control sensation in your arms and hands.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
A compressed nerve in your wrist due to injury, repetitive work or arthritis could cause numbness in your arm and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the nerve that runs from your forearm to your palm becomes squeezed. Sometimes, you may feel pain in your arm, wrist, or fingers.
Minimizing stress on the hands and wrists is recommendable to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Exercising and proper posture can help to reduce tingling and numbness in the fingers, hands, wrists, and arms.
Pinched nerve in the cervical spine
Pinched nerve in your spinal cord is known to cause numbness and tingling in your left arm. Damage to nerves in the neck region of the spine (known as the cervical spine) can cause cervical radiculopathy, a condition that can occur as a result of pressure due to a ruptured disc, degenerative changes in bones as we age, arthritis or other injuries that put pressure on the nerve roots.
Cervical radiculopathy condition causes pain to radiate to the arm, shoulder, upper back, neck, and chest. A person may also have feeling of numbness and a tingling sensation in their fingers.
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Compressed nerves in your shoulder and cause numbness and tingling in your left arm or right arm and this condition is known as Thoracic outlet syndrome. You can also have pain in your collarbone. Common reasons for the thoracic outlet syndrome are injury, pregnancy, or bone defects.
People who have thoracic outlet syndrome usually have a “pins and needles” sensation in their arm, forearm, or hand. Sometimes, a person may also experience numbness in the affected arm.
As a result of narrowed blood vessel you can experience certain medical conditions like poor circulation and feel tingling in one or both arms. Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood around your body to nurture the body’s tissues.
Poor circulation can cause you feel tingling in your arms, hands, legs or feet because of reduced blood flow to these body parts.
Doctors claim that factors like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes and genetic factors can cause narrowed arteries, leading to numbness in the arms. To improve blood circulation, it is strongly recommended to stop smoking, enjoy a healthy diet and maintain a healthy heart.
Another circulatory problem that can contribute to tingling, numbness, and a cold sensation in your left arm or right arm and hands is Raynaud’s syndrome.
Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient.info says that small blood vessels in the fingers and toes appear to be more sensitive to cold temperatures. Cold weather can cause numbness, tingling, and throbbing in the lower part of your arm and hands.
Diabetes can significantly damage the nerve in the arms that can cause persistent tingling or numbness in the arms. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), around 70% of diabetic patients suffer some form of nerve damage.
Diabetic nerve damage can make you feel like your skin is “crawling” or numbness in your left arm or right arm could be aggravated by carpal tunnel syndrome, autoimmune conditions, high blood glucose, or damage to blood vessels.Doctors suggest controlling diabetes with a healthy diet to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
One of the many symptoms leading to a heart attack can be numbness in your left arm. Since your heart is located on the left side of your body, cardiac arrest or heart attack generally causes pain and discomfort on that side. One may find difficult to distinguish the cause of left sided chest pain, and for that reason doctors generally advise that you seek medical advice for all new and sudden chest or arm pain.
Another life-threatening condition that can make you feel numbness or a prickly sensation in one arm is a stroke. As with a heart attack, numbness in your arm itself is accompanied by other serious signs.
Stroke can cause sudden numbness, tingling or loss of strength in your arm, face, or leg. This usually affects only one side of your body. Apart from numbness sensation, you may have trouble speaking, have difficulty understanding what others are saying, or problems with balance.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Doctors still cannot find the accurate reason what causes multiple sclerosis, but early symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis like numbness and tingling and weakness in an arm or leg can affect your left or right arm, as well as blurred or double vision, thinking problems, lack of coordination and loss of balance.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society mentions that numbness of the face, arms and legs is one of the most common first symptoms of MS and that the numbness may be mild or severe.
Other Reasons for Numbness or Tingling in Left Arm
Along with the above-mentioned reasons for numbness or tingling in your left arm, there are other conditions that can cause abnormal sensations in your arm.
Most cases of numbness and tingling in your left arm are only temporary and are quickly resolved, especially if the cause of tingling is due to a pressed nerve or blood vessel.
However, in some cases, sharp sudden tingling or numbness in your left arm is something you should be worried about This can be true if the abnormal sensations in your arm come and go or you have a constant numbness or prickly sensation in your arm.
We recommend asking for medical help.