Lack of blood supply is one of the major causes of arm numbness. Numbness is often followed by a pricking and burning sensation. Though this is a very common condition, it may be an indication of some major health problems. Let us discuss other possible causes of left arm numbness.
The sensation in the hands and fingers are lost when a person suffers from numbness. Usually, the numbness in hands is due to the compression of nerves in the arm. There can be a burning or tingling sensation, sometimes accompanied with a sharp pain.
Left arm numbness can begin suddenly or it can be a gradual process. Mostly, arm numbness is not due to a life-threatening cause, however, consistent left arm pain or numbness is also known to be caused by heart attacks. Therefore, one must not ignore any numbness or pain and must seek medical help.
What Causes Left Arm Numbness?
There are many causes of arm numbness ranging from trauma to infections and inflammations. Here we are going to discuss the causes of left arm numbness.
Fracture of the arm, elbow or fingers can be the reason for experiencing numbness in hands. Numbness in hands and arms is accompanied with sharp pain in the fractured area. An X-ray must be done to diagnose the fractured bone. Tingling sensation and sharp pain is a very common symptom of a fractured bone in the left arm. There can be fractures of collar bones, shoulder-blade, upper arm or lower arm. These fractures can cause numbness in the left arm.
Nerve Compression and Nerve Damage
The nerve running from the central nervous system to the left arm gets compressed sometimes. This is one of the common left arm numbness causes. Numbness is the result of interrupted blood circulation to the left arm. If you are experiencing any numbness in the left arm, you must immediately consult a doctor. Although there are many causes for nerve damage, the main cause is diabetic neuropathy. Person suffering from diabetes can suffer from diabetic neuropathy. This damage of nerves is also called peripheral neuropathy. There are many other causes for peripheral neuropathy like infections, injuries, metabolic problems and exposure to toxins.
Brachial Plexus Injury
Another reason for numbness in the left arm is brachial plexus injury. Brachial plexus is a network of nerves, that send signals from the spine to the shoulders and arms. In this injury, the nerves of your hand get torn or overstretched. Also, carpal tunnel syndrome is nothing but damage of nerves and is one of the causes of numbness in fingers.
Ganglion cysts are nothing but noncancerous growth, that develop on the wrists and the hands. It can develop gradually or suddenly over short period of time. Many times, this cyst is not painful and does not require treatment. Ganglion cysts are removed with the help of surgery if they affect the joint movement, or are removed for cosmetic reasons.
The fingers become cold in cold temperatures due to the Raynaud’s disease. In this disease, the arteries carrying blood to the arms become narrow, causing numbness. The treatment of this disease depends on the severity of symptoms that are experienced. Many women suffer from Raynaud’s disease.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Ulnar nerve passes through a narrow passage, cubital tunnel in the elbow. When this nerve gets compressed due to a bone spur or a cyst or an elbow fracture, numbness, tingling, decreased grip, etc., can be observed. This condition is known as cubital tunnel syndrome or ulnar nerve entrapment.
A stroke can be one of the many causes for a numb left arm. In a stroke, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or reduced. Due to this, the brain gets deprived of the oxygen and nutrients. The common causes of stroke are high blood pressure and smoking.
Many times, the numbness in hands is misunderstood as angina. The main cause of angina pain is arteriosclerosis. In arteriosclerosis, there is thickening of the blood arteries in the heart. It is also termed as heart attack. Severe chest pain accompanied with numbness in the left arm is one of the main symptoms of heart attack. Low cholesterol diet and proper treatment can help cure angina.
A less-complicated cause can be that one might have pulled the muscle while playing or lifting a heavy object. In that case, he must immediately apply an ice pack to reduce the numbness. In case numbness is accompanied by pain in the left shoulder, jaws and chest, one must immediately rush to the hospital. Excess intake of alcohol and tobacco may lead to nerve damage which may further result in numbness. Lack of nutrients and vitamins, especially vitamin B deficiency may also cause loss of sensation and tingling in different parts of body.
Home Remedies for Numbness
The treatment for numbness dependents on the cause. But following are some of the home remedies which may help you to at least get some relief from the discomfort caused due to numbness.
- Moving you arms and some hand stretching exercises may get back the blood circulation to normal and may also relieve you from pinched or compressed nerves.
- If the numbness is accompanied with swelling and pain, warm compress may provide some relief.
- If nutrition deficiency is the cause behind numbness then calcium and vitamin B12 supplements and vitamin rich diet may be helpful.
- Avoid alcohol as it may be very dangerous for your nerves. In case of injury or trauma, complete bed rest may help in healing faster.
If you experience fatigue, immobility, severe headache, confusion, dizziness and speech problems along with numbness, then contact a doctor immediately. If numbness is observed just after a head injury, then medical support is a must. It is recommended that even if numbness subsides in sometime, you should consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.