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Left Arm Numbness in Women

Left Arm Numbness in Women

When a woman experiences numbness in her left hand, it does not necessarily mean that she is suffering from heart disease. Of course, it could be one of the possible causes, but there are other factors too that can lead to this problem. Learn more on this subject through this article.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Numbness is often described as a complete or partial loss of sensation. Before the arm goes numb, a prickling or burning sensation is felt in the area. It becomes more bothersome if these symptoms get extended to the hand and fingers. It feels like you have lost strength in the entire hand and cannot carry out the usual activities with it. Some women cannot even move the left hand, and particularly, raising it above the shoulder, is tough.
Causes
Many women experience numbness in the left arm due to neural damage. Besides, other underlying health problems can also be responsible for it. The major causes are explained here:
Nerve Damage
A bunch of nerves called brachial plexus run from the neck to the arms, passing through the shoulders. Any kind of injury or infection to these nerves will have a numbing effect on the left arm. Fracture in shoulder blade or collarbone can also cause damage to these nerves. This symptom can be continuous or it may disappear after sometime.
Heart Attack
Pain and numbness in the left arm is one of the most significant symptoms of heart attack. It can also be a symptom of other serious health problems like angina or stroke on the right side of the brain. However, in such conditions, numbness is usually accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, breathing difficulty, severe headache, nausea, excessive sweating, etc.
Injury
Many women complain about numbness and pain in their left arm after lifting heavy objects. This happens as the muscles and ligaments in the arm get overstretched due to the heavy weight. Overuse of the hand is another cause of injury. When your job involves spending long hours in doing the same kind of activities like typing, then a particular muscle of the left arm may get pulled after its overuse.
Pinched Nerve
This condition arises due to excessive pressure on the spinal nerve root by a herniated disk in the neck. As a result, the affected nerve stops functioning and fails to transmit signals to the left arm. It goes numb now and then, and is usually accompanied by pins and needles sensation.
Circulatory Problem
Peripheral vascular disease is another health condition that could be responsible for numb left arm. Due to this disease, blood vessels get narrowed down and disrupt normal flow of blood. Interruption of blood flow in the left arm leads to loss of sensation. Usually, blood vessels get narrowed down because of accumulation of plaque on the walls of the artery due to high cholesterol.
Treatment
If the numbness does not go in one or two days, then you should consult your doctor. When chest pain, breathing difficulty and other such symptoms are observed, the patient should be rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment. The doctor will diagnose the cause of left arm numbness by physical examination of the hand, followed by X-ray. He will also study your medical history thoroughly to ascertain the possible cause. During the check up, you must inform him about all the injuries that you have had in the past.
Left arm numbness related to a minor injury will subside on its own within a day or two. Till then, keep the arm at rest. Application of some heat with a heating pad or cold compression will heal up the injuries like strain in the muscles fast. The painful symptoms of nerve damage are controlled with the help of pain relieving medicines. Physical therapy is highly beneficial for these patients. In some serious cases of nerve compression, surgery is conducted to release the pressure from the affected nerve. Those with circulatory problems are given suitable medicines that can improve the blood flow.
Whatever be the cause, women should not neglect the issue. It should be given proper treatment on time. If left untreated, it can lead to a serious problem in the long run. You can prevent recurring numbness in left hand caused due to overuse by taking short breaks in between work.
Disclaimer: This article is intended only to provide information. It should not be substituted for doctor's advice and treatment.