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Numbness in Left Hand

Rahul Thadani Jan 22, 2019
Having recurring bouts of numbness in the left or the right hand warrants medical help as the cause of the problem may be a bit more serious than imagined.
More often than not, numbness occurs when blood is unable to reach a particular part of the body, especially the arms or the legs, it causes that particular body part to go to sleep. You may place your hand in an awkward position that limits the flow of blood to it (due to the force of gravity), or place a heavy object (or even your body) on the hand.
This may cause the hand to go numb. Under such circumstances, correcting your position would cause the blood flow to that body part to return to normal. However, if you have constant numbness or if the same returns at regular intervals, then it may point towards severe medical disorders in the body such as:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress motion disorder that is often responsible for causing numbness in the hands or fingers. Carpal tunnel is a small passageway in the wrist through which the median nerve passes. This nerve runs from the forearm to the hand.
It carries sensory fibers as well as motor fibers. It facilitates the movement of the wrist. It also provides the sensations that are felt around the wrist. Entrapment or compression of this nerve could therefore be responsible for causing numbness in the fingers, hands or arms.
A multitude of factors could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Repetitive hand movements or wrist injuries are the most common contributory factors for this medical condition.
Hairdressers, carpenters and musicians ( those who play musical instruments) are at a greater risk of developing this condition. If the nature of your work involves excessive use of computers, you are also susceptible.
Obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism and pregnancy also figure among the risk factors. If the left hand is affected by this condition, one is most likely to experience tingling and numbness in the middle finger, index finger, thumb and the palm.

Compression of the Ulnar Nerve

The ulnar nerve is one of the main nerves that pass through the arm. It passes through the cubital tunnel, running under the medial epicondyle on the inner side of the elbow. A compressed ulnar nerve can certainly cause numbness in hand. Accumulation of fluid in the elbow region could cause swelling which in turn may cause entrapment of this nerve.
Repetitive movements wherein the elbow is bent could cause ulnar nerve entrapment. Elbow injuries, development of bone spurs or cysts near the elbow joint could also make one susceptible. Sleeping with the elbow in a bent position could also give rise to numbness.
The ulnar nerve carries the sensory fibers and provides sensation to the ring finger and the little finger. A compressed ulnar nerve could therefore cause a tingling sensation in these fingers. If the nerve stays compressed for a long time, the affected individual may find it hard to grip objects. In severe cases, finger coordination is affected.

Nerve Damage

In some cases, numbness can be indicative of nerve damage. It is medically referred to as peripheral neuropathy. Trauma or pressure on the nerves could cause this condition. Poor lifestyle choices could also make one susceptible. Alcoholism and poor dietary habits could put one at an increased risk of developing this condition.
Peripheral neuropathy may also be caused due to:
  • Development of tumors
  • Diabetes
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Certain inherited diseases
Besides numbness or a tingling sensation in hands and feet, one may also experience a sharp pain, increased sensitivity to touch, and lack of coordination.

Circulatory or Neurological Condition

For many people, the numbness stems from a far more deeply entrenched health problem, that may be associated with the circulatory system or the nervous system. For instance, there could be a major defect in the body that could also cause a stroke or a heart attack.
If the problem strikes the person's hand and arm very suddenly, and the pain slowly starts spreading and refuses to go away, one must seek medical assistance immediately as these are the most definite signs of an impending stoke. A stroke is a life-threatening situation, so due care must be taken.
If numbness is accompanied by pain and difficulty in moving the affected hand, one must consult a doctor at the earliest. Once the underlying cause is ascertained, drug therapy coupled with self-care measures will certainly help to alleviate the symptoms. Massage therapy may also prove beneficial.
Do make the necessary dietary changes and refrain from indulging in any activity that may put strain on the affected hand. If your work involves typing or anything involving repetitive hand movements, do take breaks at regular intervals. Sleeping in a wrong posture can also cause compression of nerves, so do correct your sleeping posture.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.