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Numbness in the Right Arm

Numbness in the Right Arm

Tingling or numbness in the arm can be caused due to minor reasons like improper posture, exerting excess pressure on the arm, or even severe ones like herniated disc. Here you will find information on the possible causes and treatment methods for right arm numbness.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Numbness is usually accompanied with tingling or burning sensation. In most of the cases, numbness is caused due to injury or pressure on the arm. However, a serious condition like nerve compression can also be one of the potential causes.
Causes and Treatment
Numbness while sleeping occurs when excess pressure is exerted on the arm. Similarly, lifting or holding heavy objects for a longer period, sleeping with the arm hanging over the back of the bed also causes right arm numbness due to irregular blood circulation. This is a minor cause and does not require medical treatment. In this case, gently moving the arm or massaging it slowly can be helpful.

On the other hand, if numbness is experienced frequently, or is accompanied with other symptoms, then there can be other serious underlying causes. Here are some of the possible reasons.
Nutritional Deficiency
Deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals is one of the most common causes of numbness and tingling in arms and fingers. Deficiency of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins B (namely B12, B2 and B5), C, and D lead to these symptoms, among others. Nutritional deficiency can occur due to several reasons.

Accompanying Symptoms: Dry eyes, sore muscles, hair loss, dry skin, allergy, swelling, etc., and some of the most common symptoms of nutritional deficiency.

Treatment: The primary goal is to treat the deficiency either by making changes in the diet or by having supplements. The doctor will prescribe supplements according to the severity of the deficiency. If the deficiency is caused due to any other disease or disorder, then the doctor will prescribe related treatment methods to treat the disorder.
Injury to brachial plexus nerves lead to symptoms like pain and numbness in arms. Broken shoulder blade; injuries to wrist, hand, elbow, etc., can also cause pain, numbness, or burning sensation in the right arm.

Accompanying Symptoms: Apart from numbness, pain, swelling, skin color turning to red or blue-black, etc., are some of the other symptoms observed.

Treatment: The treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. Medication, painkillers, physical therapy, surgery, etc., are some of the treatment options.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder of the wrist that occurs due to compression of nerves in the wrist. The exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown. However, factors like obesity, overuse of the wrist, arthritis, diabetes, etc., are some of the possible causes. Pain, tingling sensation or numbness in the right arm are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Accompanying Symptoms: Tingling, pain, weakness in arms and fingers.

Treatment: In minor cases, painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ice pack can be helpful for treating pain and swelling. In severe cases, surgical methods can be used.
Herniated Disc
There is a spinal disc in between two consecutive vertebrae. Sometimes, a portion of the disc protrudes out of the vertebrae and pinches certain nerves. This leads to pain and numbness in hands and legs. The pain often radiates from arm to fingers.

Accompanying Symptoms: Along with numbness, long-lasting pain, tingling, weakness in the arm, etc., may also be experienced.

Treatment: Using ice pack, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), painkillers, physical therapy are the basic treatment methods used to treat this condition. If none of these methods work, a surgery may be required.
Multiple Sclerosis
This disease affects the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. In this condition, the myelin that surrounds the nerves is damaged. Disorders related to movement and vision are the characteristic symptoms of this condition. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown.

Accompanying Symptoms: Disorders of vision, dizziness, and tingling and weakness in the limbs.

Treatment: There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, different types of drugs and medication, physical therapy, etc., can help in alleviating the symptoms of this condition.
Cervical Disc Disease
Over the years, the discs present in between the two vertebrae tend to degenerate. This leads to severe pain in the neck. The pain also travels to shoulders and arms, causing numbness and stiffness. Injury and old age are some of the causes for it.

Accompanying Symptoms: Arm numbness and tingling is accompanied with stiffness and pain in neck and shoulder.

Treatment: Pain reliever medications, anti-inflammatory agents, etc., help in providing temporary relief. The doctor may even suggest physical therapy. If none of these methods work, surgery may be recommended.
Raynaud's Syndrome
In this disease, the arteries supplying blood to certain parts, spasm suddenly, resulting in restricted blood flow. Fingers, toes, nose, and ears are usually the affected areas. Due to this, fingers and toes suddenly become white, numb, and then turn blue. They turn back red when normal blood flows. Cold temperatures and stress trigger off this condition.

Accompanying Symptoms: Pain, tingling in fingers and toes. Color of affected area changes from white to blue to red.

Treatment: Making changes in the lifestyle, avoiding trigger factors, massage, and other relaxation techniques help in reducing the severity of the condition to a great extent. In severe cases, the doctor may recommend medications and surgery.
Peripheral neuropathy, kidney disease, migraine, diabetes, spinal cord injury, ganglion cysts, exposure to cold climate, etc., are some of the other causes. Although in case of heart attack, usually left arm pain and numbness is observed, you cannot completely rule out the possibility of experiencing right arm pain. If arm pain and numbness is accompanied with other symptoms like chest pain, excessive perspiration, etc., it is essential to look for emergency medical care.
If your arm goes numb frequently, you should consult the doctor immediately. Physical examination, X-ray, and MRI help in diagnosing the underlying causes. Although there are treatment methods available for treating most of the aforementioned causes, there are certain precautionary measures that should be undertaken to avoid chronic pain.

  • Do not overuse or overwork your arm. If your job involves using your arm repeatedly, make sure you switch between your two arms.
  • While typing, make sure you sit in a proper posture, with your wrist placed straight while typing. The hand and wrists should create 90 degrees angle.
  • If swelling is observed in the arm after an injury, make sure you support the arm and cover it.
  • Lastly, note that taking rest until the injury is treated completely is essential to avoid further complications. Physiotherapy is used for proper functioning of the muscles.
Most of the time, it is observed that arm numbness is ignored, and very few people actually consult the doctor for it. However, as there can be several serious underlying causes, it is wise to not to ignore the symptoms, but rather, get the condition diagnosed as early as possible.
Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. It should not be substituted for proper medical advice and treatment.