Arm Numbness

Numbness is a serious cause for concern. When an arm goes numb there could be a number of underlying conditions. Some are more serious than others, so it is important to note any accompanying symptoms. This will help you evaluate whether or not you require medical attention.

Possible Causes of Arm Numbness

Numbness in the hands can be caused by fractures in the arm. This is especially likely if the numbness is in the form of a tingling sensation that is accompanied by a sharp pain in the arm, collarbone, shoulder blade, or fingers. If you have fallen or otherwise been injured recently, this could be the underlying cause of numbness. Pulled muscles from heavy lifting often produce similar sensations.

Similarly, nerve damage in the arm can cause numbness. This may include damage to the nerves in the arms, shoulder, neck, or spine. This could be the result of blood circulation being interrupted or a nerve becoming compressed. Some conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, injury or exposure to toxins can also contribute to nerve damage that would cause numbness. If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy you may be experiencing numbness elsewhere as well.

When the numbness is closer to the wrists and joint in the arm, you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. This is caused by the ligaments swelling or becoming inflamed. Swelling, sharp pain in the joints, or tingling in the fingers may accompany this numbness. This sensation is much more common in your dominant hand than the other side of your body.

Those who suffer from Raynaud's Syndrome frequently experience numbness in the arms. This numbness typically starts in the fingers and works its way up. Cold digits, discoloration, and shivering are commonly associated with this condition. Symptoms will often become worse and more agitated in cold temperatures and are significantly more common in women.

A lack of proper nutrients in the body can lead to numbness. Vitamin B deficiencies often result in the left arm becoming numb, without the onset of pain or tingling that is often present with other conditions. Additionally, excessive alcohol intake can result in numbness. This numbness can include tingling or a simple loss of sensation rather than tightness or discomfort.

Circulatory issues will often manifest themselves in numbness in the arms. Angina can cause numbness due to the lack of oxygen reaching the body. Symptoms of angina or heart attack include numbness in the hands, tingling or numbness in the left arm, pain in the shoulder, and severe chest pain. Similar numbness or tingling on one side of the body may be a sign that you are suffering a stroke.

Dealing with Arm Numbness

If you suspect that you are dealing with a broken bone or carpal tunnel syndrome, then you will need to have an X-ray to determine the extent of the damage. You doctor can then decide if you require a brace or cast to help manage your injury. Those suffering from nerve damage will need to have the injury evaluated to determine the proper treatment.

Those suffering from Raynaud's Syndrome should keep their digits protected in cold weather. Your doctor will provide advice on how to address your condition based on the severity of your symptoms. Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid caffeine and smoking and cease the use of medications that tighten the blood vessels. Increasing your intake of Vitamin B and avoiding alcohol can also decrease numbness that may lead to discomfort, especially in the left arm.

If you are concerned that your symptoms are those of a heart attack or stroke, then it is essential that you get medical attention as soon as possible. Contact emergency services. They may recommend that you take aspirin or perform exercises to keep the heart moving at a safe rate. After this episode subsides, your doctor will adjust your diet and medications to prevent further cardiovascular distress.




Bone fracture

Tingling sensation and sharp pain

Cast or brace to allow healing

Nerve damage

Numbness or pain throughout the arm

Treatment will vary based on the cause and extent of the injury

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes symptoms including numbness, thirst, weight gain, and dizziness

Insulin treatments

Raynaud's Syndrome

Cold and numbness in the fingers, hands, or arms

Wear warm clothing, avoid substances that tighten the blood vessels

Vitamin B deficiency

Numbness lacking in discomfort

Adjust your diet or begin a multivitamin regimen

Overexposure to alcohol

Numbness, disorientation, or loss of sensation while drinking

Avoid alcohol

Pulled muscle

Numbness, difficulty using the arm

Rest the arm for a few days, apply ice to reduce swelling

Heart attack

Numbness in the arm, pain in the shoulder and chest

Seek emergency medical attention


Numbness on one side of the body

Seek emergency medical attention

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Swelling joints, tingling fingers, swelling

A brace may be applied, and extreme cases may require surgery