Why Is Your Left Arm Asleep? Causes And Treatments For Arm Numbness

By Kevin |
|5 min read

Numbness is a sensation that everyone has experienced at some point. Numbness in the left arm could be a result of an unusual body positioning or it could be a sign of deeper problems - such as injuries or even life-threatening illnesses. What you will feel is a burning sensation, loss of sensitivity, tingly and itchy feeling, or even muscle spasms.

What Causes Numbness In the Left Arm?

Typically, numbness occurs when there is a lack of blood circulation. Inflammation, infections, or other kinds of trauma are potential catalysts as well.

If you are experiencing numbness in your left arm, these are all possible causes:

1. Unusual body positioning for extended periods

You might feel numbness from sleeping or sitting in an awkward position for too long. It might be because you rested sideways and leaned on your left arm in bed, or you slept with your neck in an awkward position and had your arm pressed under your head.

Such unusual body positioning puts pressure on the nerves in your arm, therefore restricting the flow of blood in your arm. After an extended period, it results in numbness.

2. Injuries

Numbness can also be caused by a variety of injuries such as bone fractures, burns, insect bites, nerve damage, and herniated disks.

  • Bone fractures

    In addition to pain and swelling, numbness can occur when there is fracture damage.

  • Burns

    When heat from the burns penetrates your skin, it could damage your nerve endings, resulting in the loss of sensation.

  • Insect Bites

    Numbness can occur as an allergic reaction to an insect bite around the affected area.

  • Nerve damage

    Numbness can occur when nerves in your left arm are damaged, as this might impede the transmission of signals sent from your brain to your arm.

  • Herniated Disk

    When you have a herniated disk in your neck - in addition to the radiating pain you might feel in your arm, neck, and shoulder - it is common to feel numbness, a tingling sensation, and weakness in one of your arms.

3. Illnesses And Diseases

Numbness in the left arm can be a symptom of illnesses or diseases as well. Numbness from heart attacks, strokes, vascular disorders, multiple sclerosis, and vitamin B-12 deficiency - amongst others - is relatively commonplace.

  • Heart Attacks

    Heart attacks are life-threatening and should be treated immediately. In addition to chest pains, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath, numbness is also identified as a sign of an impending heart attack.

  • Stroke

    A stroke happens when there is a sudden interruption of arterial blood supply to your brain. Strokes affect one side of your body, resulting in the numbness of your lower face, leg, or arm.

  • Vascular Disorders

    A vascular disorder is where the nerves and blood vessels of your arms become compressed. When this happens, you will notice your hands turning pale blue or purple, and you will feel numbness, a tingly sensation, and pain in your hands, neck, and arms.

  • Multiple Sclerosis

    One of the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis is numbness and a tingly sensation in your arms. When this happens, you will be faced with difficulties in lifting or even holding things.

  • Vitamin B-12 Deficiency

    A deficiency in vitamin B-12 can lead to peripheral neuropathy, a condition that is related to nerve damage. Transmission of signals from your brain to the rest of your body will be affected and can result in numbness to your left arm; you might also feel a tingly sensation, pain, and sensory loss.

How Will You Go About Treating Numbness

You should always be careful when it comes to numbness. Such a sensation might sometimes be harmful to your life.

Treatments For Your Numbness

Once you have identified the cause of left arm numbness, you should look to determine its impact on your health and you should take the following steps to treat your numbness.

For causes that do not pose a health risk

If the cause of numbness does not present an immediate health risk - for example, wrong positioning and minor injuries - you can:

  • Go to bed with a wedge pillow to prevent you from sleeping on your arms.

  • Be more mindful of your sleeping positions.

  • Take breaks while exercising to avoid repetitive arm, wrist, and shoulder movements.

  • Perform simple movements for blood circulation when your arm feels numb.

  • Exercise daily.

  • Be calm. Some injuries, such as mild nerve injury, are not severe and numbness is a common symptom.

For causes that pose a health risk

While numbness is a common symptom for conditions that do not pose any health risk, you should see a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Numbness for a prolonged period

  • An unexplained weakness or intense pain

  • Sudden visual disturbances

  • Difficulty in coordination

  • Extreme dizziness

  • Difficulty speaking

  • A tingling or numbness on your face

These are symptoms of an illness that could be life-threatening or significantly impact your day-to-day life. Consult with a doctor for professional treatment immediately!

Closing Thoughts

In most cases, left arm numbness is likely nothing to be alarmed about; it is usually a result of unusual body positioning and should dissipate fairly quickly. However, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms that might pose a health risk mentioned above, it could be life-threatening; In that case, you should most definitely consult a doctor right away! Watch the following video for more information.



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