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- Tingling is fairly common and usually related to a problem with the nerves or circulation.
- Possible explanations include your sleeping position, diabetes, mini-stroke or heart attack.
- If the tingling persists, your doctor can help you figure out the cause and recommend appropriate treatment.
Tingling in your left arm is a very common sensation, although you might call it a different name, such as tingling, “sleeping,” acupuncture, or numbness.
Like twitching, all of these are known medically as crawl. Depending on the cause, paresthesia can range from slightly noticeable to severe discomfort and pain.
In general, tingling in your left arm relates to either a neurological problem or a circulatory problem – but the specific cause can range from something as simple as sleeping on your arm, to a major problem such as a heart attack or stroke.
Below you’ll find seven explanations for tingling in your left arm and how to treat this symptom.
1. A pinched nerve in your neck
You may also feel pain, numbness, or weakness in your arm, depending on the cause of the nerve compression and how severe it is.
One possible cause is age-related wear and tear cervical cancerWhen the discs in your vertebrae weaken and weaken. To compensate, your body can grow bone spurs To support weak disks. But the downside is that the bumps can press on nerves, causing pain or tingling in your arm.
a herniated disc It can also cause nerve compression. When the hard outer layer of the intervertebral disc weakens and cracks, whether due to aging or injury, the gel-like substance inside the disc can seep and compress the spinal nerves, causing a tingling in your arm.
Consider having a pinched nerve in your neck It won’t always cause your neck pain Tingling in your arm may be the only symptom.
If the tingling does not improve, a good next step is to see your doctor. You will also need to call your doctor if you notice any weakness in your hands, fingers, or arm.
It’s especially important to get medical attention if you feel numbness or tingling along the biceps and forearms in your thumb, or in the back of your upper arm, down your forearm up to your middle finger. A puncture path on your arm can help determine which spinal nerve is being compressed.
Your doctor may recommend the following:
2. Heart attack
During a heart attack, the coronary artery is completely or partially blocked, along with the nerves that supply the heart. This lack of blood flow can indirectly cause tingling or numbness in the left arm, he says Dr. Sean OrmondHe specializes in interventional pain management in Atlas Pain Specialists.
Common signs of a heart attack include chest pain or pressure and shortness of breath. But heart attacks can also have subtle signs that may go unnoticed or be confused with other health problems, especially in women and the elderly. Other possible signs of a heart attack include:
- cold sweats
- Pressure or pain in the upper back
3. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can cause persistently high blood sugar Peripheral neuropathy Damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, Ormond says.
This type of nerve damage usually begins In feet and legs, but it can also affect your hands and arms as it progresses. Besides numbness and tingling, it can cause a burning sensation or sharp pain in your extremities.
It can have other serious consequences, too: If you don’t feel your arm completely, you may have trouble noticing changes in temperature, pain, or injuries that could lead to serious infections.
What to do next: To reduce your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy, you can:
You should seek immediate medical attention if you begin to notice unusual tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, because early treatment can help prevent further nerve damage.
4. TIA (mini-stroke)
TIAs occur when the blockage temporarily disrupts blood flow to the brain. Unlike a stroke, which often has severe and long-lasting repercussions, TIA symptoms usually last only a few minutes – they appear suddenly and usually resolve within 1 hour to 1 day.
Besides tingling, weakness, or numbness in your arm, a TIA can cause:
- slurred or unclear speech
- Difficulty understanding other people’s words
- Balance issues and lack of coordination
- Double vision, blurred vision, or temporary vision loss
If you experience any symptoms of a TIA, you should call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately for an evaluation.
Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners such as aspirin to help prevent blood clots It can cause a stroke.
In some cases, your care team May recommend surgery To clean the carotid artery of plaque that can lead to a stroke, either by:
- Endarterectomy: The surgeon makes an incision, removes the plaque, and closes the artery again.
- Angioplasty: The surgeon inserts a small mesh tube called an aneurysm stentinto the artery to keep it free and open.
5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
carpal tunnel syndrome It can develop due to compression of the median nerve, which gives sensation to parts of your hand.
carpal tunnel syndrome usually because of Frequent use of hands such as manual labor, writing, using a mobile phone a lot, or working on an assembly line,” Candy says.
With carpal tunnel syndrome, you will mainly feel tingling or numbness in your body Thumb, index and middle fingerusually on one side of your body, but you can also feel tingling and pain traveling down your forearm.
What to do next: A healthcare professional can diagnose and recommend carpal tunnel syndrome treatment or treatmentwhich may include:
- wrist braceWhen you wear the brace at night, the brace keeps your wrist straight, reducing pressure on the median nerve.
- steroid injectionCortisone and other steroids can help reduce inflammation and swelling in your wrist tendons, reducing median nerve pressure.
- surgeryCarpal tunnel release, a short, outpatient surgery that involves the surgeon cutting the ligament in the wrist that is pressing on the median nerve – most people will be back to normal activities within four to six weeks.
6. Multiple sclerosis
In MS, damage and deterioration myelin sheathor the lining of your nerves, can cause a wide range of symptoms. Numbness Often in your arm is an early symptom – but unexplained tingling in your arm doesn’t always indicate MS.
With MS, you are also likely to feel numbness and tingling Your legs, torso and face – Not just your left arm.
What to do next: It’s a good idea to make an appointment with a healthcare professional if you feel a tingling in your arm with someone else Common initial symptoms MS, such as:
- muscle weakness
- balance problems
- excessive fatigue
- vision problemsThis includes blurred or double vision or loss of color vision, especially when these problems affect only one eye
There is no cure for MS. treatment or treatment Focuses on managing flare-ups with medications such as glucocorticoids and physical or occupational therapy to help maintain movement and function. Medications that modulate the activity of the immune system can also help reduce inflammation and slow the progression of MS.
7. How do you sleep
Twitching in your left arm can also be associated Put you to sleep.
Certain sleeping positions can compress the nerves in your arm or neck during the night. For example, this may happen if you:
- Sleep with your arm or fist bent
- Put your head on your arm while sleeping
- sleep on your stomach
- Sleep on your side without supporting your arm
What to do next: If you constantly wake up with tingling in your arm, it may help to try a different sleeping position. To find a more comfortable sleeping position, try:
- Keeping your hand flat on a pillow, rather than closing it with a fist
- Sleep on your back with your arms at your side or on pillows. This is the best position to support the nerves in your neck and arm that can cause tingling.
- Sleep on your side with a pillow in front of you to support your arm and keep your wrist and fingers straight.
- Place a pillow under your knee on the side you face when sleeping on your stomach. This will relieve some of the pressure on your neck.
Tingling in your left arm is a common sensation. If it does happen now and then but goes away on its own, you probably have nothing to worry about.
However, watch for tingling in your arm that keeps coming back, appears with other symptoms, or gets worse over time.
This type of tingling can indicate an underlying health condition, so you’ll want to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. They can help determine the cause of the tingling and provide more guidance about treatment options.