Arm numbness is a symptom that almost everyone experiences. There are many causes of arm numbness, ranging from mild to severe, even potentially life-threatening.
Arm numbness is a very common symptom because just sitting or sleeping in the wrong position can affect blood circulation or cause nerves to be compressed, causing arm paralysis. However, there are also cases of unexplained arm numbness due to underlying medical conditions, such as nerve damage, herniated discs, cardiovascular disease, and more serious heart attacks and strokes. Join easyhealthylive.com to continue reading the sharing below to understand more about the common culprits of arm numbness.
1. Poor blood circulation
Clogged blood vessels can impede blood flow from the heart to other organs and vice versa. The most common sign of poor blood circulation is numbness and tingling in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. In addition, the condition can cause other symptoms such as:
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale, pale skin
- Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet
- Joint or muscle pain
Poor blood circulation is not a disease but just a warning sign that you are sitting or standing for too long and need to move and exercise more.
Numbness in the arm due to blocked blood vessels can also be a warning sign of the following conditions:
- Atherosclerosis: Cholesterol builds up in plaques on the walls of capillaries, making them hard and narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow through.
- Thrombosis: Blood clots clump together in the capillaries, causing blockage and impeding blood flow.
- Peripheral arteries: A form of atherosclerosis in which plaque builds up in the arteries of the arms and legs.
For arm numbness caused by poor blood circulation, you can treat it by:
- Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation. You can refer to the yoga exercise to treat numbness of the limbs to know more about this method.
- Take medication as directed by your doctor
- Surgery in the case of large thrombus obstruction.
2. Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the peripheral nervous system (PNS) — the part responsible for transmitting information between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the rest of the body — is damaged. Depending on the affected nerve, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs or feet
- Sensitive to temperature changes
- Weak muscles
- Uncontrollable muscle twitching
- Loss of muscle
- Sweating too much
In addition to arm numbness, excessive sweating is another symptom of peripheral neuropathy
You are at higher risk for peripheral neuropathy if you have:
- Autoimmune disease
- Fracture or dislocation due to trauma
- Atherosclerosis, vasculitis and other types of cardiovascular diseases
- Hormonal imbalance
- Kidney or liver disease
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Cancer and are using cancer treatments.
3. Thoracic outlet syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition in which the nerves and blood vessels that pass through the collarbone with the first rib are compressed. People with thoracic outlet syndrome may experience numbness or tingling in the hands, as well as weakness in the neck or arms.
To remedy this condition, your doctor may suggest that you do physical therapy exercises to strengthen your chest and back muscles and improve your posture. From there, the pressure on the nerves and blood vessels passing through the chest will be reduced.
In some cases, your doctor may also give you additional medicine to prevent blood clots and help with pain. In addition, your doctor may also recommend surgery if the above treatments do not work
4. Cervical spinal stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis is a condition in which the hollow space of the cervical canal narrows, causing pressure on the spinal cord. This compression can cause the arm or foot to become numb or weak. In addition, it can also cause neck and back pain.
This condition is more common in people with cervical spondylosis. In addition, people with neck or back injuries or tumors in the spine may also be at increased risk.
For treatment, your doctor will give you physical therapy, medication, a back brace, or surgery
5. Herniated disc
A herniated disc is a condition in which the nucleus pulposus of the spinal disc is displaced from its normal position, leading to pressure on surrounding nerves, causing numbness or pain in the arm. To treat this condition, your doctor will give you pain medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
6. Migraine pain, hemiplegia
People with migraine headaches often experience temporary paralysis on one side of the body. This symptom may appear before or with the headache. Some common symptoms include:
- Numbness and tingling in the legs, arms or side of the face
- Severe headache, which may affect one or both sides of the head.
Symptoms of migraines and hemiplegia vary from mild to severe. In severe cases, you may also experience symptoms such as:
- Lost memory
- Personality changes
7. Heart attack
A heart attack is a condition that occurs when the heart does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood. This is usually caused by the presence of blood clots or plaque buildup that partially or completely blocks the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. In addition, a heart attack can also be caused by a spasm of the coronary arteries, which constricts the vessels and restricts blood flow to the heart. The heart muscle can be damaged or stop working completely if it doesn’t get enough oxygen.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the most common symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
- Feeling of pressure in the chest
- Upper abdominal pain, possibly indigestion or heartburn
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or numbness in the back, shoulders, neck, or jaw
- Dizziness or fainting
- Nausea and vomiting
Heart attack is a dangerous condition. If you suspect your arm numbness is caused by this, seek medical attention immediately
A stroke is a condition where blood flow to the brain is blocked. A common symptom of a stroke is numbness in one arm, leg, or side of the face. Other symptoms are:
- Sudden, severe headache
- Change of vision
- Hard to say
- Difficulty in movement
A stroke can be treated with drugs that dissolve blood clots that block blood flow to the brain or surgery to repair damaged capillaries.
Through the above sharing of easyhealthylive.com, you probably know more about some common causes of arm pain. Arm numbness is very common, sometimes it’s just from sleeping in the wrong position, but sometimes it’s due to dangerous causes like heart attack and stroke. Therefore, if you have numbness in your arm for no reason for a long time, you need to see a doctor right away.
What causes arm numbness? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327376 Accessed date: 11/8/2020
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.