Tingling in the left arm can be triggered by many different causes – some more serious than others. It’s important to pay attention to other symptoms you may be experiencing while the tingling in the left arm is taking place in order to identify the exact cause.
Generally speaking, tingling in any extremity is quite common. Many people refer to it as “the limb has fallen asleep.” When a limb falls asleep, you may feel tingling or numbness. This often occurs as a result of pressure on the nerves or arteries which may limit blood supply to the area.
In some cases, tingling of a limb can signal a serious condition, especially if it is chronic.
Tingling in the left arm: Causes
Poor blood circulation or pressure:
As mentioned, poor circulation to the left arm can result in a tingling sensation. For example, if you’re sleeping on your arm in an uncomfortable position or if you wear tight jewelry on the left arm.
Vitamins are integral for proper nerve functioning, so living a vitamin deficiency can sometimes result in left arm tingling as the nerves cannot perform their function properly. On the other hand, having too much of a vitamin can cause the tingling sensation as well.
Vitamin deficiency is quite common among alcoholics as they tend to follow poor diet habits. Alcohol negatively impacts the nerves, resulting in alcoholic neuropathy, which causes nerve damage.
Certain medications can contribute to nerve damage, but this is often a minor side effect. The nerve damage caused by medications is reversible once a patient stops taking that specific drug.
Carpal tunnel syndrome:
Repetitive motions, such as those used to work on the computer, can constrict the nerves and reduce blood circulation.
Thoracic outlet syndrome:
This condition occurs as a result of poor posture due to obesity, pregnancy, or even trauma. The nerves in the back of the neck, arms, and armpits become compressed.
Tingling of the left arm along with pain in the shoulder or jaw could be symptoms of a heart attack.
Tingling in the left arm could be a sign of stroke, especially when accompanied by a droopy face, inability to raise arms, and slurred speech.
Systemic diseases are conditions such as liver, kidney, vascular, and blood diseases. Tingling in the left arm can be one of the symptoms, especially if poor circulation or nerve damage occurs.
When present in the body, heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and thallium can cause nerve damage, which promotes tingling in the left arm.
Lyme disease, herpes simplex, HIV/AIDS, and other infections can lead to tingling in the left arm.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system wrongfully attacks itself, leading to inflammation and damage.
Some disorders like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder are inherited and lead to tingling in the left arm.
Any injury that reduces blood circulation or compresses the nerves can result in tingling in the left arm.
Exercises for tingling in the left arm
Acupressure: Acupressure is a type of treatment similar to acupuncture, but instead of using needles, it requires hand pressure. Circulation can be boosted by triggering key points along the left arm and hand. A registered therapist will know of these specific spots and help you improve circulation and relieve tingling.
Stretching: Stretching promotes oxygen flow, so practicing arm, hand, and shoulder specific exercises can help boost circulation and have more oxygen-rich blood circulating throughout the body.
Rotational exercises: This is another type of exercise that increases blood flow throughout the arm. Having your affected arm out to the side and creating circular movements – forward at first, then back – can get your blood pumping and relieve tingling.
Home care tips for tingling in the left arm
There are different home remedies you can try depending on what causes the tingling in your left arm. This may include completing certain exercises, taking vitamin supplements, discussing with your doctor any medications that could be causing your arm tingling, controlling your sugar levels if you have diabetes, and protecting yourself from injury that may occur if your grip has become weak as a result of the tingling sensation.
Tingling in the left arm: When to see a doctor
If tingling in the left arm is an infrequent occurrence, you don’t necessarily have to worry – just make the appropriate adjustments to restore blood circulation. You should see a doctor for tingling in the left arm if you experience the following:
- Weakness, loss of consciousness, blurriness, or confusion
- Tingling sensation after a neck, back, or head injury
- Pins and needles experienced after a fall
- Loss of control of bowel movements or other body parts
- Movement of arm or walking makes tingling worse
- Dizziness, increased anxiety, or a general feeling of uneasiness
- Increased urination
These are symptoms of a more serious health condition which may require immediate medical care.
Related: What causes numbness and tingling in legs?