How to interpret numbness in the left arm

Written by jessica jones
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How to interpret numbness in the left arm
Numbness in the left arm (left hand image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen from

Numbness felt in your left arm can signify a number of health problems. While this is the traditional sign of a heart attack, keep in mind that this is not always the case. While you shouldn't ignore any pain that occurs in your body, jumping to conclusions isn't wise either. If you feel persistent numbness in your left arm or if your arm begins to hurt, even if you haven't been engaging in physical activity, seek medical attention to determine the problem.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    If you pulled the muscles in your left arm playing sports or carrying heavy objects, you may have sprained or strained your arm. Numbness is a common symptom of such an injury. Use an ice pack immediately after the injury. Consult your health care provider if you have injured your arm causing numbness and tingling.

  2. 2

    If your left arm begins to hurt for no apparent reason, you should seek medical attention. Depending on your age, heart attack or stroke may be the cause. You may also experience pain in your jaw, left shoulder, shortness of breath and a tightness in your chest. Take an aspirin to help thin the blood, then go to the emergency room immediately to decrease the possibility of permanent damage to your heart or brain.

  3. 3

    Repetitive motion is another cause for numbness in both your left and right arms. If your job requires you to spend hours performing the same activities, you may be straining certain muscles. Visit your physician to determine if you have carpel tunnel symdrome. Varying job duties, staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks are all ways to avoid this condition.

  4. 4

    One of the symptoms of hereditary amyloidosis is numbness in both the left and right arms. This illness is caused by amyloid build-up in the tissues of the body. Amyloid is one of the four essential proteins needed for the body to function normally.

  5. 5

    Seek medical attention to prevent sudden tragedies because there are many reasons for left arm numbness. If the numbness continues for a day or longer, you may need to have X-rays done to determine why the numbness is occurring.

Tips and warnings

  • Never ignore pain that occurs in your body as it could signify health problems.
  • This article is in no way is a substitute for medical advice. If arm numbness occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

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