Potential Concern with Arm Pain and Numbness

While there are a number of things that can cause arm pain and numbness, this combination could also be an indication of something quite serious. Because of this, we wanted to provide information specific to potential concerns when a person experiences pain of this type. The body is amazing and capable of sending out alerts when something significant occurs. With this, an individual has the responsibility to seek proper medical care so any underlying problem of a serious or life-threatening nature could be properly diagnosed and treated.


When to Seek Medical Care


Everyone has experienced an arm falling asleep. When an arm become compressed, blood and oxygen flow are restricted. However, once a person starts moving the arm, numbness and tingling sensations occur. This is a common occurrence and nothing to worry about but when there are other times when these same sensations could be signaling the presence of a major health risk.


The bottom line is that often, pain and tingling of the arm is nothing more than an annoyance but because there are potential risks, we strongly recommend a person talk to a doctor. After all, when it comes to health issues, it is always best to be on the side of caution.


Brachial Plexus Injury


If a person had this type of injury, only the left arm would be affected. Because damage is done to nerves, symptoms would include numbness along with a tingling sensation and pain similar to an electrical shock. This injury can occur for a variety of reasons although the most common has to do with significant overstretching of the neck, something expected from a whiplash.


Brachial Plexopathy


Along with pain and numbness, it is common for someone with this condition to experience a burning sensation and find the degree of feeling in the arm significantly reduced. The cause of Brachial Plexopathy is nerve damage to the Brachial Plexus. It is important to note that damage can be caused by any number of serious problems to include radiation, birth defect, tumor, and various toxins so seeking medical attention is essential.


Cervical Disc Herniation


A herniation of a cervical disc causes compression of nerve roots in the neck. Although this type of injury occurs within the upper back and neck region, the shoulder and arm are also affected because of off-shooting nerves. There are some herniated cervical discs that do not cause pain in the shoulder and/or arm but many do. In this instance, a person would experience numbness along with radiating pain, tingling, and muscle weakness and spasms.


Myocardial Infarction


Otherwise known as a heart attack, this is without doubt the greatest concern when someone experiences both pain and numbness in the arm. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States yet many people are still unaware of all the symptoms.


The biggest challenge is that not all heart attacks produce intense and identifiable symptoms. For that reason, everyone should become educated on the subject. However, most people experiencing a heart attack would have some degree of arm pain and numbness on the left side, which is usually accompanied by chest pressure, shortness of breath, and dizziness.


Thoracic Outlet Syndrome


This is musculoskeletal condition affects only the left arm. With this, blood vessels and/or nerves located in the lower neck and/or armpit region become compressed. In most cases, an individual would first notice a numbing sensation, followed by tingling, reduced hand grip, swelling, discolored skin and dull aching in the lower part of the arm. Even though this syndrome is not overly serious, it still needs timely and accurate treatment. Being associated with poor posture, joint pressure, obesity, and repetitive activity, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can usually be prevented by making a few minor adjustments.




While some tumors are benign or non-cancerous, others are malignant or cancerous. Because of this, the discovery of any tumor should be taken seriously. For larger tumors, nerves become compressed, leading to symptoms similar to those produced by Brachial Plexus Syndrome. Due to the level of risk, if an individual were to notice pain, numbness, and possibly tingling, it would be best to have a medical doctor determine the cause so anything serious could be properly addressed.

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