Sometimes, you may suddenly feel numbness in your left arm or shoulder. Some people will also feel tingling pain in left arm along with numbness. It can be indicative of nervous disorder or poor blood circulation or due to electrolyte imbalance. Certain strong medications taken for psychotic disorders will also produce left arm numbness. By simple stretching exercise and gentle massaging one can manage this numbness easily. But if the same numbness is felt regularly and in chronic conditions then you need to seek immediate medical advice.
Left arm numbness alone is not the symptom of stroke or heart attack. Heart attack will have other symptoms like shortness of breath, choking, palpitation, confusion and sweating. Further there would be squeezing pain in the heart. Stroke is the condition wherein the blood supply to the brain is abruptly stopped due to blood clot in the arteries that transport blood to the brain. This may cause left arm numbness. However stroke will have certain other symptoms like headache (moderate to severe), problems in vision and difficulty in walking and even speaking.
Crutch palsy is a type of nerve dysfunction can produce left arm numbness. It occurs mostly in people who are using clutches for walking. Here they exert pressure on the armpits which would gradually put pressure on the radial nerve inducing abnormal sensation causing numbness. In addition crutch palsy will have other symptoms like difficulty in moving the arm, and extending the wrist and intense pain in the left arm.
Fracture in the elbow or arm or even in fingers may cause numbness in left arm. It can occur due to nerve compression, ganglion cysts that affect joint movements and also due to angina. Sometimes, it can be caused due to simple reason of vitamin deficiency or over drinking.
Another factor that causes numbness in left arm is Cubital tunnel syndrome. It is also described as Ulnar nerve entrapment in which the ulnar nerve gets compressed while passing through the cubital tunnel in the elbow. If you have deep pain in the elbow and decreased grip in the arm along with numbness in left arm it can be due to this syndrome.
Indigestion can also cause left arm numbness apart from burping and burning sensation in the heart.
If you are not experiencing any of the above symptoms but you have only left arm numbness it can be due to poor circulation of blood. In case it if it is heart attack, you may have dull pain in the left arm or shoulder along with sharp pain in the chest. The pain will spread rapidly to the back causing restlessness and shortness of breath. However there are people who have had massive attack without any of the symptoms except chest pain.
In case you feel left arm numbness after completing exercise regimen, it can be due to stable angina involving heart.
Some people may get numbness in legs and hands and also tingling pain in jaw then it can probably be an attack, if accompanied by chest pain.
One cannot decide or say for sure that left arm numbness is due to heart attack or stroke. There have to be other noticeable symptoms or discomfort in the body for visiting the doctor.
Your doctor will identify and look for other symptoms before giving treatment. The cure depends on the causative factor.
In case if left arm numbness is due to circulatory problems, he would give medications for repairing it.
If it is due to diabetic neuropathy or ganglion cyst, he would give suitable treatment for getting relief.
However if there is left arm numbness with chest pain then he would take ECG test for assessing the heart function.