What Does Tingling in Left Arm Mean – Causes, Symptoms & Diagnose

Arm tingling, also known as paresthesia, results from dysfunctional operation of nerves in the left arm. Often, people misdiagnose this symptom as something to be ignored.

What Are Causes of Tingling in the Left Arm

When experiencing tingling in your arm, whether it is your left or right arm, it could be due to paresthesia, which means that you are experiencing abnormal skin sensations, such as tingling or burning and itching. Paresthesia is generally the outcome of peripheral nerve damage.

Neurological System

  • The Mayo Clinic explains that nerve damage can cause peripheral neuropathy, signaled by tingling and numbness. Nerve damage can be the result of infection, injury, exposure to toxins and metabolic problems. Diabetics often suffer from nerve damage.


  • Tingling in the arm can be caused by a subluxated first rib, which is referred to as a thoracic outlet syndrome. When this occurs, the nerve and artery in your neck may be pinched, causing diffuse tingling rather than tingling in one particular part of the arm, according to Chriopractic-help.com. This is described as a dermatomal pattern.


  • An example of dermatomal pattern is when you feel tingling in the upper arm on the side and perhaps also in the lower arm. This is called C5 dermatome and can lead to weak biceps and deltoid muscles as well as tennis elbow if not treated.

Neck Nerves

  • An irritated neck nerve causes your skin to become very sensitive. Eventually your arm could become numb.


  • The joints in your neck must move in order to remain healthy. If something happens that fixes these joints and they are no longer movable, this starves the cartilage of nutrients and oxygen and noxious waste products build up. The waste products irritate the nerve in your neck, which causes arm tingling.

Arthritis or Slipped Disk

  • If you have arthritis and changes occur within the forearm as a result of this condition, this can result in pain in your arm as well as tingling. Tingling in the left or right arm can also be the result of a slipped disk in your back.

What Does it Mean Tingling in the Left Arm?


  • The tingling in the left arm could indicate a stroke symptom. Look for signs of severe headaches, difficulties in speech, visual distortion and poor coordination.

Heart Attack

  • If you experience tingling in the left arm accompanied by tightness in the chest and stiff jaw pain, call 9-1-1. These are heart attack symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • If your occupation includes extensive use of your fingers and hands, the tingling sensation in your arm could be caused by blocked circulation due to a pinched nerve in the wrist, a condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Office workers, mechanics or musicians who grip objects constantly usually experience Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Blood Circulation

  • Tight clothing, jewelry and improper sleeping position can constrict blood flow. People also describe such symptoms in euphemisms such as “my arm is asleep.” Uncomfortable sleeping or awkward reclining positions cause this arm tingling sensation.


  • Tingling sensations in the left arm occur if you suffer from and kind of vascular problem, which constricts blood circulation. People who suffer from diabetes, muscular sclerosis and migraines also experience tingling sensations.


  • Do not ignore the tingling sensations in your left arm, and make sure to contact 9-1-1 for stroke and heart attack symptoms.

Symptoms & How to Diagnose

Tingling sensations in the left arm may not be cause for alarm; however, it is an abnormality that needs to be checked by a physician. If you experience tingling symptoms in your left arm or elsewhere on your body, it could be taken as a red flag warning that something may not be quite right. The sooner you check out the cause of the symptom, the sooner you can prevent any additional problems from occurring.

Immediate Care

  • If you have a preexisting ailment such as carpal tunnel syndrome or lower back pain, there may be certain exercises you can do to relieve your symptoms. It is extremely important that you identify the cause of the symptoms as soon as possible and have them treated by your physician. If the cause of the tingling comes from diabetes, you will be told by your doctor ways in which to adjust your diet to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Additionally, you need to discuss with your doctor possible side effects of any medication you are taking to alleviate the tingling symptoms.

Emergency Care

No one knows your body better than you. You will know the difference between an arm that has fallen asleep causing tingling sensations or a possible medical emergency. Call 911 if any of the following occurs:

  • If you experience the tingling sensation after hitting your head or falling on your back.
  • If you experience complete paralysis of your arm.
  • If you, at any time, lose consciousness.
  • If you experience slurred speech or loss of vision.
  • If you experience continuous dizziness or muscle spasms.
  • If the tingling worsens when you move your arm.
  • If you experience chest pains and difficulty breathing.


Left arm pain tingling is a scary symptom. Most people know it’s one of the signs of a heart attack. What they don’t realize, however, is that it can be a sign of many other problems as well. More than likely, the discomfort has a simple fix and is no reason to worry, but until you know what to look for, you won’t know. This article goes over what you need to do to quickly diagnose left arm pain tingling for yourself.


  1. Check your position first before jumping to any other conclusions. Left arm pain tingling commonly happens when your limbs “fall asleep”. If you are laying or sitting awkwardly, this is very well be the problem.
  2. Feel your arm for any coldness. If you have determined you are not and have not been in an awkward position, it could be bad circulation. While this isn’t as serious as a heart attack, this type of left arm pain tingling is definitely reason to contact a doctor.
  3. Check any of your prescriptions to see if left arm pain tingling is a side effect. Often times new medications have this type of reaction.
  4. Consider your psychological condition at the time. If you are under a lot of stress, or regularly experience panic attacks, this is another cause for left arm pain tingling.
  5. Consider the other symptoms of a heart attack just to rule it out. Do you feel a squeezing pressure in your chest? Are you short of breath? Are you sweating a lot? These, accompanied by left arm pain tingling can be a heart attack.

Tips & Warnings

  • Any type of left arm pain, unless your arm was asleep, should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.


Visit your doctor even if you believe the cause of your symptoms is a minor one. Because of the multitude of causes of left arm tingling symptoms, you will want to make sure that what you are experiencing is not the start of a severe illness. Remember that the tingling symptoms are a warning sign that something is wrong with your body. Be proactive in identifying the cause in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.