Numbness in Arms and Hands, Legs, Causes & Treatment

Numbness in arms is no doubt an unpleasant sensation. When your arms, legs, hands, face or any part of your body start to feel numb or tingling, knowing what to do to get them back to normal is of more concern. Here are the possible causes and what you need to do to get rid of the numbness and tingling.

Numbness in arms meaning

Numbness or tingling are an unusual sensation that can pop up anywhere in the body. Numbness is however common on arms, legs, hands, fingers and feet. The most common cause of numbness and tingling is staying in the same position for extended periods of time. This does not matter of whether you are standing or sitting. You are more likely to experience this when traveling or sitting for long when working.

Numbness and Tingling in Arms Causes
Numbness and Tingling in Arms Causes

Another possible cause of the tingling is injury or damage to the nerve. When you injure your neck, for instance, you will experience these feeling in your arms and hands. When the injury is on you lower back, however, you are likely to experience the tingling and numbness in your legs and feet.

Other causes would include lack of blood flow, unbalance level of potassium, lack of vitamin C, bug and insect bites, allergies, diabetes and many other causes. Some of these causes are discussed below.

Numbness in arms and hands

Numbness in arm and hands describes a loss of sensation or feeling in these part of the body. Numbness will often be accompanied by or a combination with changes in sensation. This can include pin and needle feeling, burning or tingling. With numbing, it can occur along a single nerve, one side of the body or may occur symmetrically on both sides of the body.

Reasons for Numbness in Arms and Hands
Reasons for Numbness in Arms and Hands

Below are some of the possible causes of numbness on arms and hands:


Neuralgia is a stabbing, burning and most often severe pain that occurs due to a damaged nerve. The damaged nerve can anywhere in the body. For numbness on arms and hands, the nerve damage is in most cases on face and neck.

The cause of nerve damage could include a disease such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or an infection such as shingles. Old age can also a reason for nerve damage. Treatment for pain or neuralgia depends on the underlying cause of the nerve damage.

Transient ischemic attack

TIA is a brief neurological dysfunction resulting from an interruption in the blood supply to the brain or the eye. TIA is sometimes a precursor to stroke. Most people will often confuse TIA for a stroke, it produces similar symptoms but the symptoms usually last only a few minutes and causing n permanent damage.

TIA can be a sign of stroke, with studies showing that about 1 in 3 people who have transient ischemic attack may eventually have a stroke. Half the number of this cases often occur within a year of the transient ischemic attack.

Spinal cord injury

Numbness or tingling n arms and hands can also mean you have injured your spinal cord. Common signs and symptoms of spinal cord injury after an accident may include extreme back pain, or pressure in your neck, head or back. Others will include weakness in coordination, paralysis in any part of the body, tingling and loss of sensation in your hands, finger, feet or toe.


A stroke I a serious medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Stroke are thus a medical emergency which requires urgent treatment. With early treatment, the possible damage to the brain is reduced.

An episode of stroke can be shown with the following symptoms:

  • The face might drop on one side make it hard for a person to smile, the dropping can also be seen on eyes or mouth
  • When suffering from a stroke, the speech becomes slurred or garbled. Despite appearing awake, a person may be unable to talk
  • Due to weakness and numbness, a person may be unable to lift his arms or hold them up.

 Ulnar nerve palsy

Ulnar nerve palsy or syndrome is a condition caused by the damage to the ulnar nerve. This damage is usually due to illness, injury or too much pressure on the ulnar nerve. Those with this condition will in most cases have numbness, tingling or complete loss of sensation in their fourth and fifth finger [health line]

Ulnar nerve travels from your shoulder down to your little finger. The nerve controls motion and sensation in some of the muscles of your arms and hand. With the condition, with the condition, you may lose sensation and have muscle weakness in your hands.

Panic attack

A panic attack can be explained as a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety. This feeling, in most cases is caused by intense fear which triggers a severe physical reaction. Though not life threatening, a panic attack can be frightening and significantly affect your quality of life.

Most people will only have one or two panic attack in their lifetimes before the problems go away. A panic attack can be shown by:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Feeling of choking
  • Shorter breath and smothering

Intracerebral hemorrhage

ICH is a type of stroke caused by bleeding within the brain tissue itself. It is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. As said, a stroke will happen when the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted. The common cause of this condition is hypertension, arteriovenous malformations, or head trauma.

Guillain-Barre syndrome

GBS is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The first and most common symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensation on legs. The tingling ad weakness will afterward spread to the upper part of your body.


Alcoholic neuropathy which is the damage of one’s nerves as a result of heavy consumption of alcohol is also a possible cause of the numbness and tingling in arms and legs.


Frostbites refer to injury to body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold, typically affecting the nose. Fingers or toes. Left untreated, the condition can result in gangrene, a localized death and decomposition of body tissue resulting from either obstructed circulation or bacterial infection.

Numbness in arms at night when sleeping

From our discussion, we have seen that numbness and tingling in the arm will happen when you maintain the same position for long. This can either be when you sit for long or stand for a long hour. When sleeping, your arms can become numb as a result of axillary nerve dysfunction.

An axillary nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy.  It occurs when there damage to the axillary nerves. These are nerves that help control the deltoid muscles of the shoulder and the skin around it. When the problem occurs to just a single nerve, the condition is referred to as mononeuropathy.

Rabies, a contagious and fatal viral disease of dogs and other mammals can cause madness and convulsions. The condition is also said to cause numbness and tingling.

Numbness in arms and face

Numbness can occur on any part of the body. In arms and face, the numbness can cause pain and make the face to appear dropping. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a common cause of tingling and numbness on the face. The condition occurs when the body’s immune system become hyperactive and start to attack part of the peripheral nervous system.

The other possible cause of numbness on the face is a condition known as beriberi. This is a disease causing inflammation of the nerves and heart failure. The condition is caused by the deficiency of vitamin B1. Beriberi can cause effects to many parts of the body including the heart, muscles, nerves and the digestive track

Numbness on the face can also be caused by peripheral neuropathy, a condition caused by the damage or injury of the nerve that relays information between the spinal cord and the brain.

Numbness in arms while lying down    

Numbness is common and can appear anywhere anytime. For those who do not exercise regularly or those with condition that affects the nerves or the immune system, it is possible for them to experience tingling and numbness when they lay down.

The numbness and tingling can also happen when you maintain the same position for long. Other conditions that might cause the numbness would include the following:

  • Osteomalacia
  • Alkalosis
  • Snake bites

Numbness in arms during pregnancy

Different body changes take place during pregnancy. All this are regulated and controlled by hormones in preparation for the unborn baby. The swelling of the body may press on nerves, this may cause tingling and numbness in the legs, arms, and hands.

The skin on the belly might also feel numb because of being stretched out. The tingling and numbness occur because of carpal tunnel syndrome, caused by pressure on the nerves occurring within the wrist.

Hyperventilation is another possible cause of the numbness during pregnancy. Hyperventilation is a condition in which you suddenly start to breathe very quickly. The condition is also referred to ass rapid or fast deep breathing.

Numbness in arms and legs

Numbness in arms and legs is common. The tingling and numbness are also harmless but this depends on the underlying cause or causes. Numbness on this arms and legs can be painful and hinder simple body movements.

Apart from the causes discussed above, numbness in legs and arms can also be caused by Sports injuries. Injuries occurring on the neck or the upper part of the body will cause numbness and tingle in hand, and arms. When the injuries are occurring on the waist, then the tingling or numbness will be felt on legs.

Numbness can also be caused by Gangrene, a localized death, and decomposition of body tissue. This condition could result from either obstructed circulation of blood or bacterial infection.

Numbness and tingling can also be a sign of Brain cancer.  A brain tumor is a collection or mass of abnormal cells that appear in the brain. Even when arising from the same type of brain tissue, not all brain tumors are the same. Some tumors might be cancerous whereas others are not.

If you notice the tingling or numbness recur or las for long, you need to have a professional health care provided diagnose the condition to find out what could be causing it. Brain cancer is a serious life threating condition, it, therefore, calls for an immediate and specialized health care.

Numbness in both arms

Numbness can happen on any part of the body. The numbness could occur on one side of the body, on both sides of the body or symmetrically. All this will depend on the underlying cause of the numbness or how spread the infection causing the numbness is.

Numbness in both arms is in most cases caused by damage, irritation or compression of one of the nerves or branch of one of the nerves in your arm and wrist [mayo clinic]. Disease of health condition affecting the peripheral nerves such as diabetes can cause numbness. With diabetes, however, the symptoms will first occur on feet.

Numbness in both arms is likely to be caused by:

  • Radiculopathy
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy

Left arm numbness heart attack

A heart attack is a sudden and sometimes fatal occurrence of coronary thrombosis, which typically results in the death of part of the heart muscle. When this happens, the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain may be interrupted causing numbness on left arm and other parts of the body.

This condition is more likely to be caused by:

  • Hyperventilationa condition where one start to breathe very quickly also called fast deep breathing.
  • Multiple sclerosisis the chronic and progressive disease that causes damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Common symptoms of this condition include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision and severe fatigue.
  • Carotid stenosisis the narrowing of the carotid arteries, the two major arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. The condition results from the buildup of plaques inside the arteries.
  • Necrotizing vasculitisthis is the inflammation of blood vessels wall. This inflammation can interrupt the normal blood flow resulting in skin and muscles damage
  • Hypovolemic shock, also known as hemorrhagic shock, this is a life-threatening condition that results from losing more than 20% of the body’s blood or fluid supply.

Numbness in upper right arm

Numbness as said can happen on any part of the body. Depending on what the underlying cause of the numbing is, it might be painful, last for long or recur. Numbness on your right arm indicates a possible problem with the nerves occurring on the upper parts of your body.

Other possible causes of the numbness might include: Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, rheumatoid neuropathy, and Hepatitis C

Numbness in arm treatment

Numbness in the arm can be a serious condition or not. Depending on what the underlying cause of the tingling and numbness is, you doctor or health provider will examine the symptoms and prescribe the right treatment needed to get rid of the symptoms.

Successful treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of the numbness. When the peripheral nerves have not been killed or damaged, there is a high possibility that the nerves can regenerate. For inherited types of neuropathy, no treatment exist, for acquired type, the symptoms can be improved with treatment.

Numbness on arms, legs, face and other parts of the body can also be prevented by maintaining a proper diet and general lifestyle changes. You can do the following:

  • Maintain an optimal weight, check not to be underweight, overweight or obese. Check with your doctor to make sure you maintain a good body mass index BMI.
  • you can also adopt a doctors-supervised exercise program, this way, you either not doing too much or too little
  • make sure you avoid exposure to toxins and if you have to, make sure you wear protective gears to minimize the exposure
  • maintain a balanced diet, this way, you are able to boost your immune system and protect your body from toxins
  • For those who consume alcohol, you will need to avoid or cut on the consumption.
  • For those who smoke or chew tobacco, you will also need to reduce, this is because smoking is was found to constrict blood supply to blood vessels supplying nutrients t peripheral nerves. This is a common cause of tingling  and numbness on arms

Home remedies for numbness in arms and hands

Numbness in arms can be painfully annoying. When the temporary is numbness or the underlying cause of the tingling or numbness is not serious or does not require immediate medical attention, one can get rid of the numbness using the following simple remedies.

One of the best ways to get rid of the tingling is by using water. For tingling and numbness on arm, feet, and toes, all you need to do is soak the affected area in some cold water until the tingling stops. You can also try to forcefully move this part till the numbness fades away.

For numbness on the limb from sitting for long hours, you can get rid of the numbness by waking. Yes, walking, when your feel the tingling or spasms, stand still for a minute then take a short walk around the room. Walking is an effective way of getting rid of the numbness.

The other effective remedy for “sleeping legs” is standing on your tip toe. After doing that, lower your heels back to the floor. Do this repeatedly for 10 minutes to stimulate circulation in your lower extremities. If you experience the tingling often, do this 10 times before going to bed.

You can also prevent the numbness by eating more foods that are rich in iron. Iron deficiency is among the common causes of tingling ad numbness in arms and legs.

You will also have to prevent and avoid certain foods that might trigger the numbness. Coffee or alcohol during and after dinner is not encouraged.

Finally, embrace a healthier lifestyle. Avoid smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Make sure you do regular exercises like swimming, you could also adopt relaxation techniques such as yoga. This way you are able to reduce tension. For those who spend so much time in the same sitting or standing, wear loose clothes to allow for better circulation.

How to Prevent Numbness and Tingling – Video

Sources and references


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