Tingling in the left hand
is a very common symptom that we have all had the opportunity to experience over and over again throughout our lives.
Given its diffusion it is easy to understand how often it is a passing phenomenon without any pathological significance, in fact in the great majority of cases it is a phenomenon resulting from a trivial compression of the nerves and blood vessels of the left hand or left arm. following the assumption of incorrect postures and attitudes.
This is an event that often occurs at night, especially if you sleep with your left arm held under your body or under the pillow, or during the day by performing the same repeated movements such as typing on the keyboard or using the mouse for hours. Tingling in the left hand
is a paresthesia , i.e. an alteration of the sensitivity of an area of the body, in this case of the left hand, which manifests itself as numbness , a sensation of itching, reduced sensitivity and soreness that can also radiate to the forearm, to the left arm and extend to the shoulder.
However, since it is the left upper limb, it is very easy to get scared thinking that the symptom may refer to a myocardial infarction, but we will see that the possible causes are really numerous and that cardiac ones constitute only a small minority of cases.
For this reason it is not necessary to be alarmed in case of tingling in the left hand , unless this is accompanied by a much more intense symptomatology that we will see in detail later.
What are the most common causes of tingling in the left hand
As we have previously mentioned, the causes that can lead to the appearance of this disorder can be many and involve different body parts.
Carpal tunnel syndrome It is certainly the most common pathological condition when tingling in the hands
is felt , it mainly affects female subjects in adulthood and advanced age, and is connected to a compression or “entrapment” phenomenon in the median nerve which arises from the brachial plexus.
Symptoms typically occur at night and the subject experiences tingling and numbness when going to bed. Initially, the symptoms are felt in the lateral half of the hand (thumb, index, middle and lateral half of the ring finger), later the tingling extends to the forearm to reach the shoulder.
If this disorder is diagnosed after a long period of time has elapsed since the first manifestations of symptoms, the person may experience episodes of muscle hypotrophy (reduction in muscle mass), which typically affect the thenar eminence (fleshy relief that located at the base of the thumb).
There is no single cause , often in fact it is an idiopathic pathology, resulting from several contributing causes. Generally, one of the factors favoring the disturbance and the implementation of repetitive movements (such as typing for a long time with the computer keyboard or using the mouse for several hours every day, and in the specific case of tingling in the left handleft-handed subjects are involved), but there are also some classes of drugs such as antibiotics and anesthetics that may be responsible for the appearance of the phenomenon.
The tingling sensation in the arm, fingers and left hand are very often the consequence of compression phenomena of the nerves and blood vessels typical of when assuming incorrect positions for a long time or when excessive physical exertion is carried out.
It is a very common condition even upon waking, because during sleep you can take positions that compress vessels and nerves, triggering that annoying feeling of numbness and “dead hand”, cold to the touch due to the lesser flow of blood.
Stress and anxiety
These two factors lead to postures in which the shoulder and arm muscles remain contracted for a long time due to the state of emotional tension, thus resulting in the sensation of tingling and numbness covered by this article.
We are speaking, in fact, of manifestations that can also involve the somatic sphere and not only the psychological one.
Similarly to what happens for stress and anxiety , even cervical pain can lead to positions of prolonged muscle contraction that compress the nerves and vessels of the left hand giving tingling and reduced sensitivity.
Anemia and deficiency of vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
In the case of anemia there is a reduced value of hemoglobin , responsible for the transport of oxygen, an element that provides for the correct cellular metabolism, while the lack of vitamin B12 has negative influences on the metabolism of the nerves. In both cases there is a state of tissue suffering that can lead to tingling and paresthesia.
Inflammations of the brachial plexus
We have previously seen the carpal tunnel syndrome , which affects the medial nerve, but the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve are also part of the brachial plexus. The latter goes to irradiate the medial part of the hand ( little fingerand ring finger), triggering tingling, reduced sensitivity and paraesthesia.
Disease that leads to the progressive destruction of the myelin sheath that lines the nerves and that allows the correct transmission of the nerve impulse. When the myelin sheath is damaged there is a transmission defect that leads to fatigue and paraesthesia. Paresthesias and tingling are a very common symptom among multiple sclerosis sufferers, so it is recommended not to underestimate the problem if it persists.
A condition in which there is high levels of glucose in the blood , which causes a destructive effect on the nerves (diabetic neuropathy).
In these cases thetingling in the left hand and to be attributed with good probability to the decrease in the caliber of an artery that radiates from the arm to the hand or to a lowering of blood pressure which leads to a lower flow of blood to the tissues.
And then the Rayanaud phenomenon is characteristic, which leads to vasoconstriction in case of cold-hot temperature changes. The fingers take on a typical pale or bluish color due to the reduced blood flow reaching them.
is the most feared event, but remember once again that the tingling in the left handand to refer to a heart attack only in a small percentage of cases, therefore it is not necessary to worry when there is no concrete basis to do so.
In the event of a heart attack, tingling in the hand and left arm are one of the characteristic symptoms, but to these are added a feeling of oppression in the chest, difficulty breathing, profuse sweating, pale skin, confusion, feeling of lack of balance, dizziness and chills.
In these cases it is necessary to contact 118 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
How the diagnosis is made
We have seen how tingling in the left hand is madeit may be the consequence of a multitude of factors, many of which are minor and non-pathological, but it is still good to know that in a minority of cases the symptom represents the alarm bell of a clinical manifestation of great clinical interest.
If the tingling in the left hand persists for a long time, and if it is associated with other symptoms such as lack of strength, pain, lack of sensitivity, burning sensation and if the symptoms also radiate to the rest of the arm, up to the shoulder, it is necessary to contact to the doctor in a timely manner to be directed towards more in-depth analyzes that will focus on neurological, orthopedic, cardiological or vascular fields.
Obviously the doctor will take into account the perceived symptoms, from how long thetingling , if it is continuous or episodic, if it is accompanied by lack of strength, weakness of muscle tissue and skin manifestations. Depending on the data collected, the doctor can then submit the subject to further more in-depth analyzes, based on specific diagnostic suspicions.
As for the diagnosis of carpal tunnel , the orthopedic doctor can perform flexion-extension maneuvers, able to indicate the presence of the disorder, but there are much more accurate and specific tests such as electromyography and electro-neuro-myography, that allow to study the speed of conduction of the nerve stimulus and to diagnose carpal tunnel at an early stage.
The same techniques are used to diagnose other forms of nerve injury in the brachial plexus (ulnar and radial nerve) as well.
For other types of pathologies , a blood sample , an electrocardiogram , an echocolordoppler (non-invasive test that allows you to observe the blood vessels and the blood flow inside them), an X-ray or an MRI scan may be useful.
What are the most effective therapies
In the case of carpal tunnel, in general, intervention is made through a surgical operation capable of decompressing the median nerve. Similarly, the same applies to disorders affecting the other nerves of the brachial plexus.
If it is a matter of trivial inflammations, anti-inflammatory drugs or a cortisone-based treatment as a first intervention in subjects diagnosed with multiple sclerosis may prove useful.
In case of a normal temporary compression, due to assuming an incorrect position during sleep or work, it will be sufficient as a simple remedy to change position and move the hand to restore normal blood flow.