What Causes Numbness in the Left Hand?

Pins and needles, medically known as paraesthesia, is most often felt in the hands, feet, legs, and arms. It is a tingling, burning, numbing, or prickling sensation that most commonly comes with little to no pain. Pins and needles, in the left hand especially, can cause panic amongst individuals as they believe it may be a problem with their heart. The truth is, pins and needles can be caused by problems with the muscles, nerves, blood circulation, etc. The condition is temporary on most occasions, but it can be long-lasting in some cases.

Possible Causes of Pins and Needles in Left Hand

As mentioned, most instances of pins and needles are temporary, and usually subside once the pressure is removes from the affected area. If the condition does not disappear, then pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible, as it could be an indication of a far more sever underlying health condition. Some possible causes for pins and needles are listed below:

1. Diabetic Neuropathy

Symptoms of this condition are often worse at night and most commonly first affect your legs and feet. Other symptoms associated with this include:

  • Sharp pains/cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling and/or burning sensation
  • Increased touch sensitivity

Proper management of the condition, and good blood sugar level control, will help to slow the advancement of diabetic neuropathy.

2. Vitamin Deficiencies

Vitamin deficiencies, such as vitamin B-12 deficiency, can be slow to develop, gradually developing symptoms over time. It can also happen quite quickly. Symptoms associated with this include:

  • Numbness and/or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Trouble walking/problems with balance
  • Anemia
  • Inflamed/swollen tongue
  • Jaundice (yellowed skin)

Vitamin deficiency can be corrected by increasing your intake of the vitamin that your body has been deprived of, increasing dietary intake, or via the consumption of normal multivitamins.

3. Alcoholism

This is another cause of pains and needles in left hand. Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to alcoholic neuropathy, which can affect both maneuverability and sensation. This condition can vary from feelings of slight discomfort, to major disability and, although not being life threatening, it can seriously hinder the quality of a person’s life. Symptoms that come with this include:

  • Tingling and burning
  • Numbness
  • Prickly sensations
  • Muscle cramps and/or spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle functionality
  • Problems with movement

The best way to treat this condition is to stop drinking. Some may find this easier than others to achieve, others may require help from rehabilitation centers or support groups.

4. Toxins

Toxins, especially toxins heavy in metal, can cause pins and needles as a method of early indication of the toxin being present within your body, acting as a warning sign. Symptoms experience with this include:

  • Paraesthesia
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

If you are concerned about the possibility of you being exposed to metal toxins, some research suggests that a type of green algae called chlorella can help the body break down metallic toxins.

5. Infection

Many infections, such as Lyme disease, herpes simplex, shingles, and HIV/AIDS, can all trigger a tingling sensation in one’s hands or feet. The symptoms of these infections varies, as do their treatment methods. If you believe this to be the cause of the pins and needles in your left hand, then ensure to visit your doctor as soon as possible.

6. Systemic Disease

Systemic diseases include kidney and liver disorders, vascular damage, amyloidosis, connective tissue disorders and chronic inflammation, and cancers and benign tumors that intrude upon nerves. Symptoms of each condition vary, yet all can cause paraesthesia. To best deal with systemic diseases, a change in lifestyle may be necessary. It is also important to determine the cause, to be able to best determine the correct course of treatment.

7. Anaphylactic Reactions

Anaphylactic reactions usually occur around fifteen minutes after a person has been exposed to the allergen. This can lead a person’s heart to beat erratically, as well as cause:

  • Tingling sensations
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping/bloating
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you believe an anaphylactic reaction has occurred. In situations of emergency status, they will likely inject epinephrine into a muscle or vein. If a person’s breathing becomes difficult, a breathing tube may be inserted to assist them with the function. These measures should allow a person’s blood pressure to return to normal. If this does not happen, further measures may be needed, including the application of blood thinners.

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition affecting a person’s arms, ankles and hands. Symptoms associated with this include:

  • Numbness/tingling in hands/fingers
  • Sense of weakness in the hand/hands
  • Increased tendency to drop things

In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome will dissipate without treatment. The time this takes can be accelerated by performing light stretches at the affected area, or shaking your wrists gently. It is best to avoid activities that exacerbate your symptoms, or at least take frequent breaks when carrying out such activities. If the condition does remain persistent, then there are a number of surgical and non-surgical options available.

How to Deal with Pins and Needles in Left Hand

On most occasions, home treatment should suffice in eradicating tingling or burning sensations relatable to paraesthesia. These treatments include:

  • R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), this treatment will help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Avoid sleeping on your hands
  • Protect your hands from cold
  • Treat blisters on hands or fingers
  • Stop, change, or take frequent breaks from activities causing the condition
  • General lifestyle changes, such as maintaining optimal weight, limiting your consumption of toxins (cigarettes, alcohol etc., and eating healthily, will all help to avoid paraesthesia occurring.

When to Call Your Doctor

There are a number of questions you can ask yourself to determine whether your condition requires immediate medical attentions:

  • Does paraesthesia often last 90 seconds or longer?
  • Is the sensation of frequent occurrence?
  • Does it seem to come spontaneously?
  • Does the sensation remain the same once you have readjusted your position and removes the pressure from the area?
  • Does the condition often affect your sleeping pattern, and wake you up in the night?
  • Does the condition affect the quality of my life?

If the answer to one or more of these questions was yes, then you should pay a visit to your doctor as soon as you can. It is best to seek consultation with a neurologist, who specialize in this area.

How to Diagnose Pins and Needles in Left Hand

To obtain a definite diagnosis of the cause of the pins and needles in your left hand, you must first visit a health care professional. They will provide numerous examinations to help with assessment, which may include blood tests and an analysis of your spinal fluid, as well as tests for diabetes, internal organ dysfunctions, vitamin deficiencies, and other metabolic disorders.

You may also be referred to a specialist, who will often perform further tests, including: cerebrospinal fluid examination, an electromyogram (EMG) test, and nerve conduction velocity (NCV).

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