- Arm numbness:
Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Arm numbness. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.
Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:
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Why: to establish if acute or chronic.
Why: E.g. forearm, elbow, shoulder - can help determine which nerves are affected.
Why: helps determine which nerves are affected e.g. peripheral neuropathy is symmetrical compared with individual nerve or nerve root disease which should be suspected if sensory loss is asymmetrical or confined to one limb.
Why: helps determine which nerves are affected.
Why: can help determine the cause of arm numbness e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome is usually worse at night.
Why: helps determine the cause of arm numbness e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms may be relieved by dangling the arm over the side of the bed.
Why: e.g. whiplash injury - can determine possible cause of numbness , Brachial plexus injury.
Why: diabetes and chronic renal failure can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Why: Vitamin B12 deficiency can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Why: some medications can cause peripheral neuropathy e.g. amiodarone , phenytoin, nitrofurantoin.
Why: certain occupations requiring repetitive motions are at risk of causing work-induced overuse disorders e.g. process and meat workers are at risk of carpal tunnel syndrome due to rapid finger and wrist movement.
Why: Tabes dorsalis of syphilis may be cause.
Why: can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy.
Why: The period of time which you have experienced numbness for can the type of condition which is causing it. For example, numbness which has been present for some time may be caused by Diabetes, whereas that which is of relatively new onset may be the result of trauma to a nerve (Sensory Nerve Transection).
Why: Different areas on numbness on your arm can correspond with different causes, and different nerve problems.
Why: The exact sequence of events leading up to you noticing the numbness may be important in determining its cause.
Why: It is possible that whatever is causing the numbness in your arm is also causing numbness in other areas as well.
Why: To describe what "numbness" feels like may sound unnecessary and downright strange, however the concept of numbness means a great many different things to different people. Your description may assist your Health professional to understand exactly what you are experiencing and so formulate an appropriate management strategy.
Why: Some condition which can result in arm numbness or areas of numbness can be repetitive.
Why: Diabetes is an important cause of arm numbness, and the occurrence of areas of diminished sensation.
Why: If anyone in your family has ever been diagnosed with diabetes then this can increase your risk of having it as well. There is more than one type of diabetes, and they all tend to have a inheritable genetic component to them.
Why: It is estimated that up to a third of those with diabetes do not know that they have it. Testing for diabetes is important as it can help with its management and the prevention of such things as diabetic neuropathy, mononeuritis multiplex and other disorders which can result in arm numbness.
Why: A minor injury can be the cause for an area of arm numbness, and it is important for you to tell your Health Professional if you have experienced any recent minor trauma.
Why: Leprosy can result in sensory deficits, including on the arms. It can have a long incubation period of up to several years, so it is important that you report all travel that you have undertaken within the past decade.
Why: Polyarthralgia can be experienced with sarcoidosis, and its presence along with arm numbness would increase the chance that you have that condition.
Why: Sarcoidosis is often diagnosed on a chest x-ray/radiograph. If you have had any of these performed in the past then it may be important for you to tell your Health Professional about them so that they may be vigilant in finding any changes indicative of sarcoidosis.
Why: As this is a condition which may primarily affect your respiratory system, it may not be immediately obvious to you that your arm numbness is also as a result of it.
Why: Polyarteritis Nodosa is a condition of your blood vessels which can cause any and/or all of these symptoms, along with areas of numbness.
Why: Polyarteritis Nodosa can particularly cause acute kidney dysfunction, and so result in changes in the volume or color of the urine that you are passing. This condition can also result in areas of numbness.
Why: Many different types of cancer can cause affects on a wide variety of body systems (Paraneoplastic Syndrome) other than those that they are directly involved with. Two such effects can be weight loss and abnormal/decreased sensation in an area.
Why: You may be experiencing arm numbness as a result of another seemingly unrelated and potentially undiagnosed condition. If you have experienced any other symptoms, or have any other concerns that your doctor has not already canvassed with you then it is important that you mention them.
Why: One of the major nerves of the arm can be affected by extra pressure in the arm pit. This can result in an area of arm numbness, or dysfunction of some of the arm muscles.
Why: Sometimes when one falls asleep in a chair you may hold your arm in such a way (over the back of the chair) that it can cause dysfunction or one of the major arm nerves. This can also occur if you have laid or fallen asleep on a hard surface for an extended period of time; this tends to occur more with alcohol or substance intoxication.
Why: Arm numbness can also be as a result of dysfunction of a segment of the spine, or of the nerves as they come off of it.
Why: This condition can over an extended period of time cause sensory dysfunction (numbness) in your peripheries (peripheral neuropathy).
Why: This is a relatively rare condition which can be genetically inherited, and which can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Why: These are all diseases which can cause sensory deficits and arm numbness by the abnormal production of some proteins within the blood. Individually, they are not very common and are primarily diagnosed by blood tests and clinical suspicion given relatively vague other symptoms (fatigue, weight loss, etc.).
Why: There are some medications (isoniazid, vincristine, phenytoin) which can result in peripheral neuropathy and arm numbness.
Why: These are connective tissue conditions which can also cause diminished arm sensation and peripheral neuropathy.
Why: There are some conditions such as the two more common and better described ones specifically mentioned here, which can cause peripheral neuropathy and some problems with motor function, e.g. walking. Frequently these conditions are undiagnosed and you may simply recall that a distant relative had a "funny walk".
Why: There are some specific dietary deficiencies which can result in peripheral neuropathy. These can include Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Pyridoxine and Thiamine. Deficiencies of some of these vitamins can also be caused by things such as biliary disease/hepatic disease, malabsorption, medications, and alcoholism.
Why: Guillain Barre Syndrome is a rare and unusual acute condition which causes dysfunction of both sensory and motor nerves. It can occur without any identifiable cause or specific recent history (40%); however recent surgery, vaccinations and infections have been retrospectively shown to be common preceding events.
Why: Some conditions such as Guillain Barre Syndrome can cause sensory dysfunction as well as problems with the muscles which you use to breath. Difficulties with breathing can be a medical emergency.
Why: Some conditions can affect both sensory and motor nerves, and you may have noticed muscle or movement problems as well as your arm numbness. Guillain Barre Syndrome is an example of one such condition.
Why: Cigarette smoking predisposes to Lung Cancer. Some types of lung cancer can cause dysfunction of the nerves which supply your arm, and so may cause arm weakness, arm numbness, arm pain, or shoulder pain. Some of the nerves which influence your "voice box" and the production of speech are very close to these arm nerves, and so you may notice a change in your voice (hoarseness) Some of the nerves which control your eyes and eyelids may also be affected, and may result in a syndrome (Horner's Syndrome) which includes pupil constriction (miosis), a lack of sweating on your forehead (anhydrosis), a drooping eyelid (ptosis) and a "sunken" eye (enophthalmos).
Why: if also pain in the involved extremity this usually suggests herniated cervical disc , spinal cord tumor or cervical spondylosis. Other conditions to consider are brachial plexus neuropathy, thoracic outlet syndrome, cervical rib, Pancoast's tumour, Raynaud's disease, sympathetic dystrophy or various entrapment syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.
Why: e.g. numbness of the face would suggest a diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease, a mass in the brain, migraine or multiple sclerosis.
Why: may suggest migraine or mass in brain.
The following list of conditions have 'Arm numbness' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Arm numbness or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have 'Arm numbness'
or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.
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