Numbness in Arm or Paraesthesia

Arms | Rheumatology | Numbness in Arm or Paraesthesia (Symptom)


Arm numbness is an abnormal condition in which you feel a loss of sensation in one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) arms. The sensation may extend over the length of the arm and into the hands and fingers.


Arm numbness usually arises from a lack of blood supply to an area or nerve damage. Arm numbness can also result from infection, inflammation, trauma, malignancy, and other abnormal processes. Most cases of arm numbness are not due to a life-threatening condition.

Arm numbness is often associated with or preceded by pain-like pins-and-needles, prickling, or burning sensations called paresthesias. Whereas arm numbness is a loss of sensation, paralysis involves a loss of movement, with or without the loss of sensation in the area. Depending on the cause, the loss of sensation can disappear quickly, such as numbness from extremely cold temperatures that will fade away once you move to a warmer environment. Numbness can occur suddenly or progress slowly.

Chronic arm numbness generally indicates some level of damage to the nerves. Arm numbness may also be worse at night, which is common for paresthesias in general. Other medical conditions for arm numbness: diabetes, migraines, multiple sclerosis, seizures, stroke, abnormal levels of calcium, potassium, or sodium in your body, a lack of vitamin B12 or other vitamin, use of certain medications, radiation therapy, animal bites, insect, tick, mite, and spider bites, seafood toxins.