What Is a Possible Cause for Left Arm Pain and Numbness?

A common cause of pain and tingling that radiates down the arm is a pinched nerve in the neck, states Virginia Spine Institute. Pain in the shoulder blade, hand or fingers often accompanies this type of pain. If the pain improves when the individual turns his head or tilts it to one side, this sometimes means that a herniated spinal disc is pressing on the nerve. Doctors call this condition cervical radiculopathy.

Injury to the brachial plexus, a nerve bundle that sends impulses to the shoulders, arms and hands, is another cause of arm numbness, tingling and pain, Mayo Clinic reports. Minor brachial plexus injuries often occur during contact sports and cause temporary tingling or pain that shoots down the arm. More severe injuries may cause severe pain and complete loss of use of the affected arm.

Pain, tingling or numbness in the forearm that radiates to the ring and pinky fingers is a common sign of cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition that results from irritation of the ulnar nerve in the elbow, notes Virginia Spine Institute. Similarly, pain, tingling or numbness in the wrist and hand often results from carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition that occurs due to irritation of the median nerve in the wrist.

A less common but noteworthy cause of pain and tingling that radiates down the left arm is a heart attack, notes WebMD. This pain most frequently starts in the chest and radiates elsewhere; however, some heart attack victims experience pain only in the arm, neck or jaw. The pain usually is associated with other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness or extreme fatigue.