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Numbness and Tingling in the Left Arm After a Workout

by
author image Jessica Lietz
Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.

After working out, most people expect to feel soreness or fatigue, although experiencing a sensation of numbness and tingling in your left arm is not uncommon. Most of the time, the numbness and tingling results from behavior related to your workout. Sometimes, serious medical conditions also cause these symptoms. Fortunately, most cases of numbness and tingling in your left arm are preventable and treatable with changes in your workout and prompt medical care.

Lifestyle Causes

Injury or excess pressure on a nerve in your neck or left arm is a common cause of numbness and tingling after a workout. Repetitive exercises such as lifting weights or holding the same position for a long period of time puts pressure on your nerves and decreases the blood flow to the area, leading to numbness and tingling. Vitamin deficiencies and abnormal levels of minerals such as potassium, calcium and sodium, which can occur after a long or strenuous workout, are also common causes of tingling in your arm after a workout, explains the MedlinePlus website.

Medical Causes

Numbness and tingling in your left arm after you exercise sometimes results from a medical condition that affects the nerves in and around your arm. Diabetes interferes with the flow of blood to your extremities, leading to numbness or tingling. Hypothyroidism also causes numbness or tingling due to decreased blood flow, especially after you expend energy during a workout. Cardiovascular problems such as stroke, transient ischemic attack and atherosclerosis also diminish blood supply to parts of your body, leading to numbness or tingling. If your numbness or tingling is accompanied by difficulty speaking or understanding speech, confusion, dizziness or droopiness on one side of your face, dial 9-1-1 or your local emergency number, as these are symptoms of stroke, which is a life-threatening condition.

Treatments

Changes to your workout routine, such as alternating exercises or taking breaks during strenuous workouts, are often enough to treat numbness and tingling in your left arm. If your numbness results from a vitamin or mineral deficiency, taking a supplement treats the deficiency; however, check with your doctor before taking any supplement. Treatment of numbness and tingling due to diabetes requires careful management of diet and exercise. You may require medication if dietary changes are insufficient. Numbness in your left arm that results from cardiovascular problems such as stroke requires emergency treatment, including medications and surgery along with follow-up to prevent worsening or complications.

Prevention

Eating a balanced diet helps prevent numbness due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as cardiovascular problems. Controlling your blood sugar and taking medication as prescribed helps prevent numbness related to diabetes. Working with a trainer to learn proper form and technique helps prevent repetitive stress injuries that cause numbness and tingling and also helps protect you against further injury that can result when your arm is numb.

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