Right Arm Numbness

Right arm numbness and tingling can be accompanied by pain at times and if that is what you are feeling now or are concerned about a loved one you have come to the right place.  First, causes of numbness in the right arm are for the most part very similar to causes of numbness in the left arm with a few exceptions so lets go over those first.

The likelihood of having a numb or tingling right arm in the setting of an acute coronary event like a heart attack would be very unusual in isolation.  That being said if you have numbness and tingling in both arms then that still becomes a possibility.  Otherwise many of the disorders affecting the right and left sides are the same.

However, there is one organ on the right side of the body which could be causing your symptoms and that is the liver along with the gallbladder and even perhaps with involvement in the pancreas.  That seems very far away from the right arm in anatomical terms doesn’t it?  Well, not really because you see the diaphragm is innervated or getting its nerve impulses from the cervical spine.  The liver sits right under the diaphragm so the liver or potentially organs adjacent to it can cause a “tickling” of the diaphragm so to speak and then the body registers that in the cervical spine especially on the right side.  This causes a short circuit so to speak that causes numbness, tingling or pain to radiate to the right arm and often times the shoulder as well making it seem as if there is another cause.  So cholecystitis or gallbladder infection, hepatitis of the liver, even pancreatitis though more unusual can cause symptoms involving the right arm.

More often however, the symptoms will be from either a stroke or some sort of nerve impingement.  Many of these are discussed in the left arm numbness article.  Briefly, a stroke could be the cause and especially if you have speech problems I would say that you are certainly having a stroke.  This is because the brain is cross wired so impaired blood flow to the left side of the brain would cause symptoms in the right side of the body.  If the onset is sudden along with speech impairment or weakness you need to seek medical attention immediately.  When caught soon enough you  may be a candidate for the use of tPA a clot busting intravenous medication that could dissolve the clot and cause symptoms to dissipate.  I have seen a number of cases where this has happened with good results.  But, beware there are specific guidelines that must be followed and there is a significant risk of bleeding.

Nerve impingement can certainly cause right arm numbness, tingling and pain as well.  Nerve impingement can occur at multiple levels either at the nerve root in the cervical spine itself or the brachial plexus perhaps as in the case of thoracic outlet syndrome for example where the brachial plexus is impinged between the clavicle and 1st rib.  There is a rarer disorder of a congenital cervical rib which would mimic this as well.  More distal nerve impingements of the radial, ulnar or medial nerves can occur as well all with their own specific set of symptoms.  Usually in distal nerve impingement numbness in the right arm is mostly below the elbow and many times numbness in the hands alone.

This is just an overview of various causes of right arm numbness and you should seek the rapid attention of a physician especially if the numbness is of a persistent nature.  Intermittent numbness causes are generally more benign though diseases such as intermittent transient ischemic attacks and multiple sclerosis are possible.  But, those causes of right arm numbness can be evaluated by your physician and potentially with the help of a neurologist as well.