Left Arm Pain and Anxiety

Left Arm Pain and Anxiety Causes:

The causes of left arm pain are not known but it is believed that there are several factors involved. These include:

1) Your body’s reaction to stress or strain.

Stress may be physical (like working at a job you hate), emotional (such as dealing with family problems), mental (having a bad day at work), or environmental (being under siege from hostile forces). All these things can cause your body to react in ways that result in a variety of symptoms.

2) You have some sort of injury which results in muscle spasms, cramps, twinges, or other sensations.

3) Other conditions such as diabetes can affect blood flow to the arms causing them to swell up.

Diabetes may also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

4) Certain medications used to treat depression and anxiety can cause changes in blood flow to the hands and arms.

5) Other medical conditions like cancer, strokes, and other diseases can affect blood vessels in the hand.

In general, if you experience any of these symptoms, then you need to see a doctor immediately.

What are some of the common causes of numbness in arm?

The most common causes of numbness in arms include: carpal tunnel syndrome, stroke, injury and other conditions. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and arms. This syndrome is caused by pressure on a nerve in the wrist which can result from repetitive motions such as typing on a keyboard or playing sports like golf or tennis. It can also be caused by wrist fractures or diseases that affect the muscles and bones.

Strokes cause numbness in arms, hands, face, or legs because of damage to the circulation in these areas. Strokes are often caused by blockage of blood flow to the brain due to a burst blood vessel, but they can also be caused by bleeding from a blood vessel in or around the brain. A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a “mini-stroke” caused by temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain.

Injury and other medical conditions can also cause numbness in the arms. Peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness in hands and feet while spinal stenosis can cause numbness in the arms. Finally, there are several other medical conditions that can cause numbness in the arms.

Stroke

Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability among American adults. Having a stroke means that blood flow to your brain has been cut off or decreased so that part of your brain can no longer function. The two main types of stroke are ischemic and hemorrhagic.

An ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain becomes blocked and deprives the brain of its blood supply. As the brain tissue dies, the functions that depend on that area of the brain no longer work. These types of strokes are also called arterial strokes or embolic strokes.

80 percent of all strokes are ischemic.

Ischemic strokes are classified as:

Thrombotic strokes. Thrombotic strokes happen when a blood clot (commonly known as a “blood clot”) from the bloodstream gets stuck in one of the brain’s blood vessels and blocks it.

Hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when an artery in the brain leaks or bursts and bleeds into the space around the brain.

A hemorrhagic stroke happens when an artery in the brain bursts and bleeds into the space around the brain. About 20 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic, and they are usually caused by a weakened blood vessel or an aneurysm.

Hemorrhagic strokes are classified as:

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) . An ICH is a bleed that occurs within the brain tissue. About half of all hemorrhagic strokes are ICHs.

Ischemic Attacks

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) also called a “mini-stroke” is a temporary disruption in blood flow that causes symptoms similar to a stroke. Because a TIA affects less than 24 hours, patients may recover fully without any long-term consequences. On the other hand, they can also be a warning sign that a full-blown stroke may occur in the future.

TIAs are caused by a temporary reduction of blood flow, such as when a blood vessel becomes clogged or bursts. The symptoms of a TIA often last only a few minutes and may be a warning for the development of a full-blown stroke.

Stroke Prevention

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the space for blood to flow through and increasing the risk of developing a blood clot. There are several ways to prevent the narrowing of arteries and thus reduce your risk of having a stroke. Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can help prevent the buildup of plaque in your arteries and decrease your risk for stroke.

The National Stroke Association recommends the following lifestyle changes to decrease your risk of having a stroke:

Control your blood pressure by reducing sodium intake, eating a heart-healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.

Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.

Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you are overweight or obese.

Control diabetes by monitoring your blood glucose, eating a heart-healthy diet, and being physically active.

Practice stress management techniques.

Prevent injuries by using seatbelts, bike helmets, and other safety gear.

Don’t abuse alcohol or use illegal drugs.

Stroke Treatment

When you are admitted to the hospital because of a stroke, you will be seen by a team of health care providers that specialize in neurological care. Depending on your symptoms and the severity of your condition, you may need surgery or simply medication. If clots have formed within the space of 24 hours before you arrived at the hospital, medical providers may use a procedure called thrombectomy in which they remove the clot from the affected area using special instruments.

The kind of stroke treatment you may need depends on what is causing your stroke. For example, if your stroke is caused by a blood clot, medical providers may use medications to dissolve the clot or they may recommend surgery to remove the clot. If you are having a hemorrhagic stroke, in which an artery in your brain has burst and is bleeding into your brain, they may put you into a medically induced coma to give your brain time to heal.

If you are having an ischemic stroke, in which an artery has narrowed and your brain tissue is no longer receiving adequate blood flow, treatment may include an operation to open or bypass the narrowed artery.

You will work with a team of health care professionals who specialize in treating strokes. Depending on your condition, you may also work with physical therapists and other specialists.

The following are some of the most common procedures used to treat strokes:

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) – this operation is used to remove plaque from the carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain. Carotid endarterectomies are usually only used for people who have symptoms of a TIA or minor stroke within the past 10 days.

Carotid stenting – this procedure involves placing a special tube (called a stent) into the narrowed section of the carotid artery. The stent helps keep the artery open and prevents future blockages from forming.

Endovascular therapy – involves using a small, thin tube called an angiogram that is fed through the groin area, up the blood stream, and into the brain. The tube is used to inject dye into the brain arteries in order to examine them and to place special clamps on the narrowed sections that prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger. Endovascular therapy is typically used to treat an acute ischemic stroke when medical providers determine that surgery cannot be performed quickly enough to help you.

Rehabilitation and Beyond

After your stroke, you will probably begin a period of rehabilitation (sometimes called a “recovery program” or “rehab”) to regain strength and movement on the side of your body that was affected by the stroke. During this time, you will need the help of a skilled nursing facility that has experience dealing with people who have had a stroke. In some cases, you may need to be transferred to a different facility that is better equipped to provide these services.

Your rehabilitation program will include therapies designed to help you recover as much movement and functioning on the affected side of your body as possible. During this time, you may need to relearn simple tasks that you once took for granted, like feeding yourself and using utensils.

During your recovery, you will want to take care of your physical needs first. Once these needs have been met, you can turn your attention to the emotional difficulties you will undoubtedly experience as a result of your stroke. With the support of your family and friends, as well as your treatment team, you can expect to make a steady recovery.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Validity of the hospital anxiety and depression scale for use with patients with noncardiac chest pain by PMJC Kuijpers, J Denollet, R Lousberg, HJJ Wellens… – Psychosomatics, 2003 – Elsevier

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Nociception-and anxiety-like behavior in rats submitted to different periods of restraint stress by GH Gameiro, PH Gameiro, A da Silva Andrade… – Physiology & …, 2006 – Elsevier

Differential effects of left/right neuropathy on rats’ anxiety and cognitive behavior by H Leite-Almeida, JJ Cerqueira, H Wei, N Ribeiro-Costa… – PAIN®, 2012 – Elsevier