Read below about numbness in both upper arms, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your numbness in both upper arms from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Numbness in Both Upper Arms

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced numbness in both upper arms. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Repetitive Strain Injury of the Upper Arm

    Repetitive strain injury of the upper arm is caused by consistent repetitive use.

    Resolves with rest

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    upper arm pain from overuse, upper arm weakness, upper arm numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the upper arm:
    upper arm pain from overuse
    Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the upper arm:
    upper arm injury, severe upper arm pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Brachial Plexopathy (Shoulder Nerve Issue)

    The brachial plexus is a complex nerve network located in the upper chest and shoulder region. Nerves can be explained as 'electric wires' of the body, passing through signals from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that lies deep to the collar bone, which supplies the shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand. When this bundle of nerves is (partially) damaged, one speaks of a 'plexopathy'. Several causes of damage can be injury or forceful trauma, inflammation or infection. A commonly known cause is sports injury in contact sports like football and rugby. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness and weakness in the shoulder and arm on one side, sometimes shooting through the arm to the hand. An acute (sports) injury that causes this condition is often called 'burners' or 'stingers' because of the burning and stinging type of pain. When the cause is inflammation of the nerves, it is often called the Parsonage-Turner syndrome.

    The severity of this condition is highly variable, and dependent on the amount of damage caused to the nerves. Brachial plexus injury following surgery usually has a good prognosis. Recovery times range from 2 weeks to 2 years.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one arm, shoulder pain that shoots to the arm, arm weakness, numbness in one arm, shoulder pain
    Symptoms that never occur with brachial plexopathy (shoulder nerve issue):
    pain in the front middle part of the neck
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    Majority of patients get better with time (weeks to months).

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Upper Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    The pain associated with a slipped disk usually goes away within six weeks. If the pain lasts longer, consult a doctor. They may send you to see a back specialist for an MRI of your spine, and surgery may be considered.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    upper back pain, neck pain, arm weakness, back pain that gets worse when sitting, upper spine pain
    Symptoms that always occur with herniated (slipped) disk in the upper back:
    upper back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Numbness in Both Upper Arms Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having numbness in both upper arms.

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  5. 5.Stroke or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is stopped.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, leg numbness, arm numbness, new headache, stiff neck
    Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack):
    bilateral weakness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  6. 6.Multiple Sclerosis (Ms)

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is involved in carrying nerve signals so this damage causes interruptions in nerve signaling.

    This is a lifelong condition; however, treatment may be beneficial.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    severe fatigue, constipation, numbness, decreased sex drive, signs of optic neuritis
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Chemotherapy - Induced Nerve Damage

    Chemotherapy has many effects on the body. Some types of chemotherapy can cause irritation of the nerves in ones hands and feet, resulting in symptoms like pain, numbness or tingling.

    Symptoms can be reversible. In some cases, your chemotherapy regime needs to be adjusted to avoid permanent damage to the nerves.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    muscle aches, distal numbness, pain in both hands, pain in both feet, numbness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Chronic Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy

    Nerve damage in the limbs can be caused by diabetes, toxic substances, immune system issues and low vitamin levels. However, in about one of every four cases no cause can be found and then the condition is called 'idiopathic'. Symptoms of nerve damage can be (burning) pain sensations, numbness, tingling and weakness in hands, feet or lower legs.

    This is a chronic condition.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Vitamin B12 is a vitamin crucial to healthy neurological and cardiovascular functioning. If deficient, symptoms include trouble thinking, anxiety, stomach issues, and weakness.

    Symptoms resolve completely when B12 levels return to normal.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, history of headaches, racing heart beat
    Symptoms that never occur with vitamin b12 deficiency:
    menstrual period changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Numbness in Both Upper Arms

  • Q.Have you lost some or all of your sense of taste?
  • Q.Have you been experiencing any muscle weakness that is symmetrical (equal on both sides of your body)?
  • Q.Have someone look at your eyes as you move them left and right and up and down. Does this person notice you have any trouble moving your eyes in a certain direction?
  • Q.Do you have any idea what may have caused your upper arm pain?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our numbness in both upper arms symptom checker to find out more.

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Numbness in Both Upper Arms Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced numbness in both upper arms have also experienced:

    • 7% Hand Numbness
    • 3% Back Pain
    • 2% Pain in the Back of the Neck
  • People who have experienced numbness in both upper arms had symptoms persist for:

    • 45% Less Than a Day
    • 19% Less Than a Week
    • 19% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced numbness in both upper arms were most often matched with:

    • 42% Brachial Plexopathy (Shoulder Nerve Issue)
    • 42% Pinched Nerve in the Neck
    • 14% Repetitive Strain Injury of the Upper Arm
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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