Why Am I Not Able To Lift With My Left Hand?

Share this article:

The reason you find it difficult to lift your hand can be obvious, like hand injuries and the over usage of your wrists and fingers. At the same time, it can also be a symptom of a larger disease like Ganglion Cysts and even chronic anxiety. So while left-arm pain could be related to a heart attack, it’s unlikely that hand pain could be related to it, although it’s not entirely impossible. 

Home remedies can range from small wrist exercises to pain-relieving techniques like heating pads and anti-inflammatory drugs. You will also find popular hand exercises like the claw stretch and the thumb extension quite useful in improving your hand mobility.

Your hands and wrists are made of various bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, making them vulnerable to diseases and damage.

Not being able to lift your hand may just be one of the many symptoms that you feel. The left hand specifically can go through other heart-related conditions such as a heart attack. Either way, persistent pain or inability to lift your hand should not be taken lightly. 

Why can’t you lift your left hand? Can left-hand issues be related to heart conditions? Can anxiety cause left-hand pain, and how to fix it? Are there home remedies to improve your hand pain and elevate your hand movement? Are there specific hand exercises to strengthen your hand and finger muscles?

Why can’t you lift your left hand?

A man is holding his left hand because he's feeling throbbing pain after trying to lift something.

The main reason it’s almost impossible for you to lift your hand could be the overwhelming pain you feel when trying to move it. While this could mean many hand-related diseases or even neurological issues, the most common of all are listed below. 

  1. Hand injuries – This can simply mean jamming your finger against something, or it can be a big fall which made you land on your hands or even activities like heavy lifting and sports. There is a chance that you could dislocate or fracture your finger in these situations which you will feel a throbbing sensation that stops you from lifting your hand.
  2. Overusing your hand – This is most common if you engage in the same activity over and over again for long periods, by using your wrists or hands. Using tools, hand-related sports like table tennis or typing constantly could be reasons for this.
  3. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome – This disease is rather popular among gamers because of their constant clicking on the mouse and typing on the keyboard. It happens when the median nerve that goes through your wrist starts to get squeezed in. You will face intense pain or difficulty in trying to lift your hand or arm. The Mayo Clinic shows a nerve conduction study that will help your doctor diagnose your condition easily by sending electric impulses through your median nerve to see if it’s slowed down within the carpal tunnel.
  4. Ganglion Cysts – These are basically, lumps that form near your joints of the wrist that are filled with a certain fluid. Most of the time it is harmless, but it can develop to a stage where lifting your hand becomes considerably challenging. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has discovered that it is more common in younger people and females.

Can left hand issues be related to heart conditions?

Every heart problem doesn’t come with a specific warning sign. You definitely shouldn’t expect a heart attack to happen with a sudden chest clutch by a fall onto the floor, as shown in movies.

There’s a possibility that heart attacks can have various symptoms that don’t even progress in your chest, so it’s not always so easy to find out if you’re having a heart attack.

A well-known symptom of a heart attack is the shooting feeling of pain radiating down the left side of your body.

So, if you feel like there’s a numbing pain moving from your left upper arm to the lower, there is a chance that it could turn out to be a heart attack. But since this involves upper body parts, it’s doubtful that your inability to lift your hand could be involved with a heart condition.

To be clearer, in men, the left arm pain will likely move from the shoulder down the left arm or even up to your chin, while in women, it could radiate to the right or left arm, shoulders, and even upper back.

Can anxiety cause left-hand pain and how to fix it?

What you need to know is if that anxiety can pretty much affect your entire body, which means, yes, your hands and even fingers can be negatively impacted. Being under a lot of stress can cause your arm and hand muscles to tense up, leading to pain and difficulties in moving them around like you usually do.

The best way to treat this would, of course, be to first treat your anxiety disorder. You could try at-home-remedies like engaging in regular exercise, ensuring you have enough sleep to reduce the stress. 

Anti-anxiety medication is too possible if you feel your anxiety is out of hand with the advice of a doctor. Benzodiazepines, in particular, might be useful for you to reduce physical symptoms like muscle tension.

Home remedies to improve your hand movements and relieve pain

You can always try out home remedies to ease your pain if that’s what’s stopping you from raising your hand and try out various hand massage techniques to improve the movement range of your wrist. The following graph will help you understand the remedies that are most suitable for you.

Remedies to ease the hand painRemedies to help lift your hand
Switching heating and cooling packs on your hand every 20 minutes will relax your hand muscles.Resting your hand is very important, especially if you’ve been over-using your hand in particular activities.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen will help you if you’re undergoing intense pain.Keep your left hand raised by unnatural means like using a sling above your heart level.
Wrapping the affected area with a soft bandage can be comfortingRotate your wrists clockwise and counterclockwise 10 times each.
Massaging surrounding muscles can also help. Even shoulders and arm massages can help cope with your hand pain.Open your hand widely and extend your fingers apart. Finally, close your hand into a fist and keep repeating the process 5 times.

4 hand exercises to strengthen your hands and fingers

  1. The Finger Stretch – For this, you should place your hand on a flat surface, with your palm facing down. Now you should straighten your fingers and willingly as possible and hold this position for 60 seconds.
  2. The Claw Stretch – You’ll need to hold out your hand with your palm facing you and slowly bend your fingertips down, touching the base of each finger joint. Your hand will have the positioning of a claw. Hold this position for 60 seconds.
  3. The Ball Clutch – For this, you will need a soft squishy ball toy to hold in your palm while you squeeze it as hard as possible. This is a good exercise for your fingers and hands if you fear that they’re getting weaker.
  4. The Thumb Extension – Again, you will need to place your hand flat on the table and wrap a rubber band at the base of your finger joints. Then you need to edge your thumb further away from your fingers. Hold this position for about 40 seconds before you release.


Why is my left arm weaker?

If a particular side of your arm feels weaker than the other, this could be a result of a traumatic injury, or a sign of nerve damage, or a repetitive strain injury, or even a blockage in the bloodstream.

However, if you feel your sudden overly pain-sensitive feeling of the left arm is associated with chest pain, you may need immediate medical assistance.

Otherwise, if it is just a general sense of weaker feeling that you have compared with your right arm, you could try unilateral training exercises at your gym.

This would include single-arm shoulder presses, single-arm rows, and single-arm chest presses, which will help your left/right arm improve its muscle strength.

How do I know if my arm pain is serious?

An out-of-the-blue back/shoulder or arm pain which seems abnormal, along with a feeling of your chest been inwardly squeezed, you will have to consult a doctor immediately as it could be a sign of a heart attack on the way.

Any deformity that you notice in your arm, bone, or wrist would also require medical assistance.

What does cardiac arm pain feel like?

The CDC has stated that over 735,000 Americans have a heart attack per year. Therefore, it’s safer to always identify an unexpected cardiac arm pain. Cardiac arm pain may feel like a certain heaviness or squeezing feeling as if your arm or chest is being crushed. This could even be flat-out pain or even a general sense of discomfort.


By now, you probably have an idea as to why you can’t lift your hand. Based on the details we have provided above, you should also be able to have a general idea of if your condition is minor or warrants further investigation. If you can’t lift your hand due to pain, it will probably subside.

However, if you aren’t able to lift your hand despite trying, you should seek medical attention immediately. While the causes aren’t too severe, you wouldn’t want to risk nerve damage or some other low probability but high-risk conditions.

Share this article:

Was this article helpful?
Kavisha Rodrigo
I'm a sports person that enjoys researching into pushing the limitations of the human body. When it comes to health, I'm a big fan of working out and staying healthy. For hobbies, I'm a big fan of Pokemon and Coldplay.

We’re proud to be a team of writers who are truly passionate about all things health.

Coming together from all parts of the world, we share a common goal of helping serve many with our comprehensive research and clear writing style. Learn more.

Nutrition & Diet