Pain in Left Arm and Shoulder – A common component of ageing is frequently experiencing minor pains and aches in the left arm. However, sudden or unexpected discomfort in the left arm could signal an infected condition. In the most extreme case scenario, it could be a heart attack’s aftermath or a sign of an illness that needs medical attention.

Knowing the possible causes and symptoms of left arm discomfort might make it easier to understand how the body is responding and decide whether it’s time to contact a doctor.

Symptoms and causes of discomfort in the left arm

Your left arm pain could be caused by a variety of conditions, such as consequences from chronic illnesses like arthritis. Here are some potential causes, ranging from a straightforward strain to a cardiac issue:

Chest Pain

Blood flow to a portion of your heart might be stopped by a blood clot or coronary artery rupture. When it occurs, the muscle may sustain injury quickly. If left untreated, the heart muscle begins to deteriorate.

The following are other signs of a heart attack:

Chest pressure or pain

Pain in the spine, neck, shoulders, or jaw, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting, and cold sweats are all signs of exhaustion.

A few people get severe symptoms. Others experience sporadic symptoms or ones that are as minor as dyspepsia.

Shattered or fractured bone

Although it hurts, fractured or shattered bones in an arm or wrists may not always be immediately apparent.

Your discomfort may worsen as you move if you have a fractured bone in your hand, wrist, or arm. Numbness and edoema are further signs. Even if your arm seems healthy, you could still have a bone break or fracture in your wrist or arm.


A sign of coronary heart disease is angina. It indicates that not enough oxygen-rich blood is reaching your cardiac muscles.

Heart attack-like sensations are caused by angina, which typically lasts just a few moments. Usually, it becomes better when you relax and worse when you’re active.


The bursa is the cavity filled with fluid found between a bone and a joint’s moving portions.

Inflammation of the bursa is called bursitis in medicine. Repetitive movement is frequently the cause of shoulder bursitis. Bursitis risk rises with advancing age.

When you move or recline on your hand or shoulder, the discomfort typically gets worse. The range of motion in your shoulder can be limited. Burning and tingling are further signs.

Either cervical radiculopathy or a pinched nerve

A compressed or irritated nerve is referred to as being pinched. It could be brought on by a traumatically herniated disc or wear-and-tear damage.

A herniated disc has symptoms that are comparable to those of a pinched nerve. Your arm may experience tingling, burning, or numbness as a result. When you move, your pain can get worse.

Disc herniation

The cushions in the spinal column’s discs are between the vertebrae. They serve as the spine’s shock absorbers. Your neck may have a herniated disc, which has herniated and is putting pressure on the nerves.

Your neck may feel the ache first. Your shoulder and arm may then be affected by it. Additionally, you can have burning, tingling, or numbness in your arm. Moving may make the pain worse.

A sprain or a strain

Sprains result from stretching or tearing of a ligament. When you start falling and brace yourself with your arms, an arm sprain may result. Twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon is known as strain. It may occur if you lift something incorrectly or overwork your muscles.

Weakness, edoema, and bruising are typical signs.


Tendons are the pliable tissue bands that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is the medical term for inflammation of tendons. Arm pain could be brought on by elbow or shoulder tendinitis. As you become older, your risk of tendinitis increases.

The signs of tendinitis are comparable to those of bursitis.

Syndrome of the thoracic vascular outlet

As a result of trauma or repeated injury, the blood arteries under the collarbone get squeezed. It can cause progressive nerve damage if left untreated.

Your arm may experience tingling, numbness, and weakening due to vascular, thoracic outlet disease. Your arm may occasionally swell. Other symptoms include hand discolouration, cold hands or arms, and an arm pulse that is feeble.

Torn rotator cuff

Your rotator cuff in your shoulder may become ripped if you lift anything heavy or move your shoulder repeatedly. Daily activities become challenging, and the shoulder is substantially weakened.

If you lie on your side, rotator cuff issues typically hurt more. When people move your arm in a certain way, the arm discomfort gets greater. Your arm may get much weaker as a result. Your shoulder’s range of motion is also compromised.

Treatment for the left shoulder and arm pain

Medication, symptom relief, and changes to your lifestyle that promote heart health may all be used as treatments for heart disease. Surgery may be necessary to open or bypass clogged arteries if you have advanced heart disease.

Broken bones need to be realigned and kept immobile while they mend. This typically necessitates many weeks of wearing a cast. Surgery may be necessary for severe breaks.

Raise and elevate your arm if it has a sprain or strain. Several times a day, ice the area. Splints or bandages might be useful.

The main therapies: include rest, pain and inflammation-relieving medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and:

Rotator cuff tears, herniated discs, pinched nerves, bursitis, tendinitis, and vascular lumbar spinal syndrome

Surgery or corticosteroids may be required in some circumstances.

Medicine for Left Arm and Shoulder Pain

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin or ibuprofen, are frequently used over the counter to treat arm pain. Your physician may prescribe medication to assist reduce inflammation, such as corticosteroid injection, depending on the cause of the discomfort in your arm.

Additionally, your physician might advise a topical painkiller that you apply directly to the skin where you are experiencing pain.

Diagnosis Of Left Arm And Shoulder

If your arm discomfort is bothersome or prolonged, it’s crucial to receive a proper diagnosis because it can be a sign of many different diseases. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination, ask specific questions about your signs and activities, and perform a diagnosis to determine the reason for your arm pain. Your doctor will request imaging tests if necessary, which can involve the following:

Magnetism and radio waves are used in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging MRI exam to provide precise images of various bodily parts.

Ultrasound This examination, which employs sound waves to create images of the body’s components, can help to identify compression syndromes such the carpal tunnel syndrome.

Study of Nerve Conduction In order to identify injured nerves, this method monitors nerve impulses while a modest electrical current is delivered.

A needle electrode is inserted into the muscles as part of the electromyography (EMG) test, which measures the electrical activity of the muscles and can identify damage to the nerves that supply the muscles.

When to See a Doctor

If your arm, shoulders, elbow, or wrist discomfort is the consequence of a serious injury or develops quickly, get emergency care. Visit your physician right away, or head to the closest emergency facility, if you are having problems lifting your arm or notice any protruding bones. If you have sudden discomfort in your arms, shoulders, chest, or back along with stress in your chest, you should dial 911 and seek immediate care right away. If you think you’re suffering a heart attack, don’t drive yourself to the hospital.

If you have any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible:

  • 1. Exertion-related pain that is alleviated by rest 
  • 2. Sudden harm
  • 3. Acute discomfort and swelling
  • 4. Having trouble turning or moving your arm

If you have arm discomfort that isn’t improving with self-care, if you have an illness and see an increase in erythema, swelling, or pain, schedule a routine office appointment with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you know if left arm pain is not heart-related?

Without accompanying chest pain, left arm discomfort may be a shooting pain or a dull ache and may appear together with other symptoms, including headaches and muscular weakness. Visit a doctor if the discomfort is severe or ongoing. If you notice any signs of a heart attack or stroke or if the pain is the consequence of trauma, get emergency assistance.

I’m having pain in my left arm and shoulder. Should I worry about it?

If you experience arm, shoulder, or back discomfort that comes on abruptly, is abnormally intense, or is associated with pressure, fullness, or tightening in your chest, you immediately seek emergency treatment.

Why are my left shoulder and arm in pain?

Overuse or damage to tendons close by, such as those in the arm’s biceps. Shoulder movement that is aberrant due to nerve damage. Tendon tears in the rotator cuff. Improper shoulder mechanics and posture.

Is left arm pain always Heart-related?

A heart attack is not always indicated by discomfort, achiness, or trouble moving in the left arm. An injury, squeezed nerves, or other problems unrelated to your heart might sometimes be the cause. Keep an eye out for any additional symptoms, and if they persist for more than a few minutes, get emergency assistance.

Can stress cause left arm pain?

Left arm pain might be brought on by anxiety. Anxiety disorder sufferers may also feel chronic pain, albeit it is more likely to be long-lasting if it results from a panic episode or muscle strain. Anxiety can be managed with medication. A physician might advise counselling, drugs, or methods of stress management to help.

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