Causes Of Left Arm Pain
The causes of left arm pain can vary. The most well known of these is a heart attack. In this case, the arm pain may be accompanied by pain or a tightening sensation in your chest, pain in your back, neck, shoulder or jaw, nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or fatigue. Left arm pain can also be caused by angina. This has similar symptoms but they only last for a few minutes. Pain may also be the result of having tense muscles due to stress. Similarly, an injury or a problem affecting your bones, joints or soft tissue can cause arm pain, as can poor blood circulation and sleeping with an incorrect posture.
Is Your Chest Pain A Sign Of A Heart Attack Or Something Else
Chest pain is frightening and must be taken seriously. So know this: If you are having severe discomfort in the chestespecially if the chest pain is radiating to your neck, jaw or armsand its accompanied by shortness of breath, dizziness and sweating, call 911 immediately. Some people may not have chest pain at all during a heart attack, but they may have the other symptoms listed. In that case, its still best to call 911.
But sometimes chest pain isnt a heart attack. It might have a different cardiac cause or be totally unrelated to your heart. Here are three clues that its not a heart attack:
If you are experiencing chest pain like this, call your doctor to make an appointment.
Chest pain that isnt a heart attack can be heart-related or not .
Other Heart Attack Early Warning Signs And Symptoms: Arm And Back Pain
The chest pain of a heart attack can spread, or radiate, down one or both arms and to the shoulders. This often happens, and the pain may even extend to the wrist and fingers. This is most common on the left side of the body but it can also occur on the right side.
Upper back pain
The upper back is another common location for the spread of the pain from a heart attack. Most commonly, back pain that stems from a heart attack is described as occurring between the shoulder blades.
A feeling of being generally unwell or like you are coming down with an illness can accompany a heart attack. This can be described as fatigue or even lightheadedness, with or without fainting. Some people will experience severe anxiety or panic during a heart attack. This has been described as feeling a sense of doom, as one experiences a panic attack.
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Other Causes Of Left Arm Pain
Probably the easiest way to recognize if your left arm pain is caused by a heart attack is to answer the following questions:
- Does the pain last less than one minute?
- Does it feel like someone is stabbing you in the arm?
- Does movement or touching the arm cause you to feel pain?
- Is it just a portion of your arm thats hurting?
If you these answers are positive, the pain youre feeling might be due to an injury:
- Bursitis might be the cause of the pain, a condition in which the bursa is inflamed. Shoulder bursitis may occur when the joint is being overused.
- Rotator cuff tear is a condition that causes a soft tissue located in the shoulders to hurt from trauma. A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles located in the shoulder, which helps people move their arms.
- Tendonitis occurs when the tissue between the bone and the muscle is inflamed.
- Fractures are broken bones, which can also lead to left arm pain.
Breaking Out In A Cold Sweat
Another common symptom is finding yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. The reason behind this symptom is that when you have clogged arteries, your heart requires more effort to pump blood, and sweating keeps your bodys temperature down during this extra effort.
For women, this means night sweats may not just be the result of menopause. They might also be a sign of heart problems.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your physician. Dont wait until it becomes urgent.
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What Causes Heart Attacks
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. This is where fatty deposits, cholesterol and other substances build up in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply oxygen to the heart. Over time, this build-up hardens into plaque that can break off at any time and cause a blood clot which blocks the artery.
In some cases, heart attacks have another cause:
- Coronary artery spasm is an unusual narrowing of blood vessels that can stop blood flow to the heart.
- Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is a sudden tear in the wall of a coronary artery, which can also affect people who have few risk factors for heart disease.
Certain lifestyle factors are shown to increase your chances of heart disease and having a heart attack.
What Are The Types Of Angina
Stable angina means that you can usually predict when your symptoms will happen. You probably know what things cause your angina. For example, you know how much activity usually causes your angina.
Angina symptoms happen when your heart is working harder and needs more oxygen than can be delivered through the narrowed arteries. Angina may happen when you are:
- Doing strenuous exercise .
- Being exposed to cold temperatures.
- Having sudden, intense emotions, such as anger or fear.
- Eating a heavy meal.
- Using cocaine or amphetamines.
The pain goes away when you rest or take nitroglycerin. It may continue without much change for years.
Unstable angina is unexpected. It is a change in your usual pattern of stable angina. It happens when blood flow to the heart is suddenly slowed by narrowed vessels or small blood clots that form in the coronary arteries. Unstable angina symptoms are like heart attack symptoms. It is an emergency. It may happen at rest or with light activity. It does not go away with rest or nitroglycerin.
Angina caused by coronary artery spasms
Less common types of angina are caused by coronary artery spasms. This angina happens when a coronary artery suddenly contracts , reducing oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart muscle. If severe, a spasm can block blood flow and cause a heart attack. Most people who have these spasms have coronary artery disease, though they don’t always have plaque that narrows their arteries.
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Neck Pain Or Back Pain
Neck and back pain are common ailments after injury and with arthritis. However, neck and back pain coupled with pain spreading down both arms can signal a myocardial infarction. Again, this can occur with or without chest pain. If you experience neck and back pain for no reason and dont have a history of injury or arthritis, its still better to have it checked out, especially if other symptoms are involved.
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of angina include chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest. Some people feel pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms. Other symptoms of angina include shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, light-headedness or sudden weakness, or a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Some people describe their angina as pressure, heaviness, weight, tightness, squeezing, discomfort, burning, or dull aching in the chest. People often put a fist to the chest when describing their pain. Some people may feel tingling or numbness in the arm, hand, or jaw when they have angina.
It might be hard for you to point to the exact location of your pain. Pressing on the chest wall does not cause the pain.
Your symptoms might begin at a low level and then increase over several minutes to reach a peak. Angina that starts with an activity usually will decrease when the activity is stopped. Chest pain that begins suddenly or lasts only a few seconds is less likely to be angina.
Do not wait if you think you are having a heart attack. Getting help fast can save your life. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out.
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Discomfort In Other Areas
While chest remains to be the most common location of pain during a heart attack, it is not the only one. Many patients are misled and do not seek urgent medical attention because they do not experience the usual chest pain. Instead, they may report a dull sensation of pain in their shoulders and arms, especially the left arm.
Sometimes, the pain from a heart attack is located in the neck and jaw, and sometimes it may feel similar to a stomachache. But how would you distinguish heart attack pain from any other type of pain in your jaw, arm or shoulder? You cant pinpoint the origin of a heart attack pain. Theres no specific articulation or muscle hurting its a poorly localized pain that usually interferes with your daily activities, and starts or gets worse if youre exercising or doing any type of physical activity.
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Why Do Heart Attacks Happen
There are various risk factors that may have contributed to your heart attack, spanning everything from lifestyle to medical conditions and demographics.
Some risk factors cant be changed, such as age, gender, and genetics. Others can be managed such as:
- Medical conditions
If youve already a heart attack, you are at a higher risk of having another one. This is why its so important to understand how making some changes can help reduce this risk.
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Treating Left Arm Pain
If your left arm pain is benign, you can initially treat it by resting, applying a cold compress to the painful area and elevating your arm. If the pain is caused by a fracture, your arm will have to be immobilised in a plaster cast for several weeks. If it is caused by a musculoskeletal issue , treatment may include painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and physiotherapy. Using one of the OMRON HeatTens range of pain relievers can also help to relieve muscle and joint pain using a combination of soothing heat and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation . If the pain is caused by an underlying heart condition, the treatment may involve taking medication for pain relief, in addition to making some radical changes to your lifestyle. Finally, if someone is having a heart attack, they must receive immediate medical treatment because heart attacks can be fatal and sometimes require surgery if medication alone does not dissolve the clot that is causing the problem.
Wexler, A. . Why do I have a pain in my left arm? Retrieved from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317652.php
Pietrangelo, A. . Why is there pain in my left arm? Retrieved from www.healthline.com/health/pain-in-left-arm#takeaway
New Health Guide. What causes pain on the left arm? Retrieved from www.newhealthguide.org/Pain-In-Left-Arm.html
When You See Your Doctor:
- Bring a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
- Let them know about any related family history.
- Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.
Your doctor likely willlisten to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may orderblood work, which will show whether your heart is damaged.
They also may use an electrocardiogram to tell whether the electrical activity of your heart is normal, or an echocardiogram to view images of the heart to see if damage has occurred.
All this is important inidentifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heartattack.
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Shoulder Pain And Heart Attack: How Are They Related
When the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed, mostly by fat build up, cholesterol, or other substances that form plague in the arteries leading to the heart, you suffer a heart attack. The blockage in the blood flow can destruct or damage part of the heart muscle. Also, referred to as a myocardial infraction, it can cause death. However, treatment has improved drastically over the years. If you experience a heart attack, dial 911 immediately. But many heart attack symptoms are confusing. For example, lots people just brush off shoulder pain causally and thinks they are nothing to worry about. But the truth is that it may indicate heart attack.
How Long Does A Heart Attack Last
Initial heart attack symptoms, including chest pain and shortness of breath, may come and go. Symptoms often last around 10 minutes or longer.
A study published in Critical Pathways in Cardiology found that symptoms lasting less than five minutes are unlikely to indicate a heart attack, while symptoms lasting longer than five minutes should be taken seriously as signs of a myocardial infarction .
However, this finding comes from only one study. So if you have symptoms lasting longer than a few minutes, you need to call 911.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You have sudden crushing, squeezing, tightening, or pressure in your chest.
- Pain spreads to your jaw, left arm, or between your shoulder blades.
- You have nausea, dizziness, sweating, a racing heart, or shortness of breath.
- You know you have angina and your chest discomfort is suddenly more intense, brought on by lighter activity, or lasts longer than usual.
- Your angina symptoms occur while you are at rest.
- You have sudden, sharp chest pain with shortness of breath, especially after a long trip, a stretch of bedrest , or other lack of movement, especially if one leg is swollen or more swollen than the other .
- You have been diagnosed with a serious condition, such as heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
Your risk of having a heart attack is greater if:
- You have a family history of heart disease.
- You smoke, use cocaine, or are overweight.
- You have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- You already have heart disease.
- You have a fever or a cough that produces yellow-green phlegm.
- You have chest pain that is severe and does not go away.
- You are having problems swallowing.
- Chest pain lasts longer than 3 to 5 days.
What Causes Sharp Pain In Right Arm And Shoulder
Many causes of right shoulder and arm pain are localized in the area of the shoulder and upper arm. But some can cause pain that can be felt all the way down to your hand. These include: Cervical radiculopathy: This condition can cause sharp pain that can move from the area of your neck and shoulder all the way down your arm.
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Treatment Of Left Shoulder Pain Caused By Heart Attack
If pain in your left arm is accompanied by other symptoms such as discomfort in the middle of the chest and shortness of breath, it may be a sign of heart problems. Try the following tips
1. Home remedies
Until you get to your doctor, home treatment can help left shoulder injuries. For example, if you think your shoulder is broken, use a sling to prevent it and use ice packs while you wait for treatment. Many other types of shoulder pain can improve on their own, especially if:
- take time away from any routine activities that can strain your arm
- apply an ice pack on the sore area three times a day for 15-20 minutes
- address swelling and compression bandages
- raise up your hand
2. See a doctor
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if your left shoulder exceeds pain. and your doctor
- he finds pain and diligence, but he is comforted and refreshed
- get a sudden injury
- gets severe pain and swelling
- he has trouble moving normally
- he has trouble turning from palm to palm down and vice versa
Your doctor will probably listen to your symptoms and check your heart rate and blood pressure. They may order blood work, which will indicate if your heart has been damaged. They can also use an electrocardiogram to determine if your heartâs electrical activity is normal, or an echocardiogram to look at pictures of the heart to see if damage has occurred. All of this is important in identifying any problem and taking precautionary measures before a heart attack.
He Had Chest Pain That Got Worse During The Day
Sometimes mild pain was accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, or feeling sick. One woman had mild chest pain, which she thought might be her hiatus hernia but was sufficiently concerned to contact NHS direct. During the call she felt sick and started sweating, and the nurse agreed that it might be a heart attack and called an ambulance.
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