Left arm pain – causes and treatment

By: Devon Andre | General Health | Monday, July 11, 2016 - 03:00 PM

Left arm painLeft arm pain can be due to many different things, stemming from muscles or even related to the heart. Paying attention to your left arm pain is, therefore, important in order to reduce your risk of health complications.

Left arm pain can be either acute – meaning it can be sudden and stick around for a short period of time – or chronic, lasting longer than three months.

Left arm pain can affect any area of the arm, including the elbow, fingers, or shoulders.

Here we will highlight the common causes for left arm pain and the treatment to help you better manage your left arm pain.

Causes of left arm pain

Heart attack: A heart attack occurs when the heart muscles are deprived of oxygen, so circulation get compromised. This can be a result of a clogged or severely constricted artery. A heart attack can occur at any time, and having certain risk factors – high blood pressure or cholesterol – increases a person’s risk of developing a heart attack. Along with left arm pain, a person may also experience chest pain, sweating, nausea, and vomiting during a heart attack.

Angina: Angina is part of coronary heart disease and is described as chest discomfort. A person may experience burning, heaviness, pressure, aching, squeezing, fullness, or pain as a result of a reduction in blood flow. The pain may originate in the chest, but radiate to the left arm.

Stress or panic attack: A panic attack can present itself like a heart attack, accompanied by sweating, heart palpitations, and, of course, left arm pain. If your doctor has examined your heart and the results are normal, then an anxiety disorder may be the root cause.

Physical injury and overuse: Less serious causes of left arm pain involve physical injury or overuse. In this case, your heart is fine, but your left arm is damaged in some way. Common injuries include a mastectomy, left brachial plexus injury, left arm, wrist, or hand fracture, sports-related strains or sprains, rotator cuff injury, and tendinitis.

Bad circulation: For some, bad circulation may occur even if the heart is fine. Some causes of poor circulation include colder temperatures, physical trauma, vitamin deficiency, certain diseases, certain medications, improper sleeping position, and the formation of a blood clot.

Poor sleeping position: Continuously sleeping on your left side or in an improper sleeping position can result in pinched nerves, thus causing left arm pain.

Medication side effect: Some medications may cause left arm pain as a side effect. You may want to speak to your doctor if you suspect your left arm pain is associated with your medications.

Treatment options for left arm pain

Risk of irregular heartbeat affected by raceProper treatment for left arm pain involves understanding the underlying cause of your left arm pain. For example, if your left arm pain is a result of a heart-related problem, you need to seek medical help right away to ensure the appropriate treatments can be administered.

If your left arm pain stems from an injury or overuse, then your doctor may recommend that you rest the arm or wear a sling or brace to better help support it.

If an improper sleeping position is causing your left arm pain, you will want to ensure you change up the way you are sleeping at night.

Left arm pain associated with poor circulation can be resolved by increasing physical activity levels.

When to see a doctor for pain in the left arm

You should see your doctor right away if your left arm pain is accompanied by chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. This is signaling a heart-related problem, and so immediate action must take place to prevent complications.

If swelling begins in the left arm and the pain lasts for several days, or if bleeding occurs, these are also indicators that you need to see a doctor for your left arm pain.

If you are having difficulties moving your arm, you should also see a doctor.


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