Not always, pain in the left arm is heart-related. It can be used for several other reasons, ranging from massive heart attack to pulled muscles. However, it is not always possible for you to identify whether the left arm pain is heart-related or due to some other underlying causes. There are several features that can help identify and distinguish the difference.
People with left arm pain, which usually improves with rest and gets worsen with activities, need immediate medical attention because it can be a symptom of heart disorder, especially if the aching is deeper. The left arm is no tender to the touch. But, heart-related left arm pain usually occurs suddenly while you are resting, like watching TV or simply lying on the bed. The pain in the left arm can also be due to an unstable heart condition. If your left arm is aching severely and accompanies a combination of other disorders like nausea, chest pain, dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, passing out, abdominal bloating, unusual sweating, wheezing, or cough, then seeking medical attention is of utmost crucial for you indeed.
Not always, pain in the left arm is heart-related. It can be used for several other reasons, ranging from massive heart attack to pulled muscles. However, it is not always possible for you to identify whether the left arm pain is heart-related or due to some other underlying causes. Several features can help identify and distinguish the difference.
Pain in Left Arm Should not be Ignored
Well, pain in the left arm may seem alarming for people because this type of pain can be a potential signal of a coming heart attack. So, left arm pain should not be overlooked or ignored. Apart from a heart attack, there can also other underlying causes of left arm pain, and with the help of the symptoms, it will become easier for you to differentiate them.
But does that mean that left arm pain is heart-related? The answer is “No” because there can be several other reasons for having severe ache in your left arm, which you might not be aware of. The pain in the left arm can vary from serious shooting pain of a heart attack to mild pain of muscle sprain. So, until you seek medical attention and undergo a medical examination, nothing can be said with certainty about the underlying causes of left arm pain.
But, amongst all the causes of pain in the left arm, the heart-related pain is considered more serious. So, never ignore the pain that you experience in your left arm. Seek a medical checkup immediately to exclude the risk of heart disorder.
Causes of Left Arm Pain
Angina – Chest pain or Angina is a health disorder that usually occurs when the heart of the person cannot receive a sufficient amount of oxygen in the blood. This can also be a symptom of heart disorder and may accompany some other signs like burning, squeezing sensation in the chest, or left arm pain. This pain can also be spread to the upper abdominal region, neck, jaw, shoulder, and left arm. So, in such a situation, left arm pain is heart-related, and you need to seek medical attention immediately. The doctor will prescribe you some medications and treatments for angina. Some lifestyle changes are also required, which include exercising, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking, and drinking alcohol.
Heart Attack – The most serious causes of left arm pain is heart-related. Heart attack or myocardial infarction is a health disorder that usually occurs when the muscles of your heart are deprived severely of oxygen due to poor circulation of blood. You may experience left arm pain due to the blood clot that cuts off the circulation to one or more of coronary arteries, leading to death or damage of heart muscle cells. Left-arm pain can also be caused due to spasm or constriction of arteries. Left-arm pain may occur while resting or while performing any activity.
The treatment for such pain includes specialized medications to prevent unusual cardiac rhythms, pain relievers, and medications to improve heart functioning.
Why does left arm pain occur in a heart attack?
There are, in fact, a variety of reasons that may lead to left arm pain during a heart attack. The nerves that are liable for supplying the heart and left arm arise from nerve roots in the spinal cord. So, when a heart attack happens, these nerves supplying the heart region usually take signals to the common nerve root, and from this nerve root in the spinal cord, that pain signal is carried towards the left arm. Hence, you experience left arm pain during heart attacks. To know if the left arm pain is heart-related or due to some other underlying reasons, you are required to undergo a medical examination called ECG.
How to differentiate cardiac pain from non-cardiac pain?
Left-arm pain doesn’t have to be heart-related always. There are a variety of reasons and other causes of left arm pain. However, it can be difficult to distinguish the pain of cardiac origin from the pain of musculoskeletal origin. There are certain differences in the onset of the pain, origin, duration of pain, and character of pain in all conditions. Here are some factors that will let you know if the left arm pain is heart-related or due to some other related issues.
In a heart attack, you will experience dull pain that starts suddenly and persists for 15-30 minutes. The left-arm pain may also spread to the jaw and neckline. If the left arm pain is heart-related, it will accompany other symptoms like shortness of breathing, chest heaviness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. When the left arm pain is heart-related, then it will remain consistent and will never alleviate with the movement of the arm.
Left-arm pain due to other musculoskeletal issues like bursitis and tendinitis can occur slowly, and it is tearing and sharp. The left-arm pain in such a condition will always accompany swelling and inflammation of the shoulder and arm. Left-arm pain due to nerve entrapment will develop a tingling sensation accompanied by limb weakness and numbness. The pain will get worse with the movement of the limb and alleviates when proper resting of the arm and avoiding movement.