My Left Arm Hurts: 8 Possible Causes of Discomfort

my left arm hurtsBefore we get into our discussion about pain in the left arm, if you are suffering from any discomfort, you may need to seek medical treatment right now. If there is any physical deformity due to an injury, including protrusions or extreme swelling, or you are experiencing a sudden and severe pressure or squeezing on your arm or chest, seek emergency medical treatment right now. If you’re experiencing any other severe pain, difficulty with movement, or accompanying chest pain, consult your doctor immediately. Any other symptoms, such as redness, mild pain that lasts a few days, or light swelling, warrant a visit to the doctor’s office very soon, especially if it’s already been a few days since the discomfort has started.

Hopefully, you’re not experiencing these or any other discomfort or pain in your left arm, and are just reading this article simply because you’re curious as to what a pain in the left arm might mean. At the very least, when you’re done reading this, you’ll be somewhat informed as to what might be wrong if your left arm, or the left arm of a friend or family member, starts to hurt, and you’ll know how to deal with it. If something like that does happen, just make sure to keep calm, and stay focused.

Today, we’ll be discussing the various ailments that are signified by pains in the left arm, as well as some of the other symptoms that accompany them, and what to do if these things happen. Some of the pains may be acute, coming on quickly and lasting for a short time, while others are chronic, meaning they last more than three months. Sometimes these pains come and go, and are simply inconvenient, other times, they progressively worsen, eventually becoming debilitating. If you happen to be around when this or any other type of injury is occurring, this course on first aid, and this article on what to do with a head injury will prepare you to save the day, no matter what the situation.

Causes of Pain in the Left Arm

Like we said before, discomfort and pain in the left arm can mean many different things, ranging from harmless to life-threatening, so don’t freak out if something feels a little off over there, but also keep an eye on it if the pain persists, or is particularly extreme and acute. This pain can mean many different things, and not all of them are horrible. Some of the more mild types of arm pain will even get better on their own, and you can help with the R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The following ailments can result in pain in the left arm.

  • Heart Attack

This is the most serious cause of left arm pain, and could possibly even result in death if not treated quickly enough. The way to tell if your arm pain is related to this very serious issue is if it’s accompanied by a pain in the chest, specifically a squeezing sensation, along with a heavy pain under the breastbone. The pain that’s caused by a heart attack would start out in the chest, then radiate out to the left arm, back, jaw, or throat. A heart attack may be triggered at any time, during physical exertion, from a resting position, or at an emotional time. Sweating, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting may all accompany a heart attack, so be on the lookout for these in addition to the classic symptoms. The only thing that can be done when a heart attack is happening is to immediately call emergency services, and hope that they make it in time, because they can be potentially life-threatening. If you’re afraid your heart isn’t as healthy as it should be, this course on healthy foods will show you how to fight cancer, obesity, and heart disease, among other chronic issues.

  • Angina

Often an indication of much more serious ailments, angina is a chest pain that results when the heart doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen, and can manifest itself as a burning, aching, or squeezing sensation that starts in the chest, and can spread throughout the upper abdomen, left arm and shoulder, neck, jaw, and back. Sometimes mistaken for indigestion, angina isn’t as deadly as a heart attack, but if these symptoms come along, call a doctor immediately. Not only will medications be prescribed for angina, but chances are, lifestyle changes will be necessary to improve matters, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking. If you’re a smoker, and would like to quit, this course on the world’s best stop smoking program will help you kick the butts for good.

  • Stress/Panic Attack

Bouts of extreme stress can lead to panic attacks, and panic attacks can lead to heart attack-like symptoms such as sweating, heaviness in the chest, and pain in the left arm. Obviously not as extreme as a heart attack, stress-induced panic attacks are nevertheless scary events, but result in little to no damage to the heart. More of a psychological issue than a physical one, stress and panic attacks may be reduced and avoided by altering, adapting to, or altogether steering clear of stressful situations, in addition to relaxing, and living a healthier lifestyle by exercising, eating healthy, resting enough, and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes. This course on meditation for stress, as well as this article on meditation, can help you reduce stress, fear, anxiety, and anger, lowering your chance of a panic attack, and doing it all in a natural and soothing way.

  • Injury

These are some of the more obvious causes of pain in the left arm, and they range from “put some ice on it” to “we’re gonna have to operate.” A left brachial plexus injury may occur from overstretching, or from contact sports, with milder injuries of this sort healing on their own, but more severe ones possibly needing surgery. Strains and sprains are probably the most common cause of minor pains in the left arm, and can be caused by an overstretching of the ligaments, or the tearing of muscles and tendons. Most of these will heal on their own, as long as the arm is rested. Finally, tendinitis, or tennis elbow, is caused by a sudden injury to, or repetitive use of the shoulder, and may cause pain in the left arm, which can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, or in more serious cases, physical therapy.

  • Non Life-Threatening Disorders

Though arthritis isn’t going to kill anyone, it certainly may make them feel like they want to die. This disorder occurs when the joints become inflamed, and some of the more extreme cases of it may shoot up from the hands and wrist, up through the left arm. Another painful disorder, Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist, and can result in either a numbness or tingling sensation that radiates up and down the arm.

  • Poor Circulation

Poor circulation is caused mainly when blood vessels constrict, coming on as a result of physical trauma, disease, lack of nutrients, medications, blood clots, or even improper sleeping positions. Circulation may be an indication of a more serious disease, but it probably can be helped by improving diet, or taking supplements such as gingko biloba and vitamin C. Other ways to improve circulation is to massage the arm before bed, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and, of course, exercise.

  • Poor Posture

Connected to the previous cause, having poor posture when walking and standing can cause there to be a pins and needles type of pain, or even numbness, in the extremities, specifically the left arm. This is caused by the pinching of nerves that occur from an awkward stance, and this course on how to improve your posture will not only help with the pain, but make you more flexible in the process.

  • Medication Side Effects

One thing many people might not think of when they experience pain in their left arm is that the medicine they’re taking could be the cause of their discomfort. If none of the preceding causes of arm pain are relevant to you, but you’re currently on medication, ask your doctor if anything you’re on could be causing it.

Hopefully none of these afflictions have befallen you or someone you know, and like we warned at the very beginning of the article, if you do have extreme pain or discomfort in the left arm, call your doctor now. However, if you’re ship shape, it’s best to be prepared just in case your health, or the health of someone around you, begins to falter. If you’re not quite sure if you’ve got what it takes to handle a sticky situation, this course on commanding chaos will not only prepare you for a stressful situation, it will prepare you for the curveballs that life may throw at you, as well.