Muscle spasms in chest left side

Muscle spasms in chest left side


Muscle spasms in chest left side are a sudden tightening of the muscles within the arteries of the heart. When this happens the arteries narrow and prevent the blood from flowing to the heart.

These muscle spasms in chest left side can be sometimes coronary artery spasms  which are very brief and temporary but to keep in mind , they can potentially lead to further heart complications, like a heart attack.

Most often a person is more likely to have these type of spasms or twitches if he has other conditions that can affect the heart, like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

The Coronary artery spasms are also called as coronary artery contractions.


What are the symptoms of a muscle spasms in chest left side?

What Causes muscle spasms in chest left side ?



What are the symptoms of a muscle spasms in chest left side?

There are several coronary artery spasms which go undiagnosed because they don’t always lead to noticeable symptoms. And sometimes this can be dangerous because the contractions can eventually lead to a heart attack.

One may notice an occasional light chest pain as a symptom. It’s totally possible that one may be able to detect other symptoms of a coronary artery spasm other than chest pain . There are some common symptoms which can include following:

  • Chest pain sometimes called angina
  • Pain on the very left side of chest
  • Sudden chest tightness
  • A feeling of constriction in left side
  • One can even experience pain which spreads the left side of chest to the arms, neck, or jawbone.

Usually the coronary artery spasms are suspected if a person has chest pain which :

  • only happens during rest
  • Can last from five minutes to as long as for 30 minutes at a time
  • Happens mostly at the time of night or early in the morning


What Causes muscle spasms in chest left side ?

High blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels are the most common causes of these spasms that happen on left side if chest .

Coronary artery spasms can also happen in people who have a condition called atherosclerosis, it's a medical condition which occurs when plaque builds up inside the arteries, blocking the blood flow leading to hypoxia and ischemia.

Other causes that can lead to it are heart attack , musculoskeletal injury, bursitis etc


Heart attack:

Pain on the left side of the chest especially could be a symptom and sign of heart attack when it occurs alongside with other symptoms.

Heart attack happens when a portion of the heart muscle gets damaged or completely stops functioning due to a lack of  oxygen. The cause of most heart attacks is as a result of narrowing in the coronary arteries.

The vessels become narrow due to a buildup of plaque in them .

If in case anytime any piece of plaque breaks loose from the artery wall, it can directly cut off the flow of oxygen to the blood and then to the heart, that may cause a heart attack.

Left arm pain and left chest side pain is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack. If the left side pain gets worse over a few minutes or occurs alongside with any of the following symptoms call the doctor or emergency team:

  • Discomfort at the center of the chest which  lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away but then returns
  • Pain, numbness, soreness or unusual discomfort in the back, neck, jaw, and lower abdomen
  • Breathlessness can be with or without chest pain
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden cold sweats or flushing



People who experience angina feel discomfort or pain as the outcome of the heart getting less amount of oxygen than it needs. Along with pain in the left arm , symptoms may occur in the shoulders, neck, back, or jaw on the both sides or on left side .

Angina can also cause left side chest pain as heart is situated more towards the left side.

Angina can also feel like indigestion sometimes that's why it's important to rule it out from actual indigestion however it is not a heart attack rather its a sign of heart problem.

Monthly clogged or narrowed coronary vessels are the cause of angina. Further more there are two main types of this medical condition :

  • Stable angina

Stable angina is a most times is manageable as it’s a predictable type of angina. It occurs continuously  for at least 2 months but only during the times of physical activity or during emotional stress.

As these situations  put extra strain on the heart, that is heart  needs more and more oxygen than the arteries that have been narrowed allow.

Resting  can help a person treat the stable angina. In few cases if needed ,  a doctor can prescribe an artery relaxing medication like nitroglycerin..

  • Unstable angina

Its the type of angina which unpredictable and dangerous than the stable one .

It can happen even when a person is resting, that is the heart consistently does not get enough oxygen even when there is no strain or moment.

Unstable angina implies that a person has a risk to develop a heart attack.

Doctor should evaluate people who suffer with unstable angina in an emergency room as it's dangerous and person can die so needs immediate attention.


Skeletomuscular injury:

Pain can occur on the left side of chest and arm due to an injury to the muscle tissue or bone. The pain of left chest side has a kind of stabbing quality and mostly lasts only a few seconds at a time.

Skeletomuscular injury can happen due to heavy trauma or by accident.

Here pain only happens across a small area of the left chest side .The discomfort mostly persists without any other symptoms for hours or even days.

This sudden severe pain and the discomfort could be a symptom of injury to the bone or even a tissue in the arm, shoulder, or elbow  or in pectoral area. 

But, even with a good understanding of the possible and probable skeletomuscular conditions, it can be very difficult to tell or we can say differentiate whether left arm pain is occurring due to an injury or due to a heart attack.

There are certain risk factors for both, like age and physical activities, also overlap.

So for such kind of reasons, it is important not to try to do a self-diagnose for an injury or rule out a heart problem at home without any medical assistance , down below are few examples of skeletomuscular injuries which can lead to left side pain :

  • Bursitis :

Bursa is a fluid-filled pocket or sac which acts as a protective cushion between the bone and its surrounding soft tissue.

Bursitis as evident from the name is the  inflammation of bursa.

Left arm pain and sometimes left side chest pain may be a symptom of shoulder bursitis, that usually results from overusing of the shoulder joint.

In case the bursa sustains direct trauma or becomes infected by any means it may also contribute to left arm and chest pain.

  • Tendonitis :

Tendonitis as evident from the name is the inflammation of the connective tissue present  between the muscle and bone.

Tendonitis typically  develops due to the repetitive joint use and for this very reason, tennis players, swimmers, and some musicians often develop tendonitis.

Tendonitis in the shoulder joint can cause left side pain in chest and arm.

  • Rotator cuff tear :

The rotator cuff is certain  group of muscles and the tendons which hold the shoulder in its socket and help or support a person to rotate the arm and lift the objects.

If a tear is present in the soft tissues of the rotator cuff muscles  it can be quite painful. It typically results from shoulder overuse or direct trauma.

Aging is also a well know cause as it also causes degeneration of the shoulder tissue, which can increase the risk of a tear.

  • Herniated disk :

Disk is a cushion type thing when one of this cushioning disks between the vertebrae of the spine ruptures, it slips out between the spinal bones and pushes against the nerves present in the surrounding.

If in case the disk pushes against nerves which serve pectoral area a person may feel pain on the left side of the chest and sometimes in few severe cases, numbness, or weakness. Such symptoms might resemble those of a heart attack, however  the cause is actually totally different.

The common cause of disk herniation is heavy lifting or repetitive lifting.



Left side chest spasm can be caused by a sudden traumatic accident which leads to fracture in shoulder area or in ribs or in clavicle due to which person may feel pain on the left side of the chest.



Muscle spasms on the left side of the chest can be due to many reasons like skeletomuscular diseases, fractures, due to angina and in rare cases due to heart attack, as heart is present towards the left side.

High bp can also lead to such kind of spasms. A person should exercise eat healthy and see a doctor in severe spasms.

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