left upper arm pain


Has the pain in your upper arm been bothering you for some time?

If the pain in the upper left knee worries you, read on. In most cases, the cause of pain in the upper left shoulder as well as in the upper right shoulder is related to problems with the cervical vertebrae and problems with the bone system, joints and muscles.


But there are also cases where left arm pain is a type of referral pain that can be caused by a lack of oxygen to the heart and is a warning of a heart attack.

In the following, we will talk more about the pain in the upper left arm.

There will be similar causes for upper arm and right shoulder pain, except that gallbladder pain can spread to the right shoulder, for example.

Pain in the arm causes an unpleasant sensation, sometimes spreading to the elbows, shoulders, forearms, wrists and fingers.

In the following, we will talk about the causes of upper arm pain and their treatment.

Doctors say the most common cause of upper arm pain is injuries, fatigue and muscle spasms around the shoulders and neck.

The onset of pain in the upper left arm is sometimes gradual and gradually intensifies or may begin quite suddenly.


Symptoms with pain in the upper left arm

What causes upper left arm pain?

Diagnosis of the cause of pain in the upper left arm

When should we see a doctor?


Symptoms with pain in the upper left arm

The following symptoms may be present at the same time as pain in the upper left arm:

  • Swelling of the upper arm
  • Swelling of the left axillary lymph nodes
  • Stiffness of the left arm muscles
  • Redness and discoloration of the skin


What causes upper left arm pain?

Here are the factors that can cause pain in the upper left arm with their common manifestations.


  1. reasons related to the musculoskeletal system:
  • Stretching of ligaments and tendons:

Stretching or rupturing tendons and ligaments can both cause pain in the upper arm and may restrict movement of the shoulder joint and cause swelling in the arm.

In cases of mild strain, treatment is supportive and will include resting and hanging !! the arm to the neck to reduce pressure on the injury site.

In severe cases with rupture of tendons and ligaments, surgery is needed to repair the shoulder joint.

Accompanying symptoms include:

  • Inflation
  • Bruise
  • Shoulder instability
  • Restriction of the normal range of motion of the shoulder joint.


  • Inflammation of the tendons or shoulder and upper arm tendonitis:
  • Mild swelling
  • Sensitivity to touch and pressure
  • Severe pain

It is a clinical symptom in tendonitis. Tendonitis is also very common in the wrist, elbow and shoulder itself.


  • Bone fractures:

The person hears a sound when the humerus is broken and the following symptoms will accompany the fracture:

  • Very severe arm pain
  • Bruise
  • Inflation
  • Inability to rotate the wrist and forearm
  • Existence of physical abnormalities in the shape and form of the arm and shoulder


  • Nerve pressure:

It is one of the most common causes of upper arm and shoulder pain by spreading to the elbows, wrists and fingertips.

  • Muscles
  • bones
  • Tendons
  • Cartilage

They can put pressure on your nerves and narrow your path.

Symptoms in these cases include:

  • Mild to severe pain in the shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers
  • The feeling of tingling
  • Unconscious
  • Muscle weakness


  • Joint inflammation:


In these cases, the joint is hot, red, and swollen, and its range of motion is limited.


  1. Cardiac causes:


  • Angina:

Chest pain caused by ischemia of the heart muscle (ischemia means not getting enough oxygen to the tissues due to insufficient blood flow) may also cause pain in the left and right arm, shoulders, neck, mandible, and upper abdomen.

In these cases, the following symptoms may be present with pain in the upper left or right arm:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Lightheadedness
  • Change heart rate


  • Heart attack or heart attack:

If insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle continues, its cells will die and a heart attack will occur. signs of a heart attack :

  • Cold sweat
  • Vomit
  • Pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, upper abdomen, and even mandibular teeth
  • Change in heart rate rhythm


Diagnosis of the cause of pain in the upper left arm

Taking a history, along with examining other accompanying symptoms, will help your doctor differentiate between cardiovascular and musculoskeletal causes.


In case of doubt of cardiac origin:

  • ECG
  • Blood test to assess the level of cardiac enzymes
  • Measurement of blood electrolytes
  • Emergency consultation with a cardiologist is requested or you will be rushed to a cardiac emergency center.


In cases where the source of pain in the left arm is skeletal muscle:

Clinical examinations such as:

  • Request an arm lift
  • Request to perform shoulder movements in all normal range of motion
  • Assess tendon and ligament problems by performing special shoulder and arm examinations


Sometimes accurate imaging such as a CT scan or MRI may be needed to assess the condition of the shoulder joint, especially in severe shoulder injuries.


Musculoskeletal pain will improve with the following:

  • Rest
  • Oral analgesics and anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle-strengthening stretching exercises
  • Physiotherapy


Intralesional corticosteroid injections are also used to reduce inflammation

Surgery is required for fractures, rotator cuff injuries, and severe ruptures of tendons and ligaments.

Pain of cardiac origin should be evaluated urgently


When should we see a doctor?

If your left or right upper arm pain is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, you should call the emergency room right away or go to a nearby medical center.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling heavy on the chest
  • Chest burning
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomit
  • Change in the number or quality of the heartbeat
  • Cold sweat
  • Are you down
  • Weakness

Immediate emergency notification is also required if there is a possibility of joint dislocation or bone fracture.

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