Left-arm pain without chest pain can be due to a variety of problems, including injury and nerve damage. However, sudden or unusual pain in the left arm could be a sign of a more serious medical issue. It can be a symptom of an injury that needs treatment or, in the worst case, the effect of a heart attack. Being aware of the possible causes and characteristics of pain in the left arm can help a person recognize what the body is reacting to and determine when it is necessary to seek medical attention.
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Causes of pain in the left arm
There are many reasons for numbness, weakness, or pain in the left arm. Following are a few scenarios of hand pain without any chest pain to watch out for:
The pain may radiate from an injury elsewhere, such as in the wrist or hand. Trauma, such as a fall, accident, or contact sport, is a common cause of these injuries.
Peripheral neuropathy is a broad term used for conditions that damage the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. It can affect those that run down the arms, causing pain and numbness in the area.
Cervical stenosis involves a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck, which puts pressure on the nerves and can cause pain and weakness in the arms.
Poor circulation refers to an interruption of blood flow. For example, pressure on the arm can limit blood flow to that area, causing numbness, tingling, or pain.
Anxiety can cause pain. When another condition is causing left arm pain, anxiety can make the pain worse.
Often an early symptom of a heart attack is sudden pain in the left arm that becomes increasingly severe over a few minutes.
Angina occurs when the heart does not receive enough oxygen. Angina can cause pain in the left arm, often with shoulder, neck, back, or jaw discomfort, and a sensation of indigestion.
Left-arm pain can be a symptom of shoulder bursitis, which typically results from overuse of the shoulder joint. If the bursa sustains direct trauma or becomes infected, this can also contribute to pain in the left arm.
Tendinitis often develops due to repetitive use of the joint. Tendinitis in the shoulder or elbow could be the source of the pain in the left arm.
How is left arm pain diagnosed and treated?
Since arm pain can be a symptom of many different disorders, it's important to get an accurate diagnosis if the pain is persistent or causing distress. If necessary, the doctor will order imaging tests that may include the following:
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of each area of the body.
An ultrasound test uses sound waves to produce images of structures in the body and can help diagnose compression syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Nerve conduction study measures nerve impulses when a small amount of current is applied to detect a damaged nerve.
Electromyography (EMG) test involves inserting a needle electrode into the muscles to measure their electrical activity, which can help detect damage to the nerves that go to the muscles.
Treatments for pain in the left hand
Although arm and shoulder injuries may not be life-threatening, it is important to seek medical evaluation from a physician. Early treatment can help the tissues or bones heal and prevent further damage.
If a person has heart disease, treatment may include medications, relief of symptoms, and heart-healthy lifestyle changes.
If a person has serious heart disease, surgery may be needed to clean or bypass the occluded arteries.
Broken bones or fractures must be put back into place and immobilized until healed.
This usually requires wearing a cast for several weeks. Serious tears sometimes require surgery.
For sprains and strains, elevate and rest the arm. Apply ice to the area several times a day. Bandages or splints may be helpful.
Physical/occupational therapy, rest, and medication for pain and inflammation are the main treatments for:
rotator cuff tear
Vascular thoracic outlet syndrome
When to seek medical help?
See the doctor as soon as possible if:
If the arm, shoulder, elbow, or wrist pain is the result of serious trauma.
Sudden pain in the arm, shoulder, chest, or back, accompanied by chest pressure, may indicate a heart attack.
Experience pain with exertion, but is relieved by rest.
Experience a sudden injury (especially when accompanied by a snap)
A experience severe pain and swelling.
Having trouble moving normally
Difficulty turning palm up and palm down or vice versa
pain that does not go away after rest, elevation, and ice
Increased redness, swelling, or discomfort in the damaged area
Home remedies to cure left-hand pain
The remedies are as follows:
Use an ice pack on the sore area three times a day for 15 to 20 minutes
take over-the-counter pain relievers, rest the arm for a few days, and keep the arm elevated
Try to get some sun so that body can make the vitamin D it needs to help protect the joints from the damage of osteoarthritis.
Swimming is a low-impact form of resistance training that uses the entire body. It is a relaxing way to improve health and relieve pain.
Drinking 3-4 cups of green tea a day has been shown to be very effective in combating pain.