What Are the Most Common Causes of Left Arm Pain?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
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The most common causes of left arm pain are a broken bone and sprain or strain. Carpal tunnel syndrome and a heart attack can also cause left arm pain. These causes affect millions of people around the world, and some are more treatable than others. When experiencing left arm pain, it is important to keep in mind that the pain can originate from elsewhere, such as the wrist or chest, so there might not be a problem with the arm at all. For example, the arm might hurt if the wrist or hand is damaged in some way or if a person is having a heart attack.

A broken left arm normally causes the injured person severe pain initially, but this pain usually subsides as the repair process progresses. Broken wrists and hands can also cause the injured person pain in an arm. Bruising, swelling, and tenderness are classic symptoms of a broken bone, and a doctor should be consulted in order to set the bone, if necessary, and ensure it is healing properly. A sling or splint might be prescribed to help the bone stay in place while mending. Strains or sprains in the left arm, wrist, or hand can also be to blame for left arm pain in much the same way as a broken left arm.


During a heart attack, a great deal of pain may be felt in the left arm. While the chest is the primary location where severe pain will be felt during a heart attack, the pain is often reported to radiate out into the shoulder and left arm. As the heart is located on the left side of the chest, it is not typical for pain to radiate all the way to the right shoulder and arm.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is caused by compression of a nerve in the wrist. One of the possible symptoms of this condition is arm pain, and it is often accompanied by burning and tingling sensations. Some experts suspect that this condition is caused by repetitive stress, and some have found that there is a link between the condition and repetitive work such as keyboard use. Treatments for this condition include major actions such as surgery and pain medication, as well as therapeutic stretching wrist braces that keep the wrist from bending. Symptoms do not only present in the arms, and typically include fingers, wrists, and other parts of the hand.


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