Left Shoulder Pain

Leena Palande Jan 23, 2019
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Is your work getting affected due to painful shoulder? Is there any difficulty in performing simple daily activities? Read on to know the causes and symptoms of left shoulder pain, as such pain can be a warning signal of a heart attack.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 13 million Americans seek medical attention for painful shoulder conditions every year. Pain in the right or left shoulder is very common. But sometimes, it's difficult to know from where the pain originates. One may describe stiffness or pain in shoulder as back pain between shoulder blades.
Left shoulder pain causes can be either simple or life-threatening. Pain radiating from the chest all the way to shoulders and upper back, or pain spreading to the jaw, neck, arms, and shoulder, especially left shoulder, is considered as a warning sign of an impending heart attack.
As causes of shoulder blade pain are innumerable, accurate diagnosis plays an important role in determining the treatment.

Causes

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle cramps
  • A trapped nerve in the arm
  • A pinched nerve in the neck
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Improper body mechanics
  • Shoulder pain when breathing is experienced due to lung problems or cervical spine problems.
  • Bad postures while sitting, standing, working, or sleeping
  • Chronic physical or mental stress
  • Breast cancer metastasizing to the shoulder
  • Lumpectomy or mastectomy performed on the left breast
  • Cancer of the upper end of the humerus
  • Excessive stretching, flexing, extending, or rotating of the arm or shoulder joint
  • A pulled shoulder muscle
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Structural injuries to the bones, ligaments, etc.
  • Injuries causing shoulder dislocation, or shoulder separation
  • Inflammation of the tendons
  • Bursitis or tendonitis of rotator cuff
  • Calcific tendonitis of rotator cuff wherein calcium deposits within the tendon
  • An underlying heart disease like angina
The list of the causes of pain in left shoulder and arm doesn't end here. There are hundreds of reasons why left shoulder aches. You should immediately consult your physician if you have constant pain in shoulder. Make sure that the pain is not due to a life-threatening heart condition. Certain symptoms of shoulder pain need prompt medical attention.

Symptoms

  • Deformity of the shoulder joint due to injury
  • Mild to severe shoulder and arm pain while working or resting
  • The pain that persists beyond a few days
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Inability to carry objects or use the arm
  • Difficulty lifting the arm
  • Swelling, or noticeable bruising around the joint or arm
  • Shoulder infection, fever, redness, warmth

Treatment

  • The doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain medications.
  • Ice packs or heat pads can be used to relieve the pain.
  • Sufficient rest should be provided to the affected shoulder.
  • Cortisone injections are recommended for severe pain.
  • Physical therapy and massage play an important role in relieving the pain.
  • Stretching shoulder exercises and rotator cuff exercises performed under the guidance of a physical trainer can help improve the condition of the shoulder.
Certain medical conditions like multiple sclerosis or bone cancer, and personal habits like unhealthy diet or insufficient sleep can increase the risk of developing shoulder pain. Timely treatment can offer you relief from the pain and can help you regain your freedom of movement.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.