As we get older, it is not uncommon to experience minor aches and pain. However, severe or persistent pain may be a sign of something more serious. In some cases, shoulder pain, particularly in the left shoulder, can signify a heart attack. In this article, we will detail some of the more common causes of shoulder pain and what this type of pain could mean when it comes to your overall health.
LEFT SHOULDER PAIN AND HEART ATTACKS
Pain in the left shoulder caused by a heart attack is often referred to as “referred pain,” and it is one of the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Generally speaking, heart attacks are the byproduct of coronary arteries becoming narrowed due to a buildup of plaque. If a piece of hardened plaque breaks free from the walls of the coronary arteries, it can impede the flow of blood to the heart, which can result in a heart attack. The heart and the arm both share nerves that send signals to the brain. As a result, those who experience a heart attack will usually experience shoulder pain before they encounter other symptoms, some of which may include
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems
- Cold sweats
- Pain in the neck, jaw, back, or lower abdomen
It is important to note that a heart attack can cause pain in the left, as well as the right shoulder. Therefore, if you’re experiencing pain in either shoulder and have any of the symptoms detailed in this article, you should schedule an appointment with a physician as soon as possible.
SHOULDER PAIN AND ANGINA
Shoulder pain can also be a sign of angina, a condition characterized by severe chest pain, which occurs when the heart does not receive enough blood or oxygen. Although less severe by comparison, angina can trigger many of the same symptoms as a heart attack. There are two different types of angina, stable and unstable. Generally speaking, those with stable angina will only experience pain or discomfort during periods of overexertion. Those with unstable angina, on the other hand, will experience the same pain and discomfort even while they are resting. If you have either form of angina and also struggling with shoulder pain, you should schedule an appointment with a physician.
In some cases, shoulder pain is nothing more than shoulder pain. Skeletomuscular injuries, for example, can cause left or right should pain and, more often than not, is a symptom of damaged bone or tissue in the shoulder. And along with shoulder pain, skeletomuscular injuries can also trigger the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain lasting for only a few seconds at a time
- Experiencing pain while moving the shoulder
- Pain lasting for several days
It is important to note that skeletomuscular injuries affecting the shoulder can cause pain symptoms that are similar to that of a heart attack or angina. Therefore, it would be a good idea to be seen by a physician or cardiologist to rule out possible cardiovascular problems.