Can anxiety cause left arm pain?
If you’re experiencing left arm pain, anxiety could be the cause. Anxiety can cause muscles in the arm to become tense, and that tension could lead to pain.
Although muscle tension — sometimes the result of anxiety — is the most likely source of arm pain, it is not the only possible cause. Heart attack, angina, and injury are other possible causes.
4 Causes of left arm pain
There are many reasons why you may have left arm numbness, weakness, or pain. It could be psychological or physical. If you experience pain in your left arm, you should first have it evaluated by a medical doctor to be certain that you aren’t having a heart attack.
Anxiety can cause pain. When another condition is causing left arm pain, anxiety can make the pain worse. For example, anxiety can make you sensitive to seemingly insignificant pain, especially if you aren’t sure of the pain’s origin. If there is a concern that the pain could be the symptom of a serious problem, it can become increasingly upsetting, which can make the pain seem worse.
Left arm pain is not an isolated sign of anxiety, but typically a part of a more serious anxiety problem.
2. Heart attack
Often, an initial symptom of a heart attack is sudden left arm pain that gets increasingly intense over the course of a few minutes. Other symptoms of heart attack are:
discomfort/pressure in the center of the chest
discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, or stomach
shortness of breath
sudden cold sweat
A heart attack is a life-threatening condition. If you experience left arm pain in conjunction with these other symptoms, you should call 911.
Angina occurs when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Angina can cause left arm pain that is often accompanied by shoulder, neck, back, or jaw discomfort along with a feeling of indigestion.
Angina is often a symptom of coronary artery disease and should be taken seriously. Talk with your doctor about your left arm pain and other symptoms to get a proper diagnosis of angina.
Pain in your left arm might be a symptom of a bone or tissue injury. Possible injuries include:
bone fracture in the left arm or shoulder
bursitis, when a bursa or sac of fluid between bone and soft tissue becomes inflamed
carpal tunnel syndrome, or compression of one of the major nerves to the hand as it travels through the wrist
herniated disk, or a tear in one of the cushioning disks between the bones of your spine
rotator cuff tear
tendonitis, or tendon inflammation
When to see a doctor
You should seek emergency treatment if your left arm pain is:
accompanied by pressure or squeezing in your chest
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if your left arm:
experiences pain with exertion, but is relieved by rest
experiences a sudden injury (especially when accompanied by a snapping sound)
experiences severe pain and swelling
has trouble moving normally
has difficulty turning from palm up to palm down and vice versa
You should schedule an office visit with your doctor as soon as possible if your left arm:
has pain that that doesn’t lessen after rest, elevation, and ice
has increasing redness, swelling, or discomfort in the damaged area
is experiencing pain that you feel is anxiety-induced
Home remedies for left arm pain
Until you can get to your doctor, home treatment can help arm injuries. For example, if you think that your arm is broken, use a sling to immobilize it and apply ice packs as you wait for medical attention.
Many other types of arm pain can improve on their own, especially if you:
take time off from any normal activities that can tire your arm
use an ice pack on the sore area three times a day for 15–20 minutes
address swelling with a compression bandage
elevate your arm