If you are suffering from arm and chest pain simultaneously, the cause of it may potentially be serious, and medical attention may be needed. The most likely culprits that would result in these symptoms occurring are a heart attack, an angina attack, or some kind of physical injury. In non-serious cases, these two symptoms may coincidentally occur from causes that are non-threatening and easily treatable.
A myocardianl infraction or heart attack is one of the worst diagnoses that can occur when arm and chest pain is felt. Most commonly, the arm pain is experienced in the left arm, and additional symptoms are also experienced like shoulder pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, and general weakness. The discomfort has been said to spread down from the arm, and will come and go. The kind of pain experienced in the chest can vary. Some have reported a kind of burning pain that is reminiscent of heartburn, but more severe, and others have simply felt a squeezing, tight feeling.
Another condition that signifies heart disease is angina, and it can lead to pain of various levels of intensity that typically occurs in episodes. Differing from a heart attack, either one of the arms, perhaps both, can experience pain, while the middle of the chest feels compressed, as if it is being squeezed or pressured. It may be beneficial to remember that it is more common for pain in the right arm to signifiy angina, whereas pain in the left signifies a heart attack.
Similarities Between Angina and Heart Attack
Both heart attack and angina causes similar symptoms, like chest pressure, shortness of breath, or pain in various areas throughout the body, as well as feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness. Another useful tidbit is to recognize that angina sensations generally fade away after an attack, but intense heart attacks may have long-lasting effects, perhaps leading even to a physical decline.
The least worrying cause of pain in one’s chest and arm is simply due to a physical injury, ranging from mild to moderate. For instance, if either one of the deltoid (shoulder) muscles are hurt, their relationship to the chest and arms can eventually result in painful sensations in both areas. In the case of a mild injury, the pain is generally tolerable and not as severe as pains that an angina or heart attack would cause; however, improperly moving the injured shoulder could continually worsen the pain.
The cause of pain in one’s body would be much easier to diagnose and treat if the individual is cognizant of his or her physical activities, and if he or she is aware that a movement may have been performed improperly, resulting in a minor injury. For example, a simple muscle pull, or muscle strain, are common injuries that people sustain and could quite easily result in pain without people even knowing how they got injured in the first place.
Should the pain one experiences feel minor, and it is quite easy to determine a direct cause, then perhaps seeing a medical professional is not necessary. On the other hand, severe pain, especially if it is hard to identify a specific cause, should never be taken lightly. In this case, while it is still possible that the cause could be completely benign, it is not worth the risk to wait around. Seek medical attention immediately.
Photo Credit: “AMI pain front” by J. Heuser