When to See a Doctor for Left Shoulder Pain

Woman holding her shoulder

Pain in your shoulders can occur for a number of reasons. You may have pain from overuse from activities like throwing a baseball or swimming. Or, you may have pain due to a chronic condition like arthritis. Either way, these conditions make it difficult to use your shoulder, which impacts your ability to perform many activities.

An occasional sore shoulder is a normal part of life, so you may be wondering how you can know when to get help. Below are a few symptoms that can occur along with shoulder pain that are signs you may need medical treatment.

When to get medical treatment for shoulder pain

  • If you cannot fully move your arm — Limited range of motion in the shoulder can be related to a number of conditions. If this symptom and the pain are more sudden, it may be related to a torn rotator cuff. If you’ve slowly been losing range of motion in the shoulder over time, you may have a chronic condition like arthritis.
  • If your shoulder is swollen and tender — Swelling is the body’s way of reacting to irritation and injuries. Swelling delivers a boost of white blood cells to the painful area to help it heal. If there is swelling in your shoulder, you may have an acute injury, such as a torn ligament or tendon, or a fracture.
  • If there is tingling, burning and numbness in the shoulder — Tingling, burning and numbness may be the sign of a nerve condition. In some cases, the nerve in the shoulder may be compressed by some form of inflammation. In other cases, nerve pain in the shoulder may be a residual effect of a condition in your spine.

Left shoulder pain may be a symptom of a heart attack

While we don’t want to alarm you, this is too important to leave out. Many people who have suffered a heart attack have described pain that spreads from the chest into the left shoulder. In women, the pain may also spread to the right shoulder and upper back.

Please seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden pain in the left shoulder accompanied by any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in the chest

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for shoulder pain treatment

Do you have pain in your left shoulder? Whether your pain has been building up over time or is sudden, our team at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute can help. Our team can examine your shoulder to diagnose the cause of your pain and form a treatment. Contact us today to learn more about shoulder pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.