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Sudden pain in forearm, shoulder and upper back. Is this related to any heart issues?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 898 Questions
Yesterday I had a sudden pain that first started in my left forearm and radiated up to my left shoulder and upper back. It was most intense in the area between my spine and left shoulder blade and could be felt on the front side of my left shoulder, just above the pectoral. It lasted about 5-10 minutes and then went away. My wife says that left arm pain could signal heart issues, but I thought the pain would need to start in the chest, then move to the left arm, but mine did the reverse. Does this sound like something to be concerned about?
Posted Mon, 13 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 2 hours later

Thanks for writing in.

Definitely it is something to be concerned about. Your wife might be right. Pain starting in the chest would be the classical way heart attack presents itself. However, there are patients who come with just jaw pain /forearm pain etc and ECG shows changes of myocardial infarction.

It would be a very wise idea to visit your physician who might examine you, do the relevant blood investigations(blood sugars, lipid profile) along with ECG, ECHO and Treadmill test.

I hope I have answered your queries .I will be happy to answer any further queries you might have.

In case you don't have any further queries, please accept my answer. Any reviews are welcome.

Have a great day.

Dr.Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sudden pain in forearm, shoulder and upper back. Is this related to any heart issues? 15 minutes later
Do you think it would be ok to wait and see my physician on Monday when they open, or go to the emergency room immediately? Also, I had blood work done before my appendectomy a couple of months ago, but I don't know if they checked it for heart issues.
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 34 minutes later
I'm sure they must have gotten an ECG done before appendectomy. I don't think an ECHO and TMT test would have been done. Maybe you could just go through your discharge summary that was given to you after the procedure was done, to see if the above tests were done.

The other possibilities are gastritis and cervical spine disorders.These are not medical emergencies.

However, the way that your symptoms have been described , I would definitely want to rule out a cardiac condition. I would advise you to go to the emergency room, if your physician is not available for consultation today.

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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