Pain in Left Shoulder | How You Can Handle it

Are you experiencing pain in left shoulder? This pain can be very discomforting and extremely painful. However with proper and guided information on the causes, symptoms and treatments you will be able to conquer this annoying pain.

Pain in Left Shoulder | Why it Worries You?

Even though most of us are right handed, doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot experience left pain of the shoulder. As much as writing for long hours can predispose or contribute to shoulder pain, it is usually not the main reason why you experience shoulder pain.

Shoulder pain of the left side is usually of a much higher concern than right shoulder pain and therefore keen attention should be paid to this pain as it could be a symptom of underlying life threatening conditions like angina and heart attack.

It is also caused by poor posture in computer use, injury, bone diseases, rotator cuff disorders and spinal cord abnormalities.Here is a quick read that can help to clear any fears and help you to manage the pain to restore normalcy

What Causes Pain in Left Shoulder?

pain in left shoulder

Angina Pectoris

1. Angina pectoris:

This is pain that originates in the chest, the pain is sharp and piercing in nature and causes chest tightness and loss of breathe, you will occasionally see people with this type of pain trying to bend while they hold their chest tightly as if to try to relieve the pain with a facial grimace that shows the person is in a lot of pain, This pain is sudden in nature and does not last for long.

It is a sign of the heart not getting enough oxygen required for normal energy production therefore the heart producing energy through anaerobic means(without oxygen) and in the process produces lactic acid that causes the pain.

This potentially life threatening and you should never ignore this kind of pain.The pain is radiated to the left shoulder(thus the left shoulder pain),left arm,neck and jaw.The agina is a symptom of an underlying heart disease and should be managed soon enough to avoid future complications

Angina diagnosis

When you tell your doctor the nature of the pain and how it is radiated they will be able to tell it is angina

Imaging procedures like the ECG and ECHO can also be done to check the functioning of the heart,CXR can also be done to to check if the heart could be enlarged as is a normal case in patients with angina

2. Heart attack:

just as the name implies, it is the sudden cessation of the functioning of the heart. It is the complication of untreated angina and has 95% chance of death. Pain on the left shoulder is a major symptom of the referred pain

Treatment of Heart Attack

Depending on the underlying heart condition a cardiologist will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment. The drugs recommended are able to manage both the pain and improve the functioning of the heart

Prevention of Heart Attack

Living a life where you are able to manage stress effectively is important as it helps to reduce development of heart conditions

Avoid use of tobacco smoking and chewing

Regulate the amount of alcohol taken

Physical exercises and eating a well-balanced diet to manage the pain is also recommended

3. Use of the computer for long hours

When you use the computer for such long hours, there is a certain slouched posture that you are likely to assume that puts strain on your shoulder muscles causing them to be tense, sore, inflamed and tender and thus painful, this pain is also accompanied by headaches. The pain is not felt at the same time while you are working but after sometime and especially at night and more so the day after.

A few tips to avoid this common pain would be to take short breaks in between your work, doctors recommend a 3 minute break after working for every 30 minutes to help relieve muscle tension. Take a walk in the park, stretch out your muscles and try to slowly massage the shoulders to help lax the muscles

Select a proper table and seat that will enable you to sit with your back straightened out and .The chair should be properly adjustable to allow your feet to touch the ground and your thighs parallel to the floor. It should be able to support your neck, shoulder and spine

Try yourself to use both sides of your arms with the mouse to avoid putting strain on one side of the body


A semi-hot shower is very helpful as it helps to relax the muscles, though the water may scare you as it feels really hot, it helps to reduce the pain and doing it once in a while does not do you any harm

Shoulder massages also help to make them muscles relax and increase blood supply to the muscles and bones of the shoulder

4. Injury to the shoulder

This can be caused by falls, carrying of heavy objects or impact of an object falling on you, the impact of the injury could be a fracture, a sprain, or a tear. The pain can either be sudden or may be felt after a period of time after which the condition may have caused more damage than before, this is especially common with athletes, for example a baseball pitcher who may start by bruising his tendon but not notice it and later on there is shoulder instability due to overuse


If there is a fracture, depending on the extent which is determined after an X-ray of the fractured shoulder, surgery could be done to try and repair the defect and a cast put to immobilize the fracture until the fracture is healed.

Tears can be left to heal spontaneously but if they are big tears, surgery is required

A sprain may require ice cold packs to be applied to the area but not for long to avoid poor blood supply to the area

Use of ant inflammation sprays help to reduce swelling around the area after which a loosely but well applied bandage should be applied to the area to rest it and then avoiding the use of shoulder for some time or minimizing activities will quicken recovery

Pain killers may also be used to manage the pain

Other Causes of Pain in Left Shoulder


This is a joint related disorder that is associated with joint inflammation, swelling and pain. The pain is often felt in the knees and ankle joints but can also be felt in other joints of the body and especially when the disease is well advanced. The disease is associated with age and so if you are old and have been having left shoulder pains, this could be the associated reason. The condition is not treatable but is well managed with Non-Steroidal ant inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and keeping warm

Herniated disc

The backbone is a continuous bony structure made up of smaller bones called discs, at times some of the discs can come out of their normal position and protrude out, it may not be seen physically but there is pain that is felt on the left shoulder, it is accompanied by tingling and numbness of the arms and legs in severe cases. The condition is severe and requires medical therapy and physical therapy as well

Pain in Left Shoulder | When You Need to See a Doctor?

If the pain persists for more than 3 days despite your effort to remedy it, then you should seek medical advice to avoid having an underlying condition from progressing, pain is a symptom and even though you eliminate it, does not mean that you have dealt with the cause of the pain and so seeking medical advice will only do you more good. In the case of angina and heart attack, as we discussed, you should not wait and try to remedy it at home but run to the hospital if you can or call 911



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