Can Shoulder Pain Cause Chest Pain?
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Can Shoulder Pain Cause Chest Pain?

Simultaneous chest and shoulder pain may be caused due to various reasons. People wonder if the shoulder pain may also lead to chest pain. This may be possible in case of musculoskeletal injury, or fracture. Extending or moving the damaged muscles of the shoulder may result in chest pain.

What Causes Shoulder And Chest Pain?

There are various causes for simultaneous shoulder pain and chest pain. Some require immediate medical intervention while others are not that much serious. However, you should not ignore such symptoms and book an appointment with your doctor as early as possible. Following are some of the causes of shoulder pain and chest pain;

1. Angina

Angina is the term used for chest pain when the heart muscles do not get enough oxygen due to poor blood flow. This may be due to narrowing or clogging of arteries. The main symptom of angina is chest pain. The patient may also experience sweating, weakness, lightheadedness, and fatigue.

2. Gallstones

Gallstones are the stones that are formed in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is the organ whose function is to store bile which is synthesized by the liver. Patients may experience pain above or the center of the stomach. The pain may spread to the shoulder blades.

3. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the condition characterized by inflammation in the pancreas. The fluid secreted by the pancreas aids in digestion. Pancreatitis results in pain in the upper abdominal region that radiates to the back and shoulders.

4. Pericarditis

Pericarditis is the inflammation of the layer surrounding the heart. The function of this layer is to keep the heart in place. Pericarditis may be caused due to infection. Patients suffering from this condition have chest pain that radiates to the shoulders. The pain is relieved when the patient leans forward.

5. Pleurisy

Lungs are separated from the chest wall through a layer. This layer is known as the pleural membrane. Pleurisy is the inflammation of the pleural membrane. Along with shoulder pain and chest pain, patients may also experience joint pain, shortness of breath, and headaches.

Can Shoulder Pain Cause Chest Pain?

Shoulder pain may be caused due to various reasons including arthritis, accidental trauma, infection, and overusing the shoulders. Tendonitis affects the movement of shoulders, and extending the arm beyond the limit may lead to shoulder pain and chest pain. When there is any muscle strain in the shoulder, it may also cause pain into the chest. Repetitive activities and long stretch work may also result in shoulder pain with chest pain.

Left Shoulder Pain And Chest Pain

Simultaneous pain in the left shoulder and chest may be due to some serious underlying diseases. It may be due to injuries and inflammation. Following are some of the main causes;

  • Bursitis
  • Heart attack
  • Skeletomuscular injury
  • Pericarditis
  • Tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff tear, and
  • Fracture
  • The pain may start in the chest and may radiate to the shoulder blade. However, in some cases, the originating place is the shoulder.

    Right Shoulder Pain And Chest Pain

    The pain in the right shoulder and chest are not generally due to heart disorders. There are various causes of chest pain on the right side. Stress and anxiety may lead to chest pain and causes numbness of hands and feet. Other causes of right-side chest pain include;

    • Infection
    • Indigestion or acid reflux
    • Shingles
    • Cholecystitis
    • Muscle strain, and
    • Trauma

    The pain from the chest may radiate to the shoulders.

    When To Worry About Shoulder Pain With Chest Pain?

    Not all chest pains with shoulder pains are a cause of concern. However, you should pay attention to the other symptoms that come along with these symptoms. In some cases, you may require immediate medical attention. Thus, it is prudent that if you are suffering from shoulder pain with chest pain, you should get it diagnosed and take appropriate treatment.

    How To Diagnose Shoulder Pain With Chest Pain?

    It is critical to identify the cause of shoulder pain and chest pain to initiate appropriate treatment. Doctors may use various diagnostic techniques like;

    • Physical examination
    • Lungs X-ray and complete chest X-ray
    • Electrocardiography
    • Echocardiography
    • CT scan and MRI of heart
    • Pancreatic function test
    • If the doctor suspects pleurisy, then a biopsy may be done

    Treatment For Shoulder Pain With Chest Pain

    Treatment should be provided according to the cause of shoulder pain and chest pain. In the case of heart problems, appropriate medications are prescribed, while in the case of gallstones, surgery is advised. In the case of infection, antibiotic treatment is initiated while pain is managed through analgesics.

    When To See A Doctor

    • Book appointment with a doctor if
    • You have severe chest pain that radiates to shoulder
    • You have difficulty breathing
    • You have a feeling of nausea and vomiting
    • You have a history of shoulder pain and heart disease
    • You have shoulder pain along with chest tightness and shoulder pain and chest discomfort
    • Any other symptoms that are the cause of your concern

    Many people ask can shoulder pain causes chest pain. It may be possible. However, it is more important to identify the cause of simultaneous shoulder and chest pain.

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