What is anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental health condition. People with an anxiety disorder may experience pain including left arm pain. As per the survey in the United States, about 18.1% of the adult population experiences anxiety disorder every year.
People who are experiencing anxiety often face chronic pain from muscle tension, soreness, or headaches especially around the arms says The Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Anxiety attacks or panic attacks are periods of intense anxiety. And they can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack such as chest pain, arm pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breathing, and so on.
Symptoms of Anxiety
When your heart is racing, like if it reaches your throat, and it’s beating so hard, almost difficult for you to think of anything else. You feel like choking and you are sweating and shaking, and dizzy, the chest feels tighter and tighter, and you are worried it may be a heart attack. This could be the condition you might feel while experiencing an anxiety disorder scenario.
During an anxiety attack, the adrenaline rushes through your body, some common symptoms are racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, dizziness, tightness in your chest, upset stomach, and a feeling of dying.
Can Anxiety cause left arm pain?
Yes, Left arm pain is a documented condition, you can experience left arm pain due to anxiety and you can also experience it as a result of a heart problem or because of just an injury. When you feel anxiety you can face chronic pain in the arms as anxiety can cause muscles of the arm to become tense and that tension leads to the pain.
Is left arm pain is due to anxiety and not due to a Heart attack?
Heart attacks occur when the blood cannot flow around the heart due to the blockage but anxiety is a condition of mental illness. Symptoms of the heart attack include:
- Discomfort or pressure in the center of the chest
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or discomfort in the left arm, chest, neck, jaw or back
- Sudden cold sweat
If the left arm pain is sudden, severe, accompanied by pressure, swelling or squeezing in your chest, or you find trouble moving then immediately call 911 and seek the emergency treatment as it might be a symptom of a heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack vary in men and women. For men, they experience a heavy central chest pain and squeezing and tightening that can move into the jaw or the left arm. In case of women the symptoms are same expect the pain is between the shoulder blades and not on the chest area.
Other reasons for left arm pain from anxiety
- Poor Circulation
- Pinched nerve
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Trauma or injury
- Hemiplegic migraine
- Multiple sclerosis
- Frozen shoulder
What is the treatment for left arm pain from anxiety?
If after a assessment or running after some medical tests your doctor determines that your anxiety is causing your left arm pain, then follow these treatment guidelines for anxiety:-
1. Use an Anti-anxiety medication
The anti-anxiety medication includes-
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
2. Have a healthy lifestyle
- be more physically active, include more exercise, meditation, yoga
- Have adequate sleep of 7-8 hours
- Have a proper diet
- Spend time with nature
- Do enjoyable activities such as your hobby
- Surround yourself with your family and friends
Another treatment for anxiety is psychotherapy. This therapy helps people with mental illness and help them to deal with the anxiety triggers. This includes
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)-focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing your thinking and behavioral pattern.
- Psychoanalysis – focuses on uncovering the unconscious motives behind a person’s behavior and thoughts.
- Humanistic- Focuses on helping the person make their own decision so that they can reach their full potential.
According to American Psychological Association (APA),psychotherapy is much more effective than medication for the treatment of anxiety.
Home remedies for left arm pain
If the left arm pain is due to broken bone, then use a sling to immobilize it and apply ice packs and try to give proper rest to your arm for few days.
You can try to Move and massage your arm to relieve from pain. You can even apply a compression bandage on it.
Distract yourself from the pain by doing other activities.
And if the pain is still there, then take the painkillers.
Anxiety is a treatable condition. With the help of therapy, medication, meditation, and other techniques you can get rid of it. You are now well aware of what is anxiety and what might cause the left arm pain, is it anxiety, heart attack, injury or some other reason.
If you feel left arm pain with a discomfort in the center of the chest and shortness of breath, it could be the symptom of heart problem then you should immediately call a medical emergency.