Q. What causes acute pain in the left shoulder, arm, lower chest, and back along with breathing discomfort?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zohaib Siddiq
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 09, 2023

Hi doctor,

Last week at night, around 1.00 AM, I suddenly felt acute pain in my left shoulder. The pain traveled downwards in my left arm. At the same time, I felt pain in my lower chest and lower back. The pain was very acute, and I was literally feeling the discomfort in breathing also, the pain aggravated as I breathed. This continued for around 15 to 20 minutes. Slowly the pain started receding, and gradually the pain in the arm, shoulder, and chest went off. I am quite okay now, but this incident was very unusual for me. I checked similar situations online, which hinted at some heart-related conditions. I am also taking regular medicine for my thyroid, at present having Thyronorm 112.5 mcg. My current TSH level is 5.6 mU/L, and my Hb level is 11.7 g/dL. Earlier, also I had similar situations twice or thrice in the last two to three years. Today I got my ECG done. Attaching the ECG report also for a better understanding of my situation. Kindly help me understand the exact reading of the ECG report so that I can take a further call accordingly.



Welcome to

I thoroughly read your query and understand your concern.

Pain, which aggravates during respirations and is of sudden onset, is unlikely to be cardiac pain. ECG (electrocardiogram) is also normal. Such pain can be due to musculoskeletal causes like a muscle spasm in the neck. Anxiety can also aggravate it. Another cause is lung issues, but that is usually associated with cough, fever, and breathing difficulty. Relax. I suggest you take a muscle relaxant with the advice of your physician if pain occurs.

Hope this helps.

Thanks and regards.

Hi doctor,

Thanks for the assured response.

I just wanted to ask if I should be assured that no cardiac-related issue with me occurred that night. Also, should such pain, coupled with shoulder and back pain, not be looked into too deeply? Do you recommend any kind of lifestyle changes to avoid such instances in the future? Kindly respond to all of my points so that I can relax and focus on the same.



Welcome back to

I understand your concern.

Yes, there is no cardiac issue. Only if recurrent and severe or associated with cough, fever, or recurrent vomiting.

I would suggest the following lifestyle modifications:

1. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

2. Controlling the blood pressure.

3. Do not go to bed soon after eating a meal; at least there should be a gap of two hours.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Was this answer helpful?


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