Q:

Why do I have pain in my shoulder, arm and neck on the left side?

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Quick Answer

If you are experiencing unilateral pain in your neck, shoulder and arm, it could be the result of problems ranging from some form of arthritis, trauma or other nerve-related problem, explains WebMD and Cleveland Clinic. This pain is best diagnosed by your physician who uses diagnostic tests designed to identify your specific ailment.

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Full Answer

Pain from one area of the body is often misunderstood. A physician is able to locate the origin of the pain rather than its referred pain area. Cluster, shoulder, neck and arm pain is very common due to the complex network of connected nerve pathways. This referred pain is caused when the brain is unable to trace the affected pain pathways back to the original source. Some of the most common injuries and problems that cause pain in the neck, shoulder and arm areas include cervical spondylosis, joint abnormalities, trauma, tumors, poor posture, frozen shoulder, pinched nerves, tendonitis and dislocation, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Self-diagnosis is never encouraged, especially when it comes to pain in the shoulder area as it could be an indication of a heart-related illness. A medical doctor or spine specialist is able to give a thorough examination using tests designed to offer a noninvasive way to examine body structures quickly and efficiently. One such exam is an MRI. This procedure reveals the detail of nerve-related elements. An X-ray reveals narrowing spacing between spinal bones and can help in the diagnosis of diseases such as tumors, fractures, slipped discs or other spinal column instabilities. Other common tools are an electromyography and nerve conduction velocity, notes WebMD. These are alternative methods used to diagnose neck, shoulder and arm pain.

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