What Causes Left Shoulder Pain?

Left shoulder pain can be extremely concerning, especially when the cause is unknown. The pain may occur when you breathe deeply, making it very difficult to function throughout the day. Left shoulder pain may be the result of normal activities of daily living to serious health conditions. In this article we will describe some common causes of this pain, the symptoms associated with each cause, and what you can do to relieve the discomfort.

Causes of Left Shoulder Pain

Poor Computer Habits

Spending extensive periods of time in front of a computer may lead to acute left shoulder pain. When a person uses a computer their posture is typically slouched with hunched shoulders, leading to left shoulder pain. Working on a computer may also lead to inflammation of the muscles, muscle spasms, and severe headaches. This discomfort can easily be remedied and prevented in the future by improving poor computer habits.

Treatments - There are a few effective methods for preventing the pain caused by bad computer habits.

  • The most effective method is to leave the computer and take a brief walk every few hours. This can be a short walk around the office or a lengthier walk outdoors. The main objective is to allow your muscles to stretch out. Some specialists recommend breaking for 3 minutes every 30 minutes.
  • A comfortable chair makes for a comfortable body, so be sure to invest in a well-made chair that supports the body's most susceptible regions (neck, shoulders, and back). Your chair should also be adjusted for your comfort. It should be low enough so that your feet comfortably touch the ground, thighs are parallel to the floor, and the back of the chair should support your entire spine.
  • The act of switching your mouse to opposite sides of the keyboard is extremely beneficial for centralized left shoulder pain, as it prevents you from overusing one side of your body. It instead equally distributes your movement to both the right and left sides of your body.


An injury to the shoulder or surrounding region can cause pain and discomfort. Injury related left shoulder pain is usually quite obvious to a person, particularly if it manifests itself right after the accident that caused the injury. In some cases the pain may not develop immediately after an injury. This is most common among athletes. For instance, a baseball pitcher may cause a problem by straining their tendons and then gradually exacerbate the shoulder by overusing it because they never realized it was damaged. By the time they notice the pain they may have been incurring more damage for months.

Other symptoms that may coincide with this discomfort are swelling, bruising, tenderness when touched, and in some incidents a bulge will form under the skin. However, the type of symptoms that will be experienced by the victim is completely dependent upon the type of injury. If the accident or injury was quite severe then a broken bone may be the cause of the left shoulder pain. A broken collarbone or shoulder blade will be extremely painful, and will be followed by severe swelling, bruising, and the affected bone may protrude from the body.

Treatments - A broken bone will require immediate medical attention. However, if the injury/accident was mild and you are only experiencing minor symptoms, then you may be able to mend the injury by yourself. The first thing that you will need to do is to apply an ice pack to the region. If you do not own an ice pack, then a bag of peas or ice wrapped in a towel will suffice. This should be kept on the area for enough time to prevent excessive swelling, typically around 20 minutes to avoid over-chilling the skin. After this, the area should be compressed with a bandage in order to give it the support it requires. Once the area has been iced and compressed, rest the affected area by avoiding strenuous activities for a few days.

Disease Conditions

  • A herniated disc - This can affect both the legs and arms if it is severe enough. The pain may be accompanied by numbness and tingling of the arms and legs. This type of shoulder pain will require medical intervention, typically in the form of medication and physical therapy.
  • Osteoarthritis - This affects an individual's joints causing pain, discomfort, localized swelling, warmth, and creaking of the joints. This syndrome is a result of natural aging, so if you are older and have shoulder pain this may be the cause of your discomfort. There is no effective treatment for this condition. There are only some ways to ease the pain. These include avoiding stress on the inflected joints, pain medication, swimming, and seeing a physical therapist.
  • Breast pain - This can cause the left shoulder to become irritated, particularly during hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or breast feeding.
  • Ankylosis - This condition caused by the destruction of tissue from Rheumatoid arthritis can cause the shoulder to feel sore.
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis - This can cause the shoulder to become frozen and stiff, a condition that becomes more agitated when you attempt to raise the shoulder above the head.
  • A bicep tendon rupture - This condition is caused when the bicep muscle ruptures, putting pressure on the joint.
  • Shoulder dislocations - This can cause the arm bone to become dislocated from the scapula, causing intense pain when you try to move the arm.

Tips for Treating Left Shoulder Pain

If left shoulder pain and any accompanying symptoms plague you for a prolonged period of time, seek medical attention. Treatment for left shoulder pain can be either medical or homeopathic. Medical treatment usually involves the administration of pain and anti-inflammatory medication and strapping the inflected shoulder. If you would prefer a more natural approach, investigate acupuncture, which can be highly effective for shoulder pain.