Pain under the left armpit can be caused by various conditions. We are going to elaborate on the causes of the symptoms while shedding some light on when professional assistance should be sought.
Most common causes
1. Muscle strain
Injury to the chest or arm muscles can result in pain the left armpit. An example is the pectoralis muscle which runs all the way up to the shoulders. It can easily be injured during sports or while lifting heavy weights. Inflammation or spraining of these muscles leads to pain the left armpit.
Lymph nodes are small organs that contain immune cells and are responsible for killing foreign bodies such as viruses that manage to gain entry into our system. The nodes are spread throughout the body, and one such region is the armpits.
A virus infection can lead to the release of immune cells from the lymph nodes. Inflammation of these lymph nodes can lead to pain under the left armpit. Painkillers and warm compresses usually manage to alleviate the pain.
Angina is a condition where the patient experiences chest pain owing to a reduced blood flow to the heart muscles. The heart does not get its share of oxygenated blood that it requires to function optimally, which leads to ischemia. Angina is one of the symptoms of coronary artery disease.
In this condition, the patient experiences shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, pain under the left armpit, and chest pain among other things.
This refers to a fungal infection which occurs as a result of scrapes or cuts incurred while handling vegetation. It is quite common among farmers and nursery workers.
In the earlier stage of the infection, a nodule develops on the skin which could be pink to purple in color. The nodule is initially mildly tender but can gradually become an ulcer which drains liquid. A lack of timely treatment would lead to the nodule spreading to other regions, including the arms and legs.
5. Breast Cancer
Factors such as family history, environment, lifestyle, and hormones can increase the risk of incurring breast cancer.
In this condition, the patient may experience a breast lump which changes in size and shape, changes in skin, flaking around the nipple, inverted nipple and pitting of the skin in addition to pain under the left armpit.
This is another common cause of pain under the left armpit. In this condition, the patient experiences a burning sensation in the chest which worsens on bending or lying down.
The condition occurs when the stomach acid finds its way back into the esophagus and can be quite trouble as it could hamper with your everyday routine to a large extent.
This is a viral infection which can occur in any part of the body. It has the appearance of a single stripe of blisters. If it occurs near the left armpit, it can cause pain.
Other signs and symptoms that the patient may experience include a burning or tingling sensation, sensitivity, rashes, itchiness and fluid-filled blisters. There could also be complaints of photosensitivity, headache, fever, and fatigue.
While this might seem like a far-stretched idea, the truth is that one can also experience pain under the left armpit due to anxiety. Anxiety leads to symptoms such as shaking, irritation, and tachycardia. It is the increased heart rate which is responsible for the pain under the left armpit.
Signs and symptoms of the condition include nervousness, trembling, hyperventilating, fatigue, insomnia and GI abnormalities.
9. Peripheral Artery Disease
This is quite a common condition where the arteries of the legs and arms narrow and as a result, blood supply to the limbs is decreased significantly. The condition occurs as a result of atherosclerosis during which there is a buildup of plaques in the artery walls.
The factors which increase the risk of this condition include hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, family history, and a high level of homocysteine.
10. Glandular Infection
The pain can also develop when there is an infection in the region. Poor armpit hygiene is to be blamed for this.
11. Breast Infection
It is not just breast cancer which leads to pain under the left armpit. Infection of the area can also result in pain. The pain is accompanied by discharge, redness, and swelling in this case. The lymph nodes can also be enlarged.
12. Usage of Crutches
Disabled people who make use of crutches can also develop pain in the area as the crutches exert a high level of pressure on the muscles.
13. Connective Tissue Degeneration
Tissue degeneration of the armpits can cause pain in the area.
14. Shoulder dislocation
This can give rise to quite a bit of pain in the left armpit. It also leads to numbness, swelling, and weakness in the area.
When should you see a doctor?
This is something that you need to give quite a bit of attention to. Timely medical intervention can ensure that the problem is detected at the right stage, following which the treatment can be commenced. A delay can aggravate matters and lead to the development of complications.
Thus, it is important that you seek a medical opinion at the right time. For the most part, pain under the left armpit does not mean anything serious. However, in some cases, it could be a sign of some life-threatening condition.
It is advisable to seek medical attention in the following situations:
- You notice a lump in the region which is tender and gradually increasing in size
- There is a sudden onset of pain in the region which is increasing in intensity
- You have breathing difficulties in addition to the pain such as shortness of breath and wheezing
- You have unexplained and uncontrolled heavy bleeding
- You have difficulty in moving parts of the body
- You have palpitations or sensation of tightness in the chest
- You have chest pain which is radiating to the left armpit