What’s the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Arm Pain?

As a person gets old they experience a variety of aches and pains in their body. Though it is important to be concerned over some of these, it is not always necessary to jump to the conclusion that someone is having a heart attack. So is that aching pain or dull burning sensation in the chest and left arm a heart attack or just an ache? Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference, which is why it is best to know the difference between a heart attack and arm pain.

Heart attack signs

Everyone experiences different signs when suffering from a heart attack. Though chest pains are the most common complaint amongst those having a heart attack, it is just one sign. Other signs indicating that the pain could be a heart attack include:

  • • Sensation of squeezing, burning and tightness in the chest
  • • Pain, pinching and numbness in one (or both) arms, back, neck, stomach and jaw
  • • Shortness of breath
  • • Sudden nausea
  • • Dizziness
  • • Unusual fatigue
  • • Sudden sensation of weakness and heaviness in one (or both) arms


When a person is trying to determine if they are having a heart attack or not it is important they understand the differences. Things to consider when pain occurs include where the discomfort is, when it started and if it has gotten any worse. It is less likely to be a heart attack if:

  • • The pain is sharp and knifelike
  • • It is a sudden stabbing pain that only lasts a few seconds
  • • It is localized to just one small spot
  • • It is a long lasting pain without any other symptoms
  • • The pain can be reproduced by pressing on the chest
  • • The pain occurs with body motion

No matter if the pain is heart related or not, if it persists it is important to seek medical assistance. Those suffering from chronic or sudden arm pain should seek the opinion of a medical professional in the Las Vegas area. The doctor will be able to make a diagnosis and determine if it is heart related or not. Those who believe they are suffering from a heart attack should call 911 immediately and seek emergency medical assistance.