What causes the shooting pains down the left arm associated with a heart attack?

Don't worry; I'm not having a heart attack, although a coworker had a scare the other day. It made me wonder how that usually works. In other words, how does a heart attack cause shooting pain down the left arm?

Written By Evie Neumann

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • jmensch17 February 5, 2009, 9:36 am

    Aniginal pain can be experienced as nausea, or pain in the back, right arm, neck, jaw or teeth. This is due to the way your internal organs are wired. These visceral nerves are not as well defined as your somatic nerves (the nerves on your skin for example). There's no need for your body to have ever developed these nerves, for example you don't conciously focus on digesting your food. The visceral nerve sensations are poorly defined, confusing your brain and making you think the pain is coming from the arm.

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