Upper left arm pain is sometimes a symptom of a heart attack, and sufferers should never ignore it, notes Mayo Clinic. Other potential causes of upper arm pain include joint injuries or compressed nerves. In some instances, the source of the pain is not the area where the sufferer feels the pain but originates in the upper back or neck.
WebMD lists upper left arm pain as one of the seven pains women should not ignore. In women, the symptoms of heart attack are often more subtle than in men. In individuals at high risk for heart attack, subtle discomfort radiating to the upper left arm is reason for concern.
Mayo Clinic recommends seeking emergency help if other signs of a heart attack accompany the upper arm pain or it includes a protruding bone or deformity. Pain sufferers should see a doctor immediately if there was a cracking or popping noise before the pain or there is any swelling of the arm. Arm pain that goes away with rest sometimes indicates developing heart disease and requires a doctor's evaluation. For minor arm pain due to an injury, Mayo Clinic recommends using self-care at home, including resting the arm, applying ice and using compression to control swelling and elevation of the injury.