Medical Specialty >> Pulmonology

Doctors Lounge - Pulmonology Answers

Back to Pulmonology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/19/2017.

Forum Name: Chest symptoms

Question: Chest, left arm, neck tightness.

 jr23rusch - Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:02 pm

I'm a 23/male. Heart disease runs in my family, my father died of a heart attack almost 2 years ago. His blood pressure was quite high although I do not know the exact number, and he had high blood pressure most of his life.

I completed an 18 week treatment of acne with accutane 2 weeks ago. About a week ago I noticed a tightning in my left arm under the bicep and along the top of my forearm and in my ring and pinky fingers. I would not call the senstion 'numb', however it is more like my arm is beginning to fall asleep and is tight or tense. Also I have noticed white/red spots on my palms a majority of the time. I'm not losing feeling or getting the pins and needles sensation, nor is my arm becoming cold. When I wake up in the morning my arm feels fine but as I begin my day my arm tightens up again and usually stays that way all day ranging from quite noticeable to barely-noticeable.

Now a week later my arm is still tight and occasionally I feel a tightness in my chest about 2 from my nipple towards my sternum. Today especially there is a tightness in my middle/left back and also up along my neck to the back of my head. I'm not sure what any of this means and have been quite concerned since I started to notice these things. Another problem is that I cannot stop thinking about it and am constantly thinking about worse case possibilities.

A year ago I had a street done with nuclear pictures which came up negative and also have had blood tests monthly which come up normal on every account. The only high number is my Trygl. which have a baseline of about 211. Accutane raises that number and I think my last blood test a month ago was at 260, however after treatment is done (as is my case) that number begins to fall back to its baseline.

I have made an app. to see my Dr. on Fri. morning but the tightning feeling in my left arm, neck/head and middle/left back today has gotten me quite concerned. Please respond with any insight to this asap.

 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:10 pm

User avatar Helllo,

The pain you have described could be:

- In most of the cases with neck,shoulder (upper back) pain, strain of the back muscles and ligaments, is the primary cause. This usually results from wrong or heavy lifting, or following a sudden improper movement or wrong posture.

Muscle spasm alone can cause the pain which can be an unidentified cause.

In these cases, self care and avoiding the precipitating cause will lead to a gradual but clear improvement in the pain. Home treatment includes the use of analgesics, cold or hot therapy.
Rest for maximum two days is also beneficial.

If these measures fail to relief the pain or to improve symptoms in 48 hours, you should visit your doctor for better evaluation and for exclusion of other causes (like cervical disc prolapse) that need specific therapy.

-Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) in which there is compression of the neurovascular structures at the superior part of the thorax, gives similar picture and should be also excluded.

- Cardiac causes, should be excluded in any case of Chest pain although it is likely to be in your case (young age,non typical symptoms, but you have a family history and relatively high cholesterol).

Follow up with your doctor is essential.
Hope you find this information useful. Keep us updated.
Best regards,

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us