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Dental implants are artificial structures that a dental surgeon inserts into a person’s jawbone. A person may need an implant if they have lost one or more teeth.

Keep reading to learn about the types of implants and associated risks. We also describe what to expect from dental implant surgery and how much the procedure may cost.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is a structure that replaces a missing tooth. With screw-like devices, the surgeon inserts an implant into the jawbone, and it acts as an anchor for an artificial tooth, called a crown.

A device called an abutment connects the artificial tooth to the dental implant.

The crown is custom-made to fit the person’s mouth and match the color of their teeth. Crowns look, feel, and function like natural teeth.

Implants have several advantages over dentures, which are removable artificial teeth. Implants:

  • are more natural and comfortable
  • have a higher success rate
  • improve chewing function
  • lead to a lower risk of cavities developing in nearby teeth
  • lead to better maintenance of bone at the site of the lost tooth
  • cause decreased sensitivity in nearby teeth
  • do not need to be taken out and cleaned every night

However, dental implants are not suitable for everyone. The implanting devices must bond with the jawbone, so a person’s bones must be healthy before they can undergo implant surgery.

Types

There are two types of dental implant: endosteal and subperiosteal.

Endosteal implants are the most common type. A surgeon embeds them in the jawbone, and each can hold one or more artificial teeth.

A surgeon affixes a subperiosteal implant on top of the jawbone. Dental surgeons choose this option for people who do not have much height to their jawbone.

Safety

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, around 3 million people in the United States have dental implants, and this number increases by about 500,000 every year.

Dental implant surgery is safe when a qualified and experienced surgeon or dentist performs it. It is also the only dental restoration option that maintains the health of the person’s jawbone and stimulates its growth.

Risks

Some people are not eligible for dental implant surgery. It is not safe for dental surgeons to operate on people with:

  • acute illness
  • uncontrollable metabolic disease
  • bone or soft tissue disease or infection

If these issues are resolved, a person can have the surgery.

In some cases, dental surgeons refrain from operating on people with:

  • heavy smoking habits
  • parafunctional habits, such as tooth grinding or clenching
  • behavioral or psychiatric disorders
  • HIV
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • AIDS

If people with any of the above undergo dental implant surgery, there is a higher risk of the implant failing.

Dental surgeons may also choose not to operate on people undergoing the following treatments, due to an increased risk of implant complications:

  • bisphosphonate drug treatment for bone loss diseases
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy of the head or neck

Potential complications of implant surgery

People who undergo this procedure may experience complications during or afterward. The issues may include:

  • nerve damage, resulting in altered sensation in the surgical area
  • an opening of the incision following surgery
  • movement of the implant
  • exposure of the implant above the gumline
  • infection of the implant

People who experience movement or exposure of the implant may need to undergo additional procedures to improve the health of the bone and gums or remove or replace the implant.

The following are some signs and symptoms that an implant placement has been unsuccessful:

  • the implant is excessively mobile
  • pus or other secretions come from the site
  • pain when tapping the implant
  • rapid, progressive bone loss

Procedures

Each person is likely to have a different experience of dental implant surgery. Factors that may influence this include:

  • the number of teeth requiring replacement
  • the location of the implants within the jaw
  • the quality and quantity of bone at the implant site
  • the person’s underlying oral and systemic health

Depending on these factors, additional procedures may be necessary. These can include:

Sinus augmentation

Placing an implant in the upper jawbone is usually difficult because of the location of the sinuses.

The surgeon may need to perform a sinus augmentation — a procedure to lift the floor of the sinuses to allow more bone to develop so that the implantation can be successful.

Ridge modification

Some people have a jawbone abnormality that prevents enough bone for an implant from developing. In such cases, a surgeon may need to perform a ridge modification.

This involves lifting the gum to expose the area of deformed bone. The surgeon will then use a bone or bone substitute to repair and build up the area. This improves the quality of the jawbone in preparation for dental implant surgery.

Maintenance

After a person has undergone dental implant surgery, they must continue to brush and floss their teeth regularly. Artificial teeth require the same care and maintenance as regular teeth.

The surgeon or dentist will also schedule follow-up visits to monitor the implants and make sure that the teeth and gums are healthy. It is important to return to the dentist every 6 months for professional cleanings.

Cost

The cost of dental implant surgery varies, and the following factors can influence it:

  • the number and types of implants required
  • the location of the implants within the jaw
  • whether there is a need for any additional procedures to prepare the mouth for surgery

A dentist or another oral health professional can estimate the cost of dental implant surgery during an initial examination.

Some dental insurance policies cover a larger portion of the cost.

Other tooth replacement options, such as bridges, may be less expensive. However, bridges are harder to keep clean and often require replacement and repair, increasing the overall cost. Dental implants may provide longer-term benefits if a person takes care of them well.

Summary

Dental implants are fixtures in the bone that replace missing teeth. Implants have a high success rate and can provide long-term benefits.

Some people need additional procedures to prepare their mouth for dental implants. These will add to the overall cost. The number and type of implants required can also raise the cost.

Anyone considering dental implant surgery should ask their dentist whether it is right for them.

Researchers have found that living in polluted cities may cause the bones to be weaker and easier to break.

The researchers also found that city-dwellers exposed to toxic air have weaker hips and spines and are more prone to fractures

The Spanish researchers believe that bones are weakened because tiny pollutants seep into the blood when inhaled and speed up the ageing process.

A study carried out India of nearly 4,000 people found that those exposed to toxic particles had less bone density in their lower back and those who inhaled more toxic airborne particles had less bone mass in their spines and hips.

Meanwhile, previous studies have linked pollution to low levels of parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium production, leading to more fragile bones.

Researchers found that smog-filled towns and cities have been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, acute respiratory diseases such as asthma and even dementia.

Although, there have only been a few studies into the effect of toxic airborne particles on bone health, the results have so far been inconclusive.

Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health in their latest paper, looked at 3,700 people who were all residents from 28 villages outside the city of Hyderabad in southern India between 2009 and 2012.

The researchers took measurements of PM2.5 and black carbon in the atmosphere in each village.

PM2.5 is the finest type of particulate matter, while black carbon is a larger toxin. Both come mainly from petrol and diesel vehicle exhausts.

Their analysis revealed average PM2.5 exposure was 33 micrograms per metre cubed (ug/m3) – far above the maximum 10ug/m3 levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

By comparison, the average level is 13ug/m3 in London, 12ug/m3 in New York and 10ug/m3 in Sydney.

The researchers also cross-referenced pollution levels with X-rays measuring bone mass in participants’ lower back, known as the lumbar spine, and hip.

The results showed that exposure to air pollution was associated with lower levels of bone mass.

For every 3ug/m3 increase in fine particulate matter, there was a decrease of -0.57g of bone mass in the spine and -0.13g in the hip, while an increase of 1ug/m3 of carbon saw bone density shrink by -1.13g in the spine and -0.35g in the hip.

The study lead author, Otavio Ranzani said: “This study contributes to the limited and inconclusive literature on air pollution and bone health.

“Inhalation of polluting particles could lead to bone mass loss through the oxidative stress and inflammation caused by air pollution.’ The findings were published in the journal Jama Network Open.

However, a 2017 study by Columbia University of more than nine million people was the first to find a link between traffic fumes and fractures caused by osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break.

The study linked pollution exposure to low levels of parathyroid hormone, which regulates calcium production, leading to weaker bones and more hospitalisations for fractures.

The study found hospital admissions for bone fractures were higher in communities with elevated levels of PM2.5, as more than 80 per cent of the world’s urban population is breathing unsafe levels of air pollution.

Described as an invisible killer, it causes an estimated seven million premature deaths yearly worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, health experts fear that pollution is also fuelling increases in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Previous studies found that air pollution has a negative impact on students’ cognitive abilities.

Many pollutants are thought to directly affect brain chemistry in a variety of ways.

For instance, particulate matter from traffic and industry can carry toxins through small passageways and directly enter the brain.

Culled from www.dailymail.co.uk

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in adults in the United States. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer.

Lung cancer treatment is much more effective when the disease is in its earlier stages. However, most people with lung cancer do not experience symptoms until the disease has spread.

Some people experience subtle symptoms of early stage lung cancer, but these symptoms more often stem from other health issues or factors such as smoking.

Below, we describe early symptoms of lung cancer, as well as risk factors and when to see a doctor.

Possible signs and symptoms of early stage lung cancer

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), most types of lung cancer do not cause symptoms until they have spread to other areas.

However, some people experience subtle symptoms during the earlier stages of the disease.

The early lung cancer symptoms that we describe below usually result from some other cause. However, people who experience these symptoms should consider visiting their doctors as a precautionary measure.

Sudden weight loss

The American Society of Clinical Oncology report that weight loss is often the first noticeable sign of cancer.

They estimate that 40% of people who receive a cancer diagnosis experience unexplained weight loss during that time.

Cancer can cause weight loss for many reasons, including:

  • changes to immune function
  • changes to metabolism
  • changes to hormones
  • a sudden loss of appetite
  • difficulty swallowing

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath and wheezing can also be early symptoms of lung cancer.

Some people may experience a slight cough in addition to shortness of breath. Others may have difficulty catching their breath but have no cough.

Cough

A slight cough that does not go away can indicate early stage lung cancer. Some people assume that this cough is only a result of smoking.

A person who regularly coughs because of another lung condition may notice changes in their cough, and these can likewise indicate lung cancer.

Also, a cough that produces blood may result from lung cancer or another issue with the lungs. Anyone who experiences this symptom should see a doctor.

General fatigue

Lung cancer can cause the number of red blood cells in the body to drop. The medical term for this issue is anemia.

Because red blood cells carry oxygen, a person with anemia may not take in enough oxygen to support their body’s needs. This can result in tiredness and fatigue. Severe fatigue can make it difficult to function on a day-to-day level.

Shoulder, chest, or back pain

Most people with lung cancer do not feel pain or other symptoms during the early stages. This is because there are very few nerve endings in the lungs.

However, pain can occur when lung cancer invades the chest wall, ribs, vertebrae, or certain nerves. For example, Pancoast tumors, which form at the very top of the lungs, often invade nearby tissues, causing shoulder pain.

As a tumor develops, a person may begin to feel pain in their:

  • arms
  • chest
  • back

Hoarse voice

A person with lung cancer or another respiratory disease may develop a hoarse, raspy voice.

This can happen if a tumor presses on the laryngeal nerve, which is located within the chest. When the nerve is compressed, it can paralyze a vocal cord, causing the voice to change.

Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)cigarette smoking is still the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for 80–90% of lung cancer-related deaths.

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

  • using other tobacco products, such as cigars or pipe tobacco
  • inhaling secondhand smoke
  • being exposed to radon gas, possibly from materials within the home
  • working with dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos, arsenic, or diesel
  • living in a highly polluted area
  • having other lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • having a family history of lung cancer

When describing risk, organizations and experts sometimes use the term “pack-year.” A pack-year refers to the number of cigarettes smoked per day each year. So a person with a 30 pack-year smoking history may have:

  • smoked one pack per day for 30 years
  • smoked two packs per day for 15 years

The ACS recommend yearly lung cancer screenings for people aged 55–74 who:

  • currently smoke or have quit smoking in the past 15 years
  • have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • currently smoke and are receiving counseling to help them quit
  • are aware of the potential benefits and harms of screening
  • have access to a facility that has experience with lung cancer screening and treatment

Screening cannot detect every instance of lung cancer, but it does lower a person’s chance of dying from the disease.

Smokers vs. nonsmokers

According to the CDC, people who smoke are 15–30 times more likely to die from lung cancer than people who do not.

Meanwhile, according to statistics from 2013–2014, about 1 in 4 people who do not smoke, including children, are exposed to secondhand smoke. This increases their risk of developing the disease.

Quitting smoking at any age can lower the risk of lung cancer.

When to see a doctor

The symptoms above usually result from issues other than lung cancer. However, anyone who experiences any of the following issues should visit a doctor:

  • a cough that lasts longer than 2–3 weeks
  • a persistent cough that worsens
  • a cough that produces blood
  • aches or pains when breathing or coughing
  • persistent shortness of breath
  • persistent tiredness or fatigue
  • recurrent chest infections
  • unexplained weight loss

Summary

Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer. It can affect anyone but is particularly prevalent among people who smoke.

Usually, lung cancer does not cause symptoms until it has spread. As a result, it is not always possible to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

Nonetheless, some people experience subtle symptoms during the initial stages. It is important to recognize these because treatment is typically more effective when a person receives it early.

Anyone who experiences early symptoms of lung cancer should see a doctor. In many cases, something other than cancer is the cause. Still, it is best to seek medical advice as a precaution.

Can insufficient sleep be harmful to bone health? New research in postmenopausal women has found that those who slept for no longer than 5 hours per night were most likely to have lower bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis.

A team from the University at Buffalo, NY, led the study of 11,084 postmenopausal women, all of whom were participants in the Women’s Health Initiative.

A recent paper in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research gives a full account of the findings.

The investigation follows an earlier one in which the team had linked short sleep to a higher likelihood of bone fracture in women.

“Our study suggests that sleep may negatively impact bone health, adding to the list of the negative health impacts of poor sleep,” says lead study author Heather M. Ochs-Balcom, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“I hope,” she adds, “that it can also serve as a reminder to strive for the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep per night for our physical and mental health.”

Bone remodeling and osteoporosis

Bone is living tissue that undergoes continuous formation and resorption. The process, known as bone remodeling, removes old bone tissue and replaces it with new bone tissue.

“If you are sleeping less, one possible explanation is that bone remodeling isn’t happening properly,” Ochs-Balcom explains.

The term osteoporosis means porous bone and refers to a condition that develops when the quality and density of bone are greatly reduced. Osteoporosis is more common in older adults, with older women having the highest risk of developing it.

In most people, bone strength and density peak when they are in their late 20s. After that, as they continue to age, the rate of bone resorption gradually overtakes that of formation. The bone density of women reduces more rapidly during the first few years after menopause.

Worldwide, around 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in their 50s and older are at risk of experiencing bone fracture due to osteoporosis, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

The most common sites of fracture in people with osteoporosis are the hips, wrists, and spine.

Spinal fractures can be serious, resulting in severe back pain, structural irregularities, and loss of height. Hip fractures are also of concern, as they often require surgery and can lead to loss of independence. They also carry a raised risk of death.

Lower BMD measures tied to short sleep

In the new study, the team found that compared with women who slept more, those who reported getting only up to 5 hours of sleep per night had significantly lower values in four measures of BMD.

The four BMD measures were of the whole body, the hip, the neck, and the spine.

The researchers note that the lower BMD measures among the short sleep group were equivalent to being 1 year older.

The results were independent of other factors that could potentially influence them, such as age, race, the effects of menopause, smoking status, alcohol use, body mass index (BMI), use of sleeping pills, exercise, and type of bone density scanner.

The researchers emphasize that there is a positive message in these findings: Sleep, as with diet and exercise, is often something that people can work to change.

“It’s really important to eat health[fully], and physical activity is important for bone health. That’s the exciting part of this story — most of us have control over when we turn off the lights, when we put the phone down.”

Heather M. Ochs-Balcom, Ph.D.

A twitch is a small, involuntary contraction and relaxation of a muscle or group of muscles. The medical term for twitches is “fasciculations,” and they can occur in any muscular area, including the fingers.

People with finger twitching may worry that they are developing a neurological disorder. However, when this twitching does not accompany other symptoms, it is typically not a cause for concern.

Physical exertion, fatigue, and drinking too much caffeine can cause or worsen muscle twitching.

In this article, we explore nine causes of finger twitching and their treatments. We also offer advice about when to see a doctor.

1. Certain medications

Muscle spasms and twitching can be side effects of some medications, includingTrusted Source:

  • corticosteroids
  • isoniazid, an antibiotic
  • succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant
  • flunarizine, a drug that interrupts the movement of calcium
  • topiramate, a drug that helps treat epilepsy
  • lithium, a psychiatric medication

If a person thinks that a medication is causing muscle twitching, they should speak with their doctor before stopping the treatment.

The doctor may recommend lowering the dosage or switching to an alternative medication, if possible.

2. Magnesium deficiency

A magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps and tremors. This issue is rare among otherwise healthy people because the kidneys limit the amount of magnesium excreted in urine.

However, certain factors can increase the chances of developing a magnesium deficiency. These include:

  • alcohol use disorder
  • some other medical conditions
  • certain medications

A person with a magnesium deficiency may initially experience:

  • a loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • weakness

If the deficiency becomes severe, the person may experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • numbness
  • tingling
  • muscle contractions and cramps
  • an irregular heartbeat
  • coronary spasms
  • personality changes
  • seizures

A magnesium deficiency may affect other minerals in the body, such as calcium and potassium. Deficiencies in these minerals can cause additional symptoms and complications.

Treatment

A doctor may recommend magnesium supplements. However, anyone who suspects that they have a nutrient deficiency should speak to a doctor before trying a supplement.

3. Vitamin E deficiency

In 2011Trusted Source, doctors reported a case of a male in his mid-20s who had a vitamin E deficiency and developed a tremor in his upper limbs and trunk. The man also experienced:

  • changes in gait and posture
  • difficulty articulating
  • a decline in cognition

The medical team concluded that the tremor resulted from the vitamin E deficiency, but noted that this symptom of the deficiency is rare.

Treatment

The treatment for involuntary movements caused by a vitamin E deficiency is a high dosage of oral vitamin E supplements.

Anyone who suspects that they have a nutrient deficiency should consult a doctor, who can recommend the right dosage of supplements.

4. Benign fasciculation syndrome

People with benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) have widespread involuntary muscle twitches.

Symptoms are usually present for years, and some clinicians only diagnose BFS if the symptoms have existed for at least 5 yearsTrusted Source.

Doctors do not know what causes BFS. However, one 2013 study found a link between this syndrome and decreased neurological activity in the small nerve fibers in the skin and sweat glands. Confirming this relationship will require more research.

Treatment

BFS does not progressTrusted Source to motor neuron disease and does not require treatment.

Nonetheless, researchers have successfully controlled muscle twitching with the drug gabapentin, which acts on the nervous system.

Also, some doctorsTrusted Source have found that certain drugs that treat epilepsy, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin, can reduce muscle twitches.

It is worth noting, however, that using the drugs above to treat twitching constitutes off-label use. “Off-label use” refers to a doctor treating one condition with a drug that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved to treat a different condition.

5. Essential tremor

Essential tremor is the repeated, involuntary movement of a body part. In a person with essential tremor, the movements occur with consistent frequency and force.

Essential tremor is the most common neurological cause of tremors, but doctors do not know what causes the condition.

People usually experience essential tremor in their hands. In some people, the tremor extends to the arms or head, and it can also affect a person’s voice.

Essential tremor does not change a person’s life expectancy. However, it can affect a person’s quality of life and cause disability.

Treatment

Some people seek treatment for essential tremor, and both medical and nonmedical interventions can help.

Regarding medication, doctors will use trial and error to find the most appropriate drug and dosage for each person. The following table lists the first, second, and third lines of treatment for essential tremor.

First line of treatmentSecond line of treatmentThird line of treatment
propranololgabapentinnimodipine
primidonepregabalinclozapine
combination of propranolol and primidonetopiramate
clonazepam, alprazolam
atenolol, metoprolol
zonisamide

These drugs have not received FDA approval to treat essential tremor specifically, but some doctors prescribe them for this purpose on an off-label basis.

Also, a person may find that weighing down the affected area helps control their tremor. For example, a weighted wrist band may help with essential tremor in the hand.

Additionally, doctors may recommend relaxation techniques for people whose tremors are worsened by anxiety. They may also recommend avoiding caffeine, as this can increase tremors.

6. Hyperparathyroidism

There are four parathyroid glands. They are small, they sit inside the neck, and they produce parathyroid hormone, which helps raise levels of calcium in the blood.

The term “hyperparathyroidism” refers to overactivity of one or more parathyroid glands. This overactivity causes an imbalance in calcium and potassium in the body, which may lead to muscle twitching.

Other symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include:

  • muscle aches
  • muscle weakness
  • joint and bone pain
  • digestive problems
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • irritability
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • kidney problems

Treatment

The only known cure for hyperparathyroidism is surgery to remove the affected parathyroid glands.

Certain drugs, such as bisphosphonates and synthetic estrogen, may decrease calcium or parathyroid hormone levels and improve bone-related symptoms. However, they cannot cure hyperparathyroidism.

7. Tourette’s syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and repetitive movements and vocalizations. Doctors refer to these occurrences as “tics.”

People with Tourette’s syndrome have multiple tics that start during childhood. Movement, or motor, tics are sudden and recurrent. They are usuallyTrusted Source triggered by an urge and can affect any part of the body.

In order to receive a diagnosis of Tourette’s syndrome, a person must experience:

  • multiple motor tics and one or more vocal tics throughout the illness, though these may not occur together
  • tics that persist for more than 1 year
  • symptoms that begin before the age of 18
  • symptoms that are unrelated to substances or other medical conditions

Treatment

Doctors usually do not prescribe medication to treat Tourette’s syndrome. However, children tend to respond well to behavioral interventions for tics.

Children with Tourette’s syndrome may have accompanying psychiatric disorders that require appropriate treatment. These may include:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD
  • anxiety disorder
  • oppositional defiant disorder, or ODD

Over time, tics can disappear, but symptoms of any psychiatric disorder may persist.

8. Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that usually occurs in adults over 50.

A person with Parkinson’s may experience a tremor. This typically begins on one side of the body and worsens over time.

Some other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • unstable posture
  • difficulty walking
  • slow movements

Parkinson’s disease causes a loss of cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This area makes dopamine, a neurochemical that helps control and coordinate body movements.

Treatment

Doctors initially treat Parkinson’s disease with the drug levodopa. This is a synthetic version of an amino acid that the body converts into dopamine.

Taking supplementary levodopa helps control some symptoms of dopamine deficiency.

As the disease progresses, people need additional treatments. Doctors may prescribe the following drugs in addition to levodopa:

  • Catechol-O-methyltransferase inhibitors and monoamine oxidase inhibitors: These help slow the depletion of dopamine and increase the availability of levodopa.
  • Drugs that act on acetylcholine receptors: These help reduce muscle twitching and rigidity.

A doctor may also prescribe ropinirole or pramipexole to further activate dopamine receptors in the brain.

9. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive motor neuron disease, and its symptoms gradually worsen over time.

In the beginning stages, ALS can cause muscle twitches in the hand or arm. Over time, a person may develop muscle weakness, which can spread to other parts of the body.

Swallowing, speech, and breathing problems can occur as the disease continues to progress.

Some common symptoms of ALS include:

  • muscle twitches
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle tightness and stiffness
  • muscle weakness
  • slurred, nasal speech
  • difficulty chewing or swallowing

Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for ALS. However, certain treatments can help control symptoms, prevent complications, and improve the quality of life.

The FDA have, so far, approved the following medications to treat ALS:

  • Riluzole: This drug reduces damage to neurons involved in movement, although it cannot reverse the damage.
  • Edaravone: This drug slows a decline in daily functioning.

When to see a doctor

In young, healthy people, finger twitching is likely a symptom of overexertion. Often, this stems from overuse of cellphones, computers, and video games.

If the twitching continues, with no clear cause, consult a doctor. They will likely perform an examination to rule out a neurological disorder.

If finger twitching affects daily activities or the quality of life, see a doctor. Some causes can be treated with rest or vitamin supplements, while others require further medical intervention.

Summary

People who experience finger twitching may worry that they have a neurological disorder. However, there are many relatively harmless causes of this issue, including overexertion, fatigue, and consuming too much caffeine.

If finger twitching results from a neurological diseases, the person will usually experience additional signs and symptoms.

See a doctor if there is no clear cause of finger twitching or if the movements persist or worsen.

Pain under the left armpit can be concerning, and many people associate any pain on the left side of their body with a heart attack. However, most of the time, pain under the left armpit has a less serious cause.

The armpit is a complex meeting point for muscles and connective tissues, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. As such, many issues in this area can lead to pain.

Causes range from pulled muscles and mild allergic reactions to more severe issues, such as an underlying infection.

While many of the causes of left armpit pain are not harmful in the long term, anyone experiencing breathing difficulties and pain in their chest, jaw, or neck should see a doctor immediately.

Causes of left armpit pain include:

A pulled muscle

Many muscles around the shoulder and armpit can cause pain if a person injures them.

People can pull a muscle when reaching for an object, twisting incorrectly, or overstretching.

People who exercise regularly, especially those who do weight training, may be more likely to experience muscle pulls and strains.

In these cases, the pain should go away over time, as long as the individual rests the injured muscle and does gentle stretches.

If the pain does not go away after about a week, it is best to see a doctor.

Allergic reactions

Armpits are a frequent location for allergic reactions, which could cause pain under the left armpit or both armpits.

Most allergic reactions in this area will occur due to chemicals people apply to their bodies or clothes that touch the armpits.

Possible allergens include:

  • detergent
  • fabric softener
  • soap
  • deodorant
  • perfume
  • shaving cream
  • moisturizing creams or lotions

These products may contain chemicals or perfumes that irritate the skin. A rash may also form.

Anyone who suspects that their skin is sensitive to a particular allergen should note the products they used that day and report them to a dermatologist.

Allergy testing may help find the irritating product. Avoiding products with any harsh chemicals or other ingredients can also improve symptoms in these cases.

Cosmetic procedures

Simple cosmetic procedures, such as shaving or waxing, can also be to blame for pain under the armpit. These hair removal techniques may lead to other issues, such as ingrown hairs, cysts, or general irritation and chafing in the armpit.

Skin infections

A skin infection under the armpit may cause itching and pain. Bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments such as the armpits.

An overgrowth of bacteria in this area may lead to an infection, which could cause redness, swelling, and pain, among other symptoms.

Other forms of infection, such as fungal infections due to ringworm or yeast, may also cause similar pain and irritation in the area.

Mild skin infections should clear up without treatment if a person keeps the area clean and dry. However, a doctor may recommend antibiotic creams or medications to treat more severe cases.

Hidradenitis

Hidradenitis is a chronic condition that causes similar symptoms to severe acne. Hidradenitis occurs due to clogged hair follicles and glands. It is common in areas such as the armpits, where the skin rubs together.

Hidradenitis can lead to multiple cysts or boils developing in the area. In addition to these breakouts, the person will likely experience pain and tenderness.

Doctors can treat hidradenitis with anti-inflammatory medications. Some cases may require surgery.

Varicella zoster virus

The varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox and shingles. Breakouts of both illnesses are possible under the armpits, although chickenpox usually beginsTrusted Source on the face, back, and chest.

A shingles rash usually developsTrusted Source as a single strip on one side of the face or body, left or right. A person with shingles may also experience:

  • a fever
  • headaches
  • chills
  • an upset stomach

A person may feel pain and tingling in the area before the visible rash develops.

A doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to speed up the healing process, as well as pain medications to help ease symptoms.

Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small, bean shaped bundles of tissue that play a vital role in the immune system. Lymph nodes help filter toxins from the lymph and deliver white blood cells to help fight disease.

The armpit houses a large number of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes swell as part of an overall reaction by the immune system, such as to an infection or illness.

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit may cause:

  • a single or multiple lumps
  • tenderness
  • pain

If the swelling does not go down after an infection, such as the common cold, goes away, or the person is not feeling any other symptoms, they should speak to a doctor.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that leads to an overgrowth of skin cells. The buildup of skin cells forms patches called plaques. These plaques can cause symptoms such as itching and pain.

Psoriasis plaques can form anywhere, including the armpit. Some forms of psoriasis are more common in this area, including inverse psoriasis.

Psoriasis treatment typically includes both topical and oral medications to control symptoms.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage may also cause pain under the armpit. Nerve damage can be the result of a physical injury, such as one from overuse during sports or from an accident or fall.

Nerve damage can feel like:

  • pain
  • tingling
  • numbness
  • burning

Certain conditions, such as diabetes, may also lead to nerve damage or neuropathy. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases note that up to half of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage.

While peripheral neuropathy typically affects the feet and legs, it may also affect the arms in some individuals. Diabetes treatment may help slow nerve damage progression.

Angina

Angina occurs due to a lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart. This can be because one of the arteries leading to the heart is narrow or blocked.

Angina causes chest pain and discomfort, which is sometimes severe. It may also cause pressure and pain in other areas, including the:

  • armpits
  • shoulders
  • back
  • neck
  • jaw

Some people may also experience a feeling similar to indigestion.

Angina is a symptom of an underlying heart condition, for example, coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.

There are also many other types of angina. Anyone who suspects they have angina should talk to their doctor.

Cancer

In rare cases, pain under the left armpit that does not go away may be a sign of a cancerous growth, including breast cancer.

Cancer can cause the lymph nodes under the armpit to swell painfully. An individual may notice a lump under their arm or in their armpit that causes persistent pain or discomfort.

Underarm pain may also be the result of a specific cancer treatment, such as lymph node removal or mastectomy.

Anyone noticing texture changes or lumps in their chest or breast tissue should seek medical attention.

Treatment options for cancer will depend on its stage, which refers to how much it has spread. In general, earlier stages are easier to treat.

When to see a doctor

Anyone noticing the following symptoms along with left armpit pain should seek immediate medical attention:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • pain in the chest, jaw, or shoulder

A doctor can also diagnose and treat pain from other issues, such as infections or swollen lymph nodes.

Pain under the left armpit from sources such as a pulled muscle should go away within about a week in most cases. Anyone who experiences symptoms beyond this time frame should see a doctor for a full diagnosis.

Summary

There are many possible causes of pain under the left armpit. The person may have pulled a muscle or may have swollen lymph nodes from an infection.

Other causes can be more serious, such as angina. Anyone concerned about their symptoms should see a doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment.

Neck tension refers to neck pain that develops when the muscles in the neck cannot relax, which can lead to soreness, muscle spasms, and headaches. It has numerous possible causes, ranging from joint problems to inflamed nerves.

Depending on the underlying cause, people can experience different types of neck tension and pain, which distinct symptoms can accompany. Research suggests that as many as 71% of adultsTrusted Source around the world will experience neck pain at some point in their lifetime.

Continue reading this article to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of neck tension.

Causes

The brain sends electrical signals, or nerve impulses, to trigger muscle movement. Muscles can either contract or relax, depending on the message that they receive from the brain.

Muscle tension occurs when a muscle stays contracted despite receiving signals from the brain that tell it to relax. If a muscle remains contracted for too long, it can cause pain.

People can develop neck tension for numerous reasons. Common causes of neck tension include:

Poor posture

Poor posture can affect the neck muscles. People who find themselves hunching over their computer or slouching in their chair all day may notice some neck tension after a while.

The authors of a 2016 studyTrusted Source involving 126 college students found a correlation between a forward head position and increased neck pain and disability.

Poor posture can cause the weight of the head to shift forward and away from the center of the body, forcing the neck muscles to work harder to support the head.

Hunching over a computer or looking down at a phone not only moves the head forward but also forces the neck to bend with it. This bending can overextend the muscles in the back of the neck, resulting in pain and inflammation.

Sleeping in the wrong position

Posture affects the body at all times, even during sleep. People who sleep on their stomachs tend to rest one side of their face on the pillow. Doing this can overextend the muscles on that side of the neck.

Sleeping with large pillows can elevate the head too high, forcing the neck to bend forward. Staying in this position throughout the night may result in neck tension the following morning.

Repetitive neck movements

People who perform repetitive movements throughout the day can develop repetitive motion disorders.

While these disorders usually occur in the hands, wrists, and shoulders, they can also affect the neck, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Without treatment, repetitive motion disorders can lead to pain, swelling, and even permanent tissue damage.

Teeth grinding

Bruxism is a condition in which people grind or clench their teeth while they sleep. Grinding or clenching the teeth puts pressure on the muscles in the jaw and neck, which can cause neck tension, pain, and headaches.

Injuries

A person can injure the muscles in their neck if they lift heavy weights, play impact sports, or experience whiplash from a car accident.

These types of injuries can cause mild-to-severe muscle strains, which may require medical treatment or physical therapy.

Untreated muscle strains can lead to persistent neck pain and even permanent damage that reduces the range of motion and flexibility in the neck.

Stress

Stress has a powerful effect on the entire body. When the brain senses stress, it signals the release of several hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones increase the heart rate and blood pressure, as well as tightening the muscles.

When a person experiences stress regularly, their muscles remain tense and contracted for longer periods, which can result in neck and shoulder tension.

According to a 2017 study involving 148 people with migraine, nearly 67% of the participants also experienced tension-type headaches and neck pain.

These individuals also reported higher levels of stress, engaged in less physical activity, and rated their health poorly in comparison with the participants who had migraine without tension headaches and neck pain.

Symptoms

The symptoms of neck tension can vary in their severity but typically include:

  • muscle stiffness or soreness
  • muscle spasms
  • sharp or intense pain that worsens with movement

Exercises

Stretching helps improve flexibility and range of motion, while exercising increases muscle strength. Improving muscle flexibility and strength can help support proper posture and relieve neck tension. People may find the following stretches and exercises beneficial in preventing or relieving neck tension:

Basic neck stretch

To perform a basic neck stretch, people can follow these steps:

  • Sit or stand up straight with the neck in a neutral position and the arms and shoulders relaxed.
  • Reach the right hand over the head, placing the palm on the left side of the head.
  • Stretch the left side of the neck by gently pulling the head over to the right.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Neck rolls

Neck rolls involve the following series of movements:

  • Begin with the head in a neutral position.
  • Drop the chin toward the chest.
  • Slowly roll the head to one side so that the ear almost touches the shoulder.
  • Continue rolling the head in the same direction, allowing the top of the head to face backward.
  • Bring the head around to the other shoulder.
  • Complete a full rotation by bringing the head to the front of the body, keeping the chin tucked into the chest.
  • Do 5–10 neck rolls in one direction and then repeat the exercise going in the opposite direction.

Forward neck stretch

This simple stretch may help relieve tension:

  • Sit or stand with a straight back, keeping the shoulders and arms relaxed.
  • Interlace the fingers and place the palms on the back of the head with the elbows facing forward.
  • Gently pull the head down toward the chest.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

Side-to-side neck exercise

People can perform this exercise as follows:

  • Sit upright with the shoulders back and the head and neck in a neutral position.
  • Slowly rotate the head from side to side, keeping the chin parallel to the ground.
  • Keep the rotations small to avoid overextending the neck muscles.
  • Complete 5–10 rotations on each side.

Shoulder blade squeeze

A shoulder blade squeeze requires a person to follow the steps below:

  • Stand up straight and spread the feet apart.
  • Start with the shoulders in a relaxed position.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together behind the body.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 5–10 times.

Standing pushups

People can follow these steps to do a standing pushup:

  • Stand about an arm’s length away from a wall with the feet spread apart.
  • Place the hands on the wall, making sure that they align with the shoulders.
  • Keeping the back straight, slowly bend the elbows, bringing the upper body toward the wall.
  • Straighten the elbows and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise 5–10 times.

Remedies

In addition to the stretches and exercises above, people can relieve neck tension with rest, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and lifestyle changes.

The following remedies may help people manage neck tension:

  • applying a cold compress to reduce pain and inflammation
  • applying a warm compress to help relax tense neck muscles
  • taking OTC pain relievers to reduce mild-to-moderate muscle pain
  • taking an Epsom salt bath
  • practicing stress management and relaxation techniques, such as meditation and yoga
  • exercising regularly
  • getting a massage
  • changing sleeping positions and using pillows that support the neck without overextending it

When to see a doctor

People may wish to see a doctor if they experience persistent neck tension that does not improve with at-home exercises and remedies.

People may require immediate medical attention if they develop neck pain after an injury or a car accident or if they experience the following symptoms:

  • intense or sharp neck pain
  • recurring headaches
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting

People who grind or clench their teeth at night can speak with a dentist about getting a bite guard to wear at night.

Summary

Neck pain is a common complaint that affects people all around the world. Muscle tension is a common cause of neck pain and can develop as a result of poor posture, repetitive movements, and injuries, among other factors.

People can relieve neck tension by stretching the neck muscles, which improves flexibility and range of motion. Exercises that target the muscles in the back, shoulders, and neck can help improve a person’s posture and prevent neck tension.

People who experience neck tension that interferes with their ability to function normally may wish to consider speaking with a doctor about medical treatment options.

Muscle cramps are painful, visible contractions of a muscle or part of a muscle. Many people experience muscle cramps in the calf.

In most cases, the cramp can last for a few seconds to a few minutesTrusted Source before spontaneously resolving.

Keep reading to learn about the causes, treatments, and prevention of leg muscle cramps.

Treatment

Leg muscle cramps can be very painful and uncomfortable.

To provide some relief, a person can:

  • stretch the muscle
  • get a deep tissue massage
  • apply a hot or cold compress to the affected area

A doctor will not usually recommend medication for the routine treatment of leg cramps due to there being very little evidence of the medicines working. However, in some cases, a doctor may consider medications such as:

  • carisoprodol
  • diltiazem
  • gabapentin
  • orphenadrine
  • verapamil
  • vitamin B-12 complex

In pregnant women, magnesium and multivitamins may help.

In the past, people have also used quinine to treat leg cramps. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have strongly advised against this due to safety concernsTrusted Source.

Prevention

If a person suspects that their cramps are due to serious medical concerns such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or the ingestion of toxins, they should seek emergency medical attention.

However, for benign cramps, staying hydrated and maintaining a healthful diet may help in preventing leg muscle cramps.

Before exercising, a person should be sure to stretch the muscles and drink plenty of water.

Helpful foods

Many people believe that taking magnesium supplements can help prevent muscle cramps. In fact, some vitamin and mineral supplement companies actually market magnesium supplements for muscle cramp prevention.

Some foods also provide magnesium. Foods that are high in magnesium include:

  • almonds
  • spinach
  • cashew nuts
  • peanuts
  • soymilk
  • black beans
  • edamame
  • baked potatoes with skin
  • cooked brown rice
  • plain, low fat yogurt

However, it is important to note that studies have not yet confirmed that magnesium is effective for the prevention of leg muscle cramps.

Causes

Muscle cramp occurs when the surrounding neurons repetitively stimulate it. Leg muscle cramps are a commonTrusted Source occurrence.

According to some researchersTrusted Source, the exact causes of leg muscle cramps are largely unknown, but some triggers can include:

  • exercise
  • pregnancy
  • the presence of nocturnal leg cramps
  • dehydration
  • certain medications, including intravenous iron sucrose, raloxifene, naproxen, and teriparatide

Sometimes, leg muscle cramps can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. These might include:

  • a neurological condition, such as motor neuron disease
  • an infection, such as tetanus
  • liver disease
  • DVT

Ingesting toxins such as lead or mercury can also cause muscle cramps.

If a person believes that they have ingested one or both of these toxins, they should call Poison Control on 1-800-222-1222 and seek emergency medical attention.

Who is at risk?

Leg muscle cramps can affect anyone, but those who are more at risk include:

  • people with overweight or obesity
  • athletes
  • people taking certain medications
  • older adults, particularly those aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women

Is it serious?

When leg muscle cramps occur as a result of exercise or standing for too long, the body needs rest. In these cases, the symptoms should resolve on their own.

When leg muscle cramps become persistent, however, a person may also notice that they are not sleeping well, or that they feel limited in their daily activities. Although not serious, these persistent symptoms can impact a person’s quality of life.

If a person experiences muscle cramps along with other symptoms, such as swelling or skin discoloration, they should seek emergency medical help, as it may be a symptom of DVT.

Cramps that occur in young, healthy people and resolve spontaneously do not usually require medical attention.

If leg muscle cramps become recurrent or start to affect a person’s quality of life and daily activities, they should make an appointment with their doctor.

Summary

Leg muscle cramps are common complaints that can occur in anyone. People who are more at risk of experiencing leg muscle cramps include young people who exercise, pregnant women, and older adults.

If leg muscle cramps do not resolve or become persistent, a person should visit their doctor.

Severe leg muscle cramps may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition that requires immediate medical attention.

However, in most situations, leg muscle cramps are not serious and will go away on their own.

A recent study has identified an association between consuming two soft drinks per day and an increased risk of hip fracture in postmenopausal women. Because the study authors cannot prove causation, however, they call for more research.

Osteoarthritis, which is characterized by progressively weak and brittle bones, predominantly affects older adults.

As Western populations age, therefore, the incidence of osteoporosis rises in step.

The condition affects around 200 million peopleTrusted Source worldwide. As a person’s bone mineral density becomes reduced, the risk of fractures increases.

In fact, according to the authors of the most recent study paper, globally, an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 3 seconds.

Although some of the primary risk factors for osteoporosis are unalterable, such as age and sex, some lifestyle habits also play a part.

For instance, alcohol consumption and tobacco use both increase the risk. Nutrition may also play a role, with researchers particularly interested in calcium intake.

One recent study in the journal Menopause focused on the impact of consuming soft drinks.

Why soda?

A number of older studies have observed a link between consuming soft drinks and reduced bone mineral density in teenage girlsTrusted Source and young womenTrusted Source.

However, other studies that specifically looked for an association between soda and osteoporosis have not identifiedTrusted Source a significant relationship. One study found linksTrusted Source between cola intake and osteoporosis but did not see the same effect in relation to other sodas.

Because of these discrepancies, the authors of the latest paper set out to study the links between soft drinks and bone mineral density in the spine and hip. They also looked for a relationship between soda intake and the risk of hip fracture over a 16 year follow-up period.

To investigate, the scientists took data from the Women’s Health Initiative. This is an ongoing national study that involves 161,808 postmenopausal women. For the new analysis, the researchers used data from 72,342 of these participants.

As part of the study, the participants provided detailed health information and questionnaire data outlining lifestyle factors, including diet. Importantly, the diet questionnaire included questions about their intakes of caffeinated and caffeine-free soft drinks.

What did they find?

During their analysis, the scientists accounted for a range of variables with the potential to impact the results, including age, ethnicity, education level, family income, body mass index (BMI), use of hormonal therapy and oral contraceptives, coffee intake, and history of falls.

As expected, they did observe a relationship between soda consumption and osteoporosis-related injury. The authors write:

“For total soda consumption, both minimally and fully adjusted survival models showed a 26% increased risk of hip fracture among women who drank on average 14 servings per week or more compared with no servings.”

The researchers explain that the association was only statistically significant for caffeine-free sodas, which produced a 32% increase in risk. Although the pattern was similar for caffeinated sodas, it did not reach statistical significance.

For clarity, the percentages above display relative risk, not absolute risk.

The study authors reiterate that the significant link was only present when comparing the women who drank the most soda — at least two drinks per day — with those who drank none. This, they explain, suggests “a threshold effect rather than a dose-response relationship.”

It is also worth noting that the scientists found no links between soda consumption and bone mineral density.

Limitations and theories

As mentioned above, earlier research looking for connections between soda and osteoporosis produced conflicting results. Although this study benefits from a large sample size, detailed information, and a long follow-up period, we cannot consider its results definitive; there is too much conflicting information.

There are also certain limitations to the study. For instance, as the researchers note, the participants only reported soda consumption early in the study. People’s dietary habits can change significantly over time, and the team could not account for this.

Also, although the researchers controlled for a wide range of factors, there is always the chance that an unmeasured factor played a part in this association.

That said, when we look at studies involving other age groups, as well as studies using both men and women, it does seem that soda consumption overall might influence bone health in some way.

The study authors believe that this might be because added sugars have a “negative impact on mineral homeostasis and calcium balance.”

Another theory the authors outline concerns carbonation, which is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide in water. “It results in the formation of carbonic acid that might alter gastric acidity and, consequently, nutrient absorption.”

However, they are quick to explain that “[w]hether this factor plays a role in these findings is yet to be explored.”

Because osteoporosis is becoming more prevalent, research into nutritional risk factors is more critical than ever. The authors call for more work.

Pain under the left armpit can be concerning, and many people associate any pain on the left side of their body with a heart attack. However, most of the time, pain under the left armpit has a less serious cause.

The armpit is a complex meeting point for muscles and connective tissues, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. As such, many issues in this area can lead to pain.

Causes range from pulled muscles and mild allergic reactions to more severe issues, such as an underlying infection.

While many of the causes of left armpit pain are not harmful in the long term, anyone experiencing breathing difficulties and pain in their chest, jaw, or neck should see a doctor immediately.

Causes of left armpit pain include:

A pulled muscle

Many muscles around the shoulder and armpit can cause pain if a person injures them.

People can pull a muscle when reaching for an object, twisting incorrectly, or overstretching.

People who exercise regularly, especially those who do weight training, may be more likely to experience muscle pulls and strains.

In these cases, the pain should go away over time, as long as the individual rests the injured muscle and does gentle stretches.

If the pain does not go away after about a week, it is best to see a doctor.

Allergic reactions

Armpits are a frequent location for allergic reactions, which could cause pain under the left armpit or both armpits.

Most allergic reactions in this area will occur due to chemicals people apply to their bodies or clothes that touch the armpits.

Possible allergens include:

  • detergent
  • fabric softener
  • soap
  • deodorant
  • perfume
  • shaving cream
  • moisturizing creams or lotions

These products may contain chemicals or perfumes that irritate the skin. A rash may also form.

Anyone who suspects that their skin is sensitive to a particular allergen should note the products they used that day and report them to a dermatologist.

Allergy testing may help find the irritating product. Avoiding products with any harsh chemicals or other ingredients can also improve symptoms in these cases.

Cosmetic procedures

Simple cosmetic procedures, such as shaving or waxing, can also be to blame for pain under the armpit. These hair removal techniques may lead to other issues, such as ingrown hairs, cysts, or general irritation and chafing in the armpit.

Skin infections

A skin infection under the armpit may cause itching and pain. Bacteria thrive in warm, damp environments such as the armpits.

An overgrowth of bacteria in this area may lead to an infection, which could cause redness, swelling, and pain, among other symptoms.

Other forms of infection, such as fungal infections due to ringworm or yeast, may also cause similar pain and irritation in the area.

Mild skin infections should clear up without treatment if a person keeps the area clean and dry. However, a doctor may recommend antibiotic creams or medications to treat more severe cases.

Hidradenitis

Hidradenitis is a chronic condition that causes similar symptoms to severe acne. Hidradenitis occurs due to clogged hair follicles and glands. It is common in areas such as the armpits, where the skin rubs together.

Hidradenitis can lead to multiple cysts or boils developing in the area. In addition to these breakouts, the person will likely experience pain and tenderness.

Doctors can treat hidradenitis with anti-inflammatory medications. Some cases may require surgery.

Varicella zoster virus

The varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox and shingles. Breakouts of both illnesses are possible under the armpits, although chickenpox usually beginsTrusted Source on the face, back, and chest.

A shingles rash usually developsTrusted Source as a single strip on one side of the face or body, left or right. A person with shingles may also experience:

  • a fever
  • headaches
  • chills
  • an upset stomach

A person may feel pain and tingling in the area before the visible rash develops.

A doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to speed up the healing process, as well as pain medications to help ease symptoms.

Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are small, bean shaped bundles of tissue that play a vital role in the immune system. Lymph nodes help filter toxins from the lymph and deliver white blood cells to help fight disease.

The armpit houses a large number of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes swell as part of an overall reaction by the immune system, such as to an infection or illness.

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit may cause:

  • a single or multiple lumps
  • tenderness
  • pain

If the swelling does not go down after an infection, such as the common cold, goes away, or the person is not feeling any other symptoms, they should speak to a doctor.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that leads to an overgrowth of skin cells. The buildup of skin cells forms patches called plaques. These plaques can cause symptoms such as itching and pain.

Psoriasis plaques can form anywhere, including the armpit. Some forms of psoriasis are more common in this area, including inverse psoriasis.

Psoriasis treatment typically includes both topical and oral medications to control symptoms.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage may also cause pain under the armpit. Nerve damage can be the result of a physical injury, such as one from overuse during sports or from an accident or fall.

Nerve damage can feel like:

  • pain
  • tingling
  • numbness
  • burning

Certain conditions, such as diabetes, may also lead to nerve damage or neuropathy. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases note that up to half of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage.

While peripheral neuropathy typically affects the feet and legs, it may also affect the arms in some individuals. Diabetes treatment may help slow nerve damage progression.

Angina

Angina occurs due to a lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart. This can be because one of the arteries leading to the heart is narrow or blocked.

Angina causes chest pain and discomfort, which is sometimes severe. It may also cause pressure and pain in other areas, including the:

  • armpits
  • shoulders
  • back
  • neck
  • jaw

Some people may also experience a feeling similar to indigestion.

Angina is a symptom of an underlying heart condition, for example, coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.

There are also many other types of angina. Anyone who suspects they have angina should talk to their doctor.

Cancer

In rare cases, pain under the left armpit that does not go away may be a sign of a cancerous growth, including breast cancer.

Cancer can cause the lymph nodes under the armpit to swell painfully. An individual may notice a lump under their arm or in their armpit that causes persistent pain or discomfort.

Underarm pain may also be the result of a specific cancer treatment, such as lymph node removal or mastectomy.

Anyone noticing texture changes or lumps in their chest or breast tissue should seek medical attention.

Treatment options for cancer will depend on its stage, which refers to how much it has spread. In general, earlier stages are easier to treat.

When to see a doctor

Anyone noticing the following symptoms along with left armpit pain should seek immediate medical attention:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • pain in the chest, jaw, or shoulder

A doctor can also diagnose and treat pain from other issues, such as infections or swollen lymph nodes.

Pain under the left armpit from sources such as a pulled muscle should go away within about a week in most cases. Anyone who experiences symptoms beyond this time frame should see a doctor for a full diagnosis.

Summary

There are many possible causes of pain under the left armpit. The person may have pulled a muscle or may have swollen lymph nodes from an infection.

Other causes can be more serious, such as angina. Anyone concerned about their symptoms should see a doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment.