Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) happens when someone overworks their muscles, usually during exercise. It tends to happen when starting a new activity or increasing the intensity of a workout.

DOMS can affect any muscle in the body, including the biceps.

Other symptoms

Symptoms include pain and soreness in the bicep. It may hurt to straighten the arm or carry things.

The pain usually starts 6–8 hours after exercising, and it may last up to 48 hours.

Treatment options

People can use over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as Advil or Aleve, to help with the symptoms. Massage and rest can also help ease the pain and soreness.

Sometimes, pain in the left arm can signal a heart attack. This happens when part of the heart does not get the blood it needs to function properly.

A heart attack is a medical emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source explain that the more time that passes without treatment to restore the flow of blood to the heart, the greater the damage.

Other symptoms

The pain can be different for everyone, but it might radiate from the shoulder down into the bicep area. Usually, the pain comes on suddenly. Other heart attack symptoms include:

  • pain or discomfort in the left or center of the chest
  • feeling weak, faint, or lightheaded
  • a cold sweat
  • pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness
  • nausea and vomiting

The pain or discomfort in the chest might last for more than a few minutes or keep going away and returning. People have described it as a feeling of pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest.

Treatment options

If someone may be having a heart attack, call 911 or the local emergency number right away. The sooner the person receives medical attention, the more likely they are to recover.

Anyone who may be having a heart attack should receive emergency medical care.

Mild to moderate muscle strains, bruises, and DOMS usually get better on their own. If muscle pain is severe or does not go away, speak with a doctor.

Muscle injuries often happen when people suddenly increase the duration, intensity, or frequency of activities, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports.

The association offers this advice:

  • Start or add new activities slowly and build up their intensity gradually.
  • Always warm up before exercise or other strenuous activities.
  • Drink plenty of water during these activities.
  • Always cool down afterward.
  • Have regular rest days to allow the muscles to recover.

Having a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent a heart attack. Top tips from the CDCTrusted Source include:

  • having a balanced diet
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • exercising regularly
  • not smoking

Common causes of pain in the middle of the bicep include muscle strain, bruises, and DOMS after exercise. Mild injuries usually get better on their own, while more severe ones may require medical treatment and physical therapy.

Sometimes, pain in the left arm can indicate a heart attack. Anyone who may be having a heart attack should receive emergency medical care.


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