Why Does My Left Shoulder Hurts After Eating?

Why does my left shoulder hurts after eating? Imagine having a wonderful day with your friends and having delicious meat from your favorite restaurant. You eat your favorite pizza, and suddenly your shoulder hurts after eating. You may have noticed the left pain in the shoulder before as well. Besides, when our left shoulder hurts while the right one is fine most of us get worried. Is it common?

In medical terms, such pain is known as “Referred pain.” It means that the source of this specific pain is something else. Sometimes the pain is low, but sometimes it is severe. After eating, continue reading to know the leading cause behind your left shoulder pain.

Cause of pain in left shoulder after eating

Cause of pain in left shoulder after eating

Eating is generally the most pleasurable thing to do, but sometimes pain in certain body parts can make it uncomfortable. Typically, it happens when you have eaten more than usual. But sometimes, the cause can be more severe than it seems. Keep an eye on the symptoms and seek emergency help in case of something serious.

Left shoulder pain after eating is a type of referred pain. It usually occurs due to issues in certain body parts like teeth, esophagus, heart, pancreas, or even the lower digestive system.


The muscles present around the stomach get stretched when you are eating more than usual. Too much food can increase the stomach pressure on the surrounding tissues and organs that send the pinned message to your shoulders.

Overeating symptoms include; diarrhea, belching, abdominal pain, cramping, gas, nausea, and difficulty taking a deep breath.


Pancreatitis is the most common cause of severe left shoulder pain after eating. Pancreatitis is just an inflammation of our pancreas. The pancreas is our digestive system part that secretes insulin to control blood glucose levels and also secretes some vital digestive juices.

The most common sign of pancreatitis is sudden left shoulder pain after eating. This pain can even start during your meal. The pancreatitis symptoms include left shoulder pain, tearing or stabbing pain that radiates through the back, nausea, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, and some painful burning feeling in the abdominal area.


Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs due to the backflow of stomach acid back into the esophagus and irritation. Overeating can make the situation more serious. It is one of the causes of left shoulder pain after having a meal. Sometimes it is so severe that people mistake it for a heart attack.

Other common symptoms of GERD include heartburn even when your stomach is empty, feeling like food is coming back from your throat, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness.

Heart attack

Important note: If you have heart attack symptoms after eating your food, then call 911 immediately.

For proper functioning, our heart needs plenty of oxygen all the time. While eating, your body shunts the blood flow from the central organs towards the digestive tract to help digest the food. If you are already a heart patient, it can deprive you of the essential oxygen it needs. The astonishing fact is that most heart attacks occur after having a large meal.

Heart attack symptoms include chest pain that moves towards the neck and jaw, vomiting, arm pain, nausea, irregularity in a heartbeat, chest pain, e.t.c.

Location of the pain

Let’s look at the pain location to know the exact cause. Though we have tried listing all vital information about the left shoulder pain after eating, it’s not a definitive list. Always consult your doctor before hitting on a solution.

A doctor can tell you the exact cause after having a complete discussion about your medical history. Nobody can tell the precise reason without the medical history and patient’s symptoms.

Left shoulder pain after eating

Left shoulder pain is also linked to a heart attack. Besides, several other health problems can be related to left shoulder pain. But if you experience any heart attack symptoms or unbearable pain in your left shoulder, call 911 immediately.

Pancreatic is another issue that relates to eating-related left shoulder pain. Pancreas inflammation causes sudden left shoulder pain after eating. The pain can radiate to the back, and sugary drinks and fatty foods are the most common triggers.

Right shoulder pain after eating

The gall bladder issue is often behind the right shoulder problem after eating. Gallstone and gallbladder inflammation is often the primary reason for the upper right abdomen and can also radiate to the right shoulder.

The foods that can trigger it often are fatty acids, as it helps in the digestion of food.

How can we relieve shoulder pain after eating?

Various health problems can be the cause of eating-related shoulder pain. It can be a common overeating issue that can lead to a heart attack. Therefore it is always recommended to consult your doctor to reduce any risk.

In addition to talking to a health professional, there are some things that you can do to avoid complications. Make positive and healthy changes in your diet as they are very effective in long-term benefits and overcoming many health issues.

Avoid foods that have high sugar but low-fat content. Such foods include:

  • Junk food
  • Sugary food
  • Fried food
  • Fatty food
  • Refined food like cookies, pasta, chocolate, white flour, etc.
  • Red meat

Try to eat foods that are rich in vitamins and fiber. Such foods include

  • Most vegetables
  • Almost all fruits
  • Dairy products with low-fat content
  • White meat, including chicken and fish

When should I consult the doctor?

Generally, the first guess that comes to our mind over shoulder pain after eating is pancreatitis. If that’s the case, it is a severe medical emergency in which you should immediately contact the doctor.

If it’s pancreatitis, it can get worse with neglect. Consuming alcohol and fatty foods can make the health condition worse ten times. Fortunately, the initial symptoms can be treated well, and you can stop them from deteriorating.

Final thoughts

Eating-related shoulder pain can indicate a severe health complication and should not be ignored. Though the shoulder pain after eating relates to complicated issues like gall bladder complications or a heart attack, its diagnosis is not that simple.

One body can react very differently to a specific condition than other. Therefore, a complete body examination is essential to avoid complications. After the complete checkup, your doctor can answer all your questions related to your specific situation.

FAQs about Why My Left Shoulder Hurts After Eating?

Does gastric pain relate to left shoulder pain?

Gastric pain and left shoulder pain are both on the left side or middle of the chest. The heartburn sensation is different from the feeling of chest pain. Besides heartburn, it is an indication of acid reflux.

Can shoulder pain be a heart attack symptom?

Yes, heart disease can result from coronary artery disease. Heart attack symptoms include sudden shoulder pain. Elbow, arm, and shoulder are the familiar spot of this pain.

Why do I have a dull pain in my shoulder?

Probably it’s because of bursitis. It occurs if you have pressurized or overused your joint. It is an inflammation of the bursa, which is present in the bones and muscles.





Rabia Sehar
Rabia Sehar

Hi! I’m Rabia Sehar, a motivated, passionate and sophisticated writer aspiring to make my dreams come true. Writing about health, wellness, mental health, and lifestyle is something I specialize in and am passionate about. I love traveling, reading, composing, and entertaining. As a health advocate, I am passionate about creating content that educates people on leading a healthy life. Health is the actual wealth so try your best to keep it.