Pain in the arm muscle is a problem faced by a lot of people, irrespective of their age. It refers to any type of pain originating from the shoulder to the wrist. Mostly, the pain is experienced for a short time. However, injuries or infections may cause excruciating and agonizing pain.
Our arm is made up of three major bones along with muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Since our arms and hands are the most used body parts, whether at home or work, a lot of pressure is put on them, which can result in pain. Moreover, pain sometimes also originates from different parts of the body like the neck or spine. Some of the commonly observed causes are mentioned below:
Injury or trauma may be a cause of severe pain in the arm muscle. Broken bones, fractures or a simple sprain in the forearm, due to an accident or a fall may result in extreme pain. However, the pain might not be experienced initially, but may appear gradually when the arm is moved.
Treatment in these cases depend on the type of injury. In case of broken bones or fractures, a sling or a plaster cast is applied. If the fracture is severe, surgery is advised.
Muscle Tension or Fatigue
This is the most likely cause for arm pain. Since our arms and hands are often overused, the muscles tend to exhaust themselves. Pain in the arm caused due to muscle fatigue or tension, is usually treated by giving rest to the arm. Cold compression is also helpful. However, if the pain is persistent, consult a doctor.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another reason that might cause pain in the arm. It is caused due to the compression of the median nerve in the wrists. For treating CTS, adequate rest to the affected area is recommended. Wrist splints to support and prevent the wrist from bending is also helpful. Corticosteroid injections are also used to treat mild symptoms. However, if the pain is unbearable, doctors may suggest surgery.
A pinched nerve is another common reason for pain in the arm muscle. Pinched nerve or twisted nerve is referred to any nerve that is compressed or stretched. To treat a pinched nerve, it is advisable to contact a neurologist or a chiropractor. Doctors may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen, to reduce the pain as well as the swelling around the nerve. Physical therapies such as exercises to stretch the muscles in the affected area and to reduce the pressure on nerves are also recommended. If all other treatments fail to treat a pinched nerve, surgery is recommended.
Bicipital tendinitis is a condition in which a tendon is torn near the shoulder, leading to severe pain in the upper arms, especially the biceps. Inflamed tendons in the shoulders, caused due to lifting weights in the gym may result in upper arm pain too. Overexercising in the gym could also lead to muscle twitching in the arm.
Besides application of ice, anti-inflammatory drugs and adequate amount of rest to the affected area, doctors also recommend physical therapies. If the pain persists for more than 2 months, consulting an orthopedic doctor is advisable.
Cervical Disc Herniation
If the arm pain is accompanied by symptoms such as numbness and a tingling sensation, it could be cervical disc herniation. It can result from injury in the spine, wear and tear of the disc or old age.
Cervical disc herniation are treated either by surgery or through non-surgical methods such as rests, anti-inflammatory medicines accompanied by physical therapies such as exercises, traction, and massages. Surgery is recommended if the patient experiences extreme pain and weakness.
Sign of Heart Attack
A terrible pain and weakness could be a sign of a heart attack, especially if it is on the left side and is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and nausea.
In case, the patient is suffering from any of these symptoms, it is advised to consult a doctor immediately.
Although, most people generally rely on painkillers to get rid of arm pain, some self-care measures may help in relieving mild pain in the arm muscle.
An effective home remedy for reducing pain in the arm muscles is to simply rub ice cubes over the affected area.
Arm muscle pain and cramps caused due to muscle fatigue or carpal tunnel syndrome, can be treated by giving the arm some rest for a few days. Taking a break from all such activities which make the muscles tired, can relieve the pain. If a complete cut off from these activities is not possible, it is recommended that these activities be conducted with proper breaks and resting periods in between. This will give the arm muscles some time to recover.
Arm exercises work wonders in such cases. Simply raising the arm to the chest level and again bringing it back to the normal position is a very effective exercise that can be done even while at work, to get rid of arm pain.
Pain in the arm muscles should not be taken lightly, especially if the muscle pain persist for more than three days and is accompanied by symptoms such as arm swelling, numbness in the arms, inability to move the arm, chest pain or difficulty in breathing. Overlooking these symptoms can lead to some serious health implications.
Disclaimer:This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.