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Arm Pain at Night

Causes of arm pain at night are not always related to improper posture. There can be many other underlying causes that you should be aware of. Undergoing proper and timely treatment will help in easing the pain effectively.
Madhura Pandit
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Frequent arm pain, that does not subside even on taking rest, is definitely a cause of concern, and should not be ignored. Pain in arms and shoulders during nighttime may or may not be related only to the arm.
Arm pain is a generic term used to describe pain experienced in the hand, around the wrist, upper and lower arm, etc. Here, the causes of different kinds of arm pain are described in detail.
► Common Causes
Muscle Strain: Muscle strain occurs if the muscle is pulled or stretched due to any strenuous activity or sport. On the other hand, if a ligament gets over-stretched, one also experiences muscle sprain and arm pain.
Injury: Any kind of injury to the muscles of the arm can cause nighttime arm pain. Injury to the arm, trauma or fracture; sudden forceful movement, or lifting any object can result in pain. In case of injury, pain is followed by other symptoms like swelling and numbness.
Tennis Elbow: This is a term used to determine a condition caused due to excess and repetitive movements of the arms. As this type of pain is usually observed in tennis players, it is named so. Pain occurring on the outer side of the elbow and traveling to the wrist, stiffness, etc., are the symptoms of tennis elbow.
► Shoulder and Arm Pain
Rotator Cuff Injury: Any kind of injury to the rotator cuff causes arm and shoulder pain at night. Rotator cuff injury is an injury to any of the four muscles in the shoulder, caused due to sudden raising of the arm or degeneration of muscles. It is commonly found in sportsmen.
Bursitis: Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae present in the joints. Repetitive powerful movements or excessive pressure on the joints can result in bursitis. It is also one of the most common causes of shoulder and arm pain at night.
Arthritis of the shoulder and dislocation of any of the shoulder muscles are some of the other causes for the same.
► Upper Arm Pain
Branchial Plexus Injury: The branchial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the arm. Any injury to the branchial nerve causes arm pain as its primary symptom. It is followed by lost control in hand or wrist and numbness.
Tendinitis: Tendinitis refers to the inflammation of the tendons which is caused due to injury or overuse. It occurs mostly in joints, and can lead to swelling, stiffness and even pain in arms. The pain due to tendinitis worsens after an activity and even at night.
Heart Attack: Left arm pain is a classic symptom of heart attack in both, men as well as women. Therefore, if you experience severe left arm pain, there may be chances of a heart attack. However, it is essential to look out for other symptoms of heart attack like chest pain, sweating, breathing disorders, etc.
► Leg and Arm Pain
Restless Leg Syndrome: Although restless leg syndrome affects the leg, sometimes it can also cause arm pain. The pain caused due to this condition is commonly observed at night. A person may experience burning or tickling sensation in the leg as well as arm. This causes an irresistible and uncomfortable urge to move legs or arms.
Consulting your doctor should be the first thing on your cards if you experience these symptoms. As you have read above, arm pain can occur due to minor as well as severe conditions. Therefore, it is wise to consult your doctor in case you observe frequent pain.
In minor cases, home remedies can help in getting rid of the condition. For e.g., taking rest, applying cold pack and compress, etc., are effective for treating pain caused due to minor conditions. If your arm appears to swell, you should try to remove watch and other jewelry as soon as possible; as later it can cause a lot of pain.
Muscle cramps or spasms can be treated with gentle massage and physical therapy. But, you should make sure to only gently massage the arm and avoid twisting and turning it rigorously. If cramps are caused due to vitamin or mineral deficiency, you can consult your doctor and have supplements to treat the deficiency.
On the other hand, in serious cases, the doctor may prescribe certain medications, ointment and painkiller. In certain cases, a surgery may even be required. If symptoms of heart attack are observed, one should look for emergency medical services.
We conclude by summarizing the aforementioned fact, that arm or shoulder pain at night can be a warning sign of a serious injury or ailment, and hence, should not be ignored. Take care!
Disclaimer: This article is meant for educational purposes only. It is in no way to be substituted for doctor's consultation and treatment.