Arm Pain Causes

Causes for arm pain can vary from minor to the major ones. This article deals with brief information on the possible arm pain causes.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Arm pain can be experienced in any part of the hand, from the shoulder to the wrist. In most of the cases, injury or disorder related to the arm cause pain in arm. However, sometimes, it is also found that pain can be caused due to reasons not related to the arm at all. For e.g., disorders of the heart can even lead to arm pain.
It is essential to locate the exact location and nature of pain. Arm pain can be acute or chronic. Acute pain is the sharp pain that occurs suddenly; but, lasts for a short time. On the other hand, the frequently experienced dull, aching or burning pain that lasts for a long time is the chronic type of pain.
  • Cancer : Arm pain can also be caused due to swollen lymph nodes or tumor in the breast. The pain experienced due to a cancerous growth is burning or aching type of pain. Pain in the underarm is caused due to injury in shoulders or breasts, or damage to the nerve.
  • Cervical Herniated Disc : This condition is caused because of the pressure exerted by the disc on the cervical nerve. It can occur due to injury, trauma, etc.; and is commonly found in older adults. Pain is accompanied by tingling and numbness in the entire arm.
  • Heart Diseases : Diseases related to the heart are the most common reasons for left arm pain. One may experience excruciating left arm pain and tingling due to angina, or possibility of a heart attack. Other symptoms observed are chest pain, sweating and difficulty in breathing, etc.
  • Injury / Fracture : Muscle sprain is the sudden wrenching of ligaments which leads to pain. Apart from this, any kind of injury or trauma, fracture, etc., also results in arm pain. In case of injury and fracture, pain is accompanied by swelling and numbness. Secondly, tendinitis or inflammation of the tendons is one of the causes of pain in upper arm.
  • Muscle Strain : Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of upper arm pain. Muscle strain can occur due to a muscle tear or muscle pull. Muscle strain is usually observed in people who frequent sports like tennis, swimming, etc. Sudden movement of the arm or the shoulder can cause muscle strain.
  • Rotator Cuff Injury : The rotator cuff muscles and tendons are located in the shoulder region. Any injury or irritation to these muscles causes rotator cuff injury which leads to shoulder and arm pain. Injury or extensive repetitive use of these muscles is the primary cause of rotator cuff injury.
  • Tennis Elbow : Tennis elbow, also known as the shooter's elbow, is the soreness of the outer part of the elbow. Although this condition is usually seen in case of tennis players, it can even be found in other people. Pain in the elbow is the most prominent symptom of tennis elbow which is followed by stiffness.
Other Causes :
  • Any damage or pressure on the nerves of the neck
  • Bad posture
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Excess strain on the neck due to any activity or sport
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sleeping with your arm under your body
  • Stress
As arm pain treatment can vary according to the cause, sometimes, medications or physical therapy can prove to be effective. Whereas, in some cases, a surgery may be required. It is better to get the cause diagnosed quickly to get relief from arm pain. Lastly, note that this write-up is meant to provide information and should not be substituted for proper medical consultation. Take care!