Chronic Pain

10 Causes of Arm Pain

Source: Mayo Clinic

Arm pain can result from various different conditions which range from slightly inconvenient to those that may be life-threatening. More times than not, people do not take arm pain very seriously, especially if it is the only symptom. Whenever you experience arm pain it is advised to get it checked out by a medical professional.

Straightforward Sprain

A sprain happens when a person performs a strenuous activity that their body is not familiar with. This injury suggests that overstraining the tissue has resulted in atypical twisting, stretching, or possibly even tearing which are not likely to cause permanent damage. Activities that may cause arm sprains include intense workouts, lifting heavy objects, and repetitive use of the arms for actions like beating foods like cooking or hammering. Luckily, arm pain caused by a straightforward sprain is simple to treat with a combination of ice packs and painkillers.

Tennis Elbow

Similar to the simple sprain described above, tennis elbow is the result of minor injury to the tendons attributable to overstraining. This pain typically presents as a constant aching feeling that becomes worse upon elbow movement. Unfortunately, this condition is problematic because the pain may remain present for several weeks, including bouts of recurrence. In the worst cases, taking painkillers only gives short-lived relief until the effects of the medication wear off. When tennis elbow proceeds for an extended period of time, it means that recovery of the tension is taking longer than usual, perhaps due to poor nutrition or a repeat injury.


This condition triggers random bursts of pain which last for several minutes apiece. Angina is generally related to chest pain. The condition can observed as a result of restricted flow of blood in the arteries; this causes a heavy yet muted, random tightness in the chest, which can also spread to the arms. If a person experiences both arm and chest pains that occur repetitively, normally after physical exertion or straining activities, it is suggested that they get checked for angina.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

This condition is another widespread cause of arm pain. It occurs due to a pinched nerve located in the carpel tunnel, a region that protects the nerves that are employed in hand movement. Persons who suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome suffer from pain, numbness, and tingling in their arms, hands, and fingers. Although the symptoms may not persist constantly, a weakness may be felt in the limbs, which can result in the tendency to drop things and restricted movements. Therefore, if arm pain occurs in conjunction with hand and wrist discomfort or pain, it may be advantageous to get tested for carpel tunnel syndrome.


This is a condition that involves inflammation of the fluid-filled bags present beneath the skin, called bursas. The purpose of these sacks is to act as a buffer between the bones and tendons, however in the event of an injury or simple redundant movements, they can swell up and cause tenderness and pain. Although bursitis can occur at any area of the body where there are bursas, the arms and shoulders are the most commonly affected regions. Generally, bursitis is not a very serious condition and it can be treated with ice packs and/or over-the-counter pain medications. Despite the easy treatment, repeated straining of affected regions may delay full recovery and possibly lead to complications.

Heart Attack

Heart attack and arm pain are infamously associated. The heart attack itself happens when the heart is restricted from its necessary supply of oxygen-rich blood, thereby inhibiting the heart muscles from properly functioning. People that suffer from angina are subject to heart attacks, however different from angina, during a heart attack the pain is continuous and not random. Generally, pain in the chest soon develops into a sustained aching that runs down the left side of the body and left arm. It is important to note that heart attacks are medical emergencies and if you think you are undergoing a heart attack, you should call 911 or rush to the hospital immediately.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This form of arthritis is a chronic inflammatory ailment that results in loss of joint function, particularly in the hands, wrists, elbows, and feet. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive autoimmune disorder that results in stiffness and painful swelling, slowly causing deformity of the joints. While this ailment generally affects people over 40 years of age, it can occur at any age. Common symptoms include fatigue, tenderness in joints, morning stiffness, and weight loss. 

Herniated Disk

This condition occurs when a rubbery padding between the vertebrate is injured. In a healthful state, disks provide the spine with flexibility and concurrently behave as shock absorbers. However, as the disk bulges out or ruptures, it results in numbness and pain in the legs and glutes. When this occurs, the nerves are no longer protected which causes the proximal arm to inflame. 

Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is essentially the muscles that surround the joint of the shoulder and maintain the position of the upper arm within the shoulder socket. An injury of this group of muscles can cause soreness when the shoulder joint is used. These tendons generally become damaged due to stress, a fall, or lifting objects incorrectly. In the event that the rotator cuff is extensively injured, surgical repair or a replacement of the joint may be required. In addition, physical therapy can aid in improving the strength and flexibility of the joint.


Swelling and tenderness of the tendons is referred to as tendinitis. The tendons are stretchy tissues that connect muscles to bones and can easily become injured following repetitive stress, especially in the wrist, shoulder, and elbow. When playing sports like baseball, tennis, or golf, tendinitis can occur as a result of incorrect posture.

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