5 Common Causes of Arm Pain

If you browse online for arm pain, you’ll notice that many of your search results specify “right arm pain.” That sounds odd because both arms are susceptible to the same injuries. Anything that causes pain in your right arm can also affect your left arm.

Some websites specify “right” because sudden pain in your left arm is one of the top signs of a heart attack. Left arm pain demands emergency attention if it persists, gets worse, or you also have chest pain or difficulty breathing.

Our team at the Headache & Pain Center provides exceptional care for all other types of arm pain. When your pain doesn’t improve with standard medical care, we offer advanced interventional treatments that provide excellent relief by targeting the source of your pain.

Read on to learn about the top five causes of arm pain.

Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries account for many cases of arm pain. You develop an overuse injury when you repeatedly make the same movements. The constant stress placed on the same muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments causes tiny tears in the tissues.

If you rest between activities, your body has time to heal. Without enough healing time, these small injuries get worse. Eventually you end up with inflammation, a significant tear, and increasing arm pain. When tendons in your wrist and elbow become inflamed, they can pinch nerves.

A few of the most common overuse injuries in your arm include:

Muscles normally offset some of the stress on your bones. If your muscles suffer from overuse fatigue, they stop bearing their fair share of the burden, forcing your bones to absorb more of the impact. 

This gradually leads to tiny cracks in the affected bone, a condition that’s called a stress fracture.

Shoulder and neck conditions

Spine conditions such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis pinch the spinal nerves. Pinched nerves in your neck are notorious for causing pain, tingling, and numbness in your arm.

Examples of overuse injuries that cause upper arm pain include shoulder bursitis, tendinitis, impingement, and rotator cuff tears. You’re most likely to feel the pain when you lift your arm in an overhead motion.

Acute injuries

Overuse injuries develop gradually over months of repetitive movement. In contrast, acute injuries happen suddenly, often from a direct impact, falling, or making a quick movement that pulls, twists, or bends the tissues.

The most common acute injuries include:

Though dislocating your shoulder primarily causes severe shoulder pain, the pain can also travel down your arm.

Brachial plexus injury

The brachial plexus refers to a group of five nerves that run from your cervical spine (neck) to your shoulder and arm. These nerves control muscle movement and carry sensory information from your arm to your brain.

The brachial plexus nerves are easily damaged when you suffer an injury to your neck or your arm is pulled. In many cases, a brachial plexus injury occurs when your arm is pulled downward while your head is pushed to the opposite side. 

In addition to feeling a sharp, burning pain in your arm, the nerve damage can result in muscle weakness. As a result, you may not be able to move your arm.

Elbow arthritis

You can develop osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in your elbow. Both types of arthritis cause progressive damage to the joint. At first, you only have joint pain

As it gets worse, you experience pain when turning your forearm, extending your arm, and bending your elbow. And swelling within the joint may pinch nerves and send pain throughout your arm.

When you still have arm pain despite medical treatment, we offer a vast range of interventional therapies that effectively relieve arm pain. To learn more about your treatment options for arm pain, call us at Headache & Pain Center in New Iberia or Gray, Louisiana, or schedule an appointment online today.

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