Arm Pain

Arm pain is the pain felt in your upper arm (humerus) or forearm. It can be mild to severe, occasional, pulsating (throbbing) or constant. It can also be described as an aching, burning, prickling or sharp stabbing.

Arm pain can be of two types:

  • Chronic pain is long lasting and usually does not reduce with most treatments. Acute pain occurs suddenly but is temporary.
  • Recognising the type of pain plays an important part in providing the most effective treatment.

What are the Most Common Causes of Arm Pain?

Some of the common causes of arm pain include:

  • Sprains: A sprain is stretching or tearing of ligaments (tissues that connect adjacent bones in a joint). It is a common injury and usually occurs when you fall or suddenly twist.
  • Strains: A strain is stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon (tissues that connect muscle to bone). It is common in people participating in sports. Strains are usually caused by twisting or pulling of the tendons.
  • Arm Dislocations: An arm dislocation is an injury that occurs when the end of the bone is forced out of its position. It is often caused by a fall or direct blow to the joint while playing contact sport.
  • Tendinitis: It is an inflammation of a tendon, a tissue that connects muscles to bone. It occurs because of injury or overuse.
  • Bursitis: It is an inflammation of a fluid-filled sac called bursa that protects and cushions your joints. Bursitis can be caused by chronic overuse, injury, arthritis, gout or infection.
  • Arm Fractures: A fracture is a break in the bone that commonly occurs because of injury, such as a fall or a direct blow to the arm.
  • Arthritis characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint.

Treatment for Arm Pain

Arm pain can be treated normally by resting the arm, medications, bracing, heat or ice application, compression, stretching and strengthening exercises, and by treating the underlying cause or condition. In cases of chronic arm pain unresponsive to conservative treatment measures, surgery may be recommended.