Armpit is an area where a lot of structures meet, from the nerves to blood vessels, lymph nodes, and other important structures. There are numerous conditions which can cause pain under the shoulder joint. The pain can be from the parts that lie in it, or it can be a sign of a pain from a different place on the body that radiates towards the shoulder. Armpit is also called axilla. It has a high concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles which are a precipitating factor which can cause inflammation or present an entrance to some infection. It can be due to traumatic injury, nerve damage or some other condition. Due to a fact that such changes can be solved with home care, it is important to recognize and know how to manage it, but also to identify a more serious condition such as a tumor.
Brachial Plexus Injury
This is one of the most common injuries which includes nervous system. It presents the network made out of nerves that come together in this location. Trauma or other pressure can damage the plexus, causing pain, swelling and possible change of sensations such as tingling or numbness accompanied with loss of motoric movement.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Axilla is a point where there are very important lymph nodes which drain the arm and a part of the chest area. It has a significant role in defense from microorganisms or cancer cells. Most common sign of inflammation is the swelling followed by pain. It represents the activation of lymphocytes that accumulate in this area to defend the body from intruders. Pathogens can be bacteria, viruses, parasites. It can be a symptom of other conditions which affects the immune system like rheumatoid arthritis.
Since there is a high concentration of sweat glands, it is possible that the main cause of the pain can be a gland infection. It can be associated with excessive sweating, poor hygiene, a high temperature which can cause skin inflammation and irritation. If the gland gets infected, a lump can occur leading to tenderness and a pain in the armpit.
Inflamed Hair Follicles
Hair follicles present skin pores that lead to the root of the hair. It represents a good entry for the sweat and pathogens. In a situation including excessive sweating and poor hygiene, it can enter the follicles causing inflammation. There is also a scenario where hair can get caught between death skin tissue and develop into a clot which can progress to a form of a cyst. It can get inflamed and filled with pus, causing pain and itching.
Armpit is close to the shoulder and thorax region, so a pain in this location can be a referred pain due to a muscle injury. Muscle straining is common in athletes and people who overuse their muscles and body in general. Pectoralis muscle is the muscle in the breast area which is divided into two parts, major and minor. The muscle prolongs to the shoulder, ending on the upper arm. It can be followed up with the pain under the arm which aggravates with movement.
Breast Cancer Or Other Tumors
Common cancer, especially in women, is a breast cancer which can be linked with armpit lymph nodes. It is painless in most cases, and hard on touch, but it is not always the exact case. It is important to search for some other changes in the breast area, that can be associated with the same changes in the armpit. A common sign of breast cancer in the nipple area is the recessed nipple which can be immersed in the tissue, unlike the surrounding areola. Other possible signs can be a rash on the skin, bloody discharge from the nipple or other changes in the breast area. It is important to recognize and act on time.
When To See A Doctor
- If you can’t move your arm.
- If you feel a lump in your armpit, especially if it doesn’t hurt and it is hard.
- If you felt numbness or other sensations in your arm.
- If you have other symptoms besides armpit pain, like chest pain since it can be a possible sign of a heart attack.