Upper Arm Pain

pain-1015575_1920For sure you have felt pain in the upper part of your arm. This can happen when you’re active or due to an accident, you strain your muscle or you suffered from a contusion. This pain can be quite strong and disturbing. You can have a lot of thoughts like what can it be, how long will it last and what are the consequences? We will try to help you and state some of the common causes. The pain can start out of nowhere or it could progress through time, so it could have an acute or chronical beginning. A type of pain can be a dull or a stabbing one, or even a tingling and burning sensation. It is important sometimes if the pain is present in the both of the arms or it is unilateral. Knowing this can lead to the root of the problem since heart attack usually radiates towards the left side. There are conditions that are solved with some ice and rest, but a pain in the upper arm can be a symptom of a serious disease like heart attack or even gall bladder problem.

Potential Accompanying Symptoms

If the pain has some symptoms attached to it, it can lead to the possible cause of the problem. This can be a sign of an inflammation or symptoms that can lead to other organs. Here are some of them.

  • Other characteristic signs of an inflammation. Since an inflamed tissue is under a struggle to recover, it can be swollen and red. The arm could be really sensitive to touch and you are probably going to stay away from large amplitude movements to minimize the pain.
  • Bleeding and bruising. This type of symptom can mean a change in the blood whether it is due to an injury or some other problem. It can present a serious damage to the blood vessels which require emergency care.
  • Numbness or paresthesia. Sometimes, when the nerve is being harmed or compressed, as a result, you can feel tingling sensation or numbness in your upper arm. This doesn’t have to be permanent injury but if it last more than normal numbness, it is a sign of a more serious problem.
  • The pain can be such as to prevent further movements of the hand. The immobility of the hand can be also a sign of a nervous system damage, depending how long it stays present.
  • Chest pain, dyspnea, jaw stiffness, sweating. These are serious symptoms that can be a sign of a heart attack. It has a tendency to radiate towards the shoulder, arm, and jaw, even the back. It is important to recognize the stabbing characteristic of that sign. The sternum doesn’t hurt, so it is a good thing to differentiate it from a bone pain or a muscle problem. It is crucial to get medical care in the first hours of this condition.

Possible Causes Of Upper Arm Pain

Because some of the causes can be serious, it is important to recognize the cause in order to react in the right way and receive the medical care as soon as possible if it’s the case of a severe disease.

Strained Muscle

Due to a hard work or a sudden movement, if you are not prepared for it, you can end up with a strained muscle. That is a very painful condition which can lead to swelling, redness and hot skin that is tender to touch. It can come to a point where the muscle or the tendons get disrupted.


If the pain is unbearable and you feel pain when you try to move your arm, it can be a sign of a broken bone. The bone extending from your shoulder to your elbow is called humerus. It is a long bone prone to pressure when you fall. It can break open and cause hemorrhage where a bleeding is considered an urgent inquiry which should be stopped with first aid and then taken to the hospital.


Tendons can get inflamed leading to a condition called tendinitis. It can be painful and can cause edema on the joint parts of the upper arm. The shoulder can get red and swollen. They can get irritated and stiff which lead to heavy movement and painful activity. It usually needs some therapy like corticosteroids and some home remedy.

Brachial Plexus Injury

Brachial plexus is a net of nerves gathered in the shoulder area. It receives the signal from the spine and sends it back to the shoulder, arm and hand. It can be injured during some activity which pulls the nerves from the spine, where they can even torn. It can be really painful and cause burning and stinging sensation. This type of injury is common in motorcycle riders, where they could end up being paralyzed. There are some surgeries where they try to recover the function of the nerves.

Heart Attack

The most important condition which can be followed up with upper arm pain is a cardiovascular disorder which leads to heart attack. If you sense the symptoms that are mentioned above such as jaw numbness, sweating, pain chest, anxiety, you should go to the doctor immediately. These kind of signs are classical signs of a heart attack. In such conditions, it is crucial to act in the first two hours.

First Aid Remedy For Upper Arm Pain

Most of the causes that are mentioned above can be handled at home with a help of a professional. Here are the first things that you should do when you feel such pain in your upper arm.

  • Most of the problems can happen due to excessive activity. The key is to cool down your muscles and relief it from stress and further injury.
  • Cold Compresses. Since some of the conditions lead to inflamed tissue and swelling, you should prevent it with ice packing on the injured place. It will help with pain reduction. You should cool it about 3-4 times a day, no longer than 15 minutes.
  • Swelling can be reduced to a minimum if you elevate your arm above the heart line to avoid fluid build up due to gravity.
  • If you suffer from muscle or tendon stretch or even you have a broken bone, you will have to immobilize it for the sake of preventing further damage, reducing the pain and proper healing.

When To Visit The Doctor’s Office?

  • If you have pain more than a few days and you feel the pain does not decrease, you should visit a doctor.
  • If you notice that the pain is starting to radiate toward surrounding tissue, you should check up with your doctor.
  • If you’re hearing sounds of crepitation which sound like small parts of the bone crunching to each other and you have a pain to an extent that you can’t move it, you should consider possible fracture and visit a doctor.
  • If you are feeling chest pain, accompanied by sweating, arrhythmia, you feel scared and worried about your life, that you’re gonna end up without air, you’re maybe having a heart It can lead to serious consequences, so it needs to be taken care of right away.
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