Arm Pain or Pain in Arm

Arms | Orthopaedics | Arm Pain or Pain in Arm (Symptom)


Arm pain usually refers to pain originating between your shoulder and your wrist. Arm pain does not necessarily have to originate in your arm; spinal problems or injuries can cause pain that you feel in your arm but that actually arises in your neck and upper back. The arms are made up of three major bones and nerves as well as muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. All are susceptible to damage or injury which might cause arm pain.


Pain in the arm can result from a number of factors. Abnormalities of the skin, nerves, bones, joints, blood vessels, and soft tissues of the arm can all result in pain. Sometimes diseases that affect other organs in the body, like peripheral vascular disease or arthritis, can be the cause of pain in the arm.

Rarely, arm pain may be a symptom of heart disease. Causes of arm pain range from mild annoyances to severe and potentially life-threatening occurrences, such as the pain from myocardial infarction and angina pectoris that may spread to the arm area.

Symptoms that occur with arm pain include arm redness, arm stiffness, arm swelling, arm tenderness, and swollen lymph glands under the arm. Symptoms that occur with arm pain caused by heart disease include excessive sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing, palpitations, fainting, and chest pain.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment for arm pain depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for arm pain may include rest, elevation, an elastic wrap, a splint or sling, cold compresses, acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, and surgery. Additional treatment for arm pain caused by infection may include warm compresses and antibiotics.