Upper arm muscle pain: What are the usual causes?

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Upper arm muscle pain can drastically affect daily activities. The precise cause of the discomfort might be easy to pinpoint especially if the individual sustained a traumatic injury or recently strained during exercise.

Other causes of upper arm muscle pain such as nerve compression, shoulder injuries or medical ailments such as stroke, cancer or heart attack might not be obvious. A doctor must be consulted for a diagnosis.

Common causes of upper arm muscle pain

Muscle strain

A muscle strain is a possible cause of upper arm muscle pain. The injury arises if the muscle is overly stretched. A strain varies in severity with minor tissue damage or significant tearing of the muscle fibers.

A muscle strain is a possible cause of upper arm muscle pain.

A minor strain typically recuperates in 1-3 days while severe cases might take a few months to heal. The strains on the upper arm might occur from repetitive use of the arm or heavy lifting. The discomfort usually intensifies with activity and settles with rest. A severe strain might result to skin bruising.

Shoulder injuries

Inflamed shoulder joints or tendons that are responsible for moving the joint can trigger upper arm muscle pain. The discomfort which is known as referred pain is usually felt throughout the exterior muscles in the upper arm.

The typical cause of this form of pain is shoulder impingement. The condition might arise from repeated overhead work, prolonged poor posture or sports activities. The upper arm muscle pain generally intensifies with activity and reduces with rest. Physical therapy often treats these shoulder injuries successfully.

Nerve compression

The cervical spinal nerves leave the vertebrae in the neck to supply sensation to the skin and provide power to the muscles in the hands and arms. The spinal nerve C5 provides sensation to the upper arm. This nerve can end up compressed by protruding discs that provide padding amidst the spinal bones or constriction of the holes where the nerves exit.

Compression of the C5 nerve triggers upper arm muscle pain, usually throughout the exterior border. The neck pain may or might not be present.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on upper arm muscle pain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn more about the causes, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.


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