What is arm pain?

Arm pain is any type of pain or discomfort in the arm, which is considered the area from the shoulder joint to the wrist joint. Your arms are made up of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels, all of which are subject to injury, infection, or other conditions that can be painful.

Arm pain may last briefly or be constant, and it may affect your entire arm or only a particular area. Your pain may feel achy, piercing or tingly. Pain-like sensations, often described as pins and needles, prickling, or burning are called paresthesia. Arm pain may be simply irritating and uncomfortable, or it can be so debilitating that you cannot move your arm.

Arm pain can arise from a variety of conditions ranging from accidental trauma to nerve conditions. Arm pain can also originate in another part of the body such as the neck. This type of pain is called referred arm pain.

Referred arm pain can be due to a heart attack. Pain radiating to the left arm is a hallmark symptom of a heart attack and may occur with the feeling of pressure or squeezing pain in the center of the chest, nausea, vomiting, sweating, irregular heart rate, and difficulty breathing. Seek emergency medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have pain in your left arm along with any of these other symptoms.

If you do not have these symptoms, but your arm pain is persistent, recurrent, or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with arm pain?

Other symptoms may occur with arm pain. Symptoms vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, if you have a fever, your arm pain may be due to infection or inflammation. Arm pain due to arthritis may occur with joint stiffness and reduced range of motion.

Symptoms that ... Read more about arm painsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes arm pain?

Typically arm pain is due to overuse, injury, or age-related wear and tear on the muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments of the arm. Usually these conditions are not serious and you can prevent and treat overuse and minor injuries with self-care and lifestyle changes. For example, proper rest in between periods of exertion and abstaining from extreme sports without proper conditioning ar... Read more about arm paincauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 29, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles, Heart Attack, Angina


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