What causes arm pain? How does arm pain go?
The arm covers the area starting from the shoulder joint to the fingertips. Arm pain can often be caused by an accident, an irritation or inflammation of the skin, and pathologies in the arm muscles or joints. Apart from these, daily activities such as writing, working with tools, doing sports, heavy lifting, and exercise can also cause arm muscle pain.
What is arm pain?
Arm pain is a burning, stinging, crushing, numbing unpleasant feeling that can occur anywhere along the entire armor can hold the whole arm. While pain can be seen at a single point, it can also spread to the whole arm. Pain that may occur only in the form of right arm pain or left arm pain can be observed in both arms in some cases. In addition to the pain seen in motion, there are arm pains that can be seen at rest.
What are the causes of arm pain?
Separation of the arm causes neck hernia, shoulder pathologies, muscle tears, elbow tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), ulnar groove syndrome, pathologies in the wrist joint. In heart diseases, especially in heart attack, the pain can hit the left arm or, rarely, the right arm.
A cervical hernia occurs as a result of the intervertebral disc protruding towards the spinal cord and compression of the nerves in the cervical spine. Depending on the distance of the hernia, pain occurs in the right or left arm, sometimes extending to the elbow, sometimes to the wrist, and sometimes to the fingertips. Simultaneously, pain, sensation, and/or loss of strength or numbness in the neck or between the shoulder blade can be observed.
Arm pain can also be seen in diseases of the shoulder joint such as frozen shoulder, impingement syndrome, and bursitis. This pain usually spreads to the upper arm, shoulder joint movements are painful and pain occurs with movement. Although movement restriction can be perceived as a loss of strength, there is no loss of strength due to neural damage.
Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) disease is also one of the most common causes of arm pain. There is a weakness at the point where the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon attaches to the lateral epicondyle on the outside of the elbow. The pain is usually in the elbow area and does not spread to the upper arm or wrist. Usually, the elbow develops due to overuse.
Arm pain can also be seen in ulnar groove and carpal tunnel syndrome, which are called entrapment neuropathies. These two syndromes are characterized by numbness in the fingers rather than pain. In carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve is compressed in the wrist and there is usually a numbness involving the thumb and middle fingers. In ulnar groove syndrome, the ulnar nerve gets stuck in the elbow and the numbness starts at the elbow and covers the ring and little finger.
Arm pain and heart disease
Arm pain, especially severe left arm pain, is one of the most feared situations for patients with heart disease. Generally, patients suffering from arm pain consult Cardiology specialists, worrying about their heart problems, before seeing Physical Therapy, Orthopedics, or Neurosurgery specialists. Arm pain may be reflected in angina that occurs with insufficiency in the vessels leading to the heart or in heart attacks caused by the development of ischemia in the heart cells with the development of obstruction in the vessels feeding the heart. Generally, left arm pain is seen, but in some cases, right arm pain can also be seen. But not all arm pains mean a heart attack. In heart conditions, serious chest pain is primarily observed. Pain may spread to the chin and back. To this, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and cold sweat is added. If all these signs and symptoms are present, a physician should be consulted immediately.
What are the types of arm pain?
Arm pains can occur in various ways. It can be burning, stinging, as well as normal nociceptive pain, punctuate or spreading, occurring with movement or at rest, increasing or decreasing with movement.
How is the diagnosis of arm separation made?
As in all medical pathologies, anamnesis is the most important parameter that will lead to the diagnosis of arm pain. Primarily, the possible causes of arm pain are suspected according to the shape, type, and duration of the pain, and possible diagnoses are made. Necessary tests are requested by your doctor according to the examination findings. If pain; If occurs suddenly after a trauma such as falling or hitting, if there is pain with touching the pain, it is primarily checked whether there is any fracture in the arm with direct radiographs (X-rays). Cervical MRI (magnetic resonance) is requested when the cervical hernia is suspected in cases where neck pain spreads to the whole arm and fingers, accompanied by numbness in the fingers or loss of strength in the arm. If shoulder and arm pain are present, usually passes at rest, and appears or increases with shoulder movements, shoulder pathologies are suspected and shoulder MRI is performed. The diagnosis of diseases such as ulnar groove syndrome and carpal tunnel syndrome due to nerve compression is made by EMG. Do not neglect to make an appointment with the relevant specialist, since the diagnosis of diseases that cause both right arm pain and left arm pain can be made primarily when your doctor suspects that disease.
What are the treatment methods for arm pain?
Arm pain treatment is done according to the cause. The answer to the question of how to arm pain goes can be given by first finding the cause of arm pain. If there is a fracture or muscle injury due to trauma, a cast or splint is applied to fix the arm and treated with painkillers.
If there is arm pain due to cervical hernia and the patient does not have a significant force, pain relief and muscle relaxant treatments are applied for 2-3 weeks and the pain is followed up. If the severity of the pain decreases or passes during this period, surgical treatment is not required for cervical hernia, but if the patient’s pain does not disappear, surgical treatment may be considered. In some cases, patients have severe pain that does not respond to analgesic (painkiller) treatment, unbearable to sleep at night due to cervical hernia. From time to time, patients refer to the doctor with the phrase “Take my arm off”. If such a situation exists or there is a significant loss of strength in the patient, direct surgical treatment can be applied without waiting for this 2-3 week period. Analgesic treatment is primarily used in arm pain caused by joints, such as shoulder pathologies. Patients who do not recover with analgesic treatment may benefit from physical therapy. Despite all these, intra-articular injections, arthroscopic or open surgical treatments can be applied for persistent pain.
In the treatment of arm pain associated with lateral epicondylitis, activity is primarily restricted and analgesic treatment is applied. In the brace application called elbow band, joint movement restriction is applied with a device that is attached around the elbow and fixes the elbow, and the treatment is planned by reducing the tension on the elbow. However, in the presence of persistent pain, steroid injection or surgical treatment may be applied instead of the adhesion of the tendons.
In cases of arm pain accompanied by numbness due to diseases such as Ulnar Groove or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a splint is applied primarily to fix the elbow or wrist. Vitamin B12 supplements are particularly useful in relieving numbness. Physical therapy, including paraffin, TENS, or Ultrasound applications, provides very successful results, especially in carpal tunnel syndrome. In all these treatments, if the patient’s complaints do not disappear or recur frequently, the opinion of Brain and Nerve Surgery should be taken in terms of surgical treatment.
If you too are suffering from arm pain and are looking for an answer to the question of why arm pain causes arm pain, do not neglect to make an appointment with Neurosurgery, Physical Therapy, and Rehabilitation or Orthopedics Departments.
The page content is for informational purposes only. Items containing information about therapeutic health services are not included in the content of the page. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment.