What are the causes of pain in the arm?

The human arm has many uses, so when an arm hurts, productivity is affected and concern arises. When you have pain in an arm, the reasons can be for various, some that are obvious, while others are hidden. Most often, arm pain is caused by injuries or falls. Continued stress can also injure arms, causing upper arm and wrist pain. Arm pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem such as a heart attack. Whenever you experience arm pain, it's vital to get immediate medical attention.

Injuries and strained muscles

Pain caused by arm injuries is usually in the lower arm. Any trauma or injury involving the arm can cause pain. Common examples include sprains and fractures, which are the most visible arm injuries. Overusing your arm, resulting in strained muscles, is one of the most common causes of arm pain. For example, excessive swimming, throwing, swinging such as in tennis and other repetitive activities, usually involved with sports, can result in arm pain.

Pinched neck nerves

Pinched nerves in the neck cause numbness, weakness and pain in arms or hands. Neck pain due to muscle strain can cause stiffness and aches spreading to the upper arm. If you experience shooting pain spreading to the hand and fingers, you may have a pinched nerve. When this occurs in both arms and hands the pain is more severe. Pinched nerves can be the result of joint irritation, swelling or injuries.

Causes of upper arm pain

Because the upper arm has plenty of muscles, it's harder to injure it. However, a condition causing upper arm pain is bicipital tendinitis, involving a torn or frayed tendon near the shoulder. This triggers pain in the upper arm biceps. Lifting heavy weights can cause upper arm pain because it inflames shoulder tendons. Other causes of upper arm pain may include diabetes, chemical burn, heartburn, brachial plexus injury, peripheral neuropathy and upper arm injuries.

Heart problems

There is a strong link with tingling feelings or pain in the left arm and the possibility of either angina or a heart attack. Angina describes chest pain that's related to the heart. This symptom is found more in men than in women. It's rare that left arm pain is the only sign. If you do have pain in the left arm, it's important to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.


Diseases affecting other body organs can cause arm pain. A few examples include arthritis or peripheral vascular disease. Degrees of arm pain may range from mild to severe. In some cases the pain can even to be life-threatening such as pain resulting from myocardial infarction. Treatments for the pain depend on the root causes.

Poor posture

Poor posture can cause shoulder and neck muscular tension. Just by sitting with your head and shoulders forward can place extra weight on your neck, causing arm pain. Considering the normal-sized head is as heavy as a bowling ball, it's not surprising how poor posture can result in muscular tension to the arms, causing pain.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author