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What causes pain in the right arm?

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Posted on Thu, 9 Nov 2017
Question: Hi. I am female 35 years old. i am having some aching over on my right arm. i am not sure why. but i feel like my whole right arm to my finger feeling tired. it has been like this for almost a week now.

what is my problem?
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Answered by Dr. Antoneta Zotaj (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Some possible causes explained and advises given

Detailed Answer:
Hello,
Thank you for asking at healthcaremagic.

I carefully read your question and understand your concern.

There are several reasons for arm pain. Knowing more about other symptoms present helps a lot in specifying the actual cause of it.

Muscular pain is the most common cause. This would happen after trauma or certain movement that might have streched the muscle or its tendon. Sometimes the patient might not have noticed a certain cause of it. Muscular pain is worse on certain movements and touching the tender area affects it. Ibuprofen and paracetamol might be a good idea to try in this case. It might take a few weeks sometimes for the muscular pain to go away, especially if you are exposed to the movement that caused it.

Sometimes certain repetitive movements might also cause tendinitis, the most common one is De Quervain tendinitis, which causes pain in the arm that radiates to the thumb. In this case again ibuprofen and paracetamol will help but rducing movements of the hand with a splint and physiotherapy might be needed and rarely local steroid injections are required.

If you have some numbness in the arm or hand than a pinched nerve might be the cause and in this case it might be a pinching of the nerve from the root (at the spine) or in its course along the arm. A visit with your doctor would be able to identify if this is a pinched nerve and in which level the pinching is happening and therapy will be guided based on this. Generally pain killers (ibuprofen, paracetamol) and physiotherapy are what will be recommended.

If you have some skin changes like redness or local heat than inflammation is suspected which might be due to a certain infection or other more rare conditions. In this case you will need a quick visit with your doctor to determine the cause and take the proper treatment.

Rarely the bones might be a cause of the pain in the arms. This would be if you have had a fall recently or a major trauma and might be considered also if no history of fall or trauma but other causes are ruled out and no improvement of the pain. An xray in this case might be the first step in investigation.

To conclude i woud say that:
1. most causes of arm pain are selflimiting and not serious like musucular or tendines being irritated and takes a few weeks to go away
2. if you don't have local heat, redness, or neurlogogical signs (numbness, weakness) than try some ibuprofen 600-800 mg every 6 hours after food (to protect your stomach as ibuprofen can hurt the stomach)
3. try to limit the movements that might aggravate the pain
4. if you are not improved in 1-2 weeks or earlier if any worsening please see your doctor
5. if you have any local heat, redness or neurological signs it is safer to see your doctor as soon as possible.
6. your doctor might consider xray if he is considering bone lesions or fractures due to possible trauma, etc, but this is very rare the case.

I hope this answers to your question but please feel free to contact me in case more clarification is needed on this.

Kind regards,

Antoneta Zotaj, MD
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Answered by
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Dr. Antoneta Zotaj

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 4436 Questions

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What causes pain in the right arm?

Brief Answer: Some possible causes explained and advises given Detailed Answer: Hello, Thank you for asking at healthcaremagic. I carefully read your question and understand your concern. There are several reasons for arm pain. Knowing more about other symptoms present helps a lot in specifying the actual cause of it. Muscular pain is the most common cause. This would happen after trauma or certain movement that might have streched the muscle or its tendon. Sometimes the patient might not have noticed a certain cause of it. Muscular pain is worse on certain movements and touching the tender area affects it. Ibuprofen and paracetamol might be a good idea to try in this case. It might take a few weeks sometimes for the muscular pain to go away, especially if you are exposed to the movement that caused it. Sometimes certain repetitive movements might also cause tendinitis, the most common one is De Quervain tendinitis, which causes pain in the arm that radiates to the thumb. In this case again ibuprofen and paracetamol will help but rducing movements of the hand with a splint and physiotherapy might be needed and rarely local steroid injections are required. If you have some numbness in the arm or hand than a pinched nerve might be the cause and in this case it might be a pinching of the nerve from the root (at the spine) or in its course along the arm. A visit with your doctor would be able to identify if this is a pinched nerve and in which level the pinching is happening and therapy will be guided based on this. Generally pain killers (ibuprofen, paracetamol) and physiotherapy are what will be recommended. If you have some skin changes like redness or local heat than inflammation is suspected which might be due to a certain infection or other more rare conditions. In this case you will need a quick visit with your doctor to determine the cause and take the proper treatment. Rarely the bones might be a cause of the pain in the arms. This would be if you have had a fall recently or a major trauma and might be considered also if no history of fall or trauma but other causes are ruled out and no improvement of the pain. An xray in this case might be the first step in investigation. To conclude i woud say that: 1. most causes of arm pain are selflimiting and not serious like musucular or tendines being irritated and takes a few weeks to go away 2. if you don't have local heat, redness, or neurlogogical signs (numbness, weakness) than try some ibuprofen 600-800 mg every 6 hours after food (to protect your stomach as ibuprofen can hurt the stomach) 3. try to limit the movements that might aggravate the pain 4. if you are not improved in 1-2 weeks or earlier if any worsening please see your doctor 5. if you have any local heat, redness or neurological signs it is safer to see your doctor as soon as possible. 6. your doctor might consider xray if he is considering bone lesions or fractures due to possible trauma, etc, but this is very rare the case. I hope this answers to your question but please feel free to contact me in case more clarification is needed on this. Kind regards, Antoneta Zotaj, MD