Arm pain is defined as discomfort or pain experienced anywhere throughout the arm, and it can include pain in the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Arm pain can occur due to a variety of different causes. The most common causes are injury or overuse. Depending on the cause, the pain may start suddenly and go away or it may increase gradually.
Causes of arm pain and the accompanying symptoms can range from mild to severe. Possible causes of arm pain include:
The shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body. It moves the shoulder forward and backward. It also allows the arm to move in a circular motion, and to move up and away from the body.
Shoulders get their range of motion from the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of four tendons. Tendons are the tissues that connect muscles to bone. It may be painful or difficult to lift your arm over your head if the tendons or bones around the rotator cuff are damaged or swollen.
You can injure your shoulder by performing manual labor, playing sports, or even by repetitive movement. Certain diseases can bring about pain that travels to the shoulder. These include diseases of the cervical spine of the neck, as well as liver, heart, or gallbladder disease.
You’re more likely to have problems with your shoulder as you grow older. It is especially common after age 60. This is because the soft tissues surrounding the shoulder tend to degenerate with age.
In many cases, you can treat shoulder pain at home. However, physical therapy, medications, or surgery may also be necessary.
Simple shoulder exercises can help stretch and strengthen muscles and rotator cuff tendons. A physical therapist or occupational therapist can show you how to do them properly.
If you’ve had previous issues with your shoulders, use ice for 15 minutes after exercising to prevent future injuries.
After a bout of bursitis or tendinitis, performing simple range-of-motion exercises every day can keep you from getting frozen shoulder.