Causes Of Upper Arm Pain
When we think about upper arm pain, we expect to encounter it either due to a broken bone or an injury to either the biceps or triceps. The upper arm is, at least for most people, fairly heavily muscled, and not often injured. When we do experience pain there, it is usually due to the overuse of the muscles. Playing an extra 9 or 18 holes of golf in one day, or bowling 10 games when you haven't bowled in a year, can result in a very sore upper arm the next day. A bone fracture will cause pain as well, but in such a case we usually know what's wrong, and the upper arm pain we feel isn't something mysterious to be worried about.
There are some causes of upper arm pain however that are a bit out of the ordinary, though usually not particularly common. Nervous system disorders or diseases can be a cause, and sometimes a cause difficult to pinpoint. Some nerve disorders affect mainly the limbs, and are commonly referred to as peripheral nerve trauma and peripheral nerve compression, sometimes lumped into a general designation, peripheral neuropathy.
When the nervous system is involved, feelings of numbness and/or weakness often accompany the pain. Circulation disorders can cause pain in the upper arm, one cause being peripheral artery disease. Diabetics are often very susceptible to circulatory problems, and often encounter pain in the arms or legs. Cardiac issues such as angina, not to mention a heart attack, often send pain radiating down the upper arm. Of course, in such instances, the upper arm pain may be the least item of concern.
Athletic Injuries - Tendonitis is yet another cause of upper arm pain, and a fairly common cause at that, especially among people who are physically active and engaged in sports. Tendonitis in the shoulder is often felt primarily in the upper arm. While we've already touched upon sudden muscle overuse as a cause of pain, well conditioned muscles can still become painful if a strain occurs, such as can happen during an athletic event or a weight training session.
Upper arm pain or discomfort can also result from an injury to the area of the neck and shoulder. There are a number of nerves where the neck and shoulder join which serve to transmit signals from the spinal cord down to the hands and fingers. If this nerve system is injured, which can happen during an athletic event, pain in the upper arm, and perhaps the entire arm can occur. This is known as a brachial plexus injury.
Heartburn? - Sometimes we suffer pain from causes which at least on the surface appear to be completely at odds to where the pain is actually being felt. Heartburn is one such cause. Though it may seem a little difficult to make the connection, many who suffer from heartburn will tell you that besides abdominal pain, or pain and burning in the throat, pain can also be experienced in the upper arms.
Treatment - For most types of pain, treatment consists of icing down the arm, and resting the arm. Fractures of course have to be tended to, but mostly treatment is designed to lessen and relieve pain while the body is healing itself. When the pain is due to something happening elsewhere than in the arm, such as when the nervous system or heart is involved, then treatment falls into a whole new area, one in which the arm probably plays a secondary role, if any role at all. When one considers all the possible things which could contribute to upper arm pain, a strained muscle or tendon isn't such a bad thing to have happen after all.
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