11 possible causes of pain in the right arm

Bumps, falls, and repetitive motions are common causes of right arm discomfort. However, pain at this level could be a sign of a heart attack.

Last update: 14 March, 2022

Discomfort in the upper extremities usually causes great discomfort when performing daily activities. As usual, are the result of inflammatory processes by blows, falls or repetitive movements of the joints. However, they could also correspond to cardiovascular or neurological problems. We tell you 11 possible causes of pain in the right arm.

Right arm pain can be generalized or refer anywhere from the shoulder to the hand. In this sense, the discomfort would be the result of the condition or damage to the muscles, bones, tendons, joints, nerves, blood vessels or skin of the arm. Sometimes, they could reveal a heart attack.

Acute cases usually present with severe discomfort for a couple of days, making it difficult to move the limb properly. Chronic are those that persist for more than 3 months.

1. Excessive effort

Continuous and repetitive overuse of the upper extremities is a common cause of pain. This situation is common in athletes who practice strength sports and in people who carry out tasks involving heavy loads or repetitive movements, such as musicians or machine operators.

Studies affirm that constant effort conditions the damage and inflammation of the muscles and joints of the shoulder and arm. In this sense, people may report pain in the right and left arm, as well as fatigue and muscle weakness.

In most cases, discomfort subsides after several days of rest. Similarly, professionals can indicate the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatories in acute cases, as well as physiotherapy for people with chronic pain.

2. Tendinitis

Tendinitis is an inflammatory and irritative process of the tendons, which are bands of tissue responsible for attaching the muscles to the bones. This condition is common at the level of the shoulder, elbow and wrist due to overload or due to inappropriate movements.

He presents with a dull ache in his right arm that worsens with movement or sleep. Similarly, muscle fatigue is common, as is tenderness and swelling of the affected area.

The main therapeutic measure is rest of the extremity. in association with physiotherapy sessions. The application of cold compresses and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can be useful.

Painful shoulder syndrome is a relatively common condition that responds to bursitis or tendinitis in the joint.

3. Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammatory condition of the bursae, a group of small synovial sacs that provide cushioning to muscles, tendons, and joints. This is a disorder that usually causes pain and discomfort in the shoulder and elbow of the right arm.

It usually appears after overextending a joint or performing repetitive movements for long periods of time. Similarly, trauma, as well as arthritis and gout are causes.

Treatment is based on the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs and the application of cold compresses for faster relief of symptoms. In some cases, the use of steroids is necessary.

4. Epicondylitis and epitrochleitis

epicondylitis and epitrochleitis are two common painful disorders at the elbow level. The first or tennis elbow It is an inflammatory process that affects the tendons of the extensor muscles of the hand and wrist that insert into the epicondyle, located on the outside of the elbow. It is common in tennis players and squash.

Research shows that epicondylitis causes stabbing pain in the area of ​​the epicondyle that can radiate to the outside of the arm or the forearm. In addition, it is common for upward extension of the wrist and turning movements of the forearm, as well as palpation of the area, to worsen the discomfort.

On the other hand, epitrochleitis or golfer’s elbow It is a common disorder in people who perform repetitive elbow flexion movement. In this case there is a tendinitis of the muscles of the hand and wrist They insert on the epitrochlea, a protuberance located on the inner aspect of the elbow.

In epitrochleitis, the person has more pain when flexing the wrist and when palpating the inflamed area. Treatment includes the use of analgesics to relieve pain and the placement of straps to stabilize the joint.

5. Fracture

Fractures in the right arm can occur at the level of the humerus, radius and ulna, as well as in the small bones of the hand. In most cases, the loss in the continuity of the bone occurs due to direct blows, traffic accidents and falls from a height. Similarly, osteoporosis is a predisposing factor in older people.

Typically, the person complains of severe pain in the right arm, swelling, redness, bone deformity, and inability to move the arm. In addition, in open fractures there may be profuse bleeding.

6. Luxation

A dislocation is the abnormal displacement and loss of alignment of a joint. Studies estimate that the shoulder joint is the most easily dislocated joint and represents 90% of all dislocations. The most common causes include sports contact injuries, falls on an outstretched hand, and traffic accidents.

The dislocated shoulder can be out of place, projected forwards, outwards or backwards. Similarly, it is common for the joint to be inflamed and cause severe pain and inability to perform any movement. Some people tend to keep the arm close to the chest and place the forearm on the other hand as an analgesic position.

The elbow is the second most dislocated joint after shoulder. Characteristic symptoms are severe pain in the right or left arm, deformity, and loss of joint mobility.

7. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis worldwide. the same is result of the wear and tear of the cartilage that forms the joints, product of aging. It affects any joint, being more frequent in the shoulder and hands.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Joint pain.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Crunches when moving the limb.
  • Sensitivity.
  • Swelling of the area.

Trauma, obesity and menopause are triggers.

8. Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction is an emergency condition that occurs when blood flow to the heart is partially or completely blocked. The characteristic symptom is oppressive chest pain radiating to the left arm. However, in some women, pain in the right arm could also be a clear sign of a heart attack, according to studies.

Similarly, patients may also manifest shortness of breath, profuse sweating, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and palpitations. The main risk factors for heart attack include obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and aging.

Suspecting a heart attack it is vital to go immediately to the hospital emergency service. Health professionals are the only ones trained to diagnose this entity and provide the most appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms.

9. Carpal tunnel syndrome

This is a neurological disorder resulting from compression of the mediated nerve that extends from the arm to the handinside the carpal tunnel. The disease is common in people who perform repetitive wrist movements, such as secretaries, writers, seamstresses, and musicians.

Nerve compression causes stabbing pain in his hand and wrist that spreads down his right arm. In addition, there is usually numbness and tingling, as well as muscle weakness and difficulty holding objects.

The therapeutic plan includes the use of splints when sleeping and the application of hot or cold compresses in the zone. Similarly, the use of anti-inflammatories, the injection of corticosteroids and the administration of neuromodulatory drugs may be necessary.

Those who work with computers much of the day are exposed to carpal tunnel syndrome by using the keyboard and mouse.

10. Brachial plexus injury

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves located at the cervical level which is responsible for sending nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the men, arms and hands. Compression, stretching, and trauma at this level cause different neurological symptoms in the right arm.

In minor injuries, the sensation of electric shocks in the arm, as well as numbness and weakness of the extremity, are common. In severe cases, numbness, paralysis, and severe pain occur in the right arm.

The most common causes include trauma due to contact sports, falls and traffic accidents. Treatment depends on the severity of the injury and includes physical therapy, splinting, and reconstructive surgery.

11. Disc herniation

A herniated disc is the result of protrusion or displacement of the intervertebral discs of the spine. Cervical hernias can compress nerve roots and produce severe pain in the arms, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.

Conservative treatment is based on lifestyle modifications to avoid pain and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, muscle relaxants, and opiates. Similarly, the doctor may recommend physical therapy sessions and surgery to repair the defect.

A symptom that indicates that something is wrong

Right arm pain is often the result of a wide variety of conditions. osteoarticular, vascular and neurological. In most cases, discomfort in the shoulder and elbow is due to inflammatory processes that disappear after a couple of days.

However, severe pain that limits daily activities could indicate a heart attack or brachial plexus injury. Do not hesitate to consult.

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