misc image

What Your Arm Pain Type May Say About the Cause

misc image

Occasional mild arm pain isn’t too concerning. After all, a day at the gym lifting weights can leave your arms sore the next day. But when arm pain is severe or becomes frequent, it can be both uncomfortable and concerning.

Understanding the type of arm pain you're experiencing offers valuable clues about its underlying cause, and knowing the cause is the first step in finding the right treatment. Our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons are experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating arm pain here at Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County.

Read on to learn more about the various types of arm pain and what they may indicate in terms of potential causes.

Sharp, shooting pain

Sharp, shooting pain can signal nerve compression or impingement. Conditions like a pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy) or thoracic outlet syndrome cause sharp shooting pain. 

This type of pain can also be associated with muscle strains, contusions, and tears.

Dull, aching pain

Muscular strain, overuse, or tension can also contribute to dull aches. Alternatively, poor posture and repetitive motions can lead to this type of pain; or, it may be indicative of underlying joint issues, such as arthritis.

Burning or tingling sensation

Nerve-related conditions, including neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, or cubital tunnel syndrome. These conditions can lead to altered nerve function and sensations in the arm.

Throbbing pain

Vascular issues, such as poor circulation or blood vessel abnormalities, may contribute to throbbing pain. Throbbing pain may also be associated with inflammation or infection.

Numbness and weakness

While numbness isn’t necessarily considered a pain symptom, it can be associated with sensory changes, which can be uncomfortable. Nerve compression or damage, as seen in conditions like a herniated disc or peripheral neuropathy, can cause numbness, weakness, and increased sensitivity to touch, cold, or heat. 

Pain when moving or lifting

Rotator cuff injuries, tendinitis, or bursitis in the shoulder joint may cause pain when you move or lift your arm. Pain during specific movements can indicate localized issues in your shoulder.

Radiating pain

Conditions affecting the spine, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or spondylosis, typically cause radiating pain. Pain that radiates from your neck or upper back down through your arm may suggest spinal involvement.

Pain accompanied by swelling

Inflammation due to injury and underlying medical conditions like arthritis both cause swelling. Swelling often accompanies pain as part of the body's natural response to injury. A bone fracture in your arm, for example, may cause sudden swelling and bruising. 

How is arm pain treated?

Whether your arm pain is acute (develops suddenly) or chronic (persists for days or weeks), don’t brush it off. The team of orthopedic experts here at Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County can help you address the underlying issue, alleviate discomfort, and improve your overall arm health. Because many of these symptoms can overlap, a proper exam with diagnostic imaging tests (such as x-rays) are key to pinpointing the cause of your pain.

Depending on the cause of your pain, you may benefit from lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, joint injections, or surgery.

Get help for arm pain today

Whether you need surgery to alleviate nerve compression, physical therapy to strengthen your arm and improve your shoulder’s range of motion, or a complete shoulder replacement, we have what you need all under one roof. 

To schedule your consultation call 248-335-2977 to reach either our Bloomfield Hills or Clarkston, Michigan office.