How to Relieve Arm Pain

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Whether your arm pain is due to repetitive motion, overuse or direct trauma, it can be inconvenient or even debilitating. Because you constantly use your arms throughout the day, pain is difficult to ignore. Fortunately, some simple home treatments can help relieve the pain. At the first sign of discomfort, try these steps before continuing to use your arm normally. If nothing helps, see your doctor.

Identify the source of your arm pain. Typing, playing a musical instrument, or gardening can cause a painful repetitive motion injury. Tennis or golf athletes are prone to overuse injuries, as are those whose work with their hands for a living. Direct trauma, such as a fall, may cause a painful fracture or sprain in the arm.

If you have a repetitive motion injury, stop the motion immediately. For all kinds of arm pain, keep the arm still as much as possible. Rest until your arm pain no longer bothers you.

Apply an ice pack to the painful part of the arm.

Elevate the arm. While sitting, use a pillow at chest height. While walking and moving around, use a sling.

Apply gentle massage to the neck and shoulders. Arm pain may sometimes be caused by tension in other parts of the body.

Before resuming any activity, change the ergonomics of your workspace or training area.. If your arm pain is caused by hunching your shoulders and bending your elbows as you type, use a desk chair that allows you to sit back from your keyboard and relax your arms as you work. If bowling causes your arm pain, try a lighter ball.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're not able to completely stop the activity that's causing the pain, take frequent breaks. Only take a pain reliever if prescribed by your doctor or if the pain is distracting. It's best to monitor the pain closely, to see if it's improving, rather than blocking it out. Exercises can help arm pain. However, the type of exercise is determined by the cause of your pain, so see a physical therapist.
  • Never let arm pain go untreated for more than three days. If these tips don't provide relief, make an appointment to see your doctor right away. Don't leave the ice pack on for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Severe pain that radiates down the left arm could be a signal that you're having a heart attack. Call 911 if you experience this kind of arm pain.

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