Arm

Arm Pain

Article by John Miller

How Do You Get Rid of Pain in the Arm?

It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your arm pain or injury so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. Your physiotherapist optimally treats musculoskeletal and sports injuries.

Referred pain from your neck (e.g. Neck Arm Pain) is successfully treated by your trusted neck healthcare practitioner, e.g. physiotherapist.

Please do not delay consulting your doctor or physiotherapist if you experience arm pain. Some upper limb conditions can take many months or even years to heal when the diagnosis is incorrect, or treatment is neglected early.

If surgery is required, your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend that you seek the advice of an orthopaedic surgeon.

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder pain, wrist pain and elbow pain.

Arm pain and injury are widespread. Most arm pain can occur due to a trauma injury, work injuries or simply everyday use. Alternatively, arm pain can be referred to from your neck joints, e.g. Neck Arm Pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-related Arm Pain

Shoulder-related Arm Pain

Elbow-related Arm Pain

Wrist-related Arm Pain

Hand-related Arm Pain

Muscle-related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

By Structure

Common Shoulder Pain & Injury Conditions

Rotator Cuff

Adhesive Capsulitis

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder Instability

Acromioclavicular Joint

Bone Injuries

Post-Operative Physiotherapy

Muscle Conditions

Systemic Conditions

Referred Pain

Shoulder Treatment

Researchers have discovered that managing your shoulder injury with physiotherapy is usually successful. Typically, you have two options: a non-operative or a surgical approach. Your condition will dictate which option is best for you at this time. Non-operative care is conservative rehabilitation.

If shoulder surgery is required, then your physiotherapist may undertake:

Pre-operative rehabilitation - either trial a non-operative/conservative treatment approach or condition and prepare your shoulder and body for a surgical procedure.

Post-operative physiotherapy will safely regain your normal range of movement, strength and function.

PhysioWorks physiotherapists have a particular interest and an excellent working relationship with leading shoulder surgeons. Our physiotherapy team provide you with both conservative and post-operative shoulder rehabilitation options. We aim for you to attain the best possible outcome for your shoulder injury.

For specific information regarding your shoulder, please consult your trusted shoulder physiotherapist.

Shoulder Pain FAQs & Products

Elbow Pain Causes

Please visit the links below for some of the more common sources of elbow pain.

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

Neck-Related Arm Pain

Muscle-Related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Treatments For Elbow Pain

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most elbow pain responds extremely quickly to physiotherapy that will allow you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly. Some conditions may require diagnostic investigations such as X-rays, Ultrasound, MRI or CT scans. Fractures, dislocations and some severe or chronic injuries may require surgical opinion or intervention.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.

Arm Pain Causes

Arm pain and injuries are widespread. The causes can be related to sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday arm use. Arm pain can occur due to either sudden, traumatic or repetitive overuse.

Arm pain can be a local injury, musculoskeletal injury or could even be referred from nerves in your neck (cervical radiculopathy). This can result in neck-arm pain.

Causes of Arm Pain by Region

Causes of Arm Pain by Structure

Neck-Related Arm Pain

Shoulder-Related Arm Pain

Elbow-Related Arm Pain

Wrist-Related Arm Pain

Hand-Related Arm Pain

Muscle-Related Arm Pain

Other Sources of Arm Pain

Common Causes of Arm Pain

The most common sources of arm pain include shoulder pain, wrist pain and elbow pain.

Referred Arm Pain

Cervical radiculopathy is a common source of referred arm pain. As mentioned earlier, your neck can refer to arm pain from another source. Cervical radiculopathy will respond positively to treatment at the source of the injury (e.g. your neck joints).

Professional assessment from a health practitioner skilled in diagnosing both spinal-origin and local-origin (muscle and joint) injuries (e.g. your physiotherapist) is recommended to ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment directed at the arm pain source.

Arm Pain has Diverse Causes.

The causes of your arm pain can be extensive and varied. Due to this diversity, your arm pain should be assessed by a suitably qualified health practitioner to attain an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and implementation specific to your arm pain.

What Arm Pain is Associated with a Heart Attack?

Left-arm pain can be an early sign of a life-threatening cardiac issue. A professional medical assessment that involves an accurate history, symptom analysis, physical examination and diagnostic tests to exclude a potential heart attack is essential to exclude this potentially life-threatening source of arm pain.

Please consult with your health practitioner, call an ambulance on 000, or visit a hospital emergency department to put your mind at ease.

Most Arm Pain is NOT Life-Threatening.

Luckily, life-threatening arm pain is far less likely than a local musculoskeletal injury. Before commencing treatment, your health practitioner should assess and confirm arm pain caused by a localised arm muscle, tendon or joint damage.

Arm Pain Prognosis

The good news is that arm pain and injury will typically respond very favourably to medical or physiotherapy intervention when early professional assessment and treatment are sought. Please do not delay in consulting your healthcare practitioner if you experience arm pain.

Common Arm Pain Treatments

With accurate assessment and early treatment, most arm injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy or medical care, allowing you to quickly resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living.

Please ask your physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.

Article by John Miller

Common Youth Arm Injuries

Children's Arm Injuries

Children's and Adolescent injuries differ from adult injuries, mainly because the bones are still growing. The growth plates (physis) are cartilaginous (healthy connective tissue) areas of the bones from which the bones elongate or enlarge. Repetitive stress or sudden large forces can cause injury to these areas.

Throwers Elbow

Repetitive overhand throwing can injure a child's elbow. Throwing injuries in the elbow most commonly occur in baseball pitchers, but cricket also has an incidence level. Any child who participates in repetitive overhand throwing can suffer throwers elbow.

The overhand throw creates stress on the growth areas. If repeatedly overloaded, overhand throwing of the immature elbow may result in excessive strain upon the elbow structures, such as ligaments, cartilage, and growth plates.

Medial Apophysitis ("Little Leaguer's Elbow")

Medial apophysitis is a common elbow problem sustained by active children. Medial apophysitis causes pain at the medial epicondyle on the inside of the elbow. The bone prominence, called the medial epicondyle, is at the end of the humerus bone and contains a growth plate called the medial apophysis. Muscles that control wrist motion attach to the medial epicondyle, and excessive overhand throwing can irritate and inflame the growth plate. Young tennis players can also suffer this injury.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans is a common source of lateral elbow pain. The immature bones of the elbow joint can compress from excessive overhand throwing. Small fragments of bone and cartilage may dislodge and potentially float within the joint. You may require surgery to remove the loose bodies.

The key to pain relief is active resting from the aggravating sport. If left untreated, throwing injuries in the elbow can become severe conditions. Depending upon the severity of a child's injury, they may require surgery. If a child's pain continues after a few days of complete rest, please seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor.

More info: Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans

Stress Reaction of Growth Plates (Physis)

Repetitive stress on a child's growth plate (physis) in the arms or legs, if ignored, can impair growth. It can also be painful.

Overuse stress reaction may lead to irregularity or widening of the growth plate. If you continue repetitive stress, the growth plate may become permanently damaged and could stop growing prematurely. This premature cessation could lead to a bone deformity.

Sports activities that may cause a stress reaction in growth plates include gymnastics and overhand throwing.

Gymnasts perform repetitive wrist activities that can lead to a stress reaction of the growth plate in the distal radius bone.

Young baseball pitchers apply forces across the upper arm bone in their shoulders during the overhand throw. They can damage their upper humerus (shoulder bone) growth plate. An abnormal growth plate in an X-ray of a child who participates in a high-risk sport requires an Orthopaedic assessment. They may require surgical treatment. Until assessed, they should stop the aggravating activity for at least 2 to 3 months unless your surgeon suggests otherwise.

For specific advice, please seek the professional opinion of your physiotherapist or doctor.

Common Youth & Teenager Sports Injuries

Acute Sports Injury Clinic

How to Best Care for Your Sports Injury?

There is never an excellent time for an injury. But we do know that most sports injuries occur over the weekend! That's why at PhysioWorks, we have established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at a selection of our clinics on a Monday and Tuesday.

PhysioWorks has established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at our Ashgrove, Clayfield and Sandgate practices to assist with the early assessment and management of acutely injured sports injuries.

The acute sports injury consultation fee is significantly lower than a routine assessment and treatment consultation. In most cases, your private health will cover the full cost of your full acute injury physio assessment fee.

Why Use an Acute Sports Injury Clinic?

Your Acute Sports Injury Assessment Consultation allows us to provide you with:

  • A quick and accurate diagnosis. One of our Sports Physiotherapist's or an experienced sports injury-focused Physiotherapist will confidently guide your new injury management.
  • Early acute sports injury care, professional advice and education. What to do this week?
  • Fast referral for X-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Prompt referral to Sports Physicians, GPs or Surgeons with whom we work if required.
  • Immediate supply of walking boots, braces and rental crutches if needed.
  • Low-cost professional service.

More Information

For more friendly advice or guidance, please call your nearest clinic to discuss your specific needs.

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