Healthy Living

Pain in the Right Arm: Causes and Home Remedies

Pain in the Right Arm: Causes and Home Remedies

Key Takeaways

  • Injuries, falls and traumas are the common causes that could lead to pain in the right arm, however, there are various other causes as well.
  • The pain in the arm could be mild or severe, and the intensity often depends upon what causes the painful condition.
  • There are a number of home remedies that can be helpful in treating the condition. 

Pain in any part of your body can prevent you from carrying out your daily activities. When it comes to the right hand, which we use frequently to perform daily duties, pain can raise concern. Read further to learn about the causes of right arm pain and all possible home remedies you can use to eliminate the pain and prevent it from getting worse.

Causes of Pain in Right Arm

Some of the major causes of pain in your right arm can include the following.

Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a condition that leads to swelling and pain within your elbow. Such swelling can be as a result of excessive usage of the right arm and elbow joint. The pain can be felt from the outside of the elbow, but sometimes it can extend to the back of your forearm, making the whole arm painful. The pain increases when you extend or straighten your arm.

Broken Right Arm

A broken arm involves one or more of your three arm bones: the humerus, radius, and ulna. Your arm can break when you fall on an overstretched hand. A broken arm can result in severe pain in the right arm for an extended period of time.

Thoracic outlet syndrome

This is also another condition that can lead to pain in the right arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a general term used to describe multiple conditions leading to shooting pain in right arm. This condition can cause pain when some nerves are compressed in a space between the collar bone and the first set of ribs.

Compression in these cavities can lead to severe pain and discomfort in your arm. Major causes of thoracic outlet syndrome include trauma, multiple injuries, and other arm deformities.

Syringomyelia

Syringomyelia is a medical condition that can often result in pain in the right arm. Syringomyelia is characterized by the formation of fluid-filled cysts, known as a syrinx, that emerge around the spinal cord region. With time, the cyst or syrinx could expand, resulting in damage to the spinal cord. This damage comes with sharp and shooting pain, fatigue, and other symptoms in the upper body.

When left untreated for an extended period of time, the syringomyelic condition could worsen, sometimes even requiring surgical treatment. The most common cause leading to syringomyelia is a chiari abnormality that occurs when a part of the brain extends into the spinal cord. Other causes that could result in syringomyelia may include severe injuries to the spinal cord, tumors in the spine, and swelling that causes damage in and near the spinal cord.

Some of the prominent symptoms often linked with syringomyelia are severe pain in the arms, neck, and back; certain alterations in the normal functioning of the bowel and bladder; muscular weakness, and lack of sensitivity to factors like touch, pain and temperatures.

Brachial Plexus injury

This is an injury of the nerve network that conveys signals from your spine to the hand, shoulder, and arm. Injury of the brachial plexus happens when the nerves are compressed or stretched. In serious cases, brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves are torn away from the spinal cord.

Injury of brachial plexus is common in contact sports like football and accidents such as motorcycle accident. Severe cases of brachial plexus injury can leave your right arm paralyzed.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a very common condition that causes pain in the joints and body muscles. Arthritis causing pain on one or more joints in your body can lead to a dull, aching pain in the entire right arm. Arthritis can also lead to poor movement of the arm joints.

Cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is another medical condition that can lead to right arm pain. Cubital tunnel syndrome is also called ulnar nerve entrapment, and is known to occur when the ulnar nerve, one of the biggest nerves in the upper extreme of the body, is compressed as it goes through the cubital tunnel located in the elbow. The cubital tunnel is situated near the bony structure on the inner part of the elbow, known as medial epicondyle. When the ulnar nerve undergoes some kind of pressure, it causes impairment to the function of the nerve, creating pain, tingling, and numbness in the arm and elbow of the affected side. Pressure on the ulnar nerve can occur when the elbow stays in a bent position for long periods of time.

Bursitis

Bursitis is a very painful condition that usually affects the bursae (small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, muscles, and tendons on your joints). Bursitis comes when the bursae are inflamed. Bursitis occurs mostly in joints that perform frequent and repetitive movements.

The most common body locations where bursitis can occur are in the hip, shoulder, and elbow. Bursitis that occurs in the shoulder joint is likely to cause pain in upper right arm. On the other hand, bursitis of the elbow can result in lower right arm pain. With proper treatment, bursitis can go away in less than 2 weeks.

Tendinitis

Tendinitis is a condition characterized by irritation and inflammation of a tendon. A tendon is a thick fibrous cord that joins bones to muscles. Tendinitis is a condition that can cause tenderness and severe pain outside the joint.

While tendinitis can occur in many body joints, it is common in the right arm since it is involved in many daily activities. Tendinitis can occur around your shoulder, elbow, or wrist resulting in widespread right arm pain. Tendinitis on your right arm can sometimes lead to rupturing of a tendon that would require surgical repair.

Rotator cuff injury

Rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that form the shoulder joint, making the head of your upper arm tightly joined to the shoulder socket. An injury of the right arm rotator cuff can cause mild pain in your shoulder that becomes worse when sleeping on the right side.

A rotator cuff injury is very common in people who make overhead motions during jobs or sports. Such people include carpenters, painters and tennis or baseball players. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition of the arm and hand that causes tingling and numbness among other signs. This condition occurs when a nerve on your wrist is pinched or compressed.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome on your right arm, you are likely to experience pain on entire right arm.

Dislocated elbow

Dislocation of the right arm elbow can also result in right arm pain. A dislocated elbow occurs when the bones that create the elbow joint go out of alignment. This can occur when you fall on an overstretched arm. A dislocated elbow can realign without surgery.

Is Pain in the Upper Right Arm Related to Heart Problems?

Pain in your upper right arm can be caused by a number of factors such as muscular, bone, and tendon problems. However, one dangerous potential cause of pain in the upper right arm is heart issues. If you happen to have pain in the right arm, you should consult your doctor and make sure that the pain is not a result of a heart disorder.

The main reason why people suffering from heart disorders experience right arm pain is because of the way nerves in the human nervous system are designed. Your nerves run all over your body but there are some that connect the center of your heart to the upper arm area. Arm pain as a result of heart attack is accompanied by numbness and dullness in the arm.

Other causes of pain in upper right arm include the following:

  • Injury on the shoulders: Inflamed or frozen shoulder joint and tendons can cause pain in upper right arm. This type of pain can be felt on the outer muscles of your upper arm and not necessarily of the shoulder where the injury occurred. Shoulder impingement is the major cause of this type of pain. Impingement is a term used to explain pinching of structures found between the shoulder bones. Such a condition can result from prolonged bad posture, sporting activities such as volleyball, and overhead repetitive work. Upper arm pain as a result of shoulder injury can be treated successfully with physical therapy.
  • Nerve compression: Nerves usually exit the spine between each of your vertebrae. On the other hand, nerves on your cervical spine exit the vertebrae in your neck giving sensation to your skin and also power to the muscles on your arms. A nerve known as C 5 supplies sensation to your upper arm. The C5 nerve can be compressed by bulging discs that enable movement of spine bones. The nerve can also be compressed when the holes where the nerves exit go narrow. Compression of the C5 nerve can cause pain in upper right arm usually along the outer border. In such a condition, neck pain is absent. Placing of your arm above the head can decrease upper arm pain that is caused by C5 nerve compression.
  • Muscle strain: Muscle pain in your right arm can also be caused by muscle strain. Muscle strain is an injury that can result from muscle overstretching. Muscle strains can range from mild to severe. Mild muscle strains may heal within 3 days while severe muscle strain may take up to 3 months. Muscle strain of your upper right arm can occur after repetitive usage of your arm and heavy lifting. Upper arm pain as a result of muscle strain may increase with increase in activity and decrease with rest. Severe muscle strains may also cause bruising of your upper arm skin.

Are there Home Remedies to Treat Right Arm Pain?

Some right arm injuries can be treated initially with home treatment. However, it’s important to confirm with your physician before starting any at-home treatments.

You can use home remedies to help reduce swelling, relieve pain, stiffness and muscle cramps.

The home remedies for the treatment of pain in right arm are as follows:

  • Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help reduce shooting pain in right arm. Ginger can also eliminate inflammation of any type including that of the upper arm and shoulder. Ginger also helps to improve blood circulation to quicken the healing of your arm. You should drink up to 3 cups of ginger tea daily to quicken the healing process. To prepare ginger tea, put 1 teaspoon of finely minced ginger in 2 cups of water and warm the mixture. You can add honey to make the mixture more palatable.
  • Cold packs: Cold packs, also called cold compresses, are important in relieving pain in the right arm. The cold temperature helps to make the tissue in the painful area numb therefore alleviating pain. To prepare cold compresses, put ice cubes in a plastic bag, and then wrap the bag with a thick cloth or towel. After that, you place the plastic bag on the painful or inflamed are for about 15 minutes. You should repeat the procedure for about one week to make sure all the pain has gone away. You can alternatively soak a towel in cold water and then place it on the inflamed. Placing direct ice on the skin is not recommended as it may cause frostbite.
  • Compression: Compression is a term used to mean applying pressure on the inflamed or painful area. You should put a compression wrap made of an elastic bag or a warm wrap on the painful area to help your arm feel more comfortable and less painful. The affected area should be wrapped for about 3 days which will minimize pain and swelling. You should avoid wrapping the inflamed area tightly as it can lead to poor blood circulation, and worsen the arm pain.
  • Massage: Massage is another home remedy that can help relieve the pain in your right arm. Massage should be done more carefully as strong massage could worsen the condition. You can do the massage on your own or visit an expert to do it. While massaging, you can use light oils such as sesame, mustard, coconut, or olive oils. You can warm the oil lightly and then apply it on the painful part of your right arm with a little pressure to increase blood circulation and relieve pain as well. You can do your massage a few times a day for several days to make sure the pain subsides. Doing massages carefully will save you the agony or worsened symptoms of pain.
  • Hot pack: Hot packs work in a similar manner as cold packs. Hot packs are usually used to compress the inflamed area to reduce swelling and also soothe the fatigue in your right arm. Hot packs or hot compresses are useful in relieving the signs of pain caused by stressed muscles. To prepare a hot pack, fill hot water in a compress bag and then place it on the inflamed or painful part for about 15 minutes. You should repeat the procedure for a few days to successfully relief right arm pain.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric is another good home remedy for your right arm pain. A chemical in turmeric known as curcumin is believed to contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that work well to reduce swelling and pain. To prepare turmeric for application on your arm, make a paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. When the paste is ready, rub it on the painful or swollen are and let it dry. You can later rinse the paste with warm water. Be careful, as turmeric can stain your clothing. You should repeat the procedure at least twice a day to make sure all the pain is gone. Alternatively, you can prepare turmeric by mixing 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with 1 cup of boiled milk. You can sweeten the latter with honey and then drink it 2 times a day to help promote its anti-inflammatory properties from inside your body.
  • Epsom salt: A bath of Epsom salt can help relieve your right arm pain. Epsom salt is made from magnesium sulphate that can help reduce your arm pain. It does this by improving blood circulation and also relaxing your stressed and painful muscles. Epsom salt can also help reduce muscle pain for the whole body. To prepare an Epsom salt bath, fill your bathtub with warm water and then add 2 cups of Epsom salt and stir thoroughly. Soak your right arm in the water and repeat the procedure at least three times a week until the pain subsides.
  • Apple cider vinegar: This is also another home remedy that can help relieve pain in the right arm. Apple cider vinegar has alkalizing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in your right arm. You can prepare apple cider vinegar by adding 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar in warm bathtub water. Soak your right arm in the bathtub water for about 30 minutes. You can enjoy the relaxing bath once a day for about a week to make sure all the pain is gone.
  • Alfalfa sprouts: This is another herbal home remedy you can use in the treatment of right arm pain. The herbal medicine works by ensuring there is smooth flow of blood in the arm and throughout the body. This can help reduce inflammation and pain as well. You are recommended to drink at least 2 cups of warm alfalfa tea for a few days to treat your right arm pain. To prepare, add 1 tablespoon of dried alfalfa leaves to a cup of hot water. Steep for about 5 minutes, strain the leaves, and drink the extract.
  • Lavender oil: This is an essential oil that has been used to relax exhausted muscles. Its properties have been seen to reduce inflammation and pain as well. To prepare lavender oil, add about 5 drops of lavender oil in hot bathtub water and then soak your right arm in it for about 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure daily for about a week to make sure all the pain is gone.

When should I see a doctor?

Though home remedies can help relieve right arm pain, in some situations you might need medical attention.

You should therefore seek emergency treatment if you have:

  • Shooting right arm pain that is accompanied by back and shoulder pain that appears suddenly.
  • Unusual severe pain that is accompanied by fullness, pressure, and squeezing in your chest. This may be a sign of heart attack and should be dealt with immediately.
  • A common deformity of an intruding bone on your wrist or arm. Such deformity is accompanied by bleeding.

You should also see your doctor immediately if you:

  • Have severe pain that is accompanied by swelling in your arm
  • Have difficulty moving your arm normally or even turning it from palm down to palm up and vice versa
  • Have a sudden injury in your arm that may have produced a snap or a cracking sound
  • Have shoulder, arm or back pain that occurs after you move your arm or exert pressure on it. Such pain is relieved by rest. This may possibly signal heart problems or deformity of the chest that is caused by reduced blood supply to your heart muscles. This condition is referred to as angina.

The bottom line

Arm pain is usually a normal form of pain that is triggered by an injury or overuse. Most often, this pain can be managed with rest to the affected hand and some over the counter medication. Like any other type of pain associated with the hands or the arms, right arm pain can be caused by injuries or other medical conditions.

Right arm pain can many times be accompanied by numbness or a tingling sensation in the arms, hands, and the fingers. Right arm pain also varies in intensity, ranging from mild to severe, and this primarily depends upon the factors causing the pain.

Be sure to visit your doctor if you are unable to determine the source of your right arm pain.