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What Could Pain and Weakness in the Right Arm Mean?

What Could Pain and Weakness in the Right Arm Mean?

Arm pain, usually on the right side, accompanied by a tightening of the chest, nausea, and difficulty breathing can be a symptom of coronary artery disease or even a heart attack in some severe cases. Right arm pain can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from joint inflammation and injuries to compressed nerves and trauma. A person with right arm pain experiences soreness, itching, numbness, and discomfort in the structures of the arm. Arm pain is usually caused by an injury, irritation, or inflammation of the skin, muscles, bones, or joints in the arm. Everyday activities, including typing, writing, working with tools, playing sports, lifting heavy objects, or exercising can also cause arm pain.


Possible causes of arm pain include:

  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Broken arm
  • Broken wrist/broken hand
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dislocated elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart attack
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tennis elbow


Right arm pain, depending on the location and cause, may be accompanied by numbness, redness, swelling, or stiffness of the joints. Injuries or trauma to any part of the arm or shoulder, including bone fractures and muscle strains and sprains, are common causes of right arm pain. Sometimes diseases that affect other organs in the body, like peripheral vascular disease or arthritis, can be the cause of pain in the right arm as well. Causes of arm pain range from mild annoyances to life-threatening occurrences. The pain of a heart attack can be accompanied by nausea, difficulty breathing, a sense of pressure on the chest, and other symptoms.


The conditions above represent most of leading causes of one-sided arm pain, but there are some other as well. For instance, a blood clot or infection of the arm can cause this symptom. With the range of possibilities and varied potential threat to your health, it's crucial to see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience unexplained right arm pain. Seek immediate help if you experience any warning symptoms, such as:

  • Severe or worsening arm pain
  • Traumatic injury to the arm, shoulder or neck
  • Swelling, redness or other skin discoloration
  • Fever or chills


People with nerve damage or compressed nerves in the right arm, wrist, elbow, or hand should avoid repetitive movements and take frequent breaks. If you are experiencing right arm pain caused by overuse or exertion, you can try to alleviate the pain at home. If your right arm is swollen, apply ice to the area and use a sling to keep the arm still. The treatment for arm pain depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for arm pain may include rest, elevation, an elastic wrap, a splint or sling, cold compresses and surgery. Additional treatment for right arm pain caused by infection may include warm compresses and antibiotics.

Even serious right arm injuries can be helped with home treatment. If you think that you have a broken arm or wrist, apply ice to the affected area and use a sling to help hold your arm still until you can get medical care. If you have a compressed nerve or repetitive strain injury, be consistent about therapy, maintain good posture, and take frequent breaks at work and during repetitive activities, such as playing an instrument or practicing your golf swing. However, most other types of arm pain will eventually get better on their own.