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Causes of Chronic Arm Pain

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Chronic arm pain can interfere with almost all of the activities that you need to do throughout the day, from shampooing your hair and getting dressed in the morning to writing and keyboarding at work and driving home in the evening. There are several different causes of chronic arm pain. Most types of persistent arm pain can be helped with regular visits to a pain management physician.


Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints. It could develop in your shoulder, elbow or wrist. There are two types of arthritis that could cause you to experience pain. One is osteoarthritis, which results from wearing down of the cartilage in your joints. The other type is rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system attacks the joints. Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis benefit from pain management such as medication and physical therapy.

Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve in your neck may cause referred pain in your arm. A nerve can get pinched when one of your vertebrae gets out of alignment. The shift of the vertebral disk squeezes the nerve. Along with pain, you might also notice some numbness or tingling in the arm. This type of arm pain usually involves just one arm. Pain management can help to lessen the pain, and an adjustment of your spine may help to get your spine back into the proper alignment.


Tendinitis is an inflammation of one of the tendons of your harm. It can develop in any of the tendons, but it is most common in the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Some other names for tendinitis include tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, swimmer’s shoulder and pitcher’s shoulder. Tendinitis pain can often be managed with medications, rest and ice. Physical therapy can help you to strengthen the tendons in your arm and will also help you to learn proper technique and posture for athletic activities.

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common ways that “weekend warriors” end up with chronic arm pain. A sudden bout of physical activity without a warm-up can sprain or strain the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your arm. Most sprains and strains can be cared for with pain medications, rest, application of ice and elevating the arm. Once your pain is at a manageable level, physical therapy exercises can help you to avoid a recurrence of the injury to your arm.