Florida Spine & Pain Management Institute


Arm Pain

With a considerable number of factors contributing to arm pain, symptoms vary, depending on the injury or underlying cause of pain. Even so, a few common symptoms associated with arm pain are listed below:

  • Intense shooting pain
  • Difficulty gripping objects
  • Combined pain in the arm, back, and neck
  • Swelling in your hand or arm
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Hair or nail growth changes
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness, sensitivity
  • Stiffness of joints
  • Pulsing or radiating pain

Arm pain is a broad term covering a multitude of conditions and possible disorders. Physiatrists are in a unique position to make important distinctions in the diagnosis of many types of arm pain. With extensive education and experience across multiple disciplines, physiatrists understand a wide variety of conditions relating to nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons. Under the direction of a physiatrist, treatment for arm pain is not focused on one area or symptom—effective rehabilitation treats the whole body.

For many, arm pain is a result of repeated motion. Perhaps during a sport, weight lifting or repetitively reaching overhead at a job, it can occur. With four muscle-tendon groups located at the shoulder, there is the potential for rotator cuff tear or bicep tear. In turn, there may be a tear of the tendon attaching the chest muscle to the upper arm bone. With primary symptoms consisting of pain and weakness of the shoulder that radiates to the arm, initial assessment of the individual may involve imaging tests or ultrasound. While physiatrists take a functional approach with the goal of maximizing a patient’s level of mobility, addressing pain and inflammation is the first priority. To accomplish this, patients may be given anti-inflammatory medication, ice packs or steroid injections. In turn, the patient’s arm may be placed in a brace or sling to provide stability and rest.

Once pain and inflammation become managed, patients move forward with rehabilitation led by the physiatrist. In using a combination of non-surgical treatment methods, physiatrists learn pertinent diagnostic information regarding the patient’s condition. For instance, an individual’s arm pain may be due to a compressed nerve or abnormal neurodynamics, which is tension from impaired nerve function. Thus, physiatrists must remain objective as they consider multiple body systems and even psychological components that play a role in a patient’s pain.
The discomfort associated with arm pain is not always related to an arm injury. Spinal disorders or injuries in the upper back can create this pain.

Make an appointment today by contacting us at 407 499 0755.