Arm Pain

Our team of physical therapists specialize in helping people get back into the game, re-engage in their favorite hobby or just be able to do everyday tasks without pain.

Come visit our clinic and see how we can help you! 

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Physical therapy can help you to recover from arm pain

Physical therapy for arm pain is something that many professionals will need at some point in their lives. With so much time spent on computers, keyboards, and other technology it’s not uncommon for your arms to experience stiffness or soreness.

On this page we will discuss how physical therapy can alleviate these types of issues, so keep reading if this sounds like something you’re experiencing.

Anatomy and function of the Arm

The arm has the main bones, the humerus, radius, and ulna. The bones are joined by ligaments to form a hinge joint that allows for flexion and extension at the elbow. The forearm contains three carpal bones. And then eight small wrist bones make up what is called carpals or carpal bones in plural form.

The arm has several important functions. The arm is responsible for movement, such as picking up objects and movements above the head. The arm is also responsible for positioning the hand, which assists in daily life as well as in sports-related activities.

anatomy-of-the-human-elbow

Anatomy and function of the Arm

The arm has the main bones, the humerus, radius, and ulna. The bones are joined by ligaments to form a hinge joint that allows for flexion and extension at the elbow. The forearm contains three carpal bones. And then eight small wrist bones make up what is called carpals or carpal bones in plural form.

The arm has several important functions. The arm is responsible for movement, such as picking up objects and movements above the head. The arm is also responsible for positioning the hand, which assists in daily life as well as in sports-related activities.

anatomy-of-the-shoulder

Anatomy and function of the shoulder

The shoulder is one of the largest joints in your body. It’s made up of many parts that work together to allow you to move your arm, raise your arm over your head, and rotate it around.

These movable structures are called articulations. The articulation on the top part of the arm is called the acromioclavicular joint or AC joint for short. This is where our clavicle (collarbone) attaches to our scapula (shoulder blade). The other articulation at the bottom part of our arm is called a glenohumeral joint or GH joint for short. This is where our upper arm bone meets with either side of our collarbone and runs through an opening in between two bones above our heart known as the intertubercular groove.

The rotator cuff muscles help to make up these important joints and allow for a wide range of motion. When one or more parts of this area become injured it can be difficult to move the arm without pain, making everyday tasks a struggle.

Injuries That Result in Arm Pain

Injuries that may result in arm pain are sprains or strains of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Another cause of arm pain can be something like tennis elbow which results from overusing the tendons in your elbow. This is commonly caused by overuse of the muscles around the arm, making everyday tasks difficult to complete especially if you are involved in sports or any activity that requires repetitive use of your arm.

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Arm injuries

Injury to the muscles of the arm can also cause pain and inflammation. These can come from repetitive movements with poor technique, poor posture, or form, as well as high-impact collisions.

Some conditions
causing arm pain

Some conditions causing arm pain we frequently treat include:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that develops when the median nerve located in the arm becomes pressed, or compressed, as it travels through a narrow passageway at the wrist called the carpal tunnel.

Treatment

Treatment includes rest periods while working on their arm and wrist injuries and ergonomic changes in their working environment (e.g., using wrist pads) as well as taking a two-week hiatus at least one time per year from repetitive nerve trauma (distractions).

Activities such as yoga or swimming can help stretch out hand muscles and tendons that might otherwise become too tight. Severe cases will require surgery if none of the other treatments work, such as some endoscopy procedures.

Symptoms

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
  • Numbness and tingling —primarily in the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
  • Occasional shock-like sensations that radiate to the thumb and index, middle, and ring fingers
  • Pain – that may travel up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • Weakness and clumsiness in the hand—this may make it difficult to perform fine movements such as buttoning your clothes
  • Dropping things—due to weakness, numbness, or a loss of proprioception (awareness of where your hand is in space)
  • Pain in the palm of your hand; which may worsen at night, when you’re cold or you’ve been taking ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory drugs. 
  • Tingling in your thumb, index, middle and/or ring finger on one or both hands. 
  • Loss of sensation in your thumb when it touches something wet. This is because the median nerve travelling through your wrist to your fingertips supplies sensation for this area also.” Thus feeling any texture requires higher levels of sensitivity than usually needed if not experiencing CTS).

Cubital tunnel syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a pinched nerve at the elbow resulting from pressure on the nerve in its forearm tunnel.

Treatment

A person with cubital tunnel syndrome can treat their condition by making changes to their daily habits and wearing a brace.
To prevent this painful disorder from causing more complications, it’s worth seeing a doctor as soon as you feel any symptoms arise!

Symptoms

Common symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome are pain, numbness and tingling from the elbow to the index finger.

Arm sprains

Arm sprains are injuries to the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the arm. 

Common causes for these injuries include sports injuries, falls, and strains. These types of injury usually impact elbow joints (hyperextension/excessive force), shoulders (rotary forces due to contusions), or sprain wrists (overuse).

Treatment

If it’s a very mild case, then taking time off to rest until it heals should be enough.
You can consider medication by mouth if pain continues despite resting periods and ice or heat treatments.
For something more severe, physical therapy can help get you on your way to a speedy recovery.

Symptoms

The following are some common symptoms caused by sprains to the wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder:
  • Pain;
  • Tenderness;
  • Swelling;
  • Bruising;
  • Instability;
  • Inability to move arm normally (for example gripping objects);
  • Reduced strength (usually only present after complete healing).

Many people report numbness or tingling sensation which can be due to other injuries too themselves.

Physical Therapy Treatments
to Help With Arm Pain

There are a variety of conditions that can cause arm pain, but physical therapy treatments can help alleviate these painful symptoms.

Physical Therapy Exercises

Exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can be done at home and will focus on strengthening the muscles around the area. Strengthening muscles around the arm to help reduce pain and increase blood flow to promote healing. Since these exercises are done at home, they are able to be done as often as you need them to achieve increased blood flow and better results!

Physical therapy treatments are usually given over a course of several weeks with progress reports along the way. Some of these methods include:

When is arm pain an emergency?

Arm pain can be an emergency if it is caused by a heart attack. If the arm pain occurs with chest discomfort or other related symptoms (nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, sweating, shortness of breath, crushing chest pain), then it should be treated as an emergency.

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Treating Arm Pain is Complex

It’s important to know that there is no “one size fits all” treatment or exercise to help with arm pain. Rather, anyone experiencing pain in the arms should talk to their doctor about exercises they can do.

The type of exercise will depend on the duration of the injury, the severity of it, and how long is required for recovery. For example, different people that have shoulder injuries may be able to start with light aerobic exercises but there are also advanced rehabilitation programs that may be needed for those who want to return back into skilled work activities quickly after an injury.

If you are experiencing pain in your arm, it is important to identify the cause of that pain. That way, you can focus on treating the condition with a comprehensive physical therapy approach rather than just masking the symptoms with medication.

Our Clients Success Stories​

I’ve been going here and Dr. Manny and his wife Denise are amazing. They really take their time with their patients. The atmosphere feels very comforting and inviting. I highly recommend everyone to come here!!
Mariza German
My wife had a stroke 20 years ago that left her right side paralyzed and she walks with a cane and right leg brace. I was having lower back and shoulder pain. Manny and Denise have made significant improvements in my wife's balance and walking. Manny brought in a brace company to build her a new and different style of brace which has resulted in much less foot and leg pain after walking. My back and shoulder pain are now gone and I continue to work with them on conditioning and weight management.
Steve Jones
I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Manny for 2 months for my right frozen shoulder. I suffered from having a frozen shoulder for a month before I was introduced to Dr. Manny and it severely limited me from being able to do the activities I needed to do like cooking for the family and driving. I have been so pleased with the way Dr. Manny took care of me and my R shoulder. He has taken the best care of me and is always so genuine, kind and compassionate. I have made a full recovery and I am now able to return to cooking, performing all my household chores and driving without any problems. Dr. Manny is the best physical therapist and I highly recommend him!
Ajitha Tose

Contact Impact Care Physical Therapy To Treat Your Arm Pain Today

The goal should be to manage your arm pain and recover from any injuries while also maintaining healthy habits for a long-term solution. One consideration might be to get help from an expert who specializes in this area – like our team at Impact Physical Therapy!

We have experience working with clients who suffer from all sorts of conditions affecting their arms so we know how best to work towards recovery goals. Contact us today if you want more information about our services!

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