Possible Causes of Right Arm Pain


Although right arm pain can sometimes be a warning sign of an undiagnosed condition, the more likely causes behind this symptom shouldn’t be a cause for worry. If the pain were to affect the left arm and was accompanied by severe chest pains, then it could be possible that a heart attack is the cause. Pain that affects the right arm can range anywhere from a mild twinge to severe pain that affects the limb anywhere from the shoulder to the wrist. Sometimes, this pain can trigger a response in the hand, neck, and right side of the upper back. In order to administer the proper treatment of your right arm pain, you need to identify the cause behind it. Take a look at the following conditions that can lead to pain in the right arm.


Bad Circulation


Circulation issues can be a common cause behind right arm pain. There are many everyday activities that can hinder blood flow to the arm which can result in:

  • Tingling
  • Sensitivity
  • Discomfort

Sleeping or relaxing with your arm under your head for a long period of time can make it more difficult for blood to pump through the arm. If you do a lot of work with your arm raised above heart-level, such as painting or construction, this could be the reason why you experience recurring and random bouts of pain in your right arm. In order to promote good circulation, try to use good posture and give your arm frequent rests in which they can relax at waist level.


Strained Muscle


A strained muscle, or what you might also call a pulled muscle, is a very common cause of arm pain. Pushing yourself too hard while exercising or weight lifting is an easy way to develop a strained muscle. A strained muscle can also be caused by overextending a muscle in the arm during sports or everyday activities. A strain occurs when you have stretched the muscle farther than it should naturally go. This results in a partial tear of the muscle. The severity of the strain depends on how much the muscle has been torn.

General symptoms of a strain include:

  • Swelling or redness
  • Weakened strength in the affected arm
  • Pain even while the muscle is not in use
  • Bruising

If you think that you have strained a muscle in your arm, the best course of action would be to apply an ice pack to the muscle for 20 minutes at a time in one-hour intervals for the first day. This will reduce swelling and take the edge off of your discomfort. You should also try not to use your arm at all for a few days so as to allow the muscle time to repair the damage. Take NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as Aleve or Motrin, to relieve the pain and reduce inflammation.




Inflammation is a natural process that occurs when a certain part of the body has become injured or subjected to bacteria. If you have suffered a recent injury to your arm, such as a cut or heavy blow, you might have suffered an internal injury that has resulted in inflammation. Even if the injury has begun to heal, the resulting inflammation can actually lead to further discomfort and pain. This is due to the swelling and tenderness that occurs as the injured area draws leukocytes and plasma from the blood to aid in the healing process.

Although injuries such as an infection would have a hard time healing without the aid of inflammation, sometimes heavy inflammation can do more good than bad, especially where swelling is concerned. Inflammation should go away after a while, but you can bring it down by taking NSAID, like Ibuprofen. You can also try applying an ice pack to reduce the swelling.


Direct Injury


If you have recently suffered a serious blow to your arm, then your right arm pain may be the result of a small fracture. Sometimes, fractures can go relatively unnoticed with only pain and discomfort as symptoms. Fractures can occur without obvious breakage such as a fine crack in the bone rather than a total break. Other injuries can be more obvious, such as a scrape or cut.

If the pain coming from this area gets worse over a 24 hour period or if it begins to discolor and is obviously not healing properly, it may be a sign that the wound is becoming infected. A direct injury may also have occurred with no visible signs. Tenderness can be a sign of a bruise that you may not be able to see with your eyes.

If you are experiencing right arm pain and it is severe enough to make you worry, you may want to make an appointment with your doctor to have your arm examined. Although it may end up not being serious, the sheer peace of mind is sometimes worth the expense of a doctor’s visit.