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February 3, 2010

Arm, Elbow, or Shoulder Pain

Filed under: Medical Conditions — Tags: , , , — Doctor @ 5:32 pm

Tennis players sometimes get tennis elbow. Swimmers get swimmer’s shoulder. You may not be a professional sports figure, but you still can be plagued by the same type of arm, elbow, or shoulder pain. Often, your mus­cles or joints will ache because you’ve pushed them a lit­tle too far when exercising. You don’t even have to be doing aerobics or pumping iron — a weekend gardening session can be just as stressful. If you fall, or overdo it with heavy objects, a strain or sprain can be the fruit of your labor. Although most aches and pains are minor problems that go away with rest, sometimes that little pain is warning you of a more serious problem.


It’s time to see your doctor if you have arm, elbow, or shoulder pain and:

  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness, fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath

 These are the warning signals of a heart attack, but not every heart attack has all these symptoms. If you notice several of them, don’t wait. Get help immediately.

  •  You’ve injured it within the past 24 hours
  • The injured area is misshapen
  • You’re unable to move it

 It’s possible you have a fracture, dislocation, or serious injury. Get medical treatment at once.

  •  Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Persistent coughing

Together, these symptoms could indicate lung can­cer.

  •  Fever and chills

 You may have an infection that needs immediate medical care. Lyme disease is one example of a bacterial infection that affects the joints.

  •  Morning joint stiffness
  • Limited movement and dexterity

 This could mean osteoarthritis, a condition where the cartilage in your joints gradually breaks down. Usually, you will feel an aching pain when you move or put weight on your joints.

  •  Tenderness and limited movement
  • Worse pain when joint is bent
  • Fever (sometimes)

 Bursitis is an inflammation of the soft tissue around your joints. Rest, along with aspirin or aspirin substitute, should clear up the problem in a few weeks. But if the pain persists, see you doc­tor.

  •  Swelling
  • Warmth In affected area
  • Muscle pain or tenderness that Increases with motion

 If you have these symptoms, you may have ten­dinitis, an inflammation of one of your tendons. It is often caused by an injury, or by repeating the same motion over and over.

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