Pain in Upper Right Arm between Elbow and Shoulder: 12 Causes, 3 Treatments

Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder can annoy and trouble us a lot. Let’s explore what causes it and how to get rid of it.

The upper arm is the most often used parts of the body. From mundane activities to vital actions, it supports many activities in the daily life.

So, it is common to experience pain in different parts of the arm that stretches from shoulder to fingers. Wrist pain called carpal tunnel, forearm pain, finger pain, swelling may be common which affects certain actions.

The pain occurs in both upper right arm and upper left arm. Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder, or simply pain in upper arm severely impairs the normal life. Hardly a small population in the world is left arm users. So, predominantly, pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder is common.

The arm mobility is supported by the muscles in the upper arm. The muscles support all major activities. The pain may arise from problems in muscles, bones or tendons. Rarely, pain in upper right arm associates with heart and neck problems.

The pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder manifest in many forms. It can be the pain in upper right arm, pain in middle of upper arm, or mid arm pain between elbow and shoulder. Even the minute discomfort in the upper arm is likely to cause pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder.

Let us look at the causes of the pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder.

Causes of pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder:

Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder
Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder
Image source: integrahealthcentre.com

When we think of upper right arm pain, the causes are many. It may come from different issues as mentioned above. In most situations, the pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder begins as mild pain, which is often ignored.

Gradually, the pain develops causing discomfort. This happens in most cases of causes that lead to pain in middle of upper arm.

The actual cause of the pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder makes it mild or spontaneously severe. In rare situations, arm pain between shoulder and elbow is caused by spinal injuries. Following are the most common causes of pain in upper right arm.

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Strain Injury:

Injury due to strain is the most common cause of upper arm pain. It occurs due to overstretching the muscles or the tendons attached to the muscles. Strain injury tears the fibres. It may range from mild to severe pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder.

Upper right arm pain is usually triggered by overuse of muscles, use of fatigued muscles, and heavy lifting.

The pain in upper arm occurs immediately after the injury. You can easily feel the muscle soreness after a straining activity. The pain subsides with rest and increases with activity during a strain injury. Usually, rest makes the best possible remedy to reduce the pain.

In case of severe strain in the upper right arm, it may also cause muscle cramps, spasms, swelling, and mild bruising. If the strain is mild, it takes about a week’s time to heal naturally. In case of severe trauma, you may need 3 to 4 times for complete recovery.

Muscle Weakness:

Muscle weakness is the most common cause of pain. When the muscles are weak and fatigued, it does not support regular activities. Weak muscles in upper arm cause mid arm pain between elbow and shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Injury:

The second most common cause of upper arm pain is rotator cuff injury or tear. It is caused by damages to the tendons located in the rotator cuff.

Rotator cuff refers to the group of muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint. These muscles provide stability to the shoulder and control the shoulder mobility.

Shoulder Inflammation (shoulder injury):

The shoulder injury is a broad term. It may indicate different types of injuries that cause upper right arm pain between elbow and shoulder.

In precise terms, shoulder injury indicates the inflammation of the shoulder joint, which triggers the aches in the upper arm muscles. Pain caused by shoulder inflammation is generally felt on outer muscles of the upper arm.

Shoulder Impingement:

Often, upper arm pain caused by inflammation of shoulder tendons is mistaken with shoulder impingement.

Shoulder impingement is a collective term that indicates any element that constricts the space in the shoulder. This space is termed subacromial space. It creates friction and pressure on your rotator cuff. The pressure ends up causing sharp pain in upper arm.

Shoulder impingement is caused by repetitive actions and overuse of arms.

Biceps Injury:

Mostly, athletes, gym trainees, and sports people suffer from the biceps injury. It refers to tear of the biceps tendon, which leads to inflammation. Lifting heavy weight above your head also leads to tearing of tendons in the biceps.

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In rare cases, shoulder impingement also leads to biceps injury which causes arm pain between shoulder and elbow.

A Broken Arm:

A minuscule crack or break in any part of the upper arm bone causes moderate to severe pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder. It is called fractured humerus. It can be a hairline fracture or fracture of shoulder bones into pieces of two or more.

Frozen Shoulder:

A fluid sac surrounds all the joints in the body. Tightening and thickening of the joint capsule around your shoulder cause the upper arm pain. It is common in elderly people aged 50+ years.

Frozen shoulders restrict the mobility of the arm and shoulder movement. It leads to moderate and severe stiffness in the shoulders. The pain often worsens at night.

A Dislocated Joint:

Dislocation of the joint has an instantaneous impact and causes severe upper arm pain. It may happen to overuse, strain, and injury.

Herniated Disk:

Any injury to the spinal cord affects the shoulder blades. A herniated disk is one of the triggers of upper arm pain.

Fibromyalgia:

It is an autoimmune condition that causes severe and intolerable pain in different parts of the body. It affects all joints and muscles. Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder is common in people who have fibromyalgia. The pain radiates from upper arm pain to pain till the pinky finger across the nerves.

Heart Problem:

While upper arm pain may occur in both right and left arm, pain in upper right arm is a serious condition in this facet. Pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder is an indication of the heart problem.

You may experience severe upper arm pain in right arm when the blood supply to the heart is restricted. This condition is called Angina.

Any blood clot that blocks and impairs the blood supply to the heart causes the heart attack. It also causes severe upper arm pain along with other symptoms like shortness of breath, profuse sweating, and nausea.

Treatment for Pain in Upper Right Arm between Elbow and Shoulder:

While the causes are plenty, the treatment for the pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder is similar to most of the injuries.

REST:

Rest makes the best remedy and treatment for the shoulder injuries that cause pain in upper right arm between elbow and shoulder. The pain subsides with rest and limited mobility.

Self Massage:

Self-massage is the best treatment to get rid of the upper arm pain with ease. Tension, pinched nerves, stiffness, muscle weakness and stressed muscles collectively causes the pain for the different types of shoulder injuries in the right arm.

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A self-massage makes an effective treatment, which enables you to control the muscle directly and reduce pain.

Daily massage reduces the pain and also prevents the muscle pain. It keeps the muscles and tendons healthy and circulated.

How to massage the shoulders and arms:
  • Use your fingers to press the shoulders and upper arms till elbow.
  • Gently press the fingers and travel down from shoulder to elbow.
  • Apply thumb pressure on the same format.
  • You can try with different finger positions to massage the arms.

You can extend massaging the back of the shoulders, and upper chest. If you find difficult to massage with fingers, try out rolling a hardball.

In most cases, self-massaging reduces the pain to a great extent. The shoulders have many trigger point which reduces the tension, relaxes the muscles, and relives from pain.

Stretching and Strengthening Exercises:

Exercises are the best way to stay fit, healthy, and flexible. Stretching and strengthening exercises supports the shoulder mobility, tightens the muscles, and prevents injury.

  • Rotate your shoulder clockwise and anticlockwise, 10 to 15 times.
  • Rotate your arms clockwise and anticlockwise, 10 to 15 times.
  • Extend your arm from the shoulder, and touch the shoulder with the fingers, repeat it 10 to 15 times.
  • Strengthen the biceps with carrying equal weight (1 or 2 kg of dumbbells, if not books or waterbottle) for 10 to 15 times.
  • Do the upper body, twist.
  • Raise your right arm above the head and touch the left shoulder, taking your arm above the head. Stay in the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the left arm.
  • Fold your arms on your back, clasp the fingers and try to stretch arms backwards. It gives a good stretch.

Except for the severe injury or other problem, pain in upper right arm between shoulder and elbow subsides in a few days.

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