15 Causes of Right Shoulder and Arm Pain and the Treatments

Arm Pain
  • Save

Shoulder pain is very prevalent. Your shoulders are prone to the effects of injuries and degenerative conditions because they are the most mobile joints in your body.

- Advertisement -

It is possible that pain in the shoulder can radiate down into your arm. Conversely, around your shoulder, a disease that affects your upper arm can be felt.

You may wonder what the most common causes of pain in the right shoulder and arm are. Generally speaking, the most common cause of this is problems with the rotator cuff.

Causes

These are 15 possible causes of pain that happen in your right shoulder and arm:

Rotator cuff disease

A group of tendons and muscles that keep the upper arm bone (humerus) in the shoulder socket is the rotator cuff. Tissues of the rotator cuff, for instance, can become ill due to overuse or injury and can lead to:

  • Tendinitis where the rotator cuff’s tendons become irritated and inflamed.
  • Bursitis in which the bursa, a sac filled with fluid that allows your rotator cuff to move freely, becomes inflamed.
  • Impingement: where the acromion rubs ag, a part of your shoulder blade called.

Torn roatator cuff

It occurs when you tear one or more of the tendons in your rotator cuff. Tears can be either complete or partial. They can occur because of an injury, but they are often due to wear and tear that happens over time.

Shoulder dislocation

When the top of your humerus pops out of its socket into your shoulder, a shoulder dislocation occurs. This often occurs due to injuries from sports, car accidents, and falls

Broken Collarbone 

A broken collarbone occurs when your collarbone breaks (clavicle). The collar bone acts as a link between the shoulder and the breastbone (sternum). Because of falls or car accidents, many breaks happen.

Upper arm fracture

This happens when there’s a break in your humerus. Breaks usually happen close to the shoulder or along the shaft (middle) of the bone. Like broken collarbones, they often occur due to falls or car accidents

Frozen shoulder

A frozen shoulder is when, without a known cause, the shoulder stiffens and becomes painful, although inflammation is thought to play a role. On its own, the disorder also eases gradually.

Calcific tendinitis

Calcific tendinitis is a disease in which calcium deposits build up in your rotator cuff or around it, causing symptoms that are similar to frozen shoulder symptoms. It’s unclear the exact cause

Shoulder sprain

When ligaments in your shoulder are strained or broken, a shoulder sprain occurs. This can happen to some of your shoulder ligaments. Because of sports injuries, falls, or accidents sprain sometimes happen.

Separated shoulder

If there is an injury to the ligaments that attach your shoulder to the collarbone, a split shoulder occurs. This can contribute to the ligaments stretching or breaking entirely.

Shoulder osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, often due to natural wear and tear, is when the tissues of the joints become worn down. While less prevalent than knee or hip arthritis, shoulder arthritis may have a major effect on those who have it.

Shoulder rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA is a disease where your immune system attacks your joints. About 1.5 years after the onset of the disease, people with RA may experience substantially reduced shoulder function.

Cervical radiculopathy

When a nerve in your neck is compressed when it travels away from your spinal cord, cervical radiculopathy occurs. Owing to wear and tear herniated disks, or bone spurs, this can happen.

Brachial neuritis

Brachial neuritis is when it gets inflamed by the brachial nerve, which supplies the shoulder and arm. Its origin is unknown. Your dominant side is affected about 60 per cent of the time by brachial neuritis.

Brachial plexus injury

Your brachial plexus is a group of nerves in your arm and hand that control movements. When these nerves are damaged, this function can be affected. Falls and accidents are common causes.

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)

Actually, TOS is a group of conditions that occur when compressing the nerves or blood vessels around your collarbone and first rib. Injury and repetitive motions can cause it.

How does the pain feel?

Now that some of the causes of right shoulder and arm pain have been discussed let’s take a closer look at what that pain might feel like.

Pain around the shoulder and the upper arm

This occurs when the pain is mainly located in the area of the shoulder and the upper part of the humerus. The circumstances causing this may include:

- Advertisement -
  • Rotator cuff disease: Initially, the front of the shoulder often feels pain.
  • Torn rotator cuff: Pain that begins near the shoulder can include tears in the rotator cuff.
  • Dislocated shoulder: Pain is most acutely felt near the shoulder from a shoulder dislocation.
  • Broken collarbone: The pain from a broken collarbone, especially when you try to move your arm, can be felt near the shoulder.
  • Frozen shoulder: Typically, this type of pain occurs gradually and feels dull and deep.
  • Calcific tendinitis: Calcific tendinitis pain may be serious and may occur suddenly, often in the morning.
  •  Shoulder sprain: You may feel pain from the sprain of your shoulder not only in your shoulder but also in the upper arm and collarbone areas.
  • Separated shoulder: The pain is felt around the shoulder and upper arm due to a separated shoulder.
  • Osteoarthritis and RA in the shoulder: People with arthritis in the shoulder often have deep pain in the shoulder and upper arm.
  • Brachial neuritis: Brachial neuritis pain is typically severe and occurs most often in the shoulder and upper arm areas.
  • Brachial plexus injury: There may be pain from an injury to the brachial plexus around the shoulder and upper arm. It could be long-lasting,

Pain between the shoulder and elbow

In some cases, in both the area of the right shoulder and further down towards your right elbow, pain can be felt.

Certain causes are:

  • Rotator cuff Disease: Pain can start radiating to the side of your upper arm from your shoulder.
  • Torn rotator cuff: pain in the shoulder may radiate down your arm to the elbow area.
  • Dislocated shoulder: The pain may radiate down the upper arm from the dislocated shoulder.
  • Fracture of the upper arm: A break in your upper arm can cause pain that is located around the shoulder area and throughout your upper arm.
  • Frozen shoulder: Pain may also spread into your right bicep from a frozen shoulder.
  • Calcific tendinitis: Calcific tendinitis pain may spread into your bicep area similar to frozen shoulder pain. 
  • Fracture of the upper arm: A break in your upper arm can cause pain that is located around the shoulder area and throughout your upper arm.

Pain from the shoulder to the hand

In the area of the shoulder and upper arm, many causes of the right shoulder and arm pain are localized. But some can cause pain all the way down to your hand, which can be felt.

They include:

  • Cervical radiculopathy: This condition can cause sharp pain that can move all the way down your arm from the area of your neck and shoulder.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome: From your shoulder down to your hand and fingers, TOS pain, can be present.
  • Brachial plexus wounds: As discussed earlier, your arm and hand could be affected by this type of injury.

Pain with numbness

The pains that happen with numbness is also associated with problems in your shoulder and arm that damage the nerves.

The conditions that this form of pain can cause are:

  • Dislocation of the shoulder: The injury that dislocates your shoulder can cause some nerves to stretch, leading to numbness sensations.
  • Upper arm fracture: An upper arm fracture can potentially lead to damage to the nerves, causing numbness.
  • Cervical radiculopathy: This feeling is often characterized as “pins and needles,” and in your hand and fingers, it is usually felt.
  • Brachial neuritis: Nerve inflammation is frequently associated with numbness in the shoulder and arm due to brachial neuritis.
  • Brachial plexus injury: These injuries in the shoulder and arm can lead to numbness and eventually paralysis.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS): TOS in the arm, hand, or fingers may cause numbness and tingling.

Burning pain

There are some cases where there can be a burning sensation of pain. As with feelings of numbness, when nerves are involved, burning pain is also sensed. The conditions that can cause the pain of this sort are:

  •  Brachial plexus injuries
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Brachial neuritis

Symptoms

There are some cases where there can be a burning sensation of pain. As with feelings of numbness, when nerves are involved, burning pain is also sensed.

The conditions that can cause the pain of this sort are:

Pain that happens when:

Moving your right shoulder or arm, for example, as you lift, drop or rotate your right arm

  • Lying down on your right side
  • Bruising
  • A feeling of weakness in the right shoulder, arm, or both
  • A tingling or “pins and needles” sensation in your right hand or fingers
  • When you raise your right arm, a cracking or grinding feeling in your right shoulder
  • A visible deformity
  • Tenderness
  • Inability to achieve your full range of motion
  • Pains when reaching or lifting of things with the right arm
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty performing your everyday tasks, such as dressing, swimming, and cooking

Right shoulder and arm pain and heart attack

You might assume that pain from a heart attack will radiate only to your left shoulder and arm. Heart attack pain can, however, be felt in the shoulders and one or both limbs, according to the American Heart Association.

If you or someone else is suffering from pain in the right shoulder and arm that develops with all of the following signs, call 911.

  • Chest pain or pressure that occurs for more than a few minutes
  • Pain in the back, jaw, and neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheaded feeling
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea or vomiting

How to treat it

Home remedies

You should try the following things at home before scheduling an appointment with your doctor if your right shoulder and arm pain are mild to moderate.

Use the R.I.C.E. method: R.I.C.E. can be used shortly after an injury to ease symptoms and promote recovery. It includes:

  • Rest: Avoid performing any operations that cause additional pain or discomfort.
  • Ice: Several times a day, apply an ice pack or cool compress to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Compression: To help relieve the swelling, wrap or bandage the affected area.
  • Elevation: Try to lift the level of your heart around your right shoulder and arm.
  • Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications: There are various kinds of OTC medicines that can help alleviate symptoms such as pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen are some examples (Motrin, Advil).
  • Try some gentle stretches: Normal, gentle stretching can help to enhance flexibility and motion range. In the next segment, we’ll talk about some simple exercises that you can check out.
  • Maintain good posture: Bad posture will put more stress on your shoulder and arm tissues.

If you have to go to the doctor

If you discuss right shoulder and arm pain with your doctor, they can prescribe the following, depending on the seriousness of your condition.

  • Immobilization: In some situations, it can help to heal by restricting the movement of your shoulder or arm. Using a sling, brace, or cast, this is often done. When it can be extracted, the doctor will let you know.
  • Corticosteroids Injections: This is a form of drug which can be administered into the infected area by your doctor to help relieve inflammation.
  • Prescription medication: For serious pain, prescription pain medications can be given. Oral corticosteroids can assist in alleviating inflammation. Your doctor would possibly prescribe a disease-modifying drug if you have RA.
  • Physical therapy: You will be given a list of exercises to perform by your doctor that will help you recover strength, endurance, and range of motion. They can suggest that you work with a physical therapist in some situations.
  •  Surgery: Surgery can be prescribed if other interventions have not been successful or if the damage is severe. The particular procedure used will depend on what triggers your condition.

When to talk with your doctor

If you have the right shoulder and arm pain, make an appointment with your doctor as follows:

  • May not get better with at-home treatment or gets worse
  • Decreases your range of movement
  • Symptoms like increasing redness or swelling are associated with it
  • It happens with numbness, fatigue or “pins and needles” sensation

Seek emergency care if you have an injury to your right shoulder or arm that:

  • Any type of irregularity, including those felt underneath the skin or bones protruding from the skin, is associated with
  • Induces extreme discomfort, swelling, or bleeding
  • Any noticeable cracking or popping sound occurs.

The bottom line

  • In your right shoulder and arm, several conditions can lead to pain. This pain may affect multiple places and can occur with numbness occasionally.
  • A problem with the rotator cuffs, such as tendinitis or bursitis, is the most common cause of right shoulder and arm pain. Other conditions that can cause this are fractures, arthritis, and cervical radiculopathy.
  • You should consider using home remedies such as R.I.C.E., stretches, and OTC drugs to relieve the symptoms if you have mild to moderate pain. If home treatment isn’t successful or pain occurs with numbness or growing swelling, speak to your doctor.
Arm Pain
  • Save
- Advertisement -

Jennifer Aigbini
I am a language enthusiast, studying Linguistics at the University of Benin, in Nigeria.
5 Shares
Copy link