There are many possible reasons that make your right shoulder and arm hurting. Sometimes it could be due to overuse and can be remedied easily at home. In other cases, it is a bit more serious that requires professional medical help. You should be able to differentiate which category your pain belongs to and seek the correct remedy to improve your quality of life. The article below defines the various types of right shoulder and arm pain and the ways in which you can alleviate the pain.
Possible Causes of Right Shoulder and Arm Pain
1. Tunnel Syndromes
A “tunnel” is defined as an area where nerves, veins, arteries and muscle tendons converge at a common opening. When this tunnel is compressed, it results in pain, tingling and muscle weakness.
2. Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
The range of motion is affected in this case. The pain goes through stages: initially the shoulder becomes painful for one to three months. The pain then decreases but the person will notice the shoulder stiffening up. Symptoms usually progress slowly over months or years. Frozen shoulder can be caused by injury to the area or to the aging process. This condition usually affects people over 40 years.
Tendons of the shoulder become pinched and activities that require overhead motion worsen the pain. People who play sports usually experience this condition. It usually involves the inflammation of tendons and bursa in the joint. Inflammation of the bursa and tendons can cause pain that radiates down the arms. The fluid in a sac called the bursa which lies between the tendon and bone can become inflamed.
Some sort of physical trauma can cause a fracture in the shoulder or arm, resulting in right shoulder and arm pain.
5. Herniated Cervical Discs
Located in the back and neck, these discs can be damaged. The changed shape of the discs can affect the nerves around, resulting in referred pain and weakness down the arms.
6. AC (Acromioclavicular) Separation
The AC joint is where your collar bone meets up with the shoulder blade. Ligaments holding this joint can be torn, causing joint swelling, pain and muscle weakness.
7. Rotator Cuff Tear
There is a group of four muscles that connect your shoulder to your arm. Physical trauma to this area results in pain, especially when using the arm overhead. The pain is localized to the front and side of your shoulder and it seems to worsen at night.
8. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
This condition can be caused by extended periods of bad posture, such as slouching in front of a computer all day. Pain is felt down the inside of the arm to the fingers. It is caused when the nerves and arteries in the neck and shoulders are trapped and compressed by surrounding structures.
9. Shoulder Arthritis
The condition can occur in older people due to the normal aging process or in young people who have experienced trauma or injury to the area.
How to Deal with Right Shoulder and Arm Pain
If the pain and discomfort is mild, you can try some tips at home to alleviate the symptoms, such as:
1. Rest well to give your body time to heal.
2. Apply cold or hot compresses to reduce the pain and inflammation.
3. Take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or other painkillers .
4. Get rid of extra weight.
5. Keep proper posture.
6. Do daily stretches to maintain range of motion. Hold these stretched for a few seconds and repeat several times per day:
- Arm-across-chest stretch: Hold an outstretched right arm in front of you. Use the left arm on your outer right elbow to pull the outstretched arm across the body.
- Neck release: Stand upright and bring your chin to your chest as far as you can go comfortably. Hold this stretch. Lean your head towards the left shoulder and hold it there. Repeat towards the right shoulder.
- Chest expansion: Hold a strap in either hand behind your body. Pull your shoulder blades together and lift the chin towards the ceiling.
- Seated twist: Sitting upright with legs together, twist the upper body in one direction and hold. Repeat in the other direction.
- Shoulder stretch: Place each hand on either side of the open doorframe, elbows forming a 90-degree angle. Lean forwards whilst keeping spine and neck aligned. Repeat this exercise three times.
Watch the following video to learn more about stretches to relieve shoulder and arm pain:
If you suspect the condition is serious or the pain doesn’t go away after a week, see your medical practitioner as soon as possible.
Can Your Right Shoulder and Arm Pain Be a Sign of a Heart Attack?
Contrary to popular belief, heart attack symptoms are not only limited to the left side of the chest. The main symptom of a heart attack include (but not limited to) pain in the neck, shoulders and arms at either side of the body.
If you have these symptoms together with excessive sweating, pressure in the chest and shortness of breath, get medical attention immediately.
Other People’s Experiences
“I am a 59-year old male. Months of pain in my arms and shoulders were finally diagnosed as collapsed cervical discs with the help of an MRI. I manage the pain with physiotherapy and cortisone injections when the pain is particularly bad.”
“I’ve been treating my frozen shoulder with massage therapy. The therapist performed something called ‘trigger point therapy’ for three consecutive days. I can’t believe how much better I feel. My range of motion has improved as well. I have exercises to do a few times per day and feel wonderful!”
“My diagnosis, after my doctor ordered an MRI, was a complete rotator cuff tear. The pain was in my right mid-arm rather than the actual shoulder. Months of physical therapy did not help at all. My doctor has decided that surgery is the only option.”
“I am a 44-year-old stay-at-home mum. I’ve treated my right shoulder and arm pain with a naturopathic liver detox. My pain went away. My diet has been modified to include mostly vegetables. Meat and fruit have been limited. My inflammation has subsided and the pain has been relieved.”