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Pain experienced in the elbow, wrist or forearm that is non-traumatic in its origin can often be attributed to trigger point inflammation. According to PainWhisperer.com, trigger points "consist of localized tender spots in a tense band of muscle fibers that when subjected to direct pressure, refer pain to other areas along the length of the involved muscle(s)." Golfer's elbow and tennis elbow pain are often the manifestation of trigger point inflammation in the muscles of the forearm 12.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Trigger points in the muscles of the forearm that extend the wrist can often manifest as tennis elbow 1. Overuse of these muscles or poor sport technique can cause inflammation of the wrist extensors, which in turn can cause inflammation of the trigger points in the extensor muscles. Since trigger point pain refers to different areas of the arm, people often complain of wrist problems even though the cause of pain originates near the elbow.
- Trigger points in the muscles of the forearm that extend the wrist can often manifest as tennis elbow 1.
- Overuse of these muscles or poor sport technique can cause inflammation of the wrist extensors, which in turn can cause inflammation of the trigger points in the extensor muscles.
Causes of Pain on the Right Side Under the Arm
Golfer's elbow can be caused from overuse and/or poor sport technique 2. Also known as medial epicondylitis, according to MayoClinic.com, it is a similar condition to tennis elbow, though it occurs on the inside, rather than the outside, of the elbow. As the trigger points in the elbow become inflamed, pain is often felt elsewhere in the wrist and forearm.
Treating inflamed trigger points in the forearm can help to alleviate pain and restore normal function. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook website notes that massage can relieve trigger point pain and reduce inflammation in the forearm muscles. Heat applied to the painful area prior to activity will increase blood flow and loosen the muscles. The website also recommends to apply ice packs to the elbow for 15 to 20 minutes, four times a day for several days, immediately after activity. If the pain continues, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles of the forearm and elbow, and use therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound and muscle stimulation to decrease pain and inflammation.
- Treating inflamed trigger points in the forearm can help to alleviate pain and restore normal function.
- If the pain continues, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles of the forearm and elbow, and use therapeutic modalities such as ultrasound and muscle stimulation to decrease pain and inflammation.
Causes of Pain on the Right Side Under the Arm
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- Balance Systems, Inc: Tennis elbow and myofascial trigger points
- Mayo Clinic: Golfer's elbow
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- Amin NH, Kumar NS, Schickendantz MS. Medial epicondylitis: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2015;23(6):348-55. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-14-00145
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- Moradi A, Ebrahimzadeh MH, Jupiter JB. Radial Tunnel Syndrome, Diagnostic and Treatment Dilemma. Arch Bone Jt Surg. 2015;3(3):156-62.
- Saeed W, Waseem M. Elbow Fractures Overview. Treasure Island, Fl: StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
- Athwal GS. Elbow Dislocation - OrthoInfo - AAOS. OrthoInfo: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Oct 2017.
- Bursitis. MedlinePlus. Sept 12, 2019.
- Harvard Health Publishing. The importance of stretching. Harvard Health. Sept 2013.
- Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) - OrthoInfo - AAOS. OrthoInfo: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Jul 2015.
- Shah CM, Calfee RP, Gelberman RH, Goldfarb CA. Outcomes of rigid night splinting and activity modification in the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome. J Hand Surg Am. 2013;38(6):1125-1130.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jhsa.2013.02.039
- Biceps Tendinitis - OrthoInfo - AAOS. OrthoInfo: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Feb 2016.
- Kinaci A, Neuhaus V, Ring D. Surgical procedures of the elbow: a nationwide cross-sectional observational study in the United States. Arch Bone Jt Surg. 2015;3(1):13-8.
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (n.d.). Elbow Arthroscopy.
- Kane SF. Evaluation of Elbow Pain in Adults. Am Fam Physician. 2014 Apr 15;89(8):649-57.
- O'Connor FG. (2018). Evaluation of elbow pain in adults. Fields KB, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Sources:American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (n.d.). Elbow Fractures in Children.
Bryan Fass began writing in 2003. His column appears on EMS1.com, Officer.com and he has numerous books on fitness, wellness, injury prevention and human performance, including "The Fit Responder" and "On the Road to Feeling Great." He is a certified/licensed athletic trainer, strength and conditioning specialist, paramedic, speaker and consultant. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in sports medicine from Catawba College.