Let’s face it: An aching arm can be a real pain. It can interfere with everything you do—from putting away the groceries to throwing a perfect spiral. So, when the first word that comes to mind after completing a simple task is “ouch,” it’s time to take action.
Although the aches and pains in your arm may often go away on their own, you don’t have to grit your teeth through the discomfort. Instead, you can learn how to relieve arm pain from the comfort of your own home.
To help you find some arm pain relief, we’re looking at six ways to soothe your sore and aching limbs and some typical symptoms and common causes.
Identifying Arm Pain
Of course, you’ll be able to feel if your arm hurts. However, other symptoms can occur alongside the stiffness, soreness, or tightness you may feel. Other signs to look for include:
- Arm weakness
- Discoloration (bruising)
- Swollen areas
- Swollen underarm lymph nodes
- Tingling sensations
- Reduced range of motion
Analyzing your symptoms is important, so you can better understand the extent of your injury. When you have a full picture, you can more easily determine the cause of your arm pain—and the best ways to address it.
Potential Causes of Arm Pain
Arm pain can stem from a variety of injuries and afflictions. Some of the more common causes of arm pain and discomfort are:
- Overexertion – Overuse is the most common cause of arm pain. If you partake in sports or other physical activities that use the arms, you increase the risk of overusing the muscles (especially if you make repetitive movements). However, even if you’re not physically active, you can still overwork your arms while working, cooking, driving, or performing many other tasks.
- Sprains and strains – The tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your arms can stretch or tear when pushed past a certain point, leading to moderate pain and swelling. Sprains typically occur when force is applied to the arm—for example, when falling or playing contact sports.
- Pinched nerves – When muscles or tendons swell due to injuries or repetitive movements, they can grow in size and apply pressure to your nerves. Pinched nerves can cause tingling, numbness, or piercing pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of a pinched nerve.
- Tendonitis – Your tendons connect your muscles to your bones. When these helpful tissues swell due to repeated injuries, they can feel sore and tender due to muscle strain. Common names for tendonitis in the arms include golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, and swimmer’s shoulder.
- Arthritis – Arthritis is a chronic condition associated with stiff, swollen, or worn joints. In the arms, arthritis can develop in the wrist, elbow, or shoulder.
While this short list encompasses the majority of mild to moderate issues, some arm injuries are more severe and may require immediate professional attention such as seeing a physical therapist. If your arm pain comes with a snap or pop, chest pains, or shortness of breath, you may want to seek medical help right away.
6 Tips for Arm Pain Relief
If you find that the pain in your arm is more of a minor discomfort, you can take several steps to find relief on your own. Here’s how to help arm pain at home.
Sometimes, when you’re experiencing arm pain, the best thing you can do is nothing. We use our arms for most of our daily activities—from playing sports to picking up a sock—so it’s hard to find time to relax those overworked muscles.
But whether you like it or not, rest is essential to the healing process. Here are some ways you can give your arms a break:
- Support your team from the bench during the next big game
- Spend some time on the couch with your favorite movie
- Use voice assistants to text or write emails
- Swap your arm workout for an active recovery day activity, like walking
- Take mass transit instead of driving
If you have a support network available, see if they’ll handle some of the more arm-intensive chores. Sweeping, scrubbing, and stirring can aggravate an already sore arm, so if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.
#2 Stretch Your Arm Muscles
When experiencing muscle soreness or tension, stretching can help ease some tension. Stretches have also been shown to increase range of motion, help with recovery after an intense workout or injury, and reduce the risk of future incidents.
For some simple at-home arm stretches that may help with your pain, try:
- Extended child’s pose
- Flexing and extending the wrist
- “Thread the needle”
- Cross-body shoulder stretch
Keep in mind that stretching shouldn’t be painful. If your discomfort worsens during a stretch, stop and rest, then try a different position.
#3 Roll It Out with a Foam Roller
Foam rollers offer an inexpensive way to enjoy a quasi-massage at home. Once you pick up a foam roller, you have two options for using it to ease arm pain:
- On the floor – To start, find a comfortable section of the floor; some carpet or a yoga mat work well. Next, lay down on top of the foam roller, positioning the target area of your arm at the center of the roller. Using your legs to push and your free arm to balance, slowly roll yourself back and forth. It should feel like a moderately firm massage.
Against the wall – If you struggle to find a comfortable position lying down, you can also use a foam roller up against a wall. Simply place the roller between your arm and the wall, then squat to move it up and down your arm. To apply more pressure, plant your feet further away from the wall and lean more into the roller.
#4 Apply Topical Pain Relievers
For rapid arm pain relief, you can use a topical pain reliever. Pain relief agents come in several forms; depending on your pain level and lifestyle, you can choose the option that works best for you.
Pain Relief Cream
Creams usually come in tubes or tubs and offer a convenient way to target any area. Pain relief creams are absorbed by your skin, which allows them to penetrate deeply into places you can’t otherwise reach.
Muscle creams can contain various ingredients that may help to reduce irritation and swelling. For example, a CBD muscle cream that contains active ingredients menthol and camphor, both of which have been shown to relieve mild to moderate pains when applied to the skin, can be very effective. In addition, many of these creams are further enriched with THC-free CBD and arnica.
Applying a pain relief cream is also beneficial because you have the opportunity for hands-on interaction with your body. When you rub a cream into the problem area, you can give yourself a mini-massage at the same time.
A CBD roll-on offers many of the same potential benefits as a cream but with one distinct advantage: You don’t have to handle the substance with your hands. As such, there are numerous CBD roll on uses that make it ideal for on-the-go pain relief. Conveniently, you can apply a roll-on pain reliever to your arm the same way you would a stick of deodorant.
Whether you choose a cream, a roll-on, or a muscle salve, you can experience fast-acting relief in most situations with topical solutions.
#5 Use a Brace or Bandage
If moving your arm increases your pain, you may find it beneficial to limit movement with a brace or bandage.
Arm braces are wearable apparatus that keep your arm in the ideal position. A brace can help stop you from twisting or turning your arm in a way that aggravates the issue. Depending on your injury, you might benefit from a:
- Wrist splint
- Compression sleeve
- Elbow band
- Shoulder support
It’s worth noting that a brace won’t necessarily alleviate the arm pain you feel. Instead, it can keep you from making your injury worse. For more relief, you can wrap a compression bandage around the part of your arm causing you pain. These bandages may reduce swelling, making them ideal for sprains, strains, and tendonitis.
#6 Take a Hot Bath
Heat is often recommended for arm pain relief, or any pain relief, as it can increase blood flow and help your muscles relax. One of the easiest ways to apply heat to the entire arm is in a bath.
If your arm pain starts to flare up, try drawing a nice hot bath with some relaxing CBD bath salts that contain active ingredients like camphor and menthol to help relieve muscle pain and improve your recovery. Besides the benefits of warm water and bath salts, you’ll also have the chance to rest your arm.
Arm Yourself with Pain Relief Solutions
Arm pain can be difficult to manage, but it doesn’t have to be forever. With the right tools and knowledge, you can work toward a future where you’re free of aches and pains.
A topical pain reliever is one of the best tools to add to your toolkit. But not just any pain relief agent will do.
If you want a natural, plant-based option that’s made in the USA, try ProVault. Whether you prefer a classic cream, a cooling roll-on, or soothing bath salts, you’ll find the relief you’re looking for with ProVault. A fast-acting blend of menthol and camphor can help ease joint stiffness and soothe sore muscles. So whether you’re looking for arm pain relief or are looking to relieve lower back pain, let ProVault help you get back to doing what you love.
MedlinePlus. Sprains and Strains. https://medlineplus.gov/sprainsandstrains.html
National Center for Biotechnology. A Survey on Stretching Practices in Women and Men from Various Sports or Physical Activity Programs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8068839/
National Center for Biotechnology Information. Improvement of Pain and Function After Use of a Topical Pain Relieving Patch: Results of the RELIEF Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7326193/
Mayo Clinic. Tendinitis pain: Should I apply ice or heat? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/expert-answers/tendinitis/faq-20057872