Arm & Hand Pain

Signs & Symptoms   |    Causes   |    Treatment   |

Questions to Ask   |    Self-Care/Prevention

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Signs & Symptoms

•  Pain ranging from dull to severe. Increased pain with movement.

•  Numbness. Weakness. Tenderness.

•  Stiffness. Swelling.


There are many causes of arm and/or hand pain. Common causes are:

•  Arthritis. Repetitive motion injuries (RMIs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

•  Circulation problems, such as angina and a heart attack

•  Skin rashes. Skin wounds. Infections.

•  Injuries, such as sprains, strains, and broken or dislocated bones


Treatment depends on the cause and how severe the problem is.

Questions to Ask

Arthritis Foundation



National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

877.22.NIAMS (226.4267)

Self-Care / Prevention

To Help Treat Arthritis

•  Follow your doctor’s advice for exercise, medications, and the use of supplements, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and flaxseed oil.

•  Follow a healthy diet. If you are overweight, lose weight gradually (1-2 pounds a week). Losing weight too fast and fasting raise uric acid levels and increase the risk for gout.

•  Protect your joints from injuries. Wear knee pads, etc.

•  Don’t put too much stress on your joints. Take regular pauses and breaks from activities that do this.

To Help Prevent Osteoarthritis

•  Get to and stay at a healthy weight.

•  Do regular physical activity, but don’t overdo it. If you feel pain, stop.

•  Prevent falls and sports injuries.

For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

This is much easier to treat and less likely to cause future problems if it is found early. Once CTS is diagnosed, treatment includes:

•  Preventing further damage

•  Wearing a wrist brace, splint, etc. as advised by your doctor. This may need to be worn during the day and while you sleep.

•  Taking OTC medicines to reduce pain and swelling.

•  Physical therapy

•  Occupational therapy

•  Cortisone shots in the wrist area

•  Surgery, if needed

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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