What is underarm pain?
Underarm pain refers to pain of the underside of the arm or the armpit (axilla). Anyone can experience underarm pain, which can be the result of injury, infection or inflammation. Underarm pain may also be a type of referred pain, which is pain perceived far from the site of injury. For example, in the case of angina, which is chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, you may feel underarm pain in addition to chest pain.
Treatment for underarm pain depends on the exact cause and severity. Mild pain may go away with time. If underarm pain is related to a muscle strain, home remedies, such as cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain medication may help to treat the pain. In more serious cases, underarm pain may require other treatment, such as physical therapy, surgery, or prescription medications.
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Frequent causes of underarm pain include muscle strains, pinched nerves, and minor injuries. Underarm pain may also result from a viral infection, an infection of the soft tissues of the underarm itself, or an inflammatory condition. In rare cases, underarm pain may also be linked to a growth, such as a cyst or tumor.
Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your underarm pain feels like pressure or squeezing and radiates through the chest, as underarm pain may be referred pain from a serious underlying heart condition such as coronary heart disease (narrowing of blood vessels that bring blood to the heart).
If your underarm pain is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.
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- Angina. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Diseases and Conditions Index. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Angina/Angina_WhatIs.html
- Hand/wrist/arm problems. FamilyDoctor.org. http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/tools/symptom/526.html