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"I have a pain in my arm. Is it serious?"

ZocdocAnswersI have a pain in my arm. Is it serious?


In the beginning of last week I started to have random sharp pains in my left wrist when I moved it every once in awhile. About 2 days later I started having pain in my arm from my armpit to my elbow. It almost feels like the pain you would get when you hit your "funny bone". Since then the pain hasn't gotten worse but it has been constant. I work at a desk so and I haven't done anything strenuous to it (I don't think). Weeks prior I was having lower back pain but that improved when I received a better chair at work (one with arm rest) so I don't think they are related. Should I be concerned or is it something that will pass?


The important clue here is the fact that you feel that the pain is like the pain that happens when you hit your "funny bone." This almost certainly narrows things down to some form of neuropathic pain, or pain related to injury or inflammation in a nerve, because this is exactly the kind of pain that occurs when nerves are involved. I think the fact that you work sitting at a desk all day is also an important clue. Desk jobs are commonly associated with repetitive strain injuries in the wrists and arms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the best example of this, but repetitive strain injuries can affect the entire arm as well. Essentially what happens here is that nerves in the wrist or arm become inflamed from the repetitive types of motion or pressure that occur when you sit at a desk, type on a keyboard, answer the phone, etc. You should see your primary care doctor about this as soon as possible, as they can confirm the diagnosis. They can also recommend treatment, which will probably involve taking some anti inflammatory medications and trying to figure out how to change the way you work (they way you sit, or the way you cradle the phone or type, for example) to minimize the strain.

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