ZocdocAnswersWhy does my arm feel heavy and sore?

Question

Why does my arm feel heavy and sore?

I am a 38 year old woman, and I used to work at the front desk as an Admin. Assistant a few years ago. I did a lot of repetative work, and I would answer the phone all day long. After I had been at the job for almost a year, I noticed that my right arm would feel so heavy right below my elbow, and it felt sore. It would be difficult for me to pick-up the phone to answer it, so I would sometimes have to switch to my left-hand so I could give my arm a break. I had done office jobs before, and never had this happen, so I wasn't sure what it was. I'm just wondering why it would feel like that? I stay at home with the kids now, so I haven't had that heavy feeling, but if I use the computer for awhile, my right arm will sometimes get sore in my wrist area, and a little bit in the same place below my elbow.

Answer

There are a number of repetitive injuries that can occur when you perform the same task over and over, such as answer the phone, as you have noticed already. Based on where the pains you are describing are, there are a couple of possibilities. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the nerve that runs down into the palm of the hand becomes inflamed from repetitive work. The symptoms include pain and numbness and tingling when using the hand, initially mostly focused in the thumb, index, and middle finger. An overuse injury can also happen at the elbow. When the outside area over the elbow where the tendons connect becomes inflamed, this is called lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. When it is the inside of the elbow, it is called golfer's elbow. Obviously, it occurs not just in sports players! The key to treating these injuries is initially rest, ice, and antiinflammatory medicines. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, a wrist brace and proper positioning while working is also essential. Sometimes, cases do not resolve on their own or with these measure, and then your primary care doctor may decide to refer you to an orthopedic doctor for further evaluation.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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