Waking Up With Arm Pain

Waking Up With Arm Pain

Today’s blog was written by Dr. John Cybulski. He discusses some of the common causes of arm pain while sharing a few tips to keep your arms healthy and pain free.

Have you been waking up with arm pain lately? Does the pain appear as you’re waking up, or does the pain cause you to wake up?

If your arm pain is so severe that it wakes you up numerous times during the night, you should consult your doctor right away. However, if you’re like many people who struggle with arm pain in the morning, you may be dealing with an overuse injury.

Why Does My Arm Hurt?

Our bodies have limits. The body’s heart can only beat so fast and lungs can only hold so much air. Fortunately, our bodies set up safeguards so that we rarely reach those limits. The question then becomes, if you’re in pain, which anatomical limits are you pushing?

Fun Fact: Your muscles do more than just move your bones. One of the main jobs of our muscles is to help pump blood through your body. In some cases, arm pain is experienced as a symptom of a blood clot or a cardiac problem. If you’ve already ruled out these medical conditions with your doctor, it’s time to turn your attention to the other functions of the muscular system.

The question then remains, what muscular or joint dysfunctions might be contributing to your arm pain?

Muscle Weakness and Overcompensation

Do you have tension and pain in your upper shoulders and neck? Do your hands, wrists, or elbows bother you after a long day at work?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then it’s very possible there are underlying muscular imbalances that are causing your arm pain. You may be overusing your stronger muscles to compensate for weakness in other muscles. By overcompensating for your body’s lack of strength, you put undue stress on those muscles and risk developing a painful strain or tear.

 Referred Pain

Do you have pain in areas near your arm that could possibly lead to waking up with arm pain?

Many people don’t consider their neck or shoulder problems may be contributing to their arm pain since it’s a different part of the body. This is often called “referred pain,” as pain from previous injuries will subtly radiate to nearby areas of the body as we sleep. Sometimes the referred pain may appear to be a separate injury.

How to Fix Your Arm Pain Fast

Your muscles are capable of many things, from running and jumping to throwing and lifting. However, even the strongest muscles can be pushed beyond their limits. Understanding and consciously abiding by your own body’s limits is an important step in avoiding injuries that can lead to pain.  Learning how to correct muscular imbalances as they appear is crucial to swift and effective pain relief.

Fortunately, the best solutions are often the simplest. If you know a muscle is holding too much tension, you can stretch it. Or, if you notice some muscles are weaker than others, you can do exercises to strengthen them.

As a doctor of the musculoskeletal system, I have found that it’s very important to treat the problem at its source, rather than simply alleviate the symptoms of pain. If you find yourself waking up with arm pain that’s too much to bear, I encourage you to seek out your nearest Airrosti doctor. We tend to resolve injuries like arm pain in an average of about 3 visits, based on patient-reported outcomes.


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