I want my regular arm back
October 11, 2009 5:30 AM   Subscribe

What is happening with my arm? Suddenly the bicep feels really tight and is sensitive and painful to touch.

I looked around on Google and here, and think it may be a pinched nerve in my neck, but I have no cold sensation, and no numbness. Just a really, really sensitive bicep (I think that's the muscle.. it is sore from the inside/back of the elbow, all the way up to the inside front of my armpit). No other muscles are sore. Just the one. No spasms.

It started last night and feels like it has gotten worse over the last 12 hours.

You are not my doctor, I know. And yes, if it is still painful by tomorrow I will go to the hospital.
posted by molecicco to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Tricep, I think, depending what you mean by 'inside/back' of the elbow. Bicep is the big lumpy one on top of your arm, tricep the longer one that runs around back. Pic.

Either way, I have done this to myself by accidentally sleeping with my arm hyperextended under my head. The tightness seemed to run from behind one ear all the way down through my neck to the elbow, and it hurt whenever I moved my arm or turned my head far to the side.

There might be another way, but for me a couple of muscle relaxants before bed the next night, plus sleeping with it in a very careful position (hand on my chest like a vampire, if I remember right) fixed it.
posted by rokusan at 5:39 AM on October 11, 2009

Any accompanying chest pain, heart burn, or shortness of breath? Arm pain can be referred pain from cardiac or (I think) gastric problems.
posted by orthogonality at 7:53 AM on October 11, 2009

Before I even finished reading your post I thought "pinched cervical nerve." For the record, IANAD. But I do have a herniated cervical disc that causes similar pain (front of armpit, all the way down to the elbow, sometimes down to my hand).

I go to a chiropractor for treatment, but additionally for home care, I've been instructed to use an ice pack on my neck when I get flare-ups. Don't use heat - it will feel good at first, but can aggravate the pinched nerve if that it indeed what it is.

I know, it seems a little odd to put ice on you neck when your arm is what hurts, but it works!
posted by chez shoes at 8:46 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: No chest pain or heartburn. I was thinking that it came from sleeping with my arm stretched out, so it could be the same hyper-extended thing that you mention rokusan. I am hoping it's not a herniated disk... I will try just resting it and sleeping like a vampire. I think I may have further irritated it by stretching the arm out when it started to feel weird.

I will also give the ice on the neck a try. Many thanks!

And yeah, it's the muscle on the front (ie chest) side of my arm, so I think bicep... but the end point of the pain seems to be the inside (ie facing my torso) portion of my elbow, a little towards the back. Wierd!
posted by molecicco at 9:47 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: An interesting update. I have regained fully comfortable use of my arm, but now I have a slight bruise along the length of my bicep exactly where it was sensitive. I guess it wasn't a herniated disc?
posted by molecicco at 12:04 AM on October 14, 2009

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