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Minor arm problems, such as sore muscles, are
common. Symptoms often develop from everyday wear and tear or overuse. Arm
problems may be minor or serious and may include symptoms such as pain,
swelling, cramps, numbness, tingling, weakness, or changes in temperature or
Older adults have a greater chance of having arm problems,
because they lose muscle mass as they age. Children may have arm problems
because they are usually more active than adults and their bones and muscles
are growing more quickly. They may also have arm problems for the same reasons
Your arm problem may be caused by sports or hobbies,
work-related tasks, and work or projects around the home. Arm problems can also
be caused by injuries. If you think your arm problem is caused by an injury,
see the topic
It may be helpful to know the structure of the arm
to better understand arm problems. Common arm problems that are not
caused by a specific injury, such as a blow or fall, include the
Most minor arm problems will usually get better on their own.
Home treatment may be all that is needed to relieve symptoms and promote
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
Based on your answers, you need
Call911or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Symptoms of infection may
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Pain in children 3 years and older
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood
supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons
for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn
blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color
returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area
looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and
this change does not go away.
Based on your answers, you need
After you call
911 , the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength (325 mg) or 2
to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Pain in adults and older children
Symptoms of a heart attack may
The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that
you're having a heart attack. Chest pain or pressure is the most common
symptom, but some people, especially women, may not notice it as much as other
symptoms. You may not have chest pain at all but instead have shortness of breath, nausea, numbness,
tingling, or a strange feeling in your chest or other areas.
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
If your arm problem does not
require an evaluation by a doctor, you may be able to use home treatment to
help relieve pain, swelling, stiffness, or muscle cramps.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent arm
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
June 3, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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