There could be a lot of reason why your armpit or the general area of your underarm is painful. It could be brought by the structures that lay close to your armpit. It can also be caused by certain type of medical condition, a recent traumatic injury or a nervous system disorder.
Right or left armpit pain is usually caused by a strain in your muscles. Though most of the pain is minor and not life threatening, it is still wise to seek medical attention. Get on top of the pain by knowing its possible cause for proper treatment. Below are some of the most common causes.
Right Armpit Pain: Causes and Treatments
The severity of the underarm pain depends on the cause and the extent of the affected areas.
1. Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus are nerves that travel from the neck through the armpit to the upper extremities. They are responsible for the sensation that you feel in your hand and control motor functions.
Injuries of brachial plexus occurs when the nerves are torn or stretched, say when you push your shoulders downward while you pushed your head up away from the shoulders.
Mild injuries heal on its own and do not need any treatment while in a more severe injury, physical therapy will be recommended by your doctor. Surgical repair is needed in cases where scar tissues have been torn or cut.
2. Triceps Muscle Strain
Triceps muscle is located at the back of your upper arm; their function is to extend your upper arm to your shoulder and extend your forearm to your elbow. Armpit pain is a result when your tricep muscles are strained, commonly caused by sports-related injury.
In the first two days after the injury, rest the affected area and apply cold therapy. Apply the ice for 10 minutes every hour, then reduce the frequency to 2-3 times a day. Laser treatment can also be recommended by your therapist to reduce inflammation and pain.
3. Subscapularis Trigger Points
The subscapularis is a triangular large muscle that lies between your torso and shoulder blade. A trigger point is a hyper-irritable knot that develops within tight band muscle due to repetitive strain injuries, direct trauma, poor posture or inactivity.
Therapeutic treatments such as manual therapy, massage therapy, active release technique or trigger point therapy are recommended for addressing soft tissue injuries. Medications such as oral steroids or muscle relaxes are also prescribed to the patient with initial acute injury stages. Botox, trigger point injections or steroid injections can also be an option for treatment.
4. Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are oval and small tissues that are usually found in your armpits, neck and groin though they can also be found anywhere in your body. Swelling of lymph nodes can be caused by infections brought by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Cancer and autoimmune disorders can also trigger lymph nodes to swell which results to right armpit pain.
Treatment depends on the cause of swollen lymph nodes. If it's caused by a virus infection, it will return to normal once the infection is gone. Antibiotics is prescribed for those that are caused by bacterial infection. For causes such as immune disorders and cancer, the main root should be treated first.
Diabetes is a condition when your blood sugar level is too high. If left untreated, it can impose several health complications and can be life-threatening. When you have excess levels of glucose, the tiny blood vessels around your nerves are damaged. When armpit nerves are affected, sharp pains under your right armpit may be felt.
Over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-depressants may be prescribed for nerve pain. Capsaicin cream is also recommended to block pain signals. Physical therapy treatments such as swimming can also be used as a treatment.
6. Breast Cancer
One of the most common health problems affecting women, breast cancer comes with symptoms such as lump or thickening tissues in the breast, armpit pain, skin rashes around the nipple and blood-tinge discharges from the nipple.
You may feel pain in your arm and shoulders after your treatment for breast cancer. There are exercise routines that you can perform to relieve the pain. Consult with your occupational therapist first before starting these exercises.
7. Herpes Zoster
Also known as shingles, this condition is extremely painful and is caused by virus attacking your nerves. Aside from the pain, other symptoms include uncomfortable skin rashes and severe left/right armpit pain.
Shingles has no known cure, yet several treatments can be provided to prevent complications. Antidepressants, antiviral medicines and topical creams can be used to reduce pain.
8. Inflammation of Hair Follicles
When bacteria invade the hair follicles in your armpit and its surrounding sweat glands, inflammation may occur. This results to the formation in sinus tracts and infected cysts, which can cause formation of pus, itching, pain and scarring.
Treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition. Common medication for folliculitis include oral antibiotics, topical antibiotics and antifungal creams, antifungal shampoos, oral corticosteroids and steroid creams.
9. Anxiety Pain
Underarm pain can be brought about by anxiety due to underarm sweating, shaking, irritation and increased heart rate.
In order to find relief from the pain, you should seek treatment for your anxiety disorder. Your health care provider will diagnose your condition and recommended necessary treatment. The main options for treatments are psychotherapy and medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and benzodiazepines.
10. Peripheral Artery Disease
This circulatory disease occurs when the blood flow to your limbs is reduced by narrowed arteries. Because your arms and legs don't get the needed amount of blood to function, patients experience limping and pain.
To relieve arm pain, you have to find treatment for the root cause. Recommended treatments include regular exercise, a change in diet and lifestyle and smoking cessation.
Right armpit pain does not only bring discomfort but it could also be a tell-tale sign of a more serious health condition. Don't shrug your shoulders off and hope that the pain will just go away. Seek medical help as soon as you experience this condition for a long period.