Upper Arm Pain After Sleeping – How It Is Caused?

The Upper Arm is located between the shoulder joint and the elbow joint. Every person with arms knows full well of their importance. Underneath the human bodies are bones as well as muscles.

The arm muscles help humans move their arms, hands, fingers, and thumbs. They allow us to participate in activities that require movements such as writing, swinging a bad, including balance when walking. Arm pain can have several causes; could be as a result of overuse, wear, and tear, or other health conditions like fibromyalgia, etc. 

Causes Of Upper Arm Pain After Sleeping

Upper Arm pain can stem from various factors. Before addressing the issue, the first step is to understand the potential causes. Some include nerve compression, muscle strain, poor sleeping posture etc. The most prevalent is poor sleeping posture.

Causes Of Upper Arm Pain After Sleeping

Let us uncover some of the other culprits, their symptoms and treatments.

🔹 Rotator Cuff Injury

The human rotator cuff is a collection of tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. It is at the end of the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade, helping to secure it in the socket. Rotator cuff injuries occur when the tendons become inflamed (tendinitis) or partially or completely torn. Here are some occurrences that can lead to tendonitis et al:-

  • An injury from falling with a stretched-out arm
  • Lifting something heavy
  • Participating in contact sports where the shoulder joint is used frequently, eg cricket, tennis, rowing, etc.
  • Overhead use of the arms, such as construction and painting.


  •  A dull pain in the shoulder.
  • Stiffness.
  • Disrupted sleep.
  • Agonizing pain when engaged in activities that involve throwing or lifting.


  • Over-the-counter Anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
  • Resting and icing the affected arm.

🔹 Sprain Or Strain

A distinctive indicator of a sprain is the straining of the ligament. This injury is common among athletes and extremely active people. Most times, this is treated at home, but if it is severe, surgery to repair the ligament or tendon is necessary. A sprain or strain occurs on the shoulder or bicep, causing pain in the whole upper arm.


  • Inability to use the arm or joint.
  • Swelling and shooting pain.


  • Rest.
  • Ice compress
  • Keep the arm elevated to avoid or reduce swelling.

🔹 Broken Bones (Fractures)

This happens when the humerus breaks in the event of an accident. The humerus either breaks or is shattered. The best action to take is to seek immediate medical attention from a professional. In some cases, an audible sound may indicate the bone has been fractured.


  • Severe Pain.
  • Inflammation.
  • Bruising.
  • Inability to move the arm.

Treatment Options: Seek professional help and get an x-ray.

🔹 Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement syndrome encompasses conditions that diminish the available space within a portion of the shoulder known as the subacromial space. This constriction exerts pressure and friction on the rotator cuff. It is a prevalent source of discomfort in the shoulder and upper arm,  impacting around 20% of individuals at some juncture. The primary culprits behind the condition are activities involving throwing, swimming, posture, genetic predisposition, or the natural aging process.


  • Shoulder and upper arm pain.
  • Weakness.
  • Restriction in shoulder movement.


  • Steroid injections
  • Rotator cuff exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles.
  • Ice the site.
  • Surgery, if the impingement is caused by bone spurs in the subacromial space known as subacromial decompression.

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🔹 Pinched Nerve

Excessive pressure exerted on a nerve in the arm can lead to its disruption, resulting in discomfort in either the shoulder or the arm, accompanied by the sensation of numbness. This often manifests in the elbow. This condition can also arise from injuries or fractures. 

Various treatments are employed to address a pinched nerve, including:

  • Rest and immobilization.
  • Physical Therapy.
  • Medication: over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs may be recommended to manage the pain.
  • Bracing or Splinting: the brace is used to support the affected area and reduce pressure to the nerve.
  • Corticosteroid Injections.
  • Surgery.

These are some other potentially life-threatening causes of upper arm pain.

🔹 Heart Problems

Angina: this is a condition where the blood supply to the heart is constricted resulting in upper arm pain. The pain remains excruciating with physical activity.

Heart Attack: When a blood clot blocks the blood supply to the heart, this condition sets in.

Its symptoms include:

  • Pain in the upper arm on the left.
  • Squeezing sensation in the chest.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea.
  • Light-headedness.
  • Sweating.

The only treatment is to quickly get to a hospital.

Other problems are Nerve and Elbow problems. Depending on the degree of pain, ensure that you pay a visit to an orthopedic or neurologist. They are highly trained to manage such issues.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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