Armpit Pain

Armpit pain comes about due to an infection or other medical condition. When the soreness is accompanied by changes in the skin color or texture, it could be an infection. This pain can sometimes spread to the arm and shoulder parts.

Symptoms and Complications of Armpit Pain

Everyone is susceptible to armpit pain emanating from injury, infection or inflammation. The signs and symptoms of under arm pain reveal the type of disorder or extent of injury.

Pain in the armpit affects the muscles, bones, tendons and cartilage therefore you are bound to experience:

  • Weaknesses of the muscle
  • Red swelling
  • Reduced joint movement
  • Soreness or pain in the shoulder, arm hand or finger
  • Tenderness

You may also experience other symptoms like; lumps, tingling or numb feeling in the arms and skin discoloration.

When to See a Doctor

Life threatening conditions of the armpit condition require immediate medical attention. Consult a doctor if you experience:

  • Bone protruding out of the skin
  • Chest pain and palpitations
  • Body parts being paralyzed
  • Breathing that is irregular labored, choking or wheezing
  • Sudden underarm stabbing pain
  • Hemorrhage or heavy bleeding

Causes of Armpit Pain

Different factors contribute to the pain under the armpit. These range from muscle pulls, cosmetic products, infections and beauty enhancement procedures. The common causes include:

  • Cosmetic Products. Harsh chemicals from deodorants, soaps and antiperspirants can harm your skin. The use of strong antiperspirants can cause a burning sensation. Allergic reactions to beauty products lead to redness, inflammation, pain and itching.
  • Hair Removal. Using an improper hair removal procedure can cause folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicles. For example, if you use a dull blade to shave, it could leave bumps. By using a wrong method you also risk having ingrown hair. A dirty razor poses the danger of an infection and using very hot wax, or waxing in the wrong direction results in underarm skin damage.
  • Muscle Strain. Sport injuries around the armpit results in excessive muscle stretch leading to axillary myalgic pain. This is a popular condition for players in sports such as tennis, javelin and baseball. The action involves forceful arm swinging movements which cause pain followed with muscle tenderness, in some cases. Subscapularis muscle strain is also common in such games and it causes armpit pain.
  • Infections. Pain in the under arm is as a result of bacteria, virus or fungal infections. The viral measles, mumps, typhoid, chicken pox, shingles and AIDS can have excruciating pain in the area. Fungal infections such as sporotrichosis are accompanied by painful lumps too. The bacteria caused by Streptococcus pythogenes and Staphylococcus aureus are among the other causes. Medical conditions like leukemia, moncleosis, Hodgkins and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma also lead to pain under the arms.
  • Lymphadenitis. The inflammation of lymph nodes is called axillary Lymphadenitis. It causes swelling, pain and fever. This is common during an arm injury causing the axillary lymph nodes under the armpits enlarge. Since a painful lump in the armpit is associated with breast cancer; an infection in the breast tissue of the armpit could also be painful and its inflammation associated with cancer.
  • Sporotrichosis. This fungal infection is common among gardeners because they are exposed to its fungi habitation. The fungus sporothrix and schenckii is found in soil, rose bushes and moss. It causes painful lumps with rashes.
  • Degeneration of Connective Tissues. Armpit pain from the degeneration or decay of connective tissues hinders arm movement. This occurs particularly when there is no lump, yet the armpit region feels sore when you attempt to stretch them.
  • Hyperthyroidism. The over intake of iodine can cause swollen armpit glands. When the daily dose is too high it leads to an overactive thyroid gland hence the swelling and pain.
  • Breast Cancer. One of the notable signs of breast cancer is armpit lumps and pains. Any pain under the armpit should not be overruled because it could be the beginning of a cancerous lump around the breast.
  • Lymphoma. A sharp radiating pain extending to the fingers could be a sign of abnormal white blood cells. This is a cancer type referred to as lymphoma which affects the nerve system passing through the underarm. A non-Hodgkin's lymphoma occurs when this pain is focused on the left or right armpit with a characteristic elevation of the surface.
  • Other Causes. Armpit pain could also be due to muscle strain, heartburn, chemical burn, peripheral artery disease and neuropathy. It is important to establish the cause before pursuing the type of treatment.

Remedies for Armpit pain

Treatment involves self-care and the use of drugs to counter the pain or infection. The remedy depends on the extent of the pain with some solutions involving serious medical care.

  • Pain Relief. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers are effective in relieving pain. These can be prescribed in a hospital setting or over the counter.
  • Against Infection. In order to combat infections, there are drugs for bacterial, fungal and viral causes. Antibiotics, antifungal and antivirus drugs will treat effectively.
  • Muscle Relaxation. In case of a muscle strain, muscle relaxers can be used in the affected armpit areas. Relaxing the muscular tissues relieves the pain easily.
  • Cold Compress. To speed up the healing process, a cold compress is ideal. This involves the use of 4-5 ice cubes in a cotton wool, placed on the affected area, three times a day.
  • Hot Compress. Unlike the cold compress, the hot compress uses a warm (not hot) cotton piece heated in a pan and placed in the armpit for up to 10 minutes.
  • Medical Help. Recurring infections and complex cases should get medical attention. This is because advanced treatment is necessary for medical cases like leukemia, Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These could feature chemotherapy and radiation.