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.
Home treatment for arm pain, swelling, or stiffness
Rest and protect a stiff
or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be
causing your pain or soreness.
reduce pain and swelling. Apply
ice or cold packs immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice
or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day.
For the first 48 hours, avoid things that
might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, and alcoholic
After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply
heat and begin
gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help
restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between
heat and cold treatments.
Compression, or wrapping
the sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease
swelling. Don't wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the
affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage
is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling
in the area below the bandage. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use
a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be
Elevate the painful area on pillows
while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the
area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize
Remove rings, bracelets, watches, or any other jewelry
from your hand and arm. It will be more difficult to remove the jewelry later
if swelling increases. Swelling without removal of jewelry can cause other
serious problems, such as compression of nerves or restriction of blood
sling if it makes you more comfortable and supports
the area. If you feel you need to use a sling for more than 48 hours, discuss
your symptoms with your doctor.
Gently massage or rub the area to
relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the area if it causes
Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. Smoking slows
healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more
information, see the topic