9 Main Causes of Armpit Pain and its Best Treatment

Armpit Pain-

The condition in which a person complaints of pain in the armpits is one which could open variety of possibilities. The causes of armpit pain could be anything from a simple skin irritation to breast cancer. When you take this problem to your doctor, he/she examines the intensity of the situation, the correlation with other symptoms and the time since the patient complains about the pain. Only after the doctor finds answers to these questions, he/she proceeds to make any confirmation about the cause of the pain in the armpits.

Sometimes, armpit pain is a symptom for a greater problem while some other times, it is just a normal aching phenomenon. Lets look at the causes of pain in the armpits.

Causes of Armpit Pain:

1. Muscular Pain:

When the muscles of the chest and arm are overused or injured, it may result in pain in the armpit region. The injury may be caused while playing sports, exercising or doing heavy manual work that involves lifting heavy weights.

If these muscles are overused, they get strained. As a result they begin to lose strength day by day and lead to pain in the muscles that later spreads to the armpit region. Availing the aid of a physiotherapist will get the muscle ache back on track and thus the pain in the armpits shall also be relieved.

2. Waxing and shaving:

Simple acts of shaving or waxing the hair of your armpit could also lead to pain if you have a sensitive skin. You may feel itching sensation along with a feeling of the skin of your armpit burning. All of these sensations culminate to cause you pain in that area. Applying hair removal cream also proves detrimental to the armpits of a lot of people.

3. Skin allergies causes pain of the armpit:

Contact dermatitis is a skin rash that is caused due to using deodorants or due to certain kinds of reactions caused because of laundry detergents. This is a kind of allergic reaction that happens to people who may be allergic to the components used in the deodorant or the detergent. This too is painful for your armpits.

4. Bumps and acne:

You may see acne like bumps that develop in your armpit. A kind of the acne is hydradentitis suppurativa. It looks like an acne but is far more painful than a normal acne. If the boils rupture, the fluids within ooze out.

5. Shingles:

These are yet another skin related problems.  It is an infection that spreads because of varicellazoster virus. It causes the skin to become scaly and rashes appear on your back, chest or on your  under arms. You may also feel burning or tingling sensation in your under arm because of the virus.

6. Swollen lymph nodes:

Lymph is a fluid that assists in fighting infection and infectious diseases. The lymphatic system is a network of nodes and glands. This network is found throughout the body.

The lymph nodes often swell and become tender. This may be due to cough and cold. There are several kinds of lymphatic conditions that may cause pain in the region of your armpit.

Lymphedema is an example of such lymphatic condition. It happens when there is a blockage in the lymph node.  Due to the blockage the fluid builds inside the nodes and swells up. This can be extremely painful and requires treatment. Lymphedema follows treatment for breast cancer or for removal of tumors that have become cancerous.

7. Lymphandenopathy:

This too is a lymphatic disorder. It causes the lymph nodes to enlarge. It’s caused due to an infection of the lymphatic system called lymphadenitis.

8. Breast Cancer:

This is one of the most common problems these days.  A lot of women have breast cancer and need to undergo a surgery to remove their breast.  This mainly happens due to the inability to be able to recognize the symptom at an early stage.  The most evident sign of breast cancer is swelling and pain in the armpit.  If you feel a lump under your arms, you must run to the doctor immediately. Sometimes the pain may be due to non cancerous cells that form a lump.  That is nothing to be worried about.  Nevertheless, cancerous or non cancerous, the lump of cells is extremely painful.

9. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD):

PAD is narrowing of small arteries in the arms and legs. Arteries carry oxygenated blood. Thus when the arteries become narrow, less amount of blood passes to the arms and legs. Due to deficiency of oxygen, you are bound to feel pain in the arms and legs and may also feel painful in the armpit.

Symptoms of Armpit Pain:

  • The cause of the pain decides the intensity of the pain and also the type.
  • If the pain is due to an allergy, the pain will accompany rashes and redness. There may also be burning sensation.
  • If the cause of pain is breast cancer, you may notice visible changes in the shape and size of your breast. Lumps on the armpit and chest area are also visible.
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes will lead to swelling in the armpit.

Treatment for Armpit Pain:

Just like the symptoms, even the treatment depends on the cause of the armpit pain. Treating strained muscle:

1.Treatment for Swelling:

In order to treat strained muscles it is advised that you apply massage oil and use cold and hot water bag and keep it in the area that is hurting. Light exercise that involve stretching of the muscles can also help relieve the pain. By doing so the strained muscles begin to relax and the muscles loosen.

2. Treatment for shingles:

Singles can be created using medications. Medications involve treating of the virus that causes the skin disease.

3. Hidradenitis Suppurativa:

In order to treat hidradenitis suppurativa, the doctors prescribe medicines to cure the acne. If the medicines are not effective the doctor may suggest surgery.

4. Treatment for swollen lymph nodes:

Swelling of lymph nodes could be due to a number of reasons. The reason shall decide the treatment. If it is caused due to bacterial infection, it can be treated using medicines. Viral swelling takes time to heal but medications are suggested for this as well. Putting a warm wet cloth over the swollen region will also treat the pain.

5. Treatment for breast cancer:

Treating breast cancer is easy if it is detected in the early stages itself. Various methods like radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be useful for treating breast cancer. If the cancer has advanced, the breast may also need to be removed to prevent it from spreading to other organs.

When to see a doctor:

  • A hematologist is a doctor that specializes in lymph node disorders. If your pain is not the usual muscle strain, you may have to consult a hematologist to find out the cause and get proper treatment for the same.
  • The cases in which breast cancer is suspected, you may have to see a cancer specialist as soon as possible.
  • If the pain is due to a rash or an allergy, you must see a skin specialist to ensure the problem does not become worse.
  • An early visit to the doctor and some amount of vigilance can prevent a huger danger. Hence it is advised that you do not overlook the problem and find a proper doctor for your problem. in event of a confusion as to which doctor to consult, ask your family doctor.

Armpit pain usually happens due to rash or other related skin problems. Changing the deodorant or the soap that causes irritation can be a good option. Maintaining bodily hygiene is an easy solution to skin related problems that may cause armpit pain.


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Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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