Forearm pain sometimes shows up without an obvious cause, such as an accident or sudden injury. Sudden pain in one or both forearms may baffle anyone suffering from it, but there are various conditions that can cause it, and most involve the muscles. It is often necessary to visit the doctor to officially diagnose the issue, but some causes include tendinitis, muscle strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even a heart attack.
Tendinitis occurs when the tendons, which connect the muscle to the bone, become inflamed. The inflammation typically starts in a tendon in the elbow and then spreads to the forearm. Tendinitis is usually caused by overuse, aging, and injury, though many sufferers of this condition get it as a result of playing sports like tennis and golf. It is sometimes referred to as either golfer's or tennis elbow. In order to heal, the area must be rested for a few months in most cases, though surgery or steroid shots are sometimes also required.
Another common cause of forearm pain is muscle strain, which usually occurs when the muscle has been stretched to the point of tearing. This can happen to those who play sports, exercise frequently, or lift heavy items improperly. Fortunately, most treatment for muscle strain can be performed at home, as ice, elevation, rest, and pain relievers are usually the best ways to heal this kind of forearm pain. Severe cases may need professional medical treatment, however, especially if the condition does not improve with several days of home treatment.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause forearm pain in those who perform the same arm or hand movements often. Those who type on a computer keyboard daily, work on an assembly line, or use repetitive hand movements for their hobbies are particularly at risk for forearm pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, golfing, rowing, tennis, and knitting can all lead to this condition. Typically, discomfort and tingling occur in the wrist and hand, but the pain can travel up the forearm and even to the shoulder. Rest and pain relievers can often improve mild cases, but surgery may be required for severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Although not widely known as a symptom, forearm pain in the left arm can actually be a precursor to a heart attack. It may be sudden, radiating quickly from the shoulder to the forearm, or it may be a constant pain that lasts for days. Either way, pain in the left arm that cannot be explained by most causes of forearm pain typically deserves a trip to the doctor. This is especially true in the presence of chest pain, anxiety, sweating, and nausea.