What is upper limb pain?

Upper limb pain is any type of pain that occurs in the upper limbs of the body, consisting of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. The arm is made up of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels, which are all susceptible to injury, infection, and other conditions.

  • Shoulder pain:
    The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that consists of the humerus (long arm bone), the clavicle (collarbone) and the scapula (shoulder blade). The shoulder joint is responsible for moving the shoulder forward and backwards. Shoulder pain may be caused by rotator cuff tendinitis, arthritis, a dislocated or frozen shoulder or an injury due to overuse use.
  • Elbow pain:
    Elbow pain may range from a burning sensation caused by an inflamed tendon, to a severe sharp pain associated with an elbow fracture or dislocation. Elbow pain may also be caused by bursitis, osteoarthritis, ligament strains and sprains, as well as medial and lateral epicondylitis.
  • Wrist pain:
    Wrist pain may occur due to sprains, strains or fractures. Wrist pain can also be caused by long-term problems such as repetitive stress, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

How is upper extremity pain treated?

Phillo Beukes will perform a comprehensive examination of your upper extremity in order to determine a treatment plan that's best suited to you. Joint immobilisation with the use of a splint may be recommended to provide rest, alleviate pain and prevent joint or tendon irritation.

Heat therapy such as paraffin wax or heating pads may also be used to help increase blood circulation, improve joint stiffness and decrease muscle pain. Stretches and exercises such as shoulder, tricep, and neck stretching may be recommended to alleviate pain, strengthen muscles and reduce inflammation.


“Take care of your body,
and your body will take care of you.”