As brachialgia a painful complaint by the arm, the joints or the shoulder is called. It is a pain that is caused, for example, by mechanical irritation or another disease. The intensity of the brutalgia is different.

What is a brute force?

Brachialgia refers to pain in the arms, joints or shoulders. It is caused by compression of the nerve roots. In the corresponding dermatome of the spinal cord nerves, there are radiating pain with varying degrees of severity.

Likewise occur paresthesia on with and without sensorimotor loss. They show up as tingling, numbness or falling asleep of the arm. Certain movements of the cervical spine can influence and alleviate the pain. The heavier the compression on the nerve root, the more extensive the patient’s complaints and symptoms of failure.

The damage occurs most often to the cervical nerve roots C6 and C7 followed by C8 and C5. All are located in the upper third of the cervical spine, at the level of the shoulder girdle to the shoulder blade. Brachialgia can result from external influences such as mechanical irritation or from internal processes such as a tumor. The brutalgia is medically divided into several forms due to the different manifestations and causes.


According to photionary, the causes of brutalgia are manifold. A rough distinction is made between mechanical irritation and pathological causes. In the case of mechanical stimulation, the nerve is subjected to excessive stress by the patient. The irritation causes a pain in the arm or shoulder.

Pathological causes include a tumor, a general inflammatory process, or shoulder amyotrophy. Brachialgia can also occur in women who have had their breasts amputated. Another cause is the side effect of radiation therapy.

Shoulder amyotrophy is a rarely occurring inflammation of the brachial plexus. Suddenly there is severe pain and paralysis of the shoulder and arm muscles. The inflammation of the arm plexus is to be classified as acute. If the brachialgia occurs in women after the breast has been removed, the axillary lymph nodes are often also removed during the surgical procedure.

This causes a lymph drainage disorder, which is associated with lymph congestion and compression of the nerves. As a result, pain in the arm and shoulder can occur. Irradiation can cause disturbances or damage to the nerves. These occur above the collarbone and the armpit.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

Symptoms of brachialgia include uncomfortable pain in the arms, fingers, or shoulder. In addition, the joints can be sore. The intensity of the pain is variable in the patient and can range up to acute pain. There are also sensorimotor complaints in various forms.

Usually these are symptoms such as numbness, tingling or falling asleep in the affected area. The complaints are individual and can radiate from the shoulder to the little finger. It comes to sensory disturbances or failures of the muscles.


When the diagnosis is made, a check is initially made to determine whether there is any mechanical irritation. Arms and shoulders are stretched or circular movements are made. If they relieve the pain, irritation is likely. If it persists, there may be a pathological cause.

For this purpose, further checks are carried out using the blood count or X-rays. A pathological cause is also indicated if the pain either occurs spontaneously or intensifies over a longer period of time. The anamnesis is used to check whether the symptoms of failure were steadily increasing.


The brutalgia may mean that the affected arm can only be used to a limited extent. This is not only the case with paralysis – sensory disorders and paresthesias can also indirectly impair motor skills. Further complications may arise depending on the treatment.

Physical dependence is possible when taking painkillers that are potentially addictive. This manifests itself in the fact that the same dose of the pain reliever is less effective. In order to effectively combat the pain caused by the brutalgia, the dose of the pain reliever is often increased.

To avoid addiction, many doctors prefer to prescribe pain relievers that are not physically addictive or that are only slightly addictive. Painkillers that are illegally obtained or taken at one’s own discretion are particularly problematic, as there is no control of these drugs. This means that long-term physical damage is possible, for example in the form of kidney or liver disorders.

In addition, taking painkillers can make you psychologically dependent. This risk exists above all if the person concerned has a corresponding disposition and suffers from increased psychological stress. If addiction occurs as a result of taking medication, additional psychotherapeutic or psychiatric treatment may be required

When should you go to the doctor?

Since the causative diseases of brachialgia, apart from the simple “sore muscles”, all belong in medical treatment, be it a root irritation or a herniated disc of the cervical spine; If a carpal tunnel syndrome or even a heart attack starting from the chest is drawn upwards, it is always advisable to take severe and persistent pain in the arm seriously.

Taking painkillers yourself is widespread, but it can mean that the cause of the pain is not treated for longer than necessary. By relieving pain, the patient believes he can treat his illness himself, but in most cases this is not possible because the causes of the pain in the arm are varied.

Only if the person concerned had to do heavy physical work the day before or knows that he has exerted himself too much in sports as an untrained person, it can be right to refrain from visiting the doctor for the time being. However, since there can always be serious illnesses underlying pain in the arm, it is not wrong even then to seek out a doctor to be on the safe side and to let him clarify whether the causes are harmless or whether long-term therapy is necessary.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment and therapy of brachialgia depends on the cause. Pain relievers can be used on all of them. If there is a mechanically triggered irritation, the patient often reacts automatically in advance by protecting the affected parts of the body. Medically, specific movements of the cervical spine provide relief.

Targeted exercises on the symptomatic side such as extension, lateral flexion or rotation often minimize the pain and are usually trained in physiotherapy. In addition, supportive anti-inflammatory drugs can be given. If there is inflammation, this is treated with medication. Anti-inflammatory agents or a blockage of the brachial plexus will resolve the symptoms after a few months.

In the case of a tumor, it is removed by surgery. Individual decisions are then made about further therapeutic measures such as radiation, the administration of medication or specific physical exercises. If the brutalgia occurs as a result of radiation, the treatment must be coordinated with measures already taking place. The risks of inflammation and nerve blockage are increased here.

If the brutalgia develops in women after the breast has been removed, it often leads to a lymph drainage disorder. The lymphatic congestion is treated with lymphatic drainage. In addition, the patient is given diuretics to promote lymphatic drainage. Plexus block also relieves pain.

Outlook & forecast

The prognosis is influenced by consistent therapy and your own behavior in everyday life. Regular use of anti-inflammatory drugs will improve symptoms. Since mechanical stimuli are one of the triggers of brutalgia, the sensitive region of the shoulder girdle can be relieved through targeted movement exercises.

Physiotherapy treatments reduce pain and increase mobility of arms and shoulders. Good posture also relieves pain. Monotonous and stereotypical movements should be avoided, especially in everyday professional life. Checking and adjusting your sitting posture will help improve symptoms and relieve pain. Physical activities in everyday life are better coped with through the use of relieving forms of movement.

If the cause of the brachialgia lies in a pathological event, the effectiveness of preventive drug measures is limited. Training for relieving body movements is also useful in this case. Motor failures of the muscles regress within a few months.

The healing process is facilitated by chiropractic treatments such as a stretching of the connective tissue. With special physiotherapeutic exercises, a misalignment that is clearly detectable in the X-ray can be corrected. Brusque movements and extreme turns such as leaning back and forth should be avoided. A scarf made of wool or silk can keep your shoulders and cervical spine warm.


Preventive measures can be taken especially in the event of mechanical irritation. This includes relieving movements and good posture for shoulders and arms. Monotonous and repetitive movements should be avoided. The sitting posture can be checked and physical activity should be switched to relieving forms of movement.

If the causes are pathological, few preventive measures can be taken. Relieving body movements are also recommended here. Nevertheless, the success here is heavily dependent on the reason for the complaint.

You can do that yourself

The quality of life in everyday life can be restricted accordingly in the case of brutegia due to the painful complaints on the shoulder, arm or joints. Self-help in everyday life always depends on the underlying causes of a brutalgia. Limitations in everyday life also result from the intensity of the symptoms.

The course of the disease is determined on the one hand by the right therapy, but on the other hand also by one’s own behavior in everyday life. Most brutalgies are triggered by mechanical irritation. Movement sequences for everyday life should therefore be trained in order to relieve the sensitive region of the shoulder girdle so that these chronic complaints do not occur constantly.

Good posture for arms and shoulders is also part of optimal self-help against brutalgia. This is often neglected in everyday tasks, but can be trained in such a way that it runs automatically. Especially in everyday work, patients with brute force should avoid repetitive and monotonous movements. Pain relief can often be achieved by checking the sitting posture.

Anyone who has to perform physical activities despite brutality should use forms of relieving movement. Appropriate alternative movement patterns are useful in physiotherapy and can effectively prevent new complaints. However, if brutalgia is caused by an underlying pathological event, then the possibilities for self-help or prevention in everyday life are very limited. Adapted relieving body movements are also recommended in these cases.


Brutalgia Guide