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What are the Most Common Causes of Bicep Pain?

By Daphne Mallory
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Bicep pain is often the result of tendinitis, arthritis, or a torn bicep muscle. Athletes and older persons experience pain in the biceps more often than others because of strenuous exercise or arthritic problems. Injury to the biceps is also a common occurrence when individuals lift heavy appliances, furniture, or equipment without safety equipment or help. Some bicep pain only shows up in conjunction with strenuous activities, while other forms are often present no matter what the activity. Treatments include cold compresses and ice, medicine, or surgery.

Bicep tendinitis can occur after repeat use of the biceps, such as during weight-lifting exercises. It can also be caused by inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder. Athletes are often prone to bicep tendinitis if they have to exercise their biceps for the particular sport they participate in. The best remedy is often to stop a particular exercise or fitness program that leads to muscle pain. Another alternative is to take medications for pain relief and anti-inflammation.

Arthritis in the shoulder that results in bicep pain is often found in men and rarely in women. Men older than 35 years old are most at risk. Individuals with arthritis in the shoulder will experience shoulder pain in addition to bicep pain. A medical professional can detect arthritis in an x-ray, as well as rule out or diagnose other bone abnormalities. Arthroscopic surgery may be required to repair the shoulder and cure bicep pain.

Tearing the bicep tendon is a common cause of bicep pain. Tendons connect the bicep muscle to the shoulder as well as the biceps to the elbow. When the biceps are stretched and under a lot of strain, a torn bicep muscle can result. Dealing with a bicep tendon tear often consists of managing the symptoms, such as sharp muscle pain in the shoulders, and engaging in physical therapy. Serious injury may require surgery and enough time for rest afterward for rehabilitation.

Strain on the biceps may not lead to a torn bicep, but can often result in a pulled muscle, also referred to as a bicep muscle strain. Bruising can occur, and in severe cases small blood vessels may rupture. The biceps may heal on their own if allowed to rest. Ice and cold compresses often help to relieve some of the symptoms, as well as pain-relief medications.

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Discussion Comments

By Telsyst — On Jan 02, 2014
@Certlerant: You are correct that shoulder/arm pain is a common symptom of a heart attack.

However, heart attack pain usually radiates down the arm, across the back and into the chest and is more of a numbness or tingling sensation.

Bicep pain, like any muscle discomfort, will likely subside with rest and taking pain relievers or muscle relaxers, while heart attack-related pain will not.

If you feel your pain may be a heart attack, it is best not to wait to seek medical attention. The worst that can happen is that you find out it is just muscle pain.

By Certlerant — On Jan 02, 2014

Is is possible to confuse bicep muscle pain, especially in the shoulder, with symptoms of something more serious, like heart attack?

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