Coracobrachialis pain can manifest itself as an acute or dull ache in the upper-middle part of the arm.
At the shoulder joint, the coracobrachialis is the smallest of three muscles. Like any muscle in the body, it can rupture, tear, or get damaged.
When this happens, the pain can manifest itself in the back of the upper arm, as well as in the back of the forearm.
Overview of Coracobrachialis Pain
People who experience problems with this muscle tend to have trouble raising arms. The pain can be dull and chronic or short-lived and acute.
The coracobrachialis muscle is relatively long and lean, and serves a variety of duties that involve arm movement.
The good news is that damage to this muscle is often a temporary affair.
Rest, combined with the proper treatment protocols (discussed below), will help you get better.
Anatomy of the Coracobrachialis Muscle
The front part of the upper arm is composed of three muscles. The smallest of these muscles is the coracobrachialis muscle.
The primary function of this muscle is to help bring the arm towards the body.
A secondary duty is to help stabilize the shoulder joint whenever the arm is at your side.
Although it’s not as visually prominent as say, the biceps muscle, it’s still very important.
As you’ll see below, there are various activities that can strain this muscle.
So, what causes coracobrachialis pain?
There are many triggers, but they all fall into one of two categories: overuse (like a sport) or physical trauma (something hitting the muscle).
Here are the specific causes you should know about:
- Rock Climbing
- Lifting Weights
- Throwing a Tennis Ball
- Direct, Physical Trauma
Most of these triggers are related to physical sports and/or activities.
For this reason, it’s important that you avoid workouts or sports that put excess strain on the coracobrachialis muscle.
In most cases, this injury is reversible and will often go away on its own within a few days.
Medical intervention is rarely required. In serious cases, the muscle could rupture, which is extremely painful.
Where and How Does the Pain Manifest?
The pain will typically show up in the front part of the shoulder, as well as in the back of the forearm and/or upper arm.
If you’re suffering from a mild case, then you may only feel a bit of tenderness in this area.
If the case becomes more severe, then you’ll likely experience a shooting pain that’s more acute.
As coracobrachialis pain becomes worse, you might experience the following:
- Pain when raising your arm overhead
- Pain while putting your arm behind your back
- Pain while extending your middle finger
- Violent “snaps” when bending the elbow
At some point, the pain can become restrictive and limit your range of motion.
This is more serious and indicative of a total rupture. You’ll have difficulty stretching your arm or bending at the elbow.
This can limit your quality of life as well as your ability to perform normal, everyday activities.
Therefore, coracobrachialis pain should be investigated immediately.
How to Treat Coracobrachialis Pain
There’s no denying that this can be a debilitating symptom. It can ruin your quality of life if you don’t take care of it.
Here’s how to treat it:
- Cold Gels: A cold therapy gel won’t necessarily make your injury disappear. However, it will help you deal with the pain.
- Hot Gels: Like cold therapy, a hot gel will provide relief from the pain that you’re experiencing.
- Exercises: There are various exercises that can provide relief. Ask your doctor which ones are the best for you (see below).
- Muscle Wraps: These are recommended since thy cover the entire muscle, thus, helping alleviate your pain.
It’s possible that not each of these will work. You’ll need to experiment until you find the one that provides you with relief.
Coracobrachialis pain can be beaten- you just have to find the right solution.
Best Exercises For Alleviating Coracobrachialis Pain
Here are two exercises that can potentially help eliminate your pain:
Both are quite effective when done correctly. You can also try a self-massage of your coracobrachialis muscle.
Remember to perform these exercises slowly. Otherwise, you’ll risk re-injuring the muscle.
Most of the time, strains like these will go away on their own, but these exercises should help speed up the healing process.
The Bottom Line
If you do any physical sports (rock climbing, etc.) then it’s recommended that you take a break until your pain goes away.
The more you re-injure the muscle, the longer it’s going to take to heal.
If the pain is severe, or if it’s getting worse, then schedule a visit with your GP. They’ll be able to tell you more about what’s going on.