Armpit Pain From Sleeping On Side
“You’re lying down for the night when suddenly, pain shoots through your arm and into your shoulder. You roll over onto your side to see what’s going on; it feels as if someone has driven a spike through your bicep and straight up into your armpit — right where your underarm meets your chest wall. The skin there becomes inflamed and painful. That familiar tingling sensation spreads downward along your forearm and then upward toward your elbow.
Armpit pain can afflict anyone at any time, but its severity varies from person to person and can result from a number of causes. For example, some people have naturally weak muscles in their shoulders and upper arms, making them susceptible to injury and strain. In addition, those who work out excessively or lift weights might develop similar problems. And while most cases are mild, they can sometimes be quite severe.
The first thing to do if you suspect that you may have developed an armpit rash is to consult your doctor. He or she will likely want to take a look at it, especially since it may indicate something more serious. Your dermatologist might even need to perform tests to determine exactly what’s causing the problem.
Once you know what’s wrong, however, treatment should be fairly straightforward. First off, don’t try to self-treat — seek medical attention immediately. If you wait too long, you run the risk of developing complications. Also, don’t apply any topical creams or lotions because these substances irritate the skin and make matters worse. Instead, treat yourself to some soothing ointments or bandages to help ease the discomfort.
If your rash isn’t severe enough to require medical care, keep reading to learn about other possible causes of armpit pain.
Cause of Armpit Rash
Your armpits get hot during the day just by virtue of being exposed to sunlight. But many people find themselves sweating profusely after working out, which increases the likelihood that sweat will get trapped beneath the armpit’s hair follicles and cause irritation. Sweat ducts running underneath the skin can become clogged, leading to infections known as lymphangitis. This type of condition usually affects women whose breasts have been surgically removed. Men who have had prostate surgery are also prone to this complication.
Another reason for arm pit rashes is poor hygiene. People with diabetes often experience rashes around their feet and ankles, which can lead to sores that become infected. Those who wear high heels all day may rub their legs together so much that they break open blisters, which can later spread bacteria throughout the body. When these areas become infected, bacteria multiply and release toxins that cause inflammation and swelling.
Finally, certain types of fabrics can aggravate existing issues. Synthetic materials such as nylon and spandex can trap moisture against the skin, encouraging bacteria growth. Cotton shirts offer little protection against bacterial exposure. Wearing rubber gloves can reduce friction between fabric and the skin, helping to prevent the development of blisters. Likewise, keeping fingernails trimmed short reduces friction and makes it easier for nails to slip and scratch the skin.
Although the majority of armpit rashes clear up without incident, persistent cases may warrant further investigation. Keep reading to learn how doctors go about diagnosing these conditions.
Treating an Armpit Rash
Diagnosing an armpit rash is relatively easy once you have determined that one actually exists. Doctors typically use several different methods, including visual assessment, physical examination and possibly x-rays. They may also order laboratory tests to rule out certain diseases or infections.
Doctors generally begin by visually inspecting the affected area. A rash may appear red, purple or white in color. If it appears pinkish, it may indicate that blood circulation to the area is impaired. Swelling may also occur, particularly in older patients or those who suffer from heart disease.
Next, doctors will check the patient’s temperature to determine whether he or she is suffering from fever, chills or a cold. Next, they’ll conduct a thorough exam. To assess joint mobility, they may press various joints, including the elbows, wrists, fingers and knees. They may also ask questions about recent injuries, surgeries or illnesses. A doctor may also test reflexes, muscle strength, balance and coordination. Finally, they’ll examine the patient’s hands and feet to see whether they’re swollen and discolored.
X-rays provide another useful tool for evaluating an armpit rash. Doctors can use X-ray imaging to view bone structures and surrounding tissue. Bone density levels can also be assessed using this method.
Because it is difficult to diagnose rashes based solely on symptoms alone, doctors may elect to prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroid medications to alleviate itching and inflammation, respectively. These drugs can be taken orally or applied topically to the skin. However, before beginning treatment, doctors should consider consulting a specialist, since some antibiotics prescribed for acne treatments can also be used to combat stubborn rashes.
While treating an armpit rash may not seem terribly complicated, it doesn’t hurt to remain vigilant. Read on to learn about preventing and avoiding future flare-ups.
Preventing and Treating An Armpit Rash
One way to avoid getting an armpit rash is to avoid situations that encourage sweating. If you must exercise outdoors, choose clothes made of breathable natural fibers. Wear cotton socks and underwear, and leave your shirt sleeves intact. Avoid wearing tight fitting clothing, and always drink plenty of fluids.
People with diabetes should pay particular attention to maintaining healthy foot and leg hygiene. Women who have had mastectomies should take extra precautions to protect their lower limbs from becoming irritated or injured. If they have undergone radical changes to their bodies, they should speak with their physician about establishing special care routines.
Keeping fingernails clean and trimming them regularly is a good way to prevent blisters from forming. Cleaning and changing linens daily can also greatly reduce the chances of bed bugs infesting a host’s home.
Itching is a common symptom associated with an armpit rash. Although it can feel very uncomfortable, itchiness itself isn’t harmful. Rather, it indicates that your immune system is reacting to allergens present in your skin. To relieve the itch, physicians recommend applying calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream, zinc oxide paste or baking soda. Over-the-counter products such as Benadryl and Calamine may also prove helpful.
In extreme circumstances, an allergic reaction can trigger a potentially life-threatening event known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms include hives, difficulty breathing, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, fainting, drowsiness, shock and collapse. Seek immediate medical assistance if you believe that you or someone else is experiencing anaphylactic shock.
An armpit rash can be embarrassing and difficult to hide. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the appearance of the unsightly spots. One option is to shave the affected area. While shaving removes hairs, it also opens pores and allows watery secretions to escape freely. Shaving also helps soften dead skin cells and prevents ingrown hairs from sticking out. Another tip involves exfoliating the area gently with a loofah sponge and gentle circular motions. Exfoliation loosens dead skin cells and helps unclog blocked perspiration ducts. Lastly, you can soak in a tub filled with warm water and soap. Soaking relaxes tense muscles and stimulates circulation. Afterward, pat dry with a soft towel and moisturize the area.
To read more about armrts, sweat glands and related topics, follow the links on the next page.
Athletes’ Foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection caused by fungi known as dermatophytes. Fungi feed on keratin, the protein found in our skin, hair and nails. Dermatophytes thrive in damp environments and infect the soles of our shoes, creating cracks and openings that allow fungus spores to enter the skin. Athletes’ Foot begins with a burning sensation near the toes, followed by a reddened patch of skin surrounded by raised scales. As the infection progresses, the scales turn yellow, eventually falling away completely. Infected patches can merge together to form large clusters of scales, which can be extremely painful. Treatment options vary depending upon the degree of infection and the location of lesions. Some prefer topical antifungals such as Lotrimin AF, Lamicol (miconazole), Tazorac and Clotrimazole. Others opt for oral terbinafine hydrochloride, fluconazole, griseofulvin, itraconazole and miconazole nitrate [source Mayo Clinic].”
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