What It Means When Your Armpit Hurts

Body pain in any form can be an extremely alarming experience, especially when it's located on a high-functioning part of the body like the arm. But, what does it mean when your armpits hurt? 

The truth is, armpit pain can be attributed to a number of potential causes. However, it is always worth double-checking what the root cause of the pain is because although oftentimes harmless, it could signal a much more serious condition. 

According to Healthline, some less serious causes of armpit pain include muscle strains, skin irritation from shaving the area, and swelling in the area brought on from a cold or flu. 

Armpit pain could also be a symptom of a number of skin conditions including contact dermatitis, which can cause rashes and irritation and is often caused by a reaction to deodorants or laundry detergents. Other skin conditions linked to armpit pain include hidradenitis suppurativa, which can cause acne under your arms and lead to scarring.

Per WebMD, swollen lymph nodes can also contribute to armpit pain and the condition is usually a sign your body is fighting off a viral infection, including ear and teeth infections, measles, and the common cold.

But there could be more serious reasons why you are experiencing armpit pain.

Here's when you should seek medical attention for your armpit pain

Another less common, but much more serious cause of armpit pain is breast cancer, which can include pain and swelling around your armpit due to the spread of cancer to your lymph nodes (via WebMD). 

According to Healthline, there are effective are ways to treat less serious armpit pain at home. If the pain is brought on by muscle-related issues, applying ice to the area and resting the arm for a few days is advised. When the pain begins to subside in your armpit, applying heat to the area and carrying out light stretches could also help ease any further discomfort. 

If pain in your armpit persists, it is always advised you seek medical attention. When visiting a doctor for this type of pain, a doctor will most likely examine the armpit and ask about any additional symptoms you may have to determine the root cause.  

For bacterial infections causing armpit pain, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics, while viral infections that cause pain in the area will generally resolve itself over time (via Mayo Clinic).