The 5 Best Ways to Relieve Forearm Pain

Try to think of a day when you did not use your arms. Impossible, right? In almost everything we do, our arms are integral. Common activities such as brushing your teeth, eating your breakfast, and sending that email, all require the use of our arms. Try to play a sport, and sport, without using your arms. You know what? Do not even try. We do not want you to hurt yourself. 

We all work ourselves too hard, and at some point in our lives we have all experienced hand, wrist, and forearm pain. Did the cavemen ever complain of sore arms? Walking barefoot under the sun; breathing the pollution free air. They had it good. No cell phones, no Wi-Fi signals, no magnets in all their devices. Their bodies were not affected as ours are. In modern times, we severely lack vitamin D (1). Pollutants and pesticides are in the air. It is no wonder that our bodies are breaking down, and we are suffering from more pain than ever before. 

Our arms never really get time to relax. There is no down-time for them. When we are sat at our computers, watching YouTube videos, our arms are still at work. When we are eating, our legs get a break, but our arms do not. When our forearms are in pain, there is little we can do. Every part of our life is affected. Common tasks become a struggle. We may as well stop everything we are doing. 

What causes forearm pain?

Forearm pain can come from a number of places. Some pain is caused by genetics and degenerative conditions; some pain is caused by medical conditions or injuries. (2):

  • The protective cartilage in your joints can wear down, causing arthritis. A painful condition where bone rubs against bone.
  • If the nerve canal in your wrist narrow, carpal tunnel syndrome can develop. There can be pressure on the nerves leading to a lot of pain.
  • Falling can lead to major injuries. Bones can be broken or fractured, ligaments can be damaged, and muscles can be sprained.
  • Veins can be damaged, and circulation can be affected.
  • Playing sports, such as tennis and golf, can put undue strain on muscles.
  • Injuries can arrive from muscle overuse, such as excessive computer use.
  • Nerves can be compressed by poor posture. Sitting with your neck and shoulders hunched can damage the nerves in your forearm.
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, can affect the nerves in your arms, and the rest of your body.

How Can You Fix Forearm Pain At Home?

TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation can help alleviate all types of pain. Many people find that a TENS unit can really help. (Read our review of the 5 best TENS units on the market). These units are available ‘over the counter’ and are also used in physical therapy clinics.

Massage: Myofascial massage can also help. (3) Around each of your muscles is a tough, fibrous area known as the fascia. This sheath can tighten and contract. Regular massage can relax the muscle and decrease pain in the area.

Dynamic Rest: Try to avoid activities which actively engage your elbow and forearm. This includes hand actions such as gripping. Try cycling, or other lower-body workouts to maintain your heart and fitness.

Ice: Applying ice to the area of pain can help. 4-6 times a day for 15 minutes.

Reconditioning: When the pain goes, your forearm may not be as strong as it was. Simple exercises when the pain is there, and after it has gone, will help your recovery time.

The 5 Best Exercises for Preventing and Fixing Forearm Pain

When we think about exercise, we do not usually focus on our arms, unless we are trying to build mass, but our arms should be included in our regular exercise. Exercising our forearms, wrists and hands will help to alleviate pain, and prevent it. Regular training can increase your dexterity, improve hand motion, and reduce strain. (4)

1. Hammer Curl

Take two weights, one in each hand (these should be small enough to hold in a fist). Bend your arms 90º, with your forearms sticking out from your body. Tuck your elbows against the sides of your body. Bend your wrists so that your fists move towards your shoulders. Do not allow your wrists to twist. Now return to the starting position. Next, move your fists away from your shoulders, again not twisting your wrists. Your arms should stay in the same position. Repeat 12-16 times. This exercise strengthens the wrist muscles and increases mobility. 

2. Ball Squeeze

Hold a tennis ball or fascial release rubber ball in your hand. Hold your arm out from your body. Squeeze the ball as hard as you can for 60 seconds. Repeat for both hands. 

3. Weighted Flex & Extend

Hold a weight in each hand and take up the same position as the hammer curl. This time hold your fists so that your palm would face up if your hands were open. Pull your fist toward your shoulders, keeping the arm in the same position. Next, bend the fists away. Repeat 12-16 times.

4. Extend & Flex

Hold your arms out. Palms facing down. Fingers outstretched. Point your fingers towards the ground. Next, point your fingers upward. Keep your arms still the whole time. Repeat 12-16 times to strengthen your forearm flexors. 

5. Finger Stretch

Extend one arm away from your body. Your palm should be facing away from you, and your fingers pointed upwards. Gently pull back the fingertips with your other hand. Take two deep breaths. Do the same with fingers pointing down. Repeat 12-16 times for each hand. 

Here's an infographic with 13 best forearm exercises to build strength.

The 13 best forearm exercises to build strength infographics

Infographic by Paleohacks

Natalie Bell

Natalie was introduced to massage therapy and manual therapy after health issues of her own. After she experienced the power of massage first hand, she decided to study the art of massage and formalized her knowledge in Arizona Western College.

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