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Brachialis Muscle: Arm, Elbow, Thumb Pain

Brachialis Pain Pattern

The brachialis muscle can contribute to pain in the shoulder, arm, elbow, hand and thumb.

  • Pain at the front and /or back of the base of the thumb
  • Constant aching and/or tightness in the outside of the upper arm near the elbow
  • Numbness or tingling in the forearm and thumb
  • Difficulty  bending the elbow

Where is the brachialis muscle?

The brachialis connects the upper and lower arm. It attaches approximately halfway down the upper arm bone and crosses the elbow and connects to the inside lower arm bone.

What movements does the brachialis muscle control?

Bending the elbow

Activities that cause brachialis pain and symptoms:

  • Lifting heavy objects with a bent elbow
  • Picking up children
  • Holding up heavy tools
  • Working at the computer
  • Chin ups
  • Playing the oboe, clarinet, and saxophone

Interesting facts about the brachialis muscle:

The brachialis is known as the workhorse of the elbow.

Clinical diagnoses to which the brachialis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Bicipital tendinitis
  • Supraspinatus tendinitis
  • Subdeltoid bursitis
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
Brachialis Muscle

You use the brachialis muscle every time you bend your elbow.

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the brachialis muscles:

Satellite Trigger Points: Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Deltoid, Supinator, Adductor Pollicis

For Detailed Anatomy Information See: Brachialis Muscle Anatomy Study

Help with Brachialis Arm Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Extensor Arm, Elbow, and Hand Injury Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is a cold therapy gel that provides pain relief for new injuries and is great as a maintenance treatment for overuse injuries.  Cold therapy should be used for new and recent injuries instead of heat as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If you have recently injured the brachialis muscle or have unexplained pain that has just started in the arm, elbow, and thumb, use Biofreeze. Rub the gel into the upper arm, all around the elbow and down the front of the forearm and into the thumb and thumb pad.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Elbow / Wrist Ice Wrap For Cold Treatment and Compression

The brachialis primary symptoms are difficulty bending the elbow and pain at the base of the thumb, but it is important to treat the entire muscle for pain relief. The DonJoy DuraKold Wrist and Elbow Ice Wrap is a good choice for this pain. I like this wrap because it can be used  for the elbow and forearm then repositioned for the wrist and base of the thumb pain. The wrap retains the cold for well over an hour, however, the recommended cold therapy treatment time is 20 - 30 minutes per session, longer treatment time could result in tissue damage.

DonJoy Wrist and Elbow Cold Wrap

Warm Therapy Gel For Extensor Muscle, Arm, Elbow and Hand Injury and Arthritis Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without a burning heat, unlike other heating creams and gels.  It works well for post-injury pain and stiffness. It also works well for chronic arthritis pain as it can be applied several times a day. Apply Sombra to the upper arm, down into the elbow continuing down the forearm to the thumb and thumb pad to ease pain caused by the brachialis muscle.

NOTE: Do not use Sombra Warming Gel when using ice packs or heat packs as there is a risk of blistering the skin.  For the most effective treatment, apply 5 to 10 minutes before putting on a brace or sleeve.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Wrist Brace To Support Wrist and Thumb

Because twisting motions of the wrist can cause injury and irritate the brachialis muscle, a wrist brace can help relieve pain in the wrist and thumb area.  The ActiveWrap Compression Wrap for the Hand & Wrist not only provides compression and support in the wrist and thumb pad, but also comes with insert gel packs for hot and cold treatment. The brace can be used on either hand and has two Velcro closures that can be adjusted for comfort.

ActiveWrap Wrist and Hand Hot and Cold Wrap

The Neo G Medical Grade VCS Wrist and Thumb Support provides adjustable wrist support and compression to the wrist. The brace allows full movement of the hand, fingers, and thumb while providing support to the wrist. A good choice for those who need wrist support but need full mobility of the hand and fingers.


Compression Sleeves for Brachialis Muscle Pain

Support and Light Compression Sleeve For Brachialis Muscle Symptoms

For post injury treatment or for those who suffer from chronic pain due to the brachialis muscle the McDavid Elastic Elbow Sleeve will help by providing light support, as well as gentle compression to the muscle.  The sleeve can be used as a maintenance treatment by those who play tennis and golf as well as construction workers who use tools that require tight grips with wrist and elbow twisting motions.

For correct size measure around elbow: Small 8-9 1/2"  Medium 9 1/2 - 11" Large 11 - 12 " Xlarge 12 - 14"


Full Arm Compression Sleeve for Elbow, Forearm and Wrist Pain

The CompressionZ Compression Arm Sleeves are for those who need more support for injury prevention, muscle injury, muscle recovery or lymphedema. The sleeves work well for those who have chronic elbow, forearm and wrist pain. These are used by athletes and people whose jobs require repetitive twisting motions of the elbow and wrist. The sleeves are available in 3 sizes and a variety of colors. Be sure to read the size chart and follow the instructions to ensure proper fit.  Two sleeves per package

Arm Compression Sleeves

BandIT Therapeutic Forearm Band: Compression Band for Tennis Elbow, Golf Elbow, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Repetitive Stress Injuries

The BandIT Forearm Band is worn by many professional athletes to prevent and relieve muscle pain caused by repetitive motions of the elbow and wrist. The BandIT uses selective pressure on the forearm muscles without cutting off circulation, limiting range of motion or causing swelling around the band. Though I do not recommend this as a long-term treatment or for long-term wear, the BandIT can help relieve pain for athletes to help get through a game or for those who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome that want pain relief while typing to make a deadline. Read and follow the enclosed instructions for temporary relief from forearm, wrist, hand, and finger pain.


Self Treatment for Brachialis Elbow Pain

Do you know that small "knots" or other dysfunction in the brachialis muscle can cause pain in the upper arm, all around the elbow, and go down the forearm into the hand?

When anyone is suffering from unresolved muscle pain I always recommend that they purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief . Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you suffer from unresolved pain in the arm, elbow and thumb areas I highly recommend this book. Relieving trigger points in various arm and neck muscles have helped many people resolve shoulder, arm, elbow and hand pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

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