Dead Arm Syndrome - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Dead arm syndrome is the pain incurred during a throwing motion. It usually involves the rotator cuff tendons or the labrum. 

Dead arm is most likely seen in adults because bones gradually lose calcium and other minerals as we age. This is especially true of women during menopause.  

The phenomenon of dead arm syndrome is commonly associated with anterior dislocation of the shoulder and posterior labral tear or injury in the ball and socket joint. 

Other than aging individuals, those at higher risk for developing dead arm syndrome include sports players, young athletes, and manual laborers who repeatedly use additional force in their physical activity. 

Causes of dead arm syndrome 

  • Repetitive motion in the shoulder can stretch the bands of tissue that connect bones and support the joints, eventually causing dead arm syndrome. As the ligaments stretch, they lose connectivity between two joints, ultimately provoking instability and discomfort in the shoulder. 
  • Injury in rotator cuff tendons is common and increases with age, and can cause dead arm syndrome. Your rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround and stabilize your upper arm, allowing you to move your shoulder freely. 

What are the symptoms of dead arm? 

When you can't lift your arm or shoulder due to overuse or injury leading to pain or weakness. . Along with pain and weakness, other common symptoms can make your arm feel dead. These include: 

  • Reduced control when moving your shoulder 
  • Inability to throw with force 
  • Fatigue in the affected arm 
  • Reduced throwing speed 
  • Stiffness in arm muscles 
  • Numbness or tingling of arm 
  • Shoulder weakness 

Top 3 products of Dead arm syndrome

1. Bodymed Cold Compression Therapy Shoulder Wrap provides effective cryotherapy and compression therapy in one. It helps relieve symptoms of dead arm syndrome and treats athletic injuries, sprains, strains, arthritis, post-surgery pain, rehabilitation, and inflammatory disorders. The removable gel pack stays pliable throughout treatment and requires only two hours of refrigeration for the next use.

2. The Cybertech Ottobock Shoulder Stabilizer is considered one of the best treatment aids for a dead arm. It is traditional contoured shoulder support that stabilizes and prevents subluxation and dislocation. Subsequently, this shoulder brace for dead arm is made of neoprene material for warmth and support to the joint and follows the natural anatomy of the shoulder.

3. Compression for dead arm syndrome helps reduce shoulder pain. The Polar Active Ice 3.0 Shoulder, Cold Therapy U-Shaped Bladder System With 9 Quart Cooler, offers effective drug-free pain relief. It is an easy-to-use cold therapy system that comes with a shoulder compression wrap designed to target the shoulder and provide gentle adjustable compression.


Dead arm syndrome treatment 

In order to treat dead arm syndrome, you need to strengthen and stabilize your shoulder. Relying on the severity of your injury and the way to practice overhead movements, you will find an appropriate approach among these: 

  • Knowing the symptoms of a dead arm, whether mild or severe, you should reduce your unnecessary forcible activity to prevent it from worsening. 
  • Once your affected hand is slightly reversed from dead arm syndrome or you start feeling better, you can opt for physical therapy for shoulder strengthening as advised by your therapist. 
  • Hot and cold therapy helps reduce muscle and joint pain. You can also apply clinically optimized pain relieving gel, cream, or spray to allow convenient application and long-lasting relief from pain. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, particularly prescribed by your doctor. 
  • If your pain becomes severe and you can't conquer it with the above health tips, you may need surgery to repair damaged tendons or ligaments repaired.  

How to prevent dead arm syndrome? 

There are some recommendations to minimize your risk.   

  • Alternate body positioning: Try to change the way to perform overhead motions to reduce repeated pressure on your shoulder. 
  • Strengthening exercises: You can choose shoulder exercises that strengthen and stabilize your arm, core, and upper back. 
  • Stretch: A stretching routine helps maintain body flexibility. You can perform a specifically designed sport stretching strategy prior-to activity. 
  • Relaxing your muscles: Your muscles need to rest after overwork to regenerate and recuperate.  


Paying careful attention, utilizing the right treatment, and following prevention techniques can help protect your body and keep your shoulders strong. 


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