Can’t Straighten Arm After Workout? Here’s What to Do

It’s not uncommon to experience some degree of arm soreness after an intense workout. Here are a few things you can do to ease the discomfort.

Understand the Injury

If you’ve recently injured your arm and it’s causing difficulty with straightening it, it’s important to understand the cause of the injury in order to address it correctly. A variety of factors could be causing the issue, from overuse of the arm during a workout to a more serious injury. Understanding the injury is key in knowing how to properly treat and prevent it from happening again.

Identify the type of injury

Identifying the type of injury is the first step in understanding your treatment options. If you are unable to straighten your arm, there may be several causes. It could be a pulled muscle, shoulder impingement, dislocation, fracture or rotator cuff tear. Each cause will have its own recommended course of treatment and associated prognosis.

Pulled muscle: A sports-related or over-exertion injury can cause a strain or sprain of the muscles that surround your shoulder and/or elbow area. Pain usually comes on quickly with a pulled muscle and range from mild discomfort to severe pain when attempting to move the affected area. Physical therapy may help to relieve mild cases; however more severe cases may require steroid injections or surgery.

Shoulder Impingement: When muscles become pinched between the bones in your shoulder area, it’s referred to as shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS). It’s also known as swimmer’s shoulder because it’s common in swimmers who use an over-rotated arm stroke with inadequate recovery time between strokes. Symptoms include pain when reaching overhead or behind you; reduced range of motion; and weakness of the affected arm/shoulder area. Treatment typically includes anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) physical therapyto strengthen weakened muscles and occasionally a cortisone injection into irritated tendons/ligaments for pain relief .

Dislocation: Shoulder dislocations occur when one significant movement causes ball and socket joint in the upper arm (humerus) move out of its normal position–i.e., into another part of the body cavity where it does not belong (referred to as subluxation if only partially out). Causes include trauma such as falling on an outstretched hand, chronic instability due to poor strength in surrounding ligaments or capsular structures etc., Treatment includes immediate immobilization; ice treatments and sometimes surgery depending on severity and prior recurrences of this injury which require further physical rehabilitation activities afterwards for optimal recovery time..

Fracture: A break in a bone can also cause inability to straighten one’s arm after exercise or activity requiring immediate attention if suspected to reduce risks associated with long-term damage such as limited use from joint stiffness post healing . After diagnosis is confirmed through X-ray imaging diagnosis treatment should involve rest for two weeks followed by light exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist designed for gradual rehab progression until full function is returned overtime.. The degree and complexity of structural injuries may also require surgical intervention before referring back patients for intense physical rehabilitation exercises designed specifically for their condition

Rotator Cuff Tear :Tears affect tendons within muscles around one’s shoulder that provide strength , stability , flexibility facilitating joint motion . Various factors contribute risking developing tears including physical contact based sporting activities , repetitive strain due overuse , obesity exerting excess pressure among other issues causing limitations on ones Joint mobility at times incomprehensible pain while moving wrist / shoulders diagnosed upon perceivable tenderness revealed during clinical examination if suspicious then diagnostic imaging techniques can confirm tear confirming we recommend complete rest limiting any activity involved directly apart from gradually recommencing simple movements given by physicians advice being aware difficulty find meaningful solution conservative approach but if symptoms don’t improve then c kind consider surgical repair being last resort after process carefully evaluating pros cons based individual best interests lasting outcomes dependant upon situation severity decision

Understand the symptoms

When you’ve injured your arm from a strenuous workout, the symptoms that accompany the injury can be disabling and uncomfortable. Common symptoms include swelling and inflammation, pain or soreness at the site of the injury, redness or warmth in the area, difficulty moving or straightening the arm, tingling along nerve pathways, and joint stiffness.

The most important thing to do right away is apply cold to the affected arm area. Wrap ice or a cold pack with a cloth and place on the area for 15 minutes at a time. This will help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Avoid any activities that may make your condition worse such as weight lifting or pushing through movement when you are feeling pain.

Make sure to follow up with your doctor if you have difficulty straightening your arm despite resting it for several days. Your doctor can assess your injury to determine if any further treatment is necessary such as an X-ray or MRI to find out what type of injury has occurred and create a treatment plan accordingly.

Seek Professional Help

If you are unable to straighten your arm after a workout, it is important to seek professional help. This could be indicative of a more serious injury and it is important to get it checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. It might be something like inflammation, or a more serious injury that requires treatment. Seeking professional help is the best course of action if you are unable to straighten your arm after a workout.

Visit a doctor or physical therapist

If you haven’t been able to lift your arm, or if it remains painful despite your home treatment attempts, you may need medical attention. Don’t delay in seeking treatment to reduce the risk of more serious injury.

You should make an appointment with a doctor or a physical therapist immediately. Your healthcare provider can evaluate the stability and range of motion in your joint and arm muscles as well as any potential joint damage that may have occurred.

Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend any of the following treatments:

-Restoring flexibility with stretching exercises
-Strengthening arm muscles with weight training
-Improving posture through core strengthening exercises
-Building balance with coordination drills
-Using nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and discomfort
-Applying ice or heat during recovery to help reduce swelling
Your doctor or physical therapist may also suggest other treatments like therapeutic massage, ultrasound therapy, electrical simulation, and kinesiology taping to help improve your injury recovery time. They’ll create an individualized rehabilitation program tailored to address any muscle tightness and weakness that has caused your inability to straighten your arm after exercising.

Follow their treatment plan

If you experience pain or difficulty extending your arm following a workout and believe that you may be experiencing a shoulder impingement, contact a medical professional immediately. A shoulder impingement is usually treated through conservative measures such as rest and physical therapy. Your health care provider will likely suggest taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug to ease the discomfort and/or prescribe an injection of corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the affected area.

You should follow the treatment plan closely and ask any questions that may arise. In addition to medications, your health care provider may recommend gentle stretching exercises or physical therapy to restore normal flexibility to the area. Physical therapists can recommend stretches, strengthening exercises, posture training, aquatic therapy and dry needling to help manage pain and improve range of motion in the affected joint. Another option is manual manipulation – your therapist’s hands can be used to realign joints as well as muscle tissue for improved flexibility and pain relief. Following your health care provider’s instructions carefully is essential for successful recovery from a shoulder impingement – if left untreated, it could lead to chronic instability in the joint or muscle tears in the rotator cuff muscles.

Home Remedies

If you’re experiencing pain and inability to straighten your arm after a workout, then there are many home remedies available to help you out. Feeling pain in your arm and inability to straighten it can be a sign of muscle strain, overuse, or tendonitis. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most effective home remedies to help you quickly relieve your pain and get your arm back to normal.

Use ice or heat to reduce inflammation

In order to manage the acute pain and swelling associated with the inability to straighten your arm after a workout, it is recommended to use either ice or heat. Ice should be used initially to reduce inflammation, provide some pain relief, and prevent further damage. Applying a cold pack or an ice pack over the affected area for 15 minutes at a time will help bring down the swelling and provide temporary pain relief. If you have been instructed by your doctor to perform just one treatment, it is recommend to choose cold treatment such as ice packs.

For further relief from the swelling and some additional pain relief, heat can be used as well in combination with ice. Strengthening exercises may also be advised by your physician depending on the cause of your inability to straighten your arm. Heat encourages blood flow and helps relax muscle tension that builds up around inflamed areas due to cramped muscles from a particularly hard workout. The increased circulation will help bring healing nutrients into the area and wake up tired muscles so that they can do their job more effectively. You can use hot packs for 15-20 minutes at a time.

Take anti-inflammatory medications

The next thing to do if you are struggling to straighten your arm after a workout is to take anti-inflammatory medications. Taking medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help reduce the inflammation in your arm and make it easier for you to bend your arm comfortably. It is important not to overdo it with these medications as long-term use of them can have adverse effects on your body. However, using them in moderation will help reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain associated with inflammation or injury so that you can more easily straighten your arm. Be sure to consult with a doctor before taking any sort of medication – they may suggest an alternate anti-inflammatory medication or recommend more natural remedies such as heat therapy or ice packs instead.

Use a compression wrap to reduce swelling

In order to reduce swelling, it can be helpful to wrap the affected area with a compression bandage or Ace wrap. Compression wraps are designed to provide localized pressure around the injured area, which is thought to reduce swelling and help support the muscles and surrounding tissue. The idea behind this method is that the pressure applied helps improve circulation in the area and restricts your blood vessels, slowing down fluid accumulation. This can help you regain broad range of motion and reduce discomfort in your arm and shoulder.

It’s important to remember not to wrap your arm too tightly as this could cause further discomfort or loss of circulation. Make sure that you have several pieces of padding between your arms and underneath the compression bandage. Start by wrapping from above your elbow (for upper arm injuries), then move up toward your shoulder, around the middle of your bicep, then back down toward below your elbow (for lower arm injuries). The wrap should be snug – but not too tight – for optimal benefit. Once you’ve completed wrapping, secure it with medical tape or velcro straps if needed.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise therapy is a great way to help with mobility issues or musculoskeletal pain. Exercise therapy can help restore normal range of motion and strength after an injury, as well as improve overall wellbeing. If you can’t straighten your arm after a workout, exercise therapy may be the best option to help you out. Let’s look at what type of exercises might be best for this situation.

Perform gentle stretching exercises

Performing gentle stretching exercises can help to increase the range of motion in a stiff arm. Start by slowly raising your arm to eye level and keeping it in place for 30 seconds to a minute. Then gradually increase the range of motion until such time that you’re able to raise your arm above your head. Gently hold each stretch for 30 seconds and relax before doing the next one. Additional stretches you can do involve turning your palms out while extending the arms, bringing one arm across the other parallel toward the chest, and moving both arms forward across the body with palms facing inward. Do these stretches 3-4 times per day for 10-15 minutes at a time for optimal results.

Strengthen the muscles around the injury

A weakened or strained muscle can lead to an inability to straighten your arm completely. Addressing the underlying issue is important in any exercise therapy program, such as using strengthening drills and exercises. Perform exercises that use an open kinetic chain (where the arms move freely) as well as isolation and resistance training techniques involving bands, light weights and machines. Focus on exercises for the rotator cuff muscles, deltoids (shoulder muscles), scapula stabilizers (muscles on the upper back), pectoralis major and minor (chest muscles) in particular. These muscles all work together to ensure correct posture and proper joint protection during movement of the arms. Also make sure to focus on stretching activities, such as yoga or floor stretches meant to restore flexibility in the joint after injury. A practitioner skilled in understanding biomechanics can advise you on which strengthening and stretching exercises are appropriate for your injury.

Use a foam roller to massage the affected area

Using a foam roller is an effective way to reduce soreness, inflammation and pain in the affected area. Foam rollers are foam cylinders that provide a gentle massage when you roll them over your muscles. This helps to break down muscle knots and tightness, increase circulation and improve flexibility. Before using a foam roller on the affected area, it is important to first warm your body up by doing some light stretching or walking. Once warmed up, begin by positioning the foam roller beneath your arm and using your other arm to start rolling along the length of the muscle until you find an area of tenderness. Stay at this spot for about 30 seconds before starting to roll again in long slow strokes up and down the muscle, applying more pressure if needed. Do not forget to take breaks if needed as this can be quite intense. This should help improve range of motion and reduce pain in the affected area over time with regular use of a foam roller.


If you want to prevent your arm from becoming stiff and sore after a workout, there are a few steps you can take. It is important to warm up your muscles before any type of vigorous activity by stretching and doing light cardio. This will help to loosen your muscles and get them ready for more intense activity. Additionally, remember to drink plenty of water during and after your workout to stay hydrated and avoid becoming overly fatigued. Taking these preventative measures can help you to avoid soreness in your arms and other muscles.

Warm up before exercising

It is important to warm up your body before exercising in order to reduce the risk of injury and maximize your performance. Warm up exercises can help you prepare for strenuous activities by gradually increasing your heart rate, breathing rate and muscle temperature. Common warm up exercises include walking, jogging, light stretching or dynamic stretching (involving active movement). Additionally, you can use foam rolling or massage techniques to help increase circulation to the affected areas before beginning your workout. Doing so may decrease muscle tightness and help prevent injury. It is important to remember that an effective warm-up routine should be tailored specifically for the type of exercise you are about to undertake. Therefore, it is important to plan a proper routine and make sure you stick with it.

Strengthen the muscles around the injury

After a workout, pain can arise in the elbow, forearms, and upper arms due to overuse or improper movement. When trying to prevent further injury, it is essential to strengthen the muscles around the area of discomfort. Strengthening exercises not only target specific muscles but also promote overall more balanced and stronger muscles that can handle more intense workouts without injury.

The best way to strengthen the elbow after an injury is to focus on eccentric exercises which are types of exercise where the muscle lengthens while under tension. Eccentric movements gently challenge the injured muscle while break down unhelpful tissue build-up and increase flexibility. These exercises may include:
-Bicep curls: Slowly lower down one or both arms from a curl position as if you are releasing a bicep curl from an 90 degree angle
-Wrist curls: Slowly lower down both arms from a curling position as if you are releasing a wrist curl from an 90 degree angle
-Tricep push downs: Push down both arms in a tricep extension position until your elbows are behind your back

Stretching is also beneficial for increasing strength in your arm after injury because it increases blood flow and eases tension. Stretching may include shoulder rolls, neck stretches, chest openers, triceps stretches and other basic stretches that target specific muscles or movement patterns when stretching around the injured area. As with any exercise program, listen to your body! If you feel pain then stop immediately and seek medical help if necessary.

Increase the intensity of workouts gradually

If you can’t straighten your arm after a workout, it could be a sign of overtraining. Exercising too intensely or for too long can cause microtrauma to your muscles and joints, resulting in stiffness and soreness. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Start out with 10 minutes of gentle exercises several times per week. Over a few weeks, gradually increase the duration and intensity of the workout until you are doing more challenging exercises such as push-ups and burpees.

You should also focus on building up muscle strength slowly over time. Include high-intensity Bodyweight moves such as pull-ups or dips that use both pushing and pulling motions. It is also important to make sure there is enough rest built into your routine in order to give your body ample time to recover between workouts. Make sure to stretch before and after each session in order to loosen up any tight muscle as well as reduce potential pain later on from intense exercise. Taking regular breaks from intense exercise will help reduce the chances of getting injured during a workout session.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts