Pain in Right Armpit: Causes, Treatments and More (Science Based)

Pain in Right Armpit: Cause, Treatments

Experiencing pain in your right armpit can mean anything from a strained muscle to a skin infection or sore lymph nodes. Because there are many nerves, ligaments, muscles, and joints in your right arm, finding the cause of pain in the right armpit can be a challenge. Right armpit pain can also interfere with daily activities because we generally use our right arm so much.

Many people tend to worry about right armpit pain. For example, if there is a lump in the armpit, some may wonder if the pain in the armpit is cancer. Thankfully, most reasons for pain under the right arm in women and men are nothing to be worried about.

The skin under your right arm and left armpit is very delicate and prone to chaffing. This can mean that tight clothing, shaving, or fungal infections cause armpit itching and rashes that can become sore. Hair removal from your armpits may leave you with razor bumps, an infected hair follicle, or ingrown hair that can cause a painful red lump in your armpit.

Even everyday activities can cause pain in your right underarm and shoulder. Repetitive strain injuries, overexerting your right arm, or getting a pinched nerve in your shoulder can result in shooting pains down your arm. The agonizing pain may also spread across your chest, around your ribcage, or to your back.

In this article, you will find answers to questions about what right armpit pain can mean. You will also learn about ways to treat the aching pains in your right armpit. I will also look at some of the more serious reasons for sore armpits that could require medical attention.

The Symptoms of Right Armpit Pain

Your underarm area is called the axilla, and armpit pain is sometimes referred to as axillary pain.

In many cases, it is easier to find out what the source of pain under your right armpit is if you know the accompanying symptoms.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of axillary pain and what they can mean:

  • Sore lump in your armpit along with a runny nose, headache, and fever due to a viral infection
  • Itchy rash in your armpit caused by skin irritation or inflammation
  • Tingling down your right arm due to a pinched nerve in your shoulder or a pulled muscle
  • Large cyst-like bump that is painful and is filled with pus
  • Shooting sharp pains down your right arm and burning chest pain caused by heartburn
  • Swelling of your upper right arm or shoulder due to an injury

Right arm pain along with chest pain is rarely associated with heart pain. However, you should never ignore chest pain that comes on suddenly or if the pain feels like something is pressing on your chest.

Reasons Why You Can Have Pain in Right Armpit

The causes of underarm pain that affects your right axilla or left one are many and varied. First, let’s look at some of the most common reasons for having a sore right armpit.

Pulled right arm muscle or chest muscle strain

Right armpit pain could be due to a strained muscle in your chest (pectoralis major) or pulling your right biceps muscle. There are several muscles in your upper body that can cause armpit pain if damaged.

According to doctors from the Cleveland Clinic, pulling the muscle in your upper right arm can result in pain and swelling. Also, repeated use of your right arm can result in tight arm muscles in your arm, shoulder, and axilla.1

Depending on the extent of the injury, your armpit pain may be mild to excruciating and you may have weakness in your right arm.

If you pull a muscle in your chest or strain a ligament in your right arm, shoulder, or chest, place a cold compress on the affected area to reduce the pain. Cold reduces blood flow to the damaged muscle and prevents pain, stops bruising, and brings down swelling.

Skin irritation or skin rash

Your armpits are prone to skin irritations that can cause an itchy rash. However, yeast infections, bacterial infections, and inflammatory skin conditions all cause armpit discomfort.

Contact dermatitis. Dermatitis caused by irritants or allergic reactions commonly affect the armpit and can result in burning irritation and pain. Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that soaps, deodorants, or dry air can all cause armpit contact dermatitis. Allergic reactions on your armpit skin may result in blistering and sore red patches.2

To help treat the symptoms of dermatitis like soreness and itching in your armpit caused by dermatitis, apply aloe vera or diluted apple cider vinegar. Use a solution of one-part apple cider vinegar to one-part water and apply 2 times a day. You can also try witch hazel for itchy red skin.

Bacterial armpit infection. The dark, moist environment of your underarm region is the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish. According to Dr. Laurence Knott on PatientInfo, folliculitis is a condition where hair follicles become infected and cause a sore, pus-filled lump. Common sites for folliculitis are the armpits, legs, or buttocks.3

Try applying aloe vera gel to treat the bacterial infection and get rid of the sore armpit bumps quickly.

Yeast infection. An itchy red rash in your right armpit that may blister could be a sign of a yeast infection. According to Dr. Denise M. Aaron, fungal skin infections (candidiasis) commonly affect the armpits. The moist area and dark conditions mean that yeast strain grow rapidly and cause scaling, itching, and raised patches of red irritated skin in your armpit.4

You can mix a few drops of tea tree oil in a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply on your right underarm to get rid of the yeast infection and its symptoms.

Psoriasis. This inflammatory skin condition can cause a sore shiny-looking rash in your armpit. Dermatologist Dr. Gary W. Cole says that inverse psoriasis, which appears in skin folds, commonly causes pain in the armpits. Chaffing of your armpit skin, sweat, and skin infections can also aggravate armpit psoriasis.5

Please check out some of my natural cures for psoriasis if you want to relieve discomfort and irritation from your underarm area.

Intertrigo. Burning pain along with a red rash in your right armpit may indicate that you have intertrigo of the armpit. According to an expert in dermatology, Dr. Amanda Oakley, intertrigo causes reddened painful skin that is prone to cracks. Intertrigo often affects the skin under your arms and may also cause infected red bumps in your right or left armpit.6

To get rid of the painful underarm rash, make a colloidal oatmeal paste by mixing ground oatmeal with water and apply for 20 minutes to soothe irritation and itching in skin folds.

Underarm hair removal

A common reason why you may need to soothe a painful rash in your armpits is due to removing hair from your underarms. The sore underarm area could be caused by incorrect shaving techniques, irritation caused by waxing, or skin products causing contact dermatitis.

According to research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, shaving the underarm commonly causes irritation. Removing underarm hair with a razor can damage the outer layer of the skin and can result in irritation. Skin reactions in the armpit are often associated with swollen red patches.7

Using proper shaving techniques can help to prevent razor burns and pain after shaving your armpits.

Peripheral artery disease in the right arm

A feeling of tightness or heaviness in your right arm or left arm could be an indicator of peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Doctors from The Ohio State University report that narrowing of small arteries in your arms become painful as oxygen-rich blood can’t get to your extremities. This can be a complication of other cardiovascular conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease.8

You may feel that the arm pain is worse when exercising and get better when you stop. Numbness and weakness of the arm are also common.

To prevent armpit pain that is caused by arm artery disease (a form of PAD), it’s important to keep your heart healthy. Doing so will improve your circulation and also reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack.

Sharp Shooting Pains in Your Right Armpit

Some types of armpit pain don’t just cause a dull ache under your arm but can feel like a sharp electric shock.

Nerve pain in right armpit (intercostobrachial neuralgia)

There are a series of nerves running through your armpit called the brachial plexus. These nerves run between your ribcage and your right and left arm.

The Journal of Neurology & Translational Neuroscience reports that damage to the nerves on your right-hand chest could cause shooting armpit pain under your right arm. The pain can alternate between dull aching and sharp, electric-like pain.9

Armpit pain from intercostobrachial neuralgia could be a result of chest surgery, breast surgery, or a complication of shingles.

Brachial plexus injury

Sharp, shooting pains in your right armpit and down your right arm after an injury could mean you have suffered a brachial plexus injury.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, it’s common for sportsmen and women to injure their right arm. This can happen because of forcefully throwing a ball, hitting with a bat or suffering an injury. Because of the nature of pain in the armpit, brachial plexus injuries are also referred to as “stingers” or “burners.”10

Depending on the extent of the injury, the electric-like pain may just last a few minutes or you may just have tingling in your right arm. Severe injuries to your right arm may cause severe arm pain that restricts the use of your right arm.

Painful Lumps in Right Armpit Affecting Men and Women

Let’s see what it can mean if you have a lump under your right armpit and it hurts.

Ingrown hair and armpit pain

Hairs in your armpit that grow back into your skin can become infected and result in a large armpit lump that is sore to touch.

According to doctors from the National Health Service, any shaved area of the body is prone to ingrown hairs. Often the armpits are affected because of incorrect shaving that causes hairs in your armpit to “grow back in.” The result can be a sore bump that becomes itchy and irritable. If an infection develops, the lump may become pus-filled and sore.11

Please read my article to find out the best ways to get rid of ingrown hairs.

Armpit cyst

Cysts can come in many forms and sore lumps can develop in your armpit if a gland becomes clogged or infected.

For example, the journal Tumori reported that cysts that occur in the armpit are not very common. One report found that many people attended their physician because they were worried about an armpit lump. It was found that some had enlarged lymph nodes, others had a follicular cyst, and one had a lipoma.12

Because of the risk of breast cancer, women should visit their doctor if they find a new lump in their armpit or breast.

Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit

A viral infection, stress, or illness can cause lymph nodes to swell in your armpit and cause discomfort in your underarm.

Dr. Siamak N. Nabili on MedicineNet reports that you can have lymph nodes in your armpits, neck, groin, and under your chin. There are a number of infections like strep throat, mononucleosis, or other conditions that can cause any node to swell.13

Dr. Namili says that axilla lymph nodes can become swollen and sore due to trauma, infection of the arm, or certain cancers.

Hidradenitis suppurativa

If it is very sore under your right armpit and you have large nodules, it could be a sign that you have hidradenitis suppurativa. This dermatological condition causes large firm lumps and a red rash to develop in the armpit.

Dermatologist Dr. Amanda Oakley says that hidradenitis suppurativa mostly affects the armpits and groin. Large, sore abscesses can form in the armpit and ooze pus and fluid. These axilla papules can be painful to touch and cause discomfort if your armpit skin chaffs as you move your arm.14

Many dermatologists say that shedding excess weight and following an anti-inflammatory diet can help manage your painful symptoms.

Why Women Can Have Painful Lump in Right Armpit

Although sore lumps in the right-hand armpit can affect anyone, there are a few conditions that generally only affect women.

Breast pain

Breast pain can also be accompanied by a lump in the armpit if you have a cyst or swollen gland.

According to doctors from the National Health Service, most lumps are harmless and can be caused by many conditions. However, most lumps should disappear in a week or two.15

Doctors advise that if you have an armpit lump along with breast pain, you should arrange for a check-up at your doctors.

For most women, breast pain is a monthly inconvenience causing discomfort before their period is due. Sometimes, breast pain in women can be connected with digestive problems like gallstones or heartburn. Even too much emotional stress can cause sore breasts.

Breast cancer

If you notice any new lump in your right armpit or left armpit that doesn’t go away in 2 weeks, you should get it checked out by a professional.

The American Cancer Society says that not all breast lumps or armpit lumps mean that you have cancer. However, a lump in your breast can be a sign of breast cancer. In fact, according to research, an armpit lump in women may even appear before other signs of breast cancer.16

To help reduce your risk of breast cancer, please see my article on the best foods that help prevent breast cancer. Also read my article about 5 unconventional signs of breast cancer.

Chest Pain and Sore Right Armpit

On some occasions, you may feel dull aches and pains in your right armpit because of conditions unrelated to your arm.

Heartburn (acid reflux)

Acid reflux, or heartburn, occurs when juices from the stomach come back up the esophagus. The acidic stomach fluid results in a sharp, burning feeling in the middle of your chest that can radiate to your armpit.

The journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology reports that heartburn can cause symptoms similar to those of a heart attack. However, the chest pain caused by reflux can spread to the arm.17

Acid reflux pain feels like a burning sensation in the middle of your chest and having something stuck in your throat. To get rid of heartburn pain quickly, you can try drinking baking soda water which is a natural antacid.


Shingles can be one reason for pain under your right or left armpit along with a blistering rash on your side. Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus that affects the nerve endings.

According to Dr. Mary Harding on, nerve pain from shingles can range from mild to severe. For some people, pain from shingles is like a dull, burning pain in the affected area. Others may experience sharp, stabbing pains that come in waves.18

Shingles usually only affects one side of the upper body. If it affects your right side, you may find that shingles causes a sore rash in the armpit that blisters a few days after the pain begins.

There are natural ways to treat shingles and soothe the sore rash. For example, Manuka honey has antiviral properties that can help to get rids of shingles naturally. Also these essential oils have antiviral activity which helps to treat shingles.

Anxiety and Armpit Pain

In some cases, anxiety and armpit pain can be closely related. For example, the Journal of Affective Disorders reports that anxiety can cause pain in various parts of your body. Anxiety can cause chest and arm muscles to tighten and become sore. Anxiety can also aggravate chronic conditions resulting in constant pain.19

Chronic anxiety and stress causing armpit pain is just one way that it can affect your health. Please read my article to learn how to use relaxation methods to relieve stress. You may find that meditation helps anxiety or using essential oils can help to calm stress.

Shoulder Pain and Sore Armpit

Because your shoulder blade, shoulder joint, and armpit are closely connected, shoulder pain can also affect your armpit.

Shoulder injury

The most common reason for shoulder pain causing a painful right armpit is if you injure your right shoulder.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that one of the most common shoulder injuries that causes pain in your arm is a rotator cuff injury. This happens when tendons and muscles in your shoulder joint get damaged. A rotator cuff injury causes a dull ache in your shoulder and possibly your armpit.20

One reason for excruciating pain in your armpit and shoulder is if you dislocate your shoulder.21

To find out the best way to treat a rotator cuff injury or dislocated shoulder, please see my article on the best home remedies for shoulder pain. You should also make sure that your sleeping position isn’t causing shoulder pain.

When to See a Doctor

Getting to the root cause of persistent armpit pain can be a challenge. There are many different reasons why your armpit can hurt and cause daily discomfort.

If your armpit pain becomes constant or chronic, then it’s usually best to see a doctor for a full checkup. Doctors advise that you should get armpit pain checked out in the following circumstances:

  • You have severe shoulder pain and pain in your armpit that won’t go away after an injury.
  • Along with dull aching in your armpit, you have tingling, numbness, or weakness in your arm.
  • You have a lump in your armpit that doesn’t go away after 2 weeks.
  • You have a large infected lump in your armpit.
  • Armpit pain interferes with your day-to-day activities.

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