Underarm (Armpit) Pain

Author:
Published: November 19, 2015
Last reviewed: January 16, 2017

Common causes of armpit pain include muscle strain, injuries, infections, allergic reactions and sweat rash. Rare causes include cysts, pinched nerves, autoimmune disorders and cancer.

There seems to be no conditions that would cause pain exclusively in the right or in the left armpit. Pain in both armpits can be caused by menstrual cycle or systemic infections, such as infectious mononucleosis.

Pulled Muscles and Other Injuries

Muscle strain (pulled muscle) due to arm overuse or overstretching can cause sudden pain, tenderness and mild swelling in the muscles in the front, behind or below the armpit.

Armpit pain with bruising can be caused by using crutches, wearing splints, direct hit into the armpit, rib fracture, shoulder dislocation or armpit surgery.

Serratus anterior muscle overuse can result in stabbing pain in the side of chest, shoulder blade and inside of the arm.

Pectoralis minor syndrome includes pain below the collarbone, in the armpit and upper back.

Compression of the nerves (brachial plexus) near the armpit by the neck muscles, clavicle and eventual abnormal rib (cervical rib) can cause pain, tingling or numbness in the armpit, neck, shoulder and down the inside of the arm (thoracic outlet syndrome). The condition can be caused, for example, by arm overuse in assembly workers or bad sitting posture in students (leaning forward on the elbows).

Long thoracic nerve injury on the side of the chest can result in numbness and vague mild aches below the armpit and protruding scapula (winged scapula).

Botox injections in individuals with excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can result in constant armpit pain.

Rib fracture usually causes sudden, sharp pain on the side of the chest (below the armpit).

Painful Lumps: Swollen Lymph Nodes

In healthy individuals, the lymph nodes usually cannot be felt with the fingers, but in some skinny persons they can appear as soft, non-tender pea-sized nodules [7]. Lymph nodes are considered enlarged when they are bigger than 1 cm — the condition is called lymphadenopathy.

Systemic Infections with Painful Lumps in Both Armpits

Infected armpit lymph nodes (lymphadenitis) are large, hard and tender, sometimes with reddened overlying skin [7].

Infection by the Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis), mainly in children and young adults, causes fever, severe fatigue, excessive sweating, sore throat and enlarged and painful lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, usually on both sides [1].

Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infestation contracted by ingestion of cat feces can cause painful or painless enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, sore throat and mild fever [8,28].

Bubonic plague (mainly in Africa) and rat-bite fever (mainly in Asia) are bacterial infections that can cause sudden fever and very tender lymph nodes in the armpits [9,42].

Local Infections and Bites

A bacterial infection or venomous bite in the arm, hand or fingers can result in an infection of the lymphatic vessels (lymphangitis) with tender red streaks travelling along the inner side of the arm toward the armpit lymph nodes [2].

  • Bacterial infections:
    • Cat scratch disease can develop after a cat scratch, bite or lick [22].
    • Tularemia (rabbit fever, deer-fly fever) is transmitted by deer fly or tick bite [23].
    • Staphylococcal (staph) or streptococcal (strep) skin infections include boils, cellulitis and impetigo [6,7].
    • Armpit abscess is a collection of pus under the skin as a complication of furuncle, hidradenitis suppurativa, injury or surgery. It appears as tender, warm, rubbery, pea-sized or up to golf ball-sized lump that can cause throbbing pain [13,17].
    • Snake, spider or scorpion bite in the arm can result in sudden, painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit [20,15].

Painless Hard Armpit Lumps

Sebaceous cyst–a clogged sebaceous gland–appears as a pea- or marble-sized lump with an unchanged overlying skin but with an opening that allows squeezing a white greasy material out of it [29].

Lipoma is a benign tumor that contains fat tissue.

Diabetic mastopathy, mainly in women with diabetes type 1, can present with painless hard lumps in one or both breasts or armpits [37].

Enlarged, painless armpit lymph nodes can appear in some viral (finger herpes, measles [14], shingles [26], HIV/AIDS [9,27]), bacterial (tuberculosis, brucellosis, syphilis [9,24]) and fungal infections (histoplasmosis, sporotrichosis [9]).

Infantile papular acrodermatitis or Gianotti-Crosti syndrome. In children between 6 months and 12 years of age, painless, mildly enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits and groin and skin rash on the legs, arms and face that persist for several month after infection healing can appear in [7,9,10,16]:

  • Viral infections: citomegalovirus (CMV), hepatitis A, B or C, herpes virus, infectious mononucleosis, parvovirus B19, rubella
  • Bacterial infections: cat scratch disease, Lyme disease
  • Vaccines against diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles-mumps-rubella, smallpox, pertusis and polio

Rheumatoid arthritis [39], systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) [40], Sjögren’s syndrome, sarcoidosis [9,41] and other autoimmune diseases can present with enlarged, painless (but sometimes painful) lymph nodes in the neck, chest, armpits and groin, joint pain and skin rash [6,7,12,39].

Cancer

Multiple, enlarged, fixed, hard and usually non-tender lymph nodes in the armpit can be caused by cancer [6,7]:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma symptoms may include dry cough, lumps in one or both armpits, pain in the armpits and chest triggered by drinking alcohol, low-grade fever and fatigue [21,30].
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma [31]
  • Melanoma, a highly malignant skin cancer, appears as a dark–black, brown or blue–mole [32].
  • Breast cancer presents with usually a non-tender lump in a breast and enlarged lymph nodes above the clavicle and in the armpit on the affected side [33].
  • Leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells, can present with fatigue, paleness, frequent infections, enlarged lymph nodes and spleen [34].
  • Advanced lung cancer can cause dry cough, coughing up blood, chest pain and enlarged armpit lymph nodes [35].

Other causes of painless lumps in armpits:

  • Allergic reaction to sulfa drugs, iodine, or penicillin [6,7]
  • Silicon breast implants [8,38]

Hard, painless lumps in the armpits may speak for a cancer.

Painful Armpit Rash

Itchy or burning rash in the armpits includes:

  • Ingrown hair due to shaving
  • Ringworm – a fungal infection
  • Bacterial folliculitis
  • Boil (furuncle) – a bump formed by several infected hair follicles
  • Heat rash (sweat rash, miliaria)
  • Fox-Fordyce disease – a rare disease with clogged sweat glands
  • Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis due to deodorants or clothes
  • Erythrasma – a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium
  • Inverse psoriasis
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa – a chronic inflammation and infection of the hair follicles

Armpit Pain in Women

Cyclic breast pain is dull, heavy pain in the upper outer parts of breasts and sometimes, armpits or arms on one or both side; it starts after ovulation and resolves with the onset of menstruation [3,4].

Mastitis is a breast inflammation, usually caused by an infection during breastfeeding. Symptoms include red and swollen breast on one or both sides and enlarged and painful lymph nodes in the armpit on the affected side [5].

Unlikely Causes of Armpit Pain

Common cold, flu, chickenpox, tonsillitis, scarlet fever, ear infection, tooth abscess, strep throat (pharyngitis), throat cancer (laryngeal or pharyngeal) or thyroid cancer can cause enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, but less likely in the armpits.

Heartburn, angina pectoris or heart attack may cause armpit pain, but not likely without typical pain behind the breastbone or in the upper back.

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism do not typically cause armpit pain.

Fibromyalgia can cause pain in the neck, upper chest and back, but not likely in the armpits.

Skin tags (soft skin stalks) and warts in the armpits are usually painless [19].

Frequently Asked Questions

Can skin cancer appear in the armpit?

Skin cancer probably very rarely appears in the armpits. However, melanoma on the back can be associated with enlarged lymph nodes in an armpit [32].

Does any condition causes pain specifically in or near the right or left armpit?

In short, no. Heart-related pain is more common on the left side, but it is more likely felt in the left shoulder or upper arm than in the armpit.

125 Responses to Underarm (Armpit) Pain

  1. Mark Lyle says:

    I am a 55 year old Male in reasonably good condition. 30 minutes of Cardio and sit-ups every morning. Lately I have had heat flashes in the muscular region of the left side serratus anterior (on my torso, back from my pectorials). The flashes are 3 or 4 seconds. Maybe 4 or 5 times per day without specific periodicity. Does anyone have any ideas what could cause this ?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Mark, initially I was thinking it could be serratus anterior muscle pain, but you mentioned only heat flashes, not pain. Serratus muscle can be easily overstretched during activities with repeated forward arm movements, such as during sprints or lifting heavy objects with an extended arm.

      You may want to check if you have enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit. In case, you were having pleurisy, you would likely feel pain during deep inhalation, but this can also occur with stretched serratus muscle. If you are worried, you may want to see a doctor.

  2. Lokehs says:

    Sir , I am 18 years boy today right hand arm pit lump so what cane medicine?
    pl giv e reply

    • Jan Modric says:

      Lokehs, a suddenly appearing lump in an armpit is usually from an infection. A doctor can determine, which infection it is and how to treat it. I can’t say nothing without knowing what is the cause.

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi there, I’m a 23 year old female. I have had a dull pain in my right underarm that comes and goes for the past 6 months. However, for the past week I’ve had pain down my arm, shoulder, side of right breast and tingling down my entire arm. GP has checked for lumps and couldn’t find any and I’ve also been diagnosed with a trapped nerve. Anti inflammatorys don’t seem to be helping any. I was wondering, is the underarm pain and breast pain linked with this? I’m very worried it may be linked with breast cancer.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Rachel, I can’t exclude or confirm any disease, but arm pain without any lumps in the breast or armpit does not likely originate from breast cancer.
      You may want to read about causes of arm pain:
      http://www.ehealthstar.com/arm-pain.php

      Is the pain relieved or aggravated when you place the right hand on the top of the head?
      Does tingling radiates down the inner or outer side of the arm?

      • Rachel says:

        Thank you for your reply. The pain does be relieved slightly when I lift my arm up. The pain radiates down both the outer and inner side of my upper arm but mainly in my underarm and side of breast where the armpit & breast meets, as well as my shoulder blade. There’s tingling under my forearm and sometimes into my hand. Also, sometimes when I take a deep breath in, it can trigger the underarm pain. I’m just really scared it could be linked with breast cancer.

        • Jan Modric says:

          If you can’t get rid of fear of breast cancer than you may discuss with your doctor to have an X-ray or whatever is needed for reliable diagnosis.

          To me, it sounds that the nerves may be involved:
          — either the brachial plexus – a bunch of nerves that travel beneath the clavicle into the armpit (the compression of these nerves is called thoracic outlet syndrome)
          — a pinched nerve in the neck due to a herniated disc (pain in the neck or mainly in the outer side of the arm and on the medial border of the shoulder blade).

          The primary doctor may not be experienced enough to recognize all the possible causes, so you may want to arrange the appointment with a neurologist or orthopedist.

    • Belinda says:

      Hi Rachel, I have the same thing atm and have been seeing a neurologist, have had MRI’s and ultrasounds and they cannot find what is wrong. I am taking magnesium tabs which don’t seem to be helping and I had a massage on Tuesday which helped for a day but today my pain is back and it is worse than before. Go back to your Dr or try a different one if you are worried. I have the same worries but tests show all is ok. I actually can’t sleep due to the pain and am uncomfortable all day long. Hopefully you get a resolution very soon!

  4. Rachel says:

    Ok thank you very much for your help. Can you suggest anything to relieve the discomfort? I’m on day 5 of anti inflammatorys and they don’t seem to be helping.

    • Jan Modric says:

      The problem is that I don’t know what is the actual cause. Avoid anything what triggers pain. Do not carry bags in right hand. Try if sleeping on one or other side helps. Try a small pillow under the neck. I don’t recommend any stronger painkillers because this can mask the pain and you may forget to try to find the cause. Also, please do not try to solve this with some injections by a chiropractor, at least not before you know the exact cause.

  5. Iolanda says:

    I am a 31 yr old female with 2 young children. For a couple of months now I have noticed lumpiness on the left side of the top of my breast, doctor confirmed enlarged lymph nodes and also found some on armpit, he asked to go back in 4 weeks to check for growth and of still there maybe do ultrasound. He said not too worry with worst case scenario but if a lump develops in the breast to go back before. I since have the same symptoms on the right hand side and can also feel swollen nodes

    • Jan Modric says:

      Lolanda, what I believe you need as soon as possible is a biopsy of the enlarged lymph nodes to check for breast cancer. I find it a bit scary for a doctor to say not worry about this.

    • Irene says:

      Hello guys,I got surgery of my armpit last march 2016 its infections comes out when the doctor squiz it then after a couple of months there’s another looks like another infections but this time so painful I go to the doctors then they give me antibiotics i take my antibiotics for month now but still painful,what should I do..

      • Jan Modric says:

        Irene, antibiotics help against an infection, but there are reasons for pain other than an infection, for example scars. You may discuss this with a doctor. Or, if you think there is still an infection, you may tell this a doctor, who can then decide to prescribe you other antibiotics or whatever needed.

  6. Lenay says:

    My sister is a down syndrome. Child when she was young she had. heart surgery. she 4o years old now she breaks out with these. Boils under her arm in goins area they let out oozing and smelling puss dhe been like this since she was young. The doctor give her antibiotics. They never ho away doctor told us even if she has surgery they will come back i bathe her in hot water with emer salt clean thim with peroxide nothing help please any one that can help please. Let me know she in so much pain but look like nothing working

    • Jan Modric says:

      Lenay, first you need to know the exact diagnosis – is it hidradenitis suppurativa or something other. Do not try to figure out the diagnosis by yourself but ask a doctor about it. Also, it may not be enough what a doctor “thinks” but a diagnosis needs to be done on the basis of some investigation.

  7. Naomi says:

    I am a 50 female under my upper right arm more towards the back area only that side where the bra strap would go it’s gotten enlarged , painful , I thought I had gain weight when I actually been losing , in my mind I thought the way it felt on one side . Then I realized this is not right . Looking I see the difference in size , I have not injured it not sure what it is . Painful to touch sometimes shape shooting pain goes through that spot mainly when I take off my bra at night it’s worse . It’s about area about size of palm of my hand if I’m guessing . Any suggestions ? No insurance I need to have it check I’m sure Looking for any help ? I been having headaches , feeling tired a lot but not like the flu type this been going on about three weeks or so .

    • Jan Modric says:

      Naomi, it’s possible that something is growing or accumulating there. I strongly suggest you to visit a primary doctor at least.

  8. Jess Hebron says:

    Lump in armpit. Deodorants and lotions cause pain to area. No insurance. Dry cough. Tired. How do I get help with no insurance.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Jess, tiredness, dry cough and an armpit lump (enlarged lymph node) can speak for lymphoma or sarcoidosis, among other. Try to visit a primary doctor who can –on the basis of physical examination and few simple blood tests–guide you further.

  9. Roboyto says:

    Hi,
    I am a 35 year old male. I have two swollen lymph nodes that came on briefly after eating Asian food and sleeping. Do you think this could be the cause? Rat-bite fever from Asia? My symptoms are feeling sick, fever, major swelling in the left lymph node and starting to swell in the left. As a follow up question could I wait a day or two even though I feel sick I have work to do.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Roboyto, it very much sounds like an infection to me. I can’t make any decision instead of you but treatment can be much more effective and safe if you start it early.

  10. AndI says:

    I am a 55 yr old female whose recent mammogram revealed bilateral enlargement of underarm lymphnodes. Recent bloodwork did not reveal any problems And my doctor could not feel any lumps. Also, I have no pain or tenderness. Scheduled for a CAT scan but any thoughts? I have not been sick recently but do have someone autoimmune issues ie. Psoriasis and thyroiditis

    • Jan Modric says:

      Andl, above in the article I have mentioned that autoimmune diseases can cause bilateral painless enlargement of the lymph nodes in the armpits.

  11. Janet says:

    I clarks level 4 melanoma in my back in 2008, they also did Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection. For the last month and a half I noticed that the 1 Lymph node that was left in very painful and swollen and now the lymph nodes going down my arm to my elbow are also swollen an very painful, I also had lip cancer. I don’t have insurance right now so I was wondering what you think, Should I be as worried as I am?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Janet, yes you should be worried, so try to visit a doctor, no matter what. The painful nodes are more likely inflamed or infected rather than cancerous, but it can be a cancer in one node that blocks the flow of the lymph through the other nodes and thus making them painful.

  12. Ana says:

    I had a roll over accident a week ago and my mom and I got thrown around real good. We get pains from different parts of the body and a couple days ago I noticed pain in my armpit but just yesterday night I felt around and noticed an oval maybe even bean shaped lump that hurts a lot but there’s no bruising. Also the nerves in my shoulder and clavicle seem to be tense as well. I never had this lump before the accident so I just wanted to hear about other people input on this lump.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Ana, a suddenly appearing painful lump is often an infected lymph node – a node in an armpit can result from an infected wound in an arm (it can be even a small cut anywhere in the arm). Deep bruises (without skin discoloration) and small air pockets from eventual lung injury would be possible. Pain can also come from damaged nerves. I strongly suggest you to visit a doctor.

  13. Bethany says:

    Hey, I’m 15 and several days ago I woke with two painful lumps under my left arm. (I hadn’t shaved so I knew it wasn’t because of that), today I’ve woken up with another lump under my right arm which is really irritating. Do you have any idea what this could be ?

  14. Paul says:

    Am Paul, 30 male from Nigeria. I experience what I may call pepperish sensations that tend to occur all over my body from time to time, inclusive is slight armpit pain, and pea-size of the lymph node. The armpit pain occurs and goes from time to time as of I have skin pilling slightly. I also experience mucsle pain and at times joint pains. What could is be? Pls help me. I went to a doctor and he said its little cold in ln one of my lungs and and strep…something something.. Can’t remember now. Pls help me out

    • Jan Modric says:

      Paul, can you describe “pepperish” sensations in more detail? Is it like tingling? Entire body? How long does it last and is it triggered by something?

      It’s quite possible that the lung infection your doctor mentioned is associated with enlarged lymph node in the armpit. You may want to ask a doctor for the exact name of the infection and if it can be treated with antibiotics. If you continue to feel unwell, I suggest you to ask a doctor to have some blood tests. Without knowing the exact cause I can’t make any further suggestions.

  15. Fanuel Chisenga says:

    Hie, I would like to know the difference between HIV related tumors under armpit and those which are cancer related. I have developed a small tumor under my right armpit. I went to the hospital but the doctor just gave me doxycycline upon explaining to her and she did not bother to see or palpate the lump. This is my third day taking the antibiotics but the lump still stands. It is not much painful but it is painful when touched or palpated. I am nervous! Pliz, help. What can that be?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Fanuel, lumps from cancers are usually painless even if you palpate them and lumps from infections are often painful. However, from what you’ve said, I can’t exclude anything. If a lump is from a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help. The lump can be also from a local infection in the armpit. If you are worried go back to the doctor.

  16. Brandy says:

    Been having off and on sore throats for about a year now. Nothing severe just a little aggravation. About 4 months ago I developed a hard lump in my right armpit that only seems to get bigger. When I went into the doctor I had a 99.7 temp. WBC count was slightly elevated. Went get ultrasound and showed lymph nodes were swollen.He prescribed me antibiotics and sent me on my way. Took meds for 10 days with no lump reaction. Went back to Dr. and did more blood work, still have low grade fever and now lymph nodes in my throat and above right clavicle is swollen. Been really tired and short of breath for months. Some days I can muster up the energy to clean, but it takes everything I have. Dr. Prescribed another round of antibiotics (z pack). I’m at wits end because Dr. Acts like its no big deal, but I have 2 kids who depend on me and I feel l am not being a good mom to them. Any suggestions?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Brandy, I suggest you to discuss with your doctor about the possibility of breast cancer, lymphoma or other cancer (soon). If he/she does not listen, find another doctor. In cancer, lymph nodes are usually painless. Strep throat can cause enlarged lymph nodes, but this could also be a coincidence.

  17. Alisa says:

    I am a 18 year old girl who has been getting a hard painful lump under the left side of my armpit for I think a year or two now. I get in usually once a month around my period and have it for 1-1 1/2 then goes away while I have it. It always happens on the left side and very much so hurts. It is visible and I was wondering is it dangerous and should I get it checked out or if it normal for I to get it once a month before my period.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Alisa, it can be “cyclic breast pain,” but if there is any swelling or lump go and check it with a doctor. It does not sound like cancer, but you better get it checked.

  18. Amber says:

    Sore swollen lymph node left armpit. I do get them every now and then from using deodorant. My left breast feels weird. Not sure if this is just because of the sore swollen area. No redness. No fever. Not sick. Just worried. Googling is horrible, everything pulls up breast cancer.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Amber, armpit lymph nodes in breast cancer are usually painless. I can’t exclude anything, though. You may want to see a doctor.

  19. Concerned says:

    I am a 32yr old male. Today I noticed my right armpit was sore, when I touched it I felt a lump. Then I looked in the mirror at it, it’s about half the size of a golf ball, very red and there’s 3 veins coming from around there and there are dark in color, purple like, and they are dark for about 2 inches out from armpit. I don’t feel sick or anything although today I feel a little warm and a slight headlight but I’ve been in the sun for a few hours, covered but still out in the sun. I do have a cat whom I change the litter box other than that all seems normal. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated even if it’s bad. Thank you in advance!

    • Jan Modric says:

      Concerned, a sore lump is very likely from an infection. Cat-related infections with armpit lumps include cat scratch disease and toxoplasmosis. Please, see a doctor.

  20. jill says:

    I have for years had enlarged lymph nodes. They are painful. Armpit, south of armpit, outside top and side of breasts. Both sides. Therapy is done to drain quite often. The nodes are not huge obvious to sight just very painful most of the time. I am Igg1 deficient and constantly fatigued. My WBC tends to run high from sinus infections. Is there a reason my doctors are not looking at a connection between the lymph system and pain?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Jill, two common causes of pain in the armpit lymph nodes are infections and cyclic breast pain. If you are IgG1 deficient, your lymph nodes probably need to work harder to fight infections and this make them swell and cause pain. I’m not sure what exactly would help, but you can ask a hematologist.

  21. Tanya says:

    I am 41 female with several autoimmune issues..however I have increasing painful lymph node on the right..tender to touch along with a palpable hard lump on the outer left at shoulder height..I do take immune suppressants namely methotrexate for PSA…I have a color health background and tend to be the “rare exception patient”, i am concerned but nervous to even entertain the possibilities. I work in healthcare and am aware of the possibilities..looking for info before I freak out

    • Jan Modric says:

      Tanya, if you are scared of breast or other cancer — lymph nodes in cancers are painless in most cases. Lymph nodes can be enlarged in various autoimmune diseases. Painful lymph nodes most commonly speak for an infection. I can’t say what you have, but I encourage you to see a doctor.

  22. Teresa Grotius says:

    I had a massive heart attack on 4/17/15; hit 16 times with paddles (5 min.’s from hospital); husband gave cpr and saved my life. They put stent in RCA (completely blocked); 80% blocked in back and 45%blocked on side. I died again and they put me in drug-induced coma for week. Came back alive. Don’t have doctor to talk to. Cardiologist is foreign and hard to understand, either wants to do surgery or give me drugs.Take Brilinta and aspirin and carvedilol. Now they say my cholesterol is high and wants me on statin. Went to eyes, nose and throat dr re mucuos in throat, nose and eyes. He says I have hypothyroidism and wants me to take levothyroxine (sp?). I am trying holistic ways for these and will test my blood in about a month before I subscribe to these medications. I not only would have to take them the rest of my life, but after studying, I find the medicines completely ruin your organs and they will never work again and also cause muscle debilitation. I am worried about my huge breasts and puffy armpits. Don’t know who to ask. My regular doctor is retiring. All my doctors I went to for years have retired, whom I liked. I need a doctor to talk to about my bruising, I believe Brilinta should be reduced to 60mg after 18 months. My doctor still has me on 80mg and does not discuss anything with me. I even wrote him a long letter thanking him for saving my life but letting him know I just need time to naturally reduce my cholesterol if I can and not take a statin right now. My arms swelled and he wanted to put me on Plavix and an aspirin. The internet said Plavix and aspirin were a death sentence. Please help as to these large puffy underarms and neck. My back has a huge ridge down the middle with weird sideways stripes. I used to be 5’2″ and 110 lbs. Now I weigh 140 and can’t lose a pound even if I walk 2 miles a day, or ride my stationary bike, or work in the hard. I want to sleep all the time. Teeth are rotting and eyes have hard rocks in them when I wake due to the mucous. I have been to hospital several times since for diverticulitis and pain in my stomach which I think is a nerve damaged by all the paddles they hit me with. It swells underneath my left breast and seems to move around like a parasite, but I’ve had parasite tests and x-rays of my stomach and they find nothing,. I feel like I have bugs in my nose. I am depressed with no one to help me. A doctor recommended that I go to a special holistic doctor in Nashville who made me buy $1,000 worth of supplements that he made in his factory. I was taking 6 pills of each for a month; (I gave him cd’s of all my echocardiograms, lexiscan, etc.) after a month, he wrote and said he could not help me. I had put on 20 lbs on my stomach. I need to eat for my heart, so I’me afraid to diet too much, and my back hurts and my stomach is so big I can’t exercise much; I have constant pain in my arms and legs, and then bruises appear. and then they quit. Scared of dying again.
    I would like Dr. Toothman (a holistic doctor in Evansville, IN) whom my children got years ago, but they said he was not taking new patients. My other doctors seem to think my problems are nothing and in my head. But right before my heart attack, I told my doctor my neck was swelling and he gave me an exam, and my eye doctor told me she saw huge veins in my eye and that I was going to have a stroke immediately and needed to go to the hospital a year and half before my heart attack. I went to hospital at the advice of my doctor, and they took a lot of tests and found nothing. Went to eye specialist and he said there was nothing wrong with my eyes or me and not to listen to anyone who said there was. By the way, I turned 65 on May 1st of this year

    • Jan Modric says:

      Teresa, there are tests for hypothyroidism and other issues. You should have these tests done at a registered laboratory recommended by a licensed doctor. So, you first need to know what your official diagnoses are and think from there.

  23. Sydney says:

    12 year old girl soft painless lump in armpit

    • Jan Modric says:

      Sydney, take her to a doctor soon. Lumps from infections are usually painful, so this may be something other.

  24. Laura says:

    I am 28 year old female. I have noticed pain mainly in my left armpit but now also in my right. It came on no longer than 3-4 days ago. There is a slight bump in each armpit now also, both seem to be getting worse slowly,they are tender to touch. I have no other swollen nodes or lumps anywhere else. I feel tired & drained but feel this is normal for me! I feel that I sound blocked up when I talk, although I do not have cold/flu symptoms and my throat looks clear. Any ideas?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Laura, if this was associated with cyclic breast pain (before period) you would probably experience it regularly. It lasts few days every month. If you think this is something new and if you feel ill (it sounds so), I encourage you to see a doctor. Painful nodes are usually from infections.

  25. Ben says:

    Hi,
    I am 37 year old male, I’ve recently noticed pain (an achy, bruisey pain) coming mostly from my left armpit. I then started to feel the sensation in a small part of my pec, where the armpit and breast meet. Every so often this pain changes into a kind of burning feeling. It all started in Rome, first it was itchy, and I scratched and scratched and didn’t really bother me. Then I came home and went back to work the next day on night shift, and thats when the dull aching pain came along. I’ve had a good rummage round and can’t find any lumps, nodes or anything. I also started to feel it on the other side also (right side), although not as much. I do workout a lot, I lift weights on a bench, but these achy/bruisey pains came about a good few days after my last workout. I’ve been stressed out of my mind recently if that helps you. I was just hoping you could give me some advice as every time I consult Dr Google about anything, he tells me I’ll be dead before breakfast. Another thing I can’t seem to locate the pain with my finger if that makes sense. Not like I can with a pulled muscle or bruise.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Ben, with no lumps, localized tenderness or other symptoms, like fever, and with workout, it is possible that the nerves in the “brachial plexus” are pinched under the clavicles. The related term is “thoracic outlet syndrome” — heavy overhead exercise can trigger it. Pain usually (not always) become worse if you raise your arms above the shoulder level. Rest from overhead arm activities should help in this case.

      Shingles are usually only on one side and an itchy, burning rash usually (not always) appears after few weeks of pain.

      Sometimes strained muscles around the shoulder blades, for example, infraspinatus, cause pain in the front of the shoulder.

  26. Virginia slawosky says:

    I am a 49 Yr old woman. Just into my menopause! I originally only found one lump under my right armpit. In one weeks time I now have 3!! I PREVIOUSLY had a scare in my early 20s with cervical cancer! Laser therapy waso used and worked!! Both grandma’s had breast camera later in life !!! Currently no pain!! Vut one occurred than 2 mire the following week??? Please help !!

  27. Maria says:

    I’m 16 and I have a soft bump under my arm it hurts when I rub my armpit against my skin and or my clothes touch it or if I touch it

  28. Laurren says:

    Hi there, I am a 19 year old female and I have an ongoing pain under my left armpit which becomes more tender when lifting or raising my arms. This lump formed around 1/2 weeks ago and firstly was weeping very much but began to deflate after applying fusidic cream, I applied for 4/5 days and then stopped due to forgetting to apply. Since this it has become more painful and hurt to raise my arms and it sore around the lump, any ideas what this could possibly be?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Laurren, it sounds like it could be an underskin infection (abscess). I strongly suggest you to get checked this by a doctor.

  29. Neha says:

    HI I found this site very useful to ans my query.. I m 31 years old and unmarried I fel pain in my right underarm along with numbness in my right hand and pain in right upper back along with right side sternal and breast pain.. Sternal pain mostly I felt when I bend my neck forward.. I had gone through fibroadenoma surgery in October 2015.. And this type of pain make my worriesome.. Can u please suggest me something why is this pain Bcoz there is no lump in my breast and in armpit now

    • Jan Modric says:

      Neha, I strongly suggest you to visit that surgeon who operated you and ask for a physical examination. A surgery can leave adhesions (internal scars) which can cause pains. Additionally, stress can increase tension in the upper back and neck muscles and pain can radiate down the arm. Women with fibroadenomas are also at increased risk to develop cancer, so I can’t exclude this. Clearly, I cannot know what it is, so I believe you will be more in peace if a doctor examines you.

  30. Judephish says:

    I have a pain on the side of my left breast implant under my armpit. 2-3 months ago I jumped into the water from a tower that was about 20-30 ft and felt like I may have hurt myself due to the impact into the water and not shielding my breasts as my arms were up. Is it possible for the implant to have moved and cause new scar tissue from the impact? Since then I have found that the area on the side of my left breast and under my armpit is sore, and when I do a personal breast exam I can feel a small hard lump on that side of my breast and a larger soft one which I think is where my lymph nodes are located. The area is most sensitive about a week or two before menstration. This is something very new that I’ve never experienced before that has only occurred once after jumping into the water from the tower. Now this the 2nd time that it’s sore and the lumps are noticeable when I feel that area on the side of my breast. (I dismissed it the first time because it was right after I jumped into the water and attributed the pain to the impact of the water on my breast implant.) The larger lump is very sore and feels like it’s an entire swollen lymph node, and the smaller one is in the same area and it all aches right now. However, after my first cycle post jump, the pain subsided and I didn’t notice any lumps after my last menstrual cycle. This time it’s more noticeable then the first time I experienced the pain, soft large lump, and swelling of the node. Is it possible that the implant ruptured and has a slow leak? Or could it be an infection? Could it be hormonal being that it’s only occurred twice during ovulation? Why would it have started after I jumped into the water and didn’t cross my arms to shield my breasts when I’ve never had any hormonal changes resulting in pain, swelling, or lumps around my breasts or in my nodes before? Should I just go and have a mammogram done and request a sonogram to rule out cancer? I’m 44 and my last mammogram was prior to getting silicone implants about 3 years ago.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Judephish, enlarged lymph nodes in breast cancer are usually painless but it would be a good idea to get this checked by a doctor for eventual infection or lymph flow blockage, etc.

  31. divyesh kachhadiya says:

    hii, i have a lump on my left armpit from 1 year but it was small and not pain but previous 2-3 days it grown and so much pain. when i moving my muscle it is a painfull so now what to do. plz suggest..

    • Jan Modric says:

      divyesh, a doctor can tell is it a lymph node, abscess or something other. The doctor can also tell how to treat it. So, please visit a doctor.

  32. divyesh kachhadiya says:

    hii,i am a 20 year old boy. i have a lump on my left armpit from 1 year but it was small and not pain but previous 2-3 days it grown and so much pain. when i moving my muscle it is a painfull so now what to do. plz suggest. is this cancer symptoms??

  33. Manish warhade says:

    I have lymph node in my neck.from 18 months size 2cm,1.3cm constants.but now a days lot of pain on my both armpits from 2 months what should I do now

  34. Christine says:

    I have a hard muscle under my arm and it’s like an implant and it pains. WHAT can I do?

  35. ASADAT says:

    Hi,

    I am 42. Incidentally, we found some lymp nodes are swollen. So far there was no symptoms.
    The swelling was first noticed four years before. but so far no symptoms.

    FNAC 28/03/2016 : US Guided Left Anxillary Lymp node
    Satisfactory for evaluation
    Negative for malignant cells
    Smear shows occasional epithelioid granulomas, Langhan’s giant cells
    polymorphous lmphoid cells in a haemorrhagic background.

    Impression : Features are suggestive of granulomatous lymphadentitis possibly
    of tuberculous origin

    MRI on 28/03/2016 : size 1.7 x 2.6 the largest. And FNAC taken on this date
    CT on 14/09/2016 : 1.6 x 1.1 and 1.8 x 1.0 ( Noticed reduced in size compared to MRI from 28/3/2016)

    I am asked to take Rifampicin 600mg, isoniazid 300mg, Ethumbutaol 1200mg

    Still not started any treatment. Want to confirm if the treatment path is ok,
    because i have to take tabs for 6 months. I doubt that the reduce in size is due
    to FNAC procedure which would have punctured it.

    The word “possibly” in FNAC impression created a doubt if the observation is correct.

    You help is highly appreciated

    • Jan Modric says:

      ASADAT, the doctor who made the comment of FNAC thinks it can be tuberculosis. To prove it is actually tuberculosis, you would need to have a test for tuberculosis (blood and skin tests are available).

  36. Jodie says:

    Hi there I’m a 31 year old woman with 4 children my lymph nodes have been up in my armpits for 4 years I’ve had biopsy on them they said they came back clear but my right one was bigger than last time they checked it’s been a year since I had the biopsy there still up but now I’m getting pain in my right breast armpit and my shoulder I went back to my doctors they told me there wasn’t a lot they could do as I’ve already had a biopsy it’s really playing on my mind I’m really worried

    • Jan Modric says:

      Jodie, when the biopsy of the enlarged lymph nodes does not reveal anything abnormal, the cause can be “benign reactive lymphadenopathy” due to previous infections or autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. In breast cancer, the nodes in the armpit are rarely enlarged before a lump in the breast can be palpated. An inflammation or a cyst in the breast might also cause enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit. Lymphoma would be obvious in the previous biopsy. Tuberculosis is another possibility, but this would be obvious after the biopsy. You can read about other causes of swollen lymph nodes. You can ask your doctor if it makes sense to do some blood tests for main autoimmune disorders and maybe tuberculosis. Or an imaging test (CT, MRI?) of the breasts.

  37. sheila says:

    I have a swollen left armpit and it hurts and runs down my left arm and shoulder

  38. Hagar says:

    50 y old female with swollen painful arm,pain under axilla,night fever..may this be a start of breast cancer???

    • Jan Modric says:

      Hagar, the swollen arm and pain in the axilla suggest swollen lymph nodes. Breast cancer is only one possibility–in this case a node in a breast on the same side would be likely palpated). There are other causes of swollen arm: an infection in the arm, thoracic outlet syndrome or blocked lymph flow (lymphedema) due to disorders of lymph nodes in the armpits. In any case I strongly suggest a visit to a doctor.

  39. Amjathaahmed92@gmail.co says:

    Have breast pain habe acne on body trying but it is coming everyday

  40. Justice says:

    Hello everyone, I am a 20 year old female that is very active and big on hygiene. About a month ago I noticed that I may have had a few razor bumps on my right armpit. I didn’t think anything of it and continued doing my normal routine. Days later I woke up to find my armpit very sore with what felt like something hard within. The surface of my armpit was fairly even, but underneath it felt like a marble. I sterilized a needle and squeezed out what I thought was all of it. Now I have a sore on my arm, above my armpit, and a very large sore in my armpit. The sore in my armpit came back even bigger. There were multiple large bumps that have started forming as one. The sore on my arm was filled with blood and nothing else. No white fluid at all. As soon as I squeezed it all out, it just refilled with blood. Now the sore on my arm does have white fluid that comes out. Both sores seem to be getting larger and worse. The sore on my arm feels like it is attaching to my muscle. Raising my arm straight up is beginning to hurt. Both areas hurt horribly. I am trying to research it myself to avoid paying completely out of pocket. I am currently uninsured. Any help would be tremendously appreciated. Thank you all!

    • Jan Modric says:

      Justice, no matter what, I strongly suggest you to go to the doctor because this may turn into something life-threatening. I believe you can go to ER. It is possible that you popped a blood vessel that resulted in a blood collection (hematoma) and now possibly into a pus collection (abscess). Do not in any case try to drain it or anything. At this point you may not need to know what the original problem was.

  41. Maria says:

    Hey. Im 29. I have painful and small lymph in my left arm pit and heaviness in breasts that i always have before periods cycle. Im worried about lymph.
    P.s im on medication of hyperthyroidism
    Plz reply

    • Jan Modric says:

      Maria, I can’t give a definite answer about the cause or treatment. One possibility is “cyclic breast pain” but I encourage you to visit a doctor who can exclude other possible causes.

  42. Shay says:

    I have a swollen lymph node under right arm which I can move around. But it doesn’t hurt. I do have shoulder pain. I’m confused and very scared. Especially after reading all of this

  43. ane says:

    Hi.. I’m 30 years old men. I had cold before one week. And I have noticed swelling in my left armpit. I’ve never noticed this swelling in my armpit before. I thought it would go automatically when I recovered from cold. But it’s not going. Swelling is painless and very soft. What would be the cause? Please reply

    • Jan Modric says:

      ane, it could be possible that the swelling is a swollen lymph node that developed as a reaction to cold, especially if you are sure that it wasn’t there before. The swelling may persist for few weeks after stop of cold and then slowly disappear. If you are worried you can visit a doctor.

      • ane says:

        Thanks John Modric. Today I have visited a doctor. He examined me and said that he couldn’t find any swelling. He examined me by pressing. But I can feel soft swelling under armpit. My doubt is I never found underarm swelling before when I had cold. This is the first time. What can i do now?

      • ane says:

        I feel swelling when I bring my hand behind head. But I couldn’t feel any swelling when my hands down while touching. I’m really worried

  44. pranav says:

    32 years male. Painless soft half of golf ball size swelling n left under arm. Why?

    • Jan Modric says:

      pranav, you did not say from when you have such swelling. It can be a swollen lymph node. I strongly suggest you to visit a doctor.

      • pranav says:

        I’ve noticed 10 days before. Sometimes I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel swelling.

        • Jan Modric says:

          Pranav, this could be from an infection or from something compressing the lymph vessels in the armpit. I by no means can give you more exact answer and I can’t make any suggestion about what to do other than go to the doctor, who will be able to tell more after a physical examination.

  45. Curious says:

    I’ve been having dull, faint, twinges of pain in my left armpit that occur every 2-3 months. The twinges are just momentary, and happen once or twice a day for a couple days and then go away. The lymph nodes in my left armpit are palpable, whereas the ones on my right are not. The one on my left that I can feel is about the size of a small pea. This has been happening for two or three years. I went to my family doctor and a specialist a couple years ago, neither of whom had any concerns and essentially just said that it was “nothing” and that I could only feel the lymph node so clearly because I am quite thin. That being said, no real explanation was given for the twinges. I mentioned it to my doctor again a couple months ago – she didn’t really look into it or provide any explanation and basically told me to stop worrying and stop messing around with palpating my lymph node (fair enough). It’s not very bothersome, but hangs in the back of my mind as a source of concern. Any thoughts?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Curious, could you describe “twinges” a bit more using some additional words? Lymph nodes, even if swollen, would not likely cause such pain. Twinges could be from the muscles or nerves. I can’t exclude anything. If you can’t get worrying, you may want to ask a neurologist. It can be anything from eye-twitching type of muscle contraction or a temporary nerve irritation, maybe from an unusual move…

      • Curious says:

        Thanks for your reply.

        The sensation I experience is really hard to describe. When I first notice it, it feels like someone has taken a very dull pencil and has poked me from inside my body.

        After that initial, more discernible pain, a very dull ache remains in my armpit for a day or two. It feels heavy. It is a very low grade pain that is diffuse – I can’t pinpoint a precise location. I wonder if that’s from me trying to feel around in my armpit (deep poking and prodding) trying to figure out what the heck is going on in there after the initial pain occurs? Sometimes it feels like the ache radiates down my arm a bit, but most of the time it’s localized to the arm pit. Again, it’s very low on the pain scale. Most of the time I don’t even notice that it’s there, even on the days that it’s bugging me. Even when I do notice it, I close my eyes and try to concentrate on it and it seems to disappear – but I also know that I am not just imagining this.

        • Jan Modric says:

          A doctor should be able to detect if there is something physically abnormal in your armpit. From the other viewpoint: if the pain is not constant, worsening or disabling, a doctor may not be very keen to proceed with investigations.

  46. John says:

    I can feel painless swelling on my left arm only when i lift my arm. I couldn’t feel much when my arm is down.. what is the reason? Please help

    • Jan Modric says:

      Where exactly is the swelling – upper arm, outer side…in the armpit? And is the swollen part actually bigger than on the other side?

      Painless swelling in the armpit is usually from enlarged lymph nodes – you may be able to feel some lumps if you palpate deeply with 3 fingers.

      • John says:

        Swelling is just below under arm. Swellon part is bigger than other side. Its painless. I feel no pain even I press on swellon part. I’m 25 male.

        • Jan Modric says:

          It does not sound like an acute infection, which would be painful in most cases. A chronic infection could be painless, though. The swelling could be from enlarged lymph nodes – in this case you would be maybe able to detect one or more separate lumps with your fingers. I suggest you to visit a doctor.

          • John says:

            Hi…. What is the test to find swelling lymph node? Can i find through blood count?

          • Jan Modric says:

            A swollen lymph node is only a physical description of an enlarged node. A doctor can detect it by deep palpation, usually using three fingers. It appears as a lump (or more lumps if more nodes are involved). If a doctor will suspect any underlying condition, he/she will probably do some blood test initially. At a certain stage, a doctor can use a needle and suck out some substance from the node (a procedure called biopsy) and send it to further investigation (to see is it cancer, inflammation, etc). A doctor should be able to guide you.

  47. Kourtney says:

    I have a zit under my armpit, I am 17 and a female. I had this for a couple days. I tried to pop it. And now it hurts to raise my arm and I have a dent on my armpit and it hurts really bad. What should I do?

    • Jan Modric says:

      If it’s worsening, it may be infected – in this case go to the doctor. If the zit has (or had) a white center, it could be an inflamed hair follicle (folliculitis). In this case, an OTC cream with an antibiotic can help.

  48. Kourtney says:

    It has not had a white center, just a bump.

  49. Katrina K. says:

    Hello. I am almost 38 and while pregnant with my daughter I developed a lump in my left side armpit. Also darkened skin right above. She is 20 months now. I asked my obgyn at that time what it was and could they find out or did I need to make an appointment with a regular dr. I was told it was fine and probably a clogged milk duct from pregnancy and should go away after birth. It never did but since it caused no pain I really wasn’t to concerned. About a month ago that armpit got red and was hurting really badly i went to er cuz walkin was busier. They said I had a skin infection above lump prescribed antibiotics and an ultrasound for lump and said to get a family Dr for results. The skin infection went away and I did the ultrasound and made Dr appt. That Dr told me that I have an enlarged lymph node not to worry unless it gets bigger then make appt and he will either have another ultrasound or catscan done then. Now I noticed yesterday I had skin starting to darken in other armpit and a very small knot right underneath. The skin looking the same as my other armpit. Should I worry make appointment with him again or would it be in my best interest to seek another Dr who may seem more concerned. Obviously I really didn’t like the you have an enlarged lymph node but that’s nothing to worry about people get them all the time response. It seems like after 2 yrs an enlarged lymph node should be a concern. Unless I am wrong.

    • Jan Modric says:

      The knot on the other side may also be from an enlarged lymph node, so this would mean that the condition has developed further. To be in peace, I suggest you insist in getting the exact diagnosis. I’m not sure if CT needs to be the first diagnosis, but an experienced doctor should now. To check for cancer/lymphoma, a doctor would need take a sample of the node by a needle (biopsy) and send it to a pathological examination.

  50. Ezza says:

    Dull armpit pain left side

    Hi there I’m in my early 30s I get dull armpit pain in my left side which gets worse when I touch it. Initially I was thinking it was wind related and often wake up to take Eno. Thoughts on what this pain might be caused by?

    • Jan Modric says:

      It can be any of the causes listed in the article. From your description, it could be a swollen lymph node, but I can’t say yes or no. I suggest you to visit a doctor.

  51. Tavor says:

    Hi
    I have 2 buges in my disk of my back have dull pain under both armpits for a while it comes and goes.Blood tests are all ok as was a recent CT apart from a hiatel hernia.Also should mention I have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.Appreciate any feed back.

  52. Carole says:

    I am 24 years old and I had unprotected sex, on the 6 January and did hiv test on the 16 January which was negative . I usually have rashes after shaving with a blade and that is what happened around the 20th. It’s always very itchy. I squeezed one of the rash and the next day I got up with a painful Lymph node in my armpit. Today is 31 January, the swell has completely gone down, but I can still feel a something hard but painless this time, the whole thing is made almost 1 week. Please I want to know if this is related to hiv?

  53. renee says:

    hello, i have a few hard armpit lumps on the left side. they have been there for over 6 months now and are becoming painful and causing some pain down the arm. i have a history left breast cancer with lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. my last breast mri a few months ago was normal. should i be concerned? doctor thought maybe it was cat scratch disease

    • Jan Modric says:

      You should definitely go and get this checked. It could be cancer or chronic infection, including cat scratch disease, etc. Lymph node biopsy and histological examination can give an answer.

  54. Nikkie says:

    My right armpit hurts so much especially a week before my monthly period and before it ends. I have an irregular period. I have it for about 3 weeks a month. There is also a lump i feel and it goes away like the pain. The pain attacks for at least 30min a day. My right arm feels numb when my armpit hurts so much. Please help me. I have been experiencing it for the last 7 months.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Nikki, if you want an exact diagnosis, you need to see a doctor. “Cyclic breast pain” can appear with such symptoms, but I’m not sure about the lump.

      • Nikkie says:

        The feeling that something is attached to my muscle is persistent and consistent. Sometimes it is itchy and is very painful. The pain i feel is in my armpit, upper part of my right breast, upper and under part of my right arm, and above my right breast. There is also a pinching sensation in my underarm.

        • Jan Modric says:

          Hm, I don’t know. Shingles can cause burning itchy sensation, but it usually comes with rash and I’m not sure if it would repeat every month.

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