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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: Pain and Swelling in the Armpit

 editor - Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:49 pm

Hello, I have had pain and swelling in my left armpit for a month now. I describe it as if I had been squeezing a tennis ball under my armpit all day and have finally let it go. The skin doesn't hurt and my pectorial muscle isn't sore. At first I thought it was an injury from working out, but I haven't worked out in weeks and had been on the same routine since May without adding any weight. I was concerned because I'm 27 and have high blood pressure (usually 140 over 98) and a family history of breast cancer. I went to my doctor a few days ago and was told that my lymph nodes aren't swollen but there is definately fluid build up in my armpit. My armpit is now twice the size it should be. She said the tingling in my hands isn't due to a circulation problem (so probably not a blood clot) and told me to take ibuprofin for pain and that was it. No tests. The pain is not excruciating but bothersome and annoying after a month of it. I don't know what to do. I've done heating pads, ice packs, and warm washcloths in plastic but none of it helps. I don't want to be eating aspirin like candy. Is there anything I can do as a home remedy? Any idea what could cause this?
 Theresa Jones, RN - Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:18 am

User avatar Hi editor,
If your current treatment has not been effective call your physician's office. Explain that you still have experienced no relieve and inquire about some diagnostic studies, for example, labwork, ultrasound, etc. to identify the causative factor.
Theresa Jones, RN
 editor - Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:54 am

Hello again,

I'm still having pain but not as much swelling. I'm afraid I'm unable to go to the doctor for at least another month. I have no insurance and had previously gone to student health, but I've graduated now. The pain seems to only be at night now and I can only sleep in two very specific positions. As a result I'm not sleeping well at all. Has anyone ever heard of armpit pain like this? Maybe my softball analogy is bad - it's like someone has punched me in the armpit over and over. ?
 uglyfrog1 - Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:39 pm

i was just looking on the internet for people with the same symptoms as me are your's sounds exactly like mine. mine started a couple of days ago, thought i might pulled or ripped it during my last workout, which was 4 days before pain started. a couple of days have passed and the swelling continues. Its like you said not painfull but enoying, and im worried it will continue to bug me for months to pass
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:15 pm

User avatar Hello,
Swelling in the armpit which does not resolve should be evaluated.

Differential Diagnosis:
lymphadenopathy secondary to infection
pectoralis and/or latissimus strain
hidadrenitis suppurativa (inflammation of the sweat glands)
skin abscess
breast cancer

Seeing your physician should help give you an accurate diagnosis.
Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

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