Arm and Elbow pain

Pain in the arm and elbow may be caused by local structures within or around the elbow or may be referred from other sources such as the neck or back.
One of the most common clinical presentations is from gradual onset outer elbow pain due to overuse of the wrist / forearm extensor muscles during gripping activities in manual workers or sports people. This typically causes gradual degeneration of the tendons where they attach to the outer elbow (lateral epicondyle) and is known more commonly as  'Tennis elbow'. Symptoms include pain or ache at the outer aspect of the elbow, tenderness on firmly touching the affected tendons and often pain and stiffness first thing in the morning.

'Golfers elbow' (medial epicondylitis) is a similar complaint where the pain affects the medial aspect of the elbow downwards along the inside of the arm.
There are numerous other causes of elbow pain and forearm pain, some of which present suddenly due to a specific incident, others which develop gradually.
'Students elbow' or Olecranon bursitis is the inflammation and swelling of the bursa which protects the bone at the back of the elbow. Traumatic or repetitive impacts to this area can result in pain and a large swelling at the back of the joint.

Elbow dislocations

Elbow dislocations are the second most common dislocations in adults, behind shoulder dislocations. The elbow is a very stable joint and so it requires a lot of force to dislocate it. Pain can also be referred into the elbow and forearm from another source such as the neck or upper back, frequently associated with symptoms above or below the elbow and forearm such as the shoulder, arm, wrist or finger, and in the referring area e.g. neck or upper back pain / stiffness.

Squashed or trapped nerve

Sometimes, the general "wear and tear" that occurs in the joints and bones of the spine as people get older can cause the nerves in the spinal cord to become squashed or trapped. It can cause pain that radiates from the neck to the arms, and sometimes also pins and needles. This type of wear and tear is called spinal arthritis, or cervical spondylitis.