Why Is My Armpit Sore? --- Causes and Top
10 Natural Remedies
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July 15, 2017

By Ariadne Weinberg,  Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses and other members of our Editorial Board.]

“Wasn’t it enough for my armpits to be smelly?” you think to
yourself. “Do they really have to be sore, too?”

Usually, a sore armpit is nothing to be scared of and easily
solved. I’ll give you the worst case scenario first just to get
that one of the way: Breast cancer. Sometimes when
nodes are swollen
under the arms, or you have a lump under
your armpit
, these indeed can be signs of cancer. But there are
other alternatives, other explanations that you should also

What are lymph nodes? According to Birmingham-based
physician Jeremy Allen,“Your lymph nodes are located
underneath your arms and in your neck, and when they
become infected or inflamed, they can become large, painful,
and tender to the touch.”

The lymph nodes are probably swollen for reasons other than
breast cancer, however, which are myriad, including infection
and hormone imbalance.

Your armpits may be painful due to overexertion in exercise. If
you pulled a muscle around them, they will probably be sore.

Alternatively, a rash or allergy could cause a red, itchy flare up.
Boils can also cause soreness in the armpit.

If your armpit pain persists without resolving, consult a
doctor.  We have scoured the current research to find the most
common causes of armpit soreness and the following TOp 10

Warm Compress for Swollen Lymph Nodes

Sometimes the lymph nodes in the armpits are swollen, and
that’s what causes that sore, excess pressure feeling. The
lymph nodes puff up with invading cells, generating
inflammation and pain.

Swollen lymph nodes often appear when bacterial, fungal, or
viral infections are present. According to experts at the
University of Chicago School of Medicine, using a warm
compress can ease lymph node swelling and pain.

Here is a comprehensive list of
natural remedies for swollen
lymph nodes

Massage for Soreness

According to a 2001 report from V.S. Erickson from RAND
Health in Santa Monica, California, one of the best non-
pharmacological interventions for a sore armpit is massage.

The official name for underarm soreness, lymphedema, can
have relatively benign causes, such as a pulled muscle or
overexerting yourself, or be correlated with something more
insidious, such as breast cancer. Indeed, Erickson affirms that
arm edema becomes more prevalent with the increasing
survival of breast cancer patients.  Whether you simply have
exercise soreness or a symptom of cancer, massage can still be
a good option for your ouchy armpit. Ask your doctor and/or
physical therapist which specific types of massage would be
best for you.

Ice Compress for a Pulled Muscle  

In the case that your armpit hurts because of a pulled muscle,
the best first course of action is to ice it, confirms Alana
Biggers, doctor of internal medicine in the University of Illinois
Hospital in Chicago.

When you overexert yourself and overextend an axillary
muscle, your first few days should be ice packs and rest.

Don’t do any more physical exercise for a couple days. Then,
when the pain lessens, you can apply heat and stretch some.
Be sure to check in with a physical therapist for the particulars,
and err on the side of caution.

Coconut Oil for a Rash

Sometimes your armpit is sore due to irritated skin, and luckily,
coconut oil has been found useful for dermatitis. Its
antimicrobial and antifungal activities are due to medium-chain
fatty acid constituents, including lauric acid and capric acid,
amongst others.

A double-blind randomized controlled trial performed by
Verallo Rowell published in Dermatitis Magazine in 2008
revealed promising results. Rowell and researchers compared
virgin coconut oil to virgin olive oil in removing staphylococcus
aureus. They tested a total of 26 patients aged 18-40 with

The coconut oil provided the quickest and most effective
results. After 4 weeks, only 1 patient remained with the
staphylococcus irritation. So, if your armpit pain is due to skin
irritation, try out coconut oil.

Upgrade Your Deodorant to Avoid Soreness

Sometimes the armpit gets swollen or irritated due to our daily
habits. If you shave daily, or use antiperspirants as opposed to
deodorant, your body might react with inflammation or a rash.

According to experts at Evanston Hospital in Illinois, “Cysts and
infections on the surface of the skin of the armpit may be
caused by shaving or use of antiperspirants (as opposed to
deodorants). This occurs most frequently in adolescents just
beginning to shave, make sure they know how to prevent
ingrown hairs. Abscesses under the skin may also produce
large, painful lumps in the armpit.” Look for natural deodorant
brands, and maybe let your hair grow out just a little bit.

White Willow Bark or Tumeric to Ease Pain of Sore Armpits  

Whether your armpit pain is the result of swollen lymph nodes,
rash, or a chemical reaction, sometimes inflammation is bound
to happen. If you can’t immediately eliminate the cause,
sometimes easing the symptom feels good.

Joseph C. Maroon, Pittsburgh-based neurosurgeon and spine
specialist, recommended a few classic ones in a 2006
Neurosurgical Focus Magazine magazine article. You can, of
course, take the traditional ibuprofen and aspirin is that is more
your style.

However, Maroon affirms that white willow bark (the more
minimalist version of aspirin) works just as well. He
recommends taking 240 milligrams per day.

Turmeric, the dark yellow spice that might be hiding in your
cupboard could also work. Consult your physician or an
herbalist to see if you can get a custom mix of anti-
inflammatory ingredients.

Identify and Eliminate Allergens to Minimize Sore Armpits

If your pain feels on the side of a rash or burning sensation,
you may be having a reaction to an allergen. Common irritants
include antiperspirants, soap, clothing, and deodorant.

Jeremy Allen, M.D. with the American Family Care in
Birmingham, Alabama, recommends doing an allergy test. If
you test positive for a certain allergen, you can replace with
alternative ingredients or material.

Take Vitamin E to Fight Underarm Inflammation

Whether you have a skin irritation or swollen lymph nodes, the
lack of certain proteins and vitamins in the body are prone to
cause problems.

Vitamin E is vital for human skin and is present in milk and
different fruit and veggies. You can also take Vitamin E
supplements.  Here is the list of Top 10
foods richest in Vitamin

A 2005 study by H. Zhai from the University of California
confirm that the antioxidant properties of Vitamin E make it
especially effective in reducing swelling.

Relieve Sore Armpits with Contrast Bath Therapy

Cause you’re hot and you’re cold...Okay, you might not want
that for your relationships, but you may for your armpits.

Submerge your armpits in warm water for 3 to 4 minutes, then
in cold water for 2 minutes.

Repeat up to 4 to 5 times. The cold treatment will reduce the
pain, while the warm treatment improves blood and lymph

The stagnant fluid is also removed from the affected area.

According to University of Toronto doctor I.K. Brenner, as
investigated in a 1999 article in the Journal of Applied
Physiology, cold exposure also has immuno-stimulating effects.

Apply Lemon Juice... But Easy Does It

Mix equal parts lemon juice and water, then apply with a cotton
ball. Lemons are great, not only in your mouth, but also in an
irritated armpit, because they are a great source of Vitamin C.
Lemons also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial
properties, according to a 2005 report from E.M. Galati, from
the University of Messina in Italy.

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