Causes of upper arm pain include shoulder bursitis, biceps tendinitis, impingement syndrome and tennis elbow, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Pain can start near the shoulder and travel down, or start at the elbow and travel toward the shoulder.
Biceps tendinitis causes pain in the front or side of the shoulder, and it travels down to the elbow. It can be painful to lift overhead or to move the arm forward quickly, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Tennis elbow or golfer's elbow affect the outside and inside tendons of the elbow, respectively. Both of these can cause pain in the upper arm as well as pain into the forearm. These types of tendinitis can be treated with ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen.