Does Adderall cause arm pain? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will explore whether Adderall can cause arm pain or not, how Adderall causes arm pain, what factors may contribute to the development of arm pain while taking Adderall and what to do if Adderall causes arm pain.

Does Adderall cause arm pain?

Yes, Adderall (dextroamphetamine+amphetamine) can cause pain in the arm due to the muscle tension it may cause as a side effect. Arm pain is not a commonly reported side effect of Adderall. Adderall does not directly cause arm pain but some indirect effects of Adderall can contribute to the pain in the arm.

Adderall is a stimulant medication that contains amphetamines. It contains a combination of two stimulant drugs called amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Adderall stimulates the central nervous system and therefore, is prescribed usually to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (1).

If you are taking Adderall and experience pain in your arm then you need to contact your healthcare provider. The pain in the left arm can be a sign of a heart attack as well. You need to get proper medical attention and advice.  

How does Adderall cause arm pain?

Adderall does not cause pain in the arm by a direct effect. Adderall can lead to arm pain through various effects it has on the body.

Adderall is known to cause muscle tension in some individuals (2). The stimulant effect of Adderall affects the nerves controlling the muscle tone due to stimulation of the central nervous system. This causes the muscles to get stiff or contract involuntarily ultimately causing pain in muscles including the ones in the arm (3). 

Adderall can also cause arm pain due to repetitive strain. Adderall increases alertness and makes the person tense up their muscles due to increased activity. Repetitive tasks involving the arm due to increased activity can also contribute to arm pain in individuals taking Adderall. 

What factors may contribute to the arm pain while taking Adderall?

Pain in the arm while taking Adderall can be influenced by the following factors. 

Dosage and duration

An increased dosage of Adderall is associated with an increased risk of side effects (4). Adderall can cause muscle tension and increased doses can lead to pain in muscles including arms due to increased effect. Higher doses and prolonged duration can influence the frequency and intensity of arm pain.

Individual sensitivity

Not every person taking Adderall will experience pain in the arm. The effects of Adderall vary among individuals. Some might experience the pain whereas others might not. The variation of effects may be attributed to various factors such as genetic predisposition, individual lifestyle, metabolic rate, age and gender.

Underlying medical health condition

Certain health conditions might also contribute to arm pain in patients taking Adderall. The medical conditions may include:

  • Circulation issues
  • Nerve compression
  • Musculoskeletal problems

Any medical condition that may cause these three effects can lead to pain in the arm.


Adderall, being a stimulant medication can cause dehydration due to increased energy expenditure. Dehydration can also be a cause of muscle cramps leading to pain in arms as well (5). 

Posture and strain

Poor posture and increased strain on the muscles can also contribute to pain in the arm. Spending a long period of time in a fixed position without taking a break can also cause pain in the arms. 

What to do if you experience arm pain while taking Adderall?

If you experience pain in the arm then you must immediately do the following:

  • If the pain is due to a specific activity then you must stop the activity immediately and rest your arm.


  • Assess the frequency of pain, the type of pain if it is a throbbing pain, sharp pain or dull pain, and the location of the pain as well.


  • If the pain does not subside after a few minutes then apply a cold compress for 15-20 minutes to help with the pain.


  • If the pain is severe and persistent and does not go away then it can be a sign of a heart attack. In that case, you need immediate medical care.


  • Within the next few days, you need to take care of your water intake as dehydration can also be a cause of pain in the arm.


  • Gentle exercise can also be effective in keeping your muscles flexible.


  • Warm massages can also help with the pain.

However, if the pain is severe then you need to consult your doctor.

Consulting healthcare provider

Your doctor will assess your condition to rule out the other major causes of the arm pain. After a thorough analysis, if Adderall is found to be the cause of pain in the arm then your doctor will suggest adjustments to your treatment plan. 

Your doctor might have to lower the dose of Adderall to help your body adjust better to the effects of Adderall. The side effects usually appear at the starting time of Adderall because the body is trying to adjust better to the effects of Adderall. 

If the pain does not subside even after the modifications in the treatment plan, then your doctor will have to switch your medication from Adderall to one of the following suitable alternatives (6).

Brand name Generic Class
Ritalin Methylphenidate Stimulant
Concerta Methylphenidate Stimulant
Vyvanse Lisdexamfetamine Stimulant
Dexedrine Dextroamphetamine Stimulant
Strattera Atomoxetine Non-stimulant
Wellbutrin Bupropion Atypical antidepressant
Intuniv Guanfacine Alpha-2 agonist
Kapvay Clonidine Alpha-2 agonist

In my opinion, Adderall cannot directly cause any pain but it can contribute to the pain in the arm by various indirect effects of Adderall. The primary effects of Adderall that might cause pain in the arm the muscle tension or muscle cramps caused by it. 

The pain in the arm can be a symptom of various other conditions. Your doctor will have to rule those conditions out to consider Adderall as the potential cause of your arm pain. 




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Shoar, N. S. (2023, May 23). Dextroamphetamine-Amphetamine. StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf.


Kon, J. J., & Kon, A. A. (2020). Severe muscle pain and stiffness due to dexmethylphenidate. Clinical case reports, 8(3), 420–422.


Taylor, J. L., Amann, M., Duchateau, J., Meeusen, R., & Rice, C. L. (2016). Neural Contributions to Muscle Fatigue: From the Brain to the Muscle and Back Again. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 48(11), 2294–2306.


McCormack, J. P., Allan, G. M., & Virani, A. S. (2011). Is bigger better? An argument for very low starting doses. CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne, 183(1), 65–69.


Cleary, M. A., Sitler, M. R., & Kendrick, Z. V. (2006). Dehydration and symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness in normothermic men. Journal of athletic training, 41(1), 36–45.


In Brief: Alternatives to Adderall | The Medical Letter Inc. (n.d.).,their%20o