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Getting throbbing pain in arm moving down to elbow and wrist. Had no injury. Cause?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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The outer side of my left arm started hurting slowly working its way down from wrist down to the elbow. It's a throbbing achy pain , it feels like it may be swelling but really can't see it, it hurts very badly no injury to the arm
Posted Sat, 29 Jun 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Hi Sergordita and thanks for using this panel for your health worries.
I am so sorry about the pains you are experiencing on the outer part of your left arm. I am Dr. Ditah and I will be helping you with this today. I feel honoured to have had this opportunity to address some of your health worries.

Considering the medications you are currently taking and the intensity of this pain, I don't feel comfortable settling with some of the common causes of arm pain. It could still be a very common problem but I would have expected the pains not to be any where intense seen the fact that you are on powerful pain medications already. Do you take tramadol and diclofenac regularly or only when need be? You may want to start taking it regularly if you are not already doing so.

Arm pain generally results from the skin, soft tissues, nerves and bone problems. Clearly, its description doesn't fit that of a pain originating from the bone or from the nerves without a history of injury or arm weakness or some neurologic signs and symptoms. This allows us with the skin and soft tissues.

Examining the skin will be very helpful to look for clues to some of the common causes like cellulitis, erysipelas etc. Also, a proper exam may guide the physician to look into other possibilities like tendinitis, bursitis, myositis(inflammation of the muscles) etc. If the suspicion of any of these is high, she/he may want to do some tests to confirm the suspicion and treat accordingly.

For now, I will suggest you allow the arm to rest, apply cold packs on it and also avoid over moving it. Consider stopping by to talk with your doctor if the intensity stays same or increases, if you develop any fevers or notice any signs of arm weakness. Also, if you should be convinced about the swelling or should it become red in colour, please talk with your doctor for possible examination and investigations.

I hope this helps you as you strive to get answers and a solution to this problem. Feel free to come back to us with more questions if need be.
Wish you a good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Getting throbbing pain in arm moving down to elbow and wrist. Had no injury. Cause? 23 minutes later
I just started taking the two medications a couple days ago trammadol an diflonac. Considering that pressing down on that area where the pain is making it hurt worse be nerves ? Also can sleeping on the arm wrong cause this sudden pain? It doesn't happen very often I've only noticed it twice in a long period of time but, today was rather intense..
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 34 minutes later
Welcome back and thanks for these follow up questions. Also, thank you for the additional information on tramadol and diflonac.

1. Considering that pressing down on that area where the pain is making it hurt worse be nerves ? It is less likely to be a nerve in this case. Nerves are fine structures and pressing on them require great mastery of their trajectory that you may not master. Also, the pain from nerves is often intermittent and rather comes as shooting pain along the path of a nerve which doesn't seem to fall in line with your description. There are rarely permanent in nature.

2. Also can sleeping on the arm wrong cause this sudden pain?
Yes and this is a very common cause of non specific body pains. In this case, the history often suggest that the client noticed it shortly after waking up from sleep or a nap. I don't know if this is the case with you. If it should be, then that is the most likely explanation.

With this more information, I feel more comfortable suggesting you wait and watch out for the red flags I mentioned earlier before going in for any consultations. Also, continue the tramadol and Diflonac regularly. If you have a history of gastritis, then consider eating well before taking diflonac.

Hope this answer the question.
if you feel comfortable and don't have any more worries, you may consider closing the discussion and rating the answer.
Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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