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What causes pain in arms while walking in cold weather?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9091 Questions
I am experiencing achy arms, particularly when walking in cold weather (mostly after eating but other times as well). My PCP thought it was acid reflux, as I have had diagnosis of GERD in the past (also IBS). She gave me nitroglycerin which I didn't use, because the symptoms ease before I return home from my walk. I then made an appt. with my cardio after having more eipisodes of achy arms. Stress test & echo were fine, but dr. said that I could still suffer angina from "small vessel disease" which was diagnosed from my brain MRI in 2008 (there was no difference from an MRI done in 2000 but SVD was not mentioned then. He prescribed a trial of antacid vs. nitro to see which was effective. I haven't tried either at this point since the symptoms are not long-lasting. The confusing thing is that, even though SVD was diagnosed, there was a statement to the effect that "interestingly on the sagittal view, the corpus collosum is bright on flare imaging, a typical pattern for MS. I saw a MS specialist at Cleveland Clinic after the 2008 MRI. He said the gray matter was MS related (a benign type and not SVD). I had some MS symptoms in my 20's, but nothing progressive. I've also had some aura-related migraines recently. Thanks for your help!
Posted Sat, 8 Mar 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Needs investigations. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for posting your query. The pain in the arms while walking in cold weather could be related to ms or a myofascial syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Other causes include . Vitamin B12 deficiency; Vitamin D deficiency; Calcium deficiency etc. Ideal person to consult for this is orthopedic surgeon or rheumatologist. Please discuss this with your family and doctor and ask for a proper referral. After examination the doctor may advise some investigations like Vit D level B12 Level Blood counts blood sugar Avoid exposure to cold and do some muscle stretching exercises till then. I hope this answers your query. In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out. Wishing you good health. Regards. Dr. Praveen Tayal. For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
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Follow-up: What causes pain in arms while walking in cold weather? 22 hours later
Thanks for your brief reply. I appreciate your time and analysis; however, I don't feel that you adequately addressed my concern about small vessel disease. I realize that you don't have the visuals, but would like your perspective about whether the achy arms are angina related based on the SVD diagnosis. Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Not likely to be due to SVD. Detailed Answer: Hello. Thanks for writing again. The ache in the arms that improves spontaneously is not likely to be related to small vessel disease. This mostly affects the larger organs like Brain lungs heart and kidneys. The blood circulation is not likely to improve spontaneously after some time. This muscle pain is more likely to be a nerve related or nutritional deficiency. Hope my answer is helpful. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you good health. Regards
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