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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

I will be looking into your question and guiding you through the process. Please write your question below.

About a week ago, I began developing severe pain in

Answered by
Dr. Antoneta Zotaj

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 2538 Questions

Posted on Sat, 22 Dec 2018 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: About a week ago, I began developing severe pain in my right arm, upper and fore arm. On a scale of 1-10, The pain ramps up to 15 for about 30 minutes and then subsides to a 3-4 in about 5 minutes. This happens 3-4 times a day. Heat did not help it but ice seemed to. Aleve has no effect whatsoever. Any suggestions
Answered by Dr. Antoneta Zotaj 38 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Kindly asked for some more details on the pain

Detailed Answer:

Arm pain can be caused by several causes with muscle pain and nerve pain being the most common ones.
I would like to ask some questions to better understand the cause of the pain.
- did you have a trauma or a very busy time working with the arms or anything you would related the start of the pain with?
- what causes the pain, what triggers it? What are you doing when the pain starts? Is it worse with certain movements? Is it worse when you lay on that arm?
- Anything that helps with it? A certain position?
- do you have any numbness or tingling in the arm, hand or fingers or any weakness?
- neck and shoulder are ok?
- any pain with the other arm or other areas in the body?
- any lumps in the armpit, any chest pain, or other complaints?

I am waiting to hear back from you related to the above questions and hope to hear back from you soon.

Dr. Antoneta Zotaj
General & Family Physician

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Antoneta Zotaj 5 hours later
No trauma or excessive work
The severe pain just starts. I don't have to be doing anything at all but after about 30 minutes, it subsides substantially
Normally I do sleep on that arm but for the last three nights I am sleeping on my back. Does not hurt when I get up but within a few minutes it starts again.
It seems to help if I let my arm hang down.
No numbness or weakness
Shoulder aches and feel like a stiff neck
No lumps or chest pain

Someone suggested a pinched nerve. Could that be it and if so, what can I do?
Answered by Dr. Antoneta Zotaj 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
It seems like a pinched nerve pain- explanations below

Detailed Answer:

Because the pain is not stimulated by certain movements and because it is so sudden and intense and it subsides substantially within a short time it seems less likely to be muscular pain but very likely a pain due to a pinched nerve.
The fact that you have neck pain also might be a contributing factor and improvement when you hang your hand is another sign of a pain due to a pinched nerve. You may start to feel numbness and tingling in the arm, hand or fingers or have a change of the sensation in the area compared to the other side.

Nerve pain is difficult to control with the usual pain killers like ibuprofen (aleve is in the same family) or paracetamol but taking ibuprofen at higher doses can be tried for some relief (ibuprofen 600 mg every 6 hours after food, stop it if problems with the stomach).

It is important to have a visit with your doctor to identify the cause of the pain. Sometimes you may need an xray of the neck to see if there is a disc prolapse of bone growths at the side of the vertebra (osteophytes) or other abnormal findings that might be pressing on the nerve.

Physiotherapy is a good way to treat it. The physiotherpaist will identify if there is any muscle in spasm that is pressing on the nerve and will help you relieve it. He also will be able to give you exercises to release the nerve from the disc of bone structures pressing on it by giving you re-positioning exercises that help.

There are exercises you can find online related to release of nerve pinch, I would not recommend you to just follow them as it might make you worse. You need good evaluation and individualized approach.

Together with physiotherapy the doctor might give also some steroids to reduce the swelling and local irritation. Normally patients should feel better with the ibuprofen, steroid and the physiotherapy, if not you should let your doctor know and other investigations might be needed to find the reason and rarely patients might need surgery.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care

Dr. Antoneta Zotaj
General & Family Physician
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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