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Getting pain and twitching sensation in arm. Diagnosed with nerve damage. Second opinion?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10441 Questions
Hi.. I have seen a doctor about this, but no real diagnosis has happened. She thinks I probably have nerve damage and a bit of anxiety but I want to get a second opinion. I have had a fairly consistent pain in my upper left arm since August. The area had a fresh tattoo on it when it began hurting, could have hit a nerve possibly.. Shortly after that started, my left thumb began twitching (without pain). I texted a lot with my thumbs.. since I stopped doing that it has gotten better, but not totally gone. I still feel tenderness in the base of that thumb and now and then it will give a little twitch. Now though, other fingers on that hand will also twitch occasionally. Feels like electricity running down my arm into my hand. I seem to have my strength, but overuse of that hand results in it feeling weak and twitchy. I do have occasional bouts with sciatica and I drink more than my share of alcohol (I am a bartender). Today, I used my left hand/arm to hold up my phone to my ear for a couple of lengthy conversations and now my left shoulder is sore. Probably need to hit the gym more often than I do.. but I wanted to run this by someone else so I don't continue bugging my doctor with this. Nothing I am experiencing prevents me from doing my job, but doing my job definitely seems to inflame the situation. Pinched nerve, carpal tunnel, something else.. What do you think?
Posted Thu, 28 Feb 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 25 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
The symptoms that you are having are likely to be due to a pinched nerve at the level of cervical spine. The other possible cause is vitamin B 12 deficiency which is more commonly seen in alcoholics.
An MR of the neck and the affected shoulder will help in diagnosing the exact problem. Right now you can start taking methylcobalamin supplements, avoid overhead activities, avoid using a pillow and reduce your alcohol intake. Doing cervical isometric exercises under the guidance of a physiotherapist will also be helpful.
In case the symptoms are persistent then do consult a neurologist for proper management.
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.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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