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What causes pain and burning sensation in arm after a blood test?

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Posted on Tue, 10 May 2016
Question: I had a blood draw one week ago. My arm was throbbing for days after words at the site. Now above the crease of my elbow I have a little lump felt under my skin and my arm feels like it is on fire. I feel pain from above the crease of my elbow down to my wrist. Is this a nerve injury or something else? I never did feel an electric shock when the blood was drawn. I had a nerve injury from a blood draw in my other arm before but this one is different. In ways it's similar but in ways it's not. Any advice?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho (17 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Nerve conduction study needed.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thanks for using HCM.

I have read your question and understand your concerns.

If there is pain and arm feels like on fire, but no swelling and redness of the affected arm, most likely these symptoms are related to nerve damage/compression.

If there is redness and swelling vascular damage/thrombosis should be considered too.

If you don't notice any forearm and/or hand muscles weakness, probably a sensory berve is damaged.

Lump under skin probably is from damaged vein during blood drawn.

There is need to get a nerve conduction study and EMG/ENG of the affected arm to confirm nerve damage and the degree of the damage.

Treatment is related to the degree of damage and drugs such Gabapentin, Pregabalin may be used to improve symptoms.

These issues should be discussed with your treating Doctor.

Hope you found the answer helpful.

Let me know if I can assist you further.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Follow up: Dr. Erion Spaho (1 hour later)
I did have a nerve injury in my right arm from a blood draw but when that needle entered my arm I felt an electric shock and stinging sensation towards my wrist. This time it just throbbed after the butterfly needle was removed. EMG tests on my right arm were negative. This time my arm feels tender above the injection site, around the biceps area but I get pain from my mid-biceps to my wrist. If it is inflammation of the vein should I be on antibiotics and/or steroid dose pack? I've seen two doctors this week and they say just take aspirin which doesn't help. Can inflammation of the vein cause throbbing? The area above my elbow does feel tender to touch.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho (16 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Apply alcohol compresses.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back and thanks for being on follow up.

Since there is tenderness, most likely there is a vascular ( venous ) damage than a nerve damage.

However, nerves adjacent to tender/ swelled area can be compressed as well and throbbing could be a symptom too.

Antibiotics can be used if infection is confirmed ( fever ).

Local application of alcohol compresses for a couple of days should help improve your symptoms.

Use of ibuprofen also could be more beneficial than aspirin.

Hope I helped you.

Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Deepak
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Erion Spaho (6 hours later)
Sorry doc had one more question about this. I had a ultra-sound today and no blood clot, etc. If I do have another nerve injury how is this even possible? This means both my right and left arm have been injured in the last 6 months. My right arm (which was injured 4 months ago) has perplexed doctors to how or why it hasn't healed yet. My primary care doctor doesn't believe me that it has happened to my left arm now too. I' am afraid to ever give blood again. Could inflammation of the vein be this painful with throbbing like pain? The only difference is I do not feel any pins and needles or electric shocks like I did with my right arm injury. In my current injury (left arm) if throbs at the injection site still 8 days later but I do not have any loss of motor skills.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Erion Spaho (11 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Only tests can confirm the damage/diagnosis.

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back.

Vein inflammation could result in pain if there is a local infection going on, or irritant substance(s) were injected.

Since there is no motor skills affected and no numbness, nerve injury is less possible, but still cannot be excluded.

The only way to evaluate this is by tests such nerves conduction study.

Hope I helped you.

Best regards.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
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Answered by
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Dr. Erion Spaho

Neurologist, Surgical

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 4224 Questions

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What causes pain and burning sensation in arm after a blood test?

Brief Answer: Nerve conduction study needed. Detailed Answer: Hello and thanks for using HCM. I have read your question and understand your concerns. If there is pain and arm feels like on fire, but no swelling and redness of the affected arm, most likely these symptoms are related to nerve damage/compression. If there is redness and swelling vascular damage/thrombosis should be considered too. If you don't notice any forearm and/or hand muscles weakness, probably a sensory berve is damaged. Lump under skin probably is from damaged vein during blood drawn. There is need to get a nerve conduction study and EMG/ENG of the affected arm to confirm nerve damage and the degree of the damage. Treatment is related to the degree of damage and drugs such Gabapentin, Pregabalin may be used to improve symptoms. These issues should be discussed with your treating Doctor. Hope you found the answer helpful. Let me know if I can assist you further. Take care.