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What causes pain in forearm radiating to chest and back?

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Posted on Tue, 24 Nov 2015
Question: Dear sir, my father is 46 years old and he is suffering from severe pain through fore arm of right hand to chest-back. Also, the pain is unbearably high when he is laying in bed. He is sleepless for 7 days now. What can be the problem and how to treat it?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal (35 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Nerve compression likely.

Detailed Answer:
Hello,
Thanks for posting your query.
Pain in forearm radiating to the chest and back is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration.

X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis.

Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful. He has been prescribed pain killers only. Get oral muscle relaxants prescribed for him.
3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms. He should take at least 1500 mcg daily at bedtime.
4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
6. He can avoid using a pillow.
As you try these measures, I also encourage him to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if these medications are not helpful).
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 XXXX

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal (16 minutes later)
Sir, I didn't actually understand what is the meaning of "degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine" and "degenerative disc changes" . Can you please explain in detail? Thanks in advance!
Sir, please forgive me for my ignorance. First of all, thank you so much for the prompt response. As you suggested, he's using cervical collar and also he's sleeping straight in hard couch without pillow. Can't he sleep on a mattress without pillow?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal (54 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
He can sleep on a mattress.

Detailed Answer:
Hello.
Thanks for writing again.
Degenerative changes are age related changes in the spine causing decreased flexibility of spine thus leading to nerve root compression at the spine. This involves spondylosis and disc prolapse.
He can sleep on a firm mattress without a pillow.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Regards.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Praveen Tayal (7 minutes later)
Sir, thank you so much for the answers. Hope he recovers soon!

Sir, do you want me to close the discussion?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal (7 hours later)
Brief Answer:
You are welcome.

Detailed Answer:
Hello.
Thank you.
I am happy I could help.
Please do recommend our services to others too in case you found them helpful. For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL http://bit.ly/Dr-Praveen-Tayal
Wishing you the best in whatever you do.
You can close the discussion if there are no further queries.
Best regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Praveen Tayal

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :1994

Answered : 12173 Questions

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What causes pain in forearm radiating to chest and back?

Brief Answer: Nerve compression likely. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for posting your query. Pain in forearm radiating to the chest and back is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration. X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis. Treatment includes 1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief. 2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful. He has been prescribed pain killers only. Get oral muscle relaxants prescribed for him. 3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms. He should take at least 1500 mcg daily at bedtime. 4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist. 5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms. 6. He can avoid using a pillow. As you try these measures, I also encourage him to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if these medications are not helpful). 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 XXXX