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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes pain in left arm?

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Dr. Dariush Saghafi

Neurologist

Practicing since :1988

Answered : 1530 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: i have a pain in my left arm naerly 5 weeks now i am very stress at the moment as my father the pain comes and goes but sometimes like pins and needles and im going on holidays tonight
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Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Consider conservative treatment now

Detailed Answer:
Good morning (where I'm at in XXXXXXX OHIO). My name is Dr. Saghafi and although I would've enjoyed just a bit more information let's see if we can't get some things going for you on this problem so that your holidays may be a bit better.

First of all. You mention "pain" and then, "pins and needles." Now, do you mean to say that you have BOTH pain in the left arm as well as a feeling of PINS AND NEEDLES? Or is the pain description that of "pins and needles?" Also, when this all started 5 weeks ago was it by chance on the heels of either some accident with the arm after lifting, pushing/pulling something or perhaps you did some heavy exercises or a friendly game of rugby or soccer (it is World Cup season you know!)

Secondly, exactly how much of the left upper extremity is involved and is it in a BANDLIKE distribution or does it just cover the ENTIRE limb from top to bottom so to speak?

Finally, are you able to MOVE the limb including hand and fingers or are there limitations or weaknesses that you are feeling in addition to pain?

I would say that given the circumstances I would first want to see you apply some very conservative treatments to this limb directly over the areas which are bothering you. You're probably already familiar with using ice packs for something like this. But since it's been 5 weeks I'm going to recommend we bypass the cold packs and go right into warm packs.

You'll need to either obtain towels or heating pads but I would ask that you apply good continuous heat to the areas of interest for no less than 15-20 minutes at least twice daily.

I also feel that some degree of testing is warranted in terms of laboratory and perhaps even an electrical study of the limb known as an EMG but this last recommendation should not be tried until we see the results of the heat packs and also get results of the labs. The laboratory tests that I would recommend include the following:

1. CBC with diff. (Blood counts)
2. TSH, FT4 (thyroid tests)
3. Vit. D (Vitamin D, D2, and D3)
4. Vit. B12 (Vitamin B12)
5. Folate

With these tests we will be able to see any abnormalities that could be possibly responsible for your problem.

Best of luck to you and please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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