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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes pain in the left arm?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 2919 Questions

Posted on Thu, 6 Jul 2017 in General Health
Question: My 85 year old mother says that she has been experiencing left arm pain for several weeks. When she first wakes up, it's so bad that she can't use it to assist herself to get up & out of bed. It gets better after using it some. It worsens after a period of inactivity. She's usually very engaged in home activities, cooking, cleaning, etc. Some additional background: She had spurs in the other shoulder a few years ago; she has 2 disintegrated vertebrae in the back of her neck.
The pain in her left arm & now the left hand are much worse than she experienced with the other arm, when spurs were the issue. No history of heart disease in her family.
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Cervical Radiculopathy

Detailed Answer:
Hello and Welcome

I appreciate your concern

An EKG should be done to rule out a cardiac cause even with no family history.

Based on your description, cervical radiculopathy is the most likely cause in which the nerve roots near the cervical vertebrae is compressed upon leading to pain and in severe cases loss of sensations in the distribution of the nerve.

Nerve conduction studies can be done and acute phase treatment should be initiated with cervical collar immobilization, NSAIDs, Pregabalin, physiotherapy and muscle relaxants.

In severe cases, oral/ injectable corticosteroids and/or epidural steroids can be advised to minimize the pain associated with the radiculopathy. Surgery is reserved for decompression where its deemed necessary to relieve compression.
These are the options which can be tailored according to the clinical assessment and will of the patient to undergo the procedure.

Comorbid conditions like osteoporosis should also be addressed. DEXA scan, vitamin D, calcium levels should be obtained in consult with your doctor.

Wishing you best of health


Let me know if you have any query

Please consult your doctor before deciding on any further course of action.

For future follow up / correspondence you may ask me directly at the link given below

Dr. M.S. Khalil
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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