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What causes upper arm pain radiating into the chest and upper back?

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Posted on Thu, 3 Aug 2017
Question: I have severe pain spasms in left and right upper arms radiating into the chest and upper back. Starts usually at night in resting position and lasts about 10 minutes upon getting up and walking around. Also, CS and LS back problems MRI dx, I have copies of tests. EMG appt pending JUly 25/26. Went to ER twice, chest dx as Dyastolic dysfunction, normal at my age; Now moderate to severe pain is radiating from lower back down legs and left foot. The pain in my upper body has not been dx, and I am concerned no one will find a reason, even tho it's excrutiating. I am tired of tests and no remedy. Not taking any pain meds, can't abide Meloxicam and Tylenol and Naproxen don't help
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Answered by Dr. Ornela Ademovi (8 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Pain from arthritis

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

I understand your concern. It can be very frustrating when the way you feel does not match the test findings. Based on the details you have provided, as well as the imagery test reports, in my opinion, the pain caused by the arthritis in the neck and back is amplified in an abnormal way, which matches the assumption of Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition where the pain signals coming from the body to the brain are interpreted in an exaggerated way by the brain, causing constant and sometimes, over the top pain. This is usually a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that it is the only reasonable explanation after all other possible causes have been ruled out.

The treatment for this condition is with antidepressants, not pain killers, and sometimes anti seizure medication. So I suggest you do give this treatment a try and see if it works for you. I am confident it will.

I hope this helps. If you have further questions I would be happy to answer them.

Wishing you good health and all the best.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Follow up: Dr. Ornela Ademovi (13 hours later)
Thank you.
What's your recommendation then about the EMG that's scheduled on 2 successive days for arms and legs. Considering the following, might there be a more effective test or specialist?
Physician did that because he thinks my hand grip is very week, also have numbness in especially left arm and leg. Also, lately severe headaches and pain (more than sore) on the left side in my throat.
Thank you
doctor
Answered by Dr. Ornela Ademovi (13 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Necessary diagnostic step

Detailed Answer:
As you may know, EMG measures muscle reaction or electrical activity in responce to a nerve stimulation of the muscle. This test is used to detect nerve and muscle abnormalities. It is not used to diagnose Fibromyalgia, but rather to rule out other possibilities, before ruling in favor of Fibromyalgia.

The latter is diagnosed using the pain point test or scale. If you score positive to 11 out of 18 points, then you can safely diagnose Fibromyalgia.
The hand grip weakness and numbness are not typical symptoms for Fibromyalgia, and it doesn't fully explain the severe headaches and pain in the throat, so I think EMGs test is a necessary step towards the correct diagnosis.

I hope this helps. If you have further questions feel free to ask.
Wishing you good health and all the best.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Remy Koshy
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Answered by
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Dr. Ornela Ademovi

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 738 Questions

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What causes upper arm pain radiating into the chest and upper back?

Brief Answer: Pain from arthritis Detailed Answer: Hello, I understand your concern. It can be very frustrating when the way you feel does not match the test findings. Based on the details you have provided, as well as the imagery test reports, in my opinion, the pain caused by the arthritis in the neck and back is amplified in an abnormal way, which matches the assumption of Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition where the pain signals coming from the body to the brain are interpreted in an exaggerated way by the brain, causing constant and sometimes, over the top pain. This is usually a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that it is the only reasonable explanation after all other possible causes have been ruled out. The treatment for this condition is with antidepressants, not pain killers, and sometimes anti seizure medication. So I suggest you do give this treatment a try and see if it works for you. I am confident it will. I hope this helps. If you have further questions I would be happy to answer them. Wishing you good health and all the best.