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Left arm pain/tingling
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Left arm pain/tingling

When I get comfortable to fall asleep, I start feeling pain in my left arm..From should to hand.  I either hold my arm out straight or hold my arm straight up in the air in order to elevate the pain.  Sometimes this works, others times I just lay there until the pain subsides. I sleep on my left side.  Now, not only am I getting pain in the left arm, I am now starting to get a tingling sensation in my left arm down to my fingertips, which happens mostly during the day.  There are some changes, I have been excercising and walking within the last month.  We have just recently added weights, but the pain and tingling sensation started before the weights. My diet has changed to grains, vegetables, fruits, lots of water and very litte meat.  My last physical was August 2010, which is taken every year and my age is 55.  I do have a slight murmur (which my youngest son has also), my doctor doesn't feel that it's anything to be that concerned about and she did have me go to a specialist to have tests done.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

There can be several possibilities, one being a radiculopathy, which I will talk about here. The spinal cord is encased by bones called vertebra. Nerves start to form as they come off the spinal cord and exit through holes formed between the vertebra. If a nerve is compressed on as it exits through these holes, particularly in an area called the nerve root, a radiculopathy results. The compression could be due to arthritis of the spine or due to a herniated disc or other lesions. The symptoms include pain at the level of the problem (i.e. neck or back etc) and pain that may radiate down the arm or leg (depending on where the problem is). In more advanced cases, muscle weakness or sensory symptoms such as tingling or numbness may occur. A radiculopathy is often diagnosed based on history, physical examination, and MRI of the spine.

Have you had an EMG/NCS performed to assess the nerves? Have you been evaluated by a neurologist?

I would highly recommend that you discuss with your primary physician your symptoms further. You may benefit to have a referral to a neurologist.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr.,
I have similar symptoms of arm pain and tingling as caleerose but with the following differences:

* 40yrs old, '5-"10, 170lbs, daily exercise (intense cardio three times a week):  rugby player for 15yrs (no concussions but a pretty serious sprained neck about 12yrs ago), college football, multiple marathons and road races, multiple triathlons, etc... oh and rt shoulder - lft knee surgury

* over the course of my life i would say that about three to four times each week my sleeping position (on stomach) would cause an arms and/or hands to fall totally asleep, accompanied by typical "pins and needles" but never a real problem until the past two months when pins and needles became real intense numbness/pain/tingling (npt)

* npt in both arms at night - regardless of the side I sleep on. at night npt is most pronounced between the ring and middle finger on both arms.

* no npt when sleeping prone and arms relaxed comfortably on my sides.

* Since my mid twenties i have, quarterly, a numbness and tingling feeling on either side of my head. it goes away in about 20 seconds or so....

* npt thumb-side of palm when I "torque" wrist to pick up dishes from sink.  for instance, if there were three coffee cups full of water and i reach down to pick them up by inserting my thumb, index, and middle finger into respective cups, pinch them together, pick up, and turn wrist to empty water. occasionally this "action" simultaneously accompanied by a nerve twitch or "snapping sensation" as if the nerve is being flicked by a muscle. this happens in the palm and on the underside of my forearm. the sensation the usually shoots up and down my arms.

* npt and the same snapping sensation when picking up heavy objects. this happens on the underside of my upper arm - between my biceps and triceps. the snapping sensation is quit pronounced when this happens.  

* npt when arms are extended or bent when using laptop for any extended period of time

* over the past four months i did most of the heavy lifting to move my family (couches, boxes, tv's, etc...) and about two months ago i slipped down some stairs hurting my lower back, which sidelined me for a few days. I also moved an entire pallet of 2x4's (groups of four boards at a time) and mixed - poured - set - my 150 ft concrete driveway.

reading over what i have just written, i can plainly see that i may have AT LEAST a herniated disk or serious disk compression.  

Are there any other concerns that i should have?
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