For the past few months I have been experiencing pains in my left arm. It's really random when the pain comes, sometimes a few times a day, sometimes days apart. It's a radiating pain from my left arm pit down to my hand, I have sometimes felt it in my little finger. It only usually last 20 seconds or so but it's very sharp. I have also been experiencing pain around my left shoulder blade and left chest. Again quite sporadic when it happens, sometimes when Im not doing anything and sometimes under exertion. What could this be? Should I see my doctor?
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.
One condition that may explain your symptoms is called a radiculopathy. The basis of this condition is that 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. 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. Additional testing may include an EMG/NCS to evaluate the extent of damage to the muscle and nerve and also to aid in localization.
You should have this evaluated by your primary care physician. He/she may order additional testing or refer you to a specialist.
Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.
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