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Avatar universal

Nerve damage in forearm after blood test

5 weeks ago I had a blood sample taken. When the nurse inserted the needle the pain I felt down my arm was like an electric shock and I screamed at her to remove the needle, which she didn't do without probing for a vein first!

Since then I have had extreme pain when I straighten my arm, and it constantly feels like when you hit your funny bone except its all down my arm. I have tingling and twitching nerves in my thumb, fore finger and middle finger and randomly the top of my ring finger! I have been told I just have to wait and see if it heals or if its permanent but the pain is unbearable at times and when I can just about cope with it, its extremely uncomfortable. I cannot drive at the moment and I am a teacher so carrying out my job is becoming increasingly difficult. At A&E the doctor said I had median nerve neuropathy and my GP has prescribed amitriptyline, but its not doing much.

Is this likely to heal? What can I do to make it any better or bearable?
93 Responses
Avatar universal
I had the same (frightening) experience with all the symptoms; numbness, arm swelling and pain, tingling in my hand... It took around 6 weeks, but I'm happy to tell you... I'm now completely HEALED! :))) ...and you will be too, it really is just a matter of time. This is what I've been suggested by a Pharmacist doctor and did:

- been really careful not carrying any weight my my injured arm and let it rest
- took a Vitamin B complex (B6 + B12) every day for 1 months
- took an Acetyl-L-carnitine  supplement for 1 month (helped greatly!)
- took some Hypericum Perforatum 9CH (homeopathic remedy)

Since I started these medicine I started feeling better within a week but it took a whole month to start feeling normal again.

With the warmest wishes to you all. I know how scary it can be.

Avatar universal
Thank you!  I am happy to know that you rested it and it got better!  I did not know what to do.  Since you rested and got better I will stop pushing my arm to heal!  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  Please pray for my recovery! Aloha, Jacqueline
Avatar universal
I will, Jacqueline :) Im so sure you will be fine!

yes, being very gentle with your arm is super important, but the supplements for nerves recovery are important too...
Hypericum has been great for me for nerve inflammation, Nicetile (the Acetyl-L-carnitine  supplement) and Vitamin B complex are what helped the nerve re-generate.  

warm wishes
Avatar universal
Not only could she have infected you with a bacterial agent ,from your own skin but to my knowledge the sight should always be cleaned with alcohol wipe. You mentioned she did not wash her hands , nor wear gloves . She also could of infected you with any number of infections in the bloodstream , not to mention contaminating the blood culture. Dry cotton balls are applied with light pressure and or tape after the needle or I.V. is withdrawn. I am not in any medical field , but would recommend that you find the proper people to contact about this unprofessional medical group , so they are forced to follow procedure , and pray that you were not exposed to a bacterial infection in the blood stream.
1932338 tn?1349223998
I agree with your comment above.  I have recently been to two different dr. offices for blood draws.  I have small/rolling veins that are hard to find.  I had the problem of the two different nurses ripping off the fingertip of their glove to palpate for the vein before they poked the needle in.  They said they could feel the veins better with their bare finger.

It happened so fast that I couldn't stop them...but again, like you said above---they most likely rubbed their germs on the puncture site right before the puncture.  Wouldn't that poke the germs/bacteria into the hole and potentially into my bloodstream?  

As disappointing as it is, I don't feel many offices follow proper procedures.  I watched many videos on "how to do blood draws properly" and learned many techniques...such as the circlular alcohol wipe motion, the angle of the needle, etc.    From my experiences these nurses develop bad habits and do what they want.

I even tried to review some of the really important steps ahead of time, but they then get an attitude problem like you are telling them what to do.

Any ideas on how to prevent some of these issues would be helpful.
Avatar universal
I donated blood 2 months ago  my arm turned black and blue almost right away now I get a burning sensation when ever I put any pressure on the arm  like lifting something heavy or pushing something its my right arm so I use it a lot went to a vascular doctor he thinks the nerve ending was tweaked.
Avatar universal
I have had this problem since April 2006.   I am still having problems and no one knows how to help. The hospital hit my ulcer nerve and my left arm is numb all the way to my pinky ring finger and half of my middle finger.  I had surgery and it didn't help.  The doctors in Boston said I waited to long to do anything and they can't fix it.   Now I  have pain in my shoulder all the way down my arm.  the original neurologist said it would grow back in a few months. It didn't. Then he said maybe a year.  It did not get many better. Now I go to the pain clinic for shots and they also do not work.  I have been on a drug called lyrica for years now and my memory is going,     Please if anyone has any idea on how to get help. Please let me know.  
Depressed and in so much pain everyday.  
Sad blonde.
1932338 tn?1349223998
o sorry to hear about your situation.  All I can say is to try and keep a good attitude. My numbness never really went away completely but I just left it alone because I am hesitant to trust any other doctors to not make things worse.

It is disappointing to think that even the best specialists cannot fix you at some point...but that could be the reality?
Are there any natural things you can try?  Ginger reduces inflammation, massage maybe?  Acupuncture?
Just ideas.  I truly wish you the best of luck.
Avatar universal
I found this community and was shocked to see how many people have had nerves hit during blood draws; professional journal articles make it seem like it is uncommon.  I'm new here so I am not sure if I am posting this correctly.

A week ago I was going to have my bi-monthly blood work and the tech stuck my nerve  at the inner elbow area close to the inside of my arm. I immediately let out a yell and had the worse electric shock pain, burning, and numbness go down into my arm hand. My muscles hurt for 2 days (and still do) and then I started getting the bad pain and tingling in my hand, mainly related to the thumb and index finger. The forearm itself hurts as well. It hurts to extend my arm, lift the lightest of things (i.e., pillow), turn it, etc. etc,  which produces the worse pain. Today cold water hit my index finger and it felt like it was badly burning.

My doctor said it would get better, but it's getting worse. Does anyone know what to  do?

1932338 tn?1349223998
Sorry to hear about your bad experience...sounds a
lot like mine.  I wasn't happy about it because I told the nurse when she did it and she played the whole thing down (of course, so she didn't admit doing anything wrong).  She said, and then the Dr. confirmed, that the numbness usually goes away with time...3-6 months.  I did some reading and it doesn't always go away but there really wasn't any way of knowing for sure, you just have to ride it out.

Your's sounds a bit worse with the pain in lifting a pillow.  In my situation I just tried to take my mind off of it so that I wasn't always focusing on the numbness.  It is mostly gone now (about 1 1/2 years later) and really was mostly gone in 6 or so months.  

It's been a while since my research, but there is an important nerve on the inside of the arm in the location you & I had th needle for the blood draw.  Depending on the angle of the needle insertion, the depth and the exact location, there is a high chance of hitting the nerve on the medial (inside) part of the inside of the elbow.  Look online at the anatomy to better understand what happened.  I asked why they decided to take a riskier spot instead of going on the lateral side...but the nurse said she couldn't find a vein on the lateral side.

I totally believe that experience and technique has a lot to do with a bad blood draw.

Personally, I didn't want to over-react by going to specialists for tests.  I figured what was done was done and I would learn from it.  Hence, I am not going for annual blood draws anymore...only when I feel I really need to go.

Good luck and keep us posted as these conversations help everyone.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for responding. I am sorry to hear about your experience.

I am not sure why the tech went for the risky site because I had other veins that were easily accessible. I too believe it has to do with level of skill and knowledge.

I have e feeling he hit it twice by bouncing the needle off of the skin as I had two injection sites in same location with one needle.

Thanks again for your support.

Avatar universal
The same person has drawn my blood every three months for nearly 10 years now. He ALWAYS hit the vein on the first try, nor has it ever been painful - until this last time.  An immediate electric shock, followed three days later by numbness, burning, pain, tingling in my forearm. A week later, it's still awful.  In addition to working in my doctor's lab, this man is also a nursing instructer at the local college, specializing in phebotomy. Before he found this person, my MD fired at least half a dozen phlebotomists for not being gentle enough with the patients. So, do not be so quick to fault the person drawing the blood. Sometimes it's just bad luck.
Avatar universal
The same person has drawn my blood every three months for nearly 10 years now. He ALWAYS hit the vein on the first try, nor has it ever been painful - until this last time.  An immediate electric shock, followed three days later by numbness, burning, pain, tingling in my forearm. A week later, it's still awful.  In addition to working in my doctor's lab, this man is also a nursing instructer at the local college, specializing in phebotomy. Before he found this person, my MD fired at least half a dozen phlebotomists for not being gentle enough with the patients. So, do not be so quick to fault the person drawing the blood. Sometimes it's just bad luck. I will also add that I have very tiny veins. Four tries to get an IV started is about average for hospital personnel.
Avatar universal
I am suffering with the same pain since last one week and would like to know if anyone of you have been able to recover from this pain and if yes how much time it took to recover. Also let me know the steps you took to get it resolved. This is so painful!!!!
1932338 tn?1349223998
Mine subsided in about 6 months...although it was NOT unbearable from the beginning, just hurt some and was annoying.
I did nothing, just tried to take my mind off of it as I found when I dwelled on the pain and that anger for the lady who hit my nerve, it was worse.

Sometimes we have to just let our bodies heal themselves, but I don't know the level of  pain you are in.
Wish you the best.  
Avatar universal
Wow. So many people with the same symptoms. Crazy.
I had a blood test in February and it is still (July) not healed. Actually it is worse. She stuck the needle in and a sharp electric-like surge went down my arm from elbow to tips of fingers. My hand inadvertently jerked and she said "oops...hahaha" I didn't find it the least bit funny. For the next few weeks I lived with constant tingling and when I turned my wrist just right it would hurt like crazy. I was dropping stuff left and right. No lately it is mostly numb and tingly, I cannot lift anything over a few pounds or it hurts like mad, I cannot straighten my arm because of the pain in my elbow. Sleeping is difficult to find a comfortable spot. The feeling is like my arm is constantly asleep. Thumb, pointer and middle fingers all feel swollen all the time. My doctor wants me to ride it out for at least a year... from what I'm reading here, the symptoms should slowly decline, but mine are increasing. I definitely do NOT want to get to the point where it's "too late".
Avatar universal
It's good to know this pain could go away in a few weeks. Saturday morning I took a fasting blood test, and the second the needle was inserted, I had that burning, shooting pain down my arm to the tip of my thumb. Today is Monday, and my arm is still sore, and every time I straighten it, that same jolt of pain happens. It's exactly like an electric shock. A nurse from urgent care came into the lab right after it happened to assess it, and she said use ice for 20 minutes a few times a day and Tylenol. I have never had a problem during a blood draw before, and since I am moving this week, the timing couldn't be worse. There is no bruising, the draw was otherwise clean, but this shooting pain upon straightening my arm is very frustrating and scary.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem as the one described by everybody. The only difference is that the pain I experienced when the niddle was introduced in the arm, was lower than the one described above. But it was still much painfull than usual. I've been to the doctor and he recommended some pills(two kind) for 10 days. They are for the nervous system and they contain some B vitamin complex, among others. Today is the first day I take them. I strongly recommend you go to the doctor as soon as you experience this problem. Even from the first/second day. I really wish you guys get better and healthy again. I know it's very frustrating to have this problem.
Avatar universal
I have had problems since my blood draw on 6/30/14. At first my hand hurt like all heck when the draw was being taken and after that it radiated up my whole arm so bad that I couldn't even move my are. I ended up in  the ER, doctor though maybe my rotator cuff he referred me to and Ortho doc and he said pretty obvious it happen when they took your blood. Ended up in physical therapy for two months and I still have problems with pain between my index finger and second finger below the knuckle and it even gets swollen if I rub it or use that hand to much as in lifting groceries. Has anyone had any issues in their hands from a blood draw?
10389859 tn?1409925468
Have you had any testing done (e.g. EMG, Nerve Conduction, Ultrasound, labs, X-ray, etc.).  You could have a number of things going on, but I'm curious what did the Ortho MD give you as a diagnosis?  What did PT do for you?

Did any one check your labs for any Rheumatoid studies?  Were any of the above tests done by a Neurologist?

Does the pain stay in that one hand or radiate (spread) anywhere?  Do you have it in your other hand?
Avatar universal
Thanks for commenting Foggy2. The Ortho doctor said it's obviously the injury was done with the blood draw. I, but told me no need to have an MRI as the end result would be PT. I have had probably 14-16PT visits too. They figure the outer sheath of my tendon, or my ligaments or my nerve in my hand were hit. I have had no other tests other then x-rays on my shoulder, which is fine. I have no other issues other then my left hand in which the blood draws were done. My dominant hand is fine, no issues of arthritis type pain or anything, now or ever. This was a special blood test as it was for leukemia, however, to date, I don't have leukemia, but am being watched so I have to go in for more test soon, which I am a tad leery of. I am hesitant about going to a hand specialist as bills are piling up and I had hope the hospital would cover my expenses, but that is still pending. I do not have an attorney, and I just want my out of pocket expenses covered and hope time will fix this. My hand is slowly getting better, but I really irritated it this weekend pushing the lawnmower unfortunately. It's now a strength and grip issue that bothers it the most. I have no family members with RA and don't believe I have much arthritis in my body now at the age of 51. I have had knee surgery 30 years ago and it very rarely bothers me and the doctor said expect 20 years out to get arthritis, so I think it's save to say this is a botched blood draw, and it hurt like hell and the blood tech refused to remove the needle, said he was almost done. Worst part is, he only check my right arm, didn't even check my left arm and just went right for the left hand. Not sure what I should do if I should tell the hospital I want to pursue a specialist and get the MRI or what, this is getting expensive as I have a high deductible.
10389859 tn?1409925468
You can contact the lab facility that botched up the lab draw and explain what happened; often times they will pick up the cost of the lab draw (and sometime fire or reprimand if enough complaints the lab tech.). They most likely will not pay for PT though, but you can try if you climb the political ladder.
Avatar universal
After 10 days of treatment(pills), my hand condition is much better(70-80%) of what originally was. I went again to the neurologist and she gave me another 10 days of treatment, some other pills. I can say that I'm feeling better and I really hope that the problem will disappear completely. The pain I had was smaller that the majority of you describe here, but still the symptoms were the same, at a smaller scale. I really wish you guys health and hope you recover.
10389859 tn?1409925468
Thank you...and you feel better too. :-)
Avatar universal
This is almost a mirror image of my situation. I had blood drawn one week ago today. When the needle was inserted it felt like she had hit the bone. I said ow ah. I looked down and there was no blood coming out into the tube. She immediately pulled the needle back and blood started flowing. Before I could leave my arm was in excruciating pain stabbing, burning, pinching and pulling like a rubber band being stretched to the breaking point. Ever since then I've continued to have the burning, stinging and stabbing pains when I hang my arm down to my side, turn my wrest, or move my fingers I have these sinsationsmultiple times a day when I just hang my arm down
Avatar universal
Wow, so what happened to me was, I was donating Plasma, when they lady first stuck the needle, I felt intense pain on my forearm area. She said it was cause it my first using my right arm. I thought it would go way.  Half way thru the process she stopped it. I come home let my arm rest. The next day I feel this tugging(with pain) on my vien everytime I make sudden movements.. I can easily move my arm, but I can not exert any physical activity.. I can't even open a car door for **** sake. If it doesn't heal in a year I'm doomed..
Avatar universal
Jase, and all others, the pain won't get heal by itself. At least not in normal time interval. So, just go to the doctor(neurologist), explain what happened and he/she will make some simple tests(pull the arm, the fingers, etc) and probably give you some pills(for the nervous system). Believe me, it's the wise decision to do this.
Avatar universal
A few weeks ago I had blood taken at the hosp and I got what felt like an electric shock in my arm it made me jump and shout and I almost punched the nurse as my arm flew up in the air. She apologized and said she must have hit a nerve. Ever since my arm has been tingling and Ive have had two more bloods taken and I get a strange feeling in my arm. Its like Ive knocked my funny bone? This morning I was at the Drs and had some blood taken and as the nurse took the needle out I got the funny feeling again? It hurt a bit and I swore which I dont normally do!!
Avatar universal
A few weeks ago I had blood taken at the hosp and I got what felt like an electric shock in my arm it made me jump and shout and I almost punched the nurse as my arm flew up in the air. She apologized and said she must have hit a nerve. Ever since my arm has been tingling and Ive have had two more bloods taken and I get a strange feeling in my arm. Its like Ive knocked my funny bone? This morning I was at the Drs and had some blood taken and as the nurse took the needle out I got the funny feeling again? It hurt a bit and I swore which I dont normally do!!
Avatar universal
I had a blood test a week ago. Normally they are fine. The nurse pricked me in my left arm opposite elbow.

As soon as the nurse pricked me I felt a sharp pain down my arm to my thumb. The pain was incredibly sharp. I screamed in pain.

I went home and didn't think to much more of it. My arm started to get sore on Saturday night. It now hurts more then ever (getting worse)

I can't straighten my left arm and when I twist it certain ways it hurts.  The pain is about an 8.5 out of 10. It feels like I am pulling something in my arm.

I went to the Dr and got told it was my tendon and it should heal in 2 days.  I didn't. It's been a week and it's so sore. I went back to the Dr yesterday and was told my tendon would be infected amd gave me antibiotics. I then went to another Dr and got a second opinion and he told me it was my nerve.

I don't know who to believe.  Does anyone know and how did your injury heal?

I have heard it is is my tendon then an ultrasound or ct scan will help?

Please help.
Avatar universal
I donated blood and as soon as the needle was inserted they all panicked and ripped the needle out and started apologizing saying sorry but we hit an artery the bag was full immediately..... they had ice on it right away to deaden it and stop the bleeding I now have severe pain from my shoulder all the way down my arm and my fingers are numb what was explained to me the artery they hit is right next to a nerve that is causing the pain and numbness in the fingers and until the artery heals the pain won't go away...I will never donate blood again this has been a really bad experience
Avatar universal
While donating blood, the phlebotemist hit my radial or median nerve. I had limited use of my arm for about 5-6 weeks. Now I feel I'm about 90% healed. It keeps getting better every day. To be honest, after reading many of these comments, I was afraid it would never heal. So grateful it is.
Avatar universal
Most of these posts seem to have the pain at the beginning of the draw, mine was at the end. I just had a routine blood draw on Friday and after she was done taking all the tubes she needed, I felt an electric shock run down my forearm into my thumb and index finger....I screamed and she told me not to move! I told her what I felt and she removed the needle and asked if I needed some water and to calm down. I told her I never experienced anything like that in 30 years of blood draws and donations. She just blew it off and asked if I wanted more water. Its been 7 days and the tingling has not gone away and is pretty consistent. I am calling to make a doctor apt today. I hate this feeling. Any words of wisdom?
Avatar universal
Mine was toward the end. There was a sharp, painful, twitching in my left wrist like the needle was inserted there when he put it in my arm. I told him about it, that it was weird. He stopped. Then he did it again. I don't know why I didn't stop it. I guess part of me felt like he knew what he was doing, and that he seemed like a nice guy (not trying to hurt me). And, truthfully, I didn't know this could happen. I've always had "difficult" veins, but I've never had this happen.
Avatar universal
Hi I had the same think over a week ago
After 2 times in walk in clinic they send to ER where after a ultrasound they give me the diagnosis of NEUROPRAXIA
HOPE my symptoms will go away but can take 6-8 weeks
6897718 tn?1386149096
Same thing happened to me a couple years ago during a blood donation. I had electric/burning sensations down my forearm for about a month before it started to subside, but it completely healed eventually. I guess how long it takes just depends on the extent of the nerve damage. Thankfully, in most cases, it seems needles just nick or graze the nerve, and don't cause permanent damage.
Avatar universal
i had blood drawn the other day and i had a sharp electric pain down to mt wrist and thumb. every time i move i fel like i am getting shocked i hate it can barely stand the pain my shoulder hurts all the way to my hand. i broke out in a rash today. on the forearm what can i do to stop this pain i already have tendanitis in both arms and hands and this pain is making things worse.   help!
Avatar universal
  I was also injured in a normal blood draw two weeks ago. Initial pain down to my hand, I had no idea how long this would last.
In two weeks there is basically no change. Substantial pain from my shoulder to my index finger. Normal resting of arm at side causes pain and any extension of the arm is painful. Pain is shooting, intense, worse in forearm. Hard to believe one missed stick can cause all this.
   The doctor I saw last week says I must wait 6 weeks before a neurologist will see me. I have also been told, that this may be a permanent injury.
  Glad to see, that some say this will go away. thank you
Avatar universal
This happened to me too. I screamed and the nurse asked if I was ok. I told her I felt a shock in my wrist. This has never happened to me before. These posts make me want to go to the hospital and kick her ***.  My arm hurts every time I try to pick something up. It's not an awful pain but it sure is uncomfortable. I hope this isn't permanent. If it is I will definitely sue.
Avatar universal
Hey Nichelle and everyone else,

Glad to find this site, since we're all in the same boat, from what I'm reading, with similar symptoms following the unprofessional drawing of blood.    

This is, in my case, an offshoot of Obamacare, that has forced many people to lose their own doctors and thus go to lesser practices with minimally experienced people taking blood.  

I have the same symptoms 2 months later after a bad June 2015 blood draw to the side of my vein during a routine physical....and they're not going way.

These include:  Severe pain, arm feels heavy to lift and extend, it is uncomfortable to fold my arm, there's the continued sensation of stinging and pinching on the vein/needle insertion point and that something is still stuck on the vein, numbness of fingers, reshaping of points of my side vein, and interference with sleep.  There was an initial hematoma, with the formation of black and blue marks, and unexplained fever.  

The reaction by LIJ/Great Neck NY (where the blood draw occurred): If I have circulation of blood, what's the big deal?      

There was no monitoring by a doctor of the technician - not even a nurse - who did the substandard blood draw, and no plans to help me with any cure.   When I asked the doctor why he would not do the blood test himself, he replied, "I'm not Dr. Welby!"

What specialist does one go to for the resulting nerve damage, and is there a therapy to repair the condition everyone on this site is sharing?   What type of xray or scan shows this nerve and/or vein damage--since a sonogram apparently does not?    Do we have to deal with the underworld of personal injury lawyers for help on this?     If so, are there any honest ones in Queens/Long Island NY?

Thank you,
Avatar universal
Can anybody tell how long did it take for the tingling to go away? I went through exactly similar situation and every time I stretch or rotate my arm I feel the shock and tingling and pain..
Avatar universal
The same thing happened to me 2 weeks ago and when I screamed the nurse just said, ohh it's ok, we just never know where the nerve endings are and just stroked my arm. She didn't even take the needle out when I told her how much pain I was in. I had a huge bruise for a whole week and now everytime I stretch my arm I have a tingling sensation inside my palm and it wakes me up at least 2-3 times during my sleep, because it goes numb when i lie on it. I went back to my GP and he referred me to a hand surgeon but god knows how long it'll be before I am given an appointment. It's my dominant arm so I am really scared that it will be permanent, because there's no improvement so far. How long does it take for it to heal? Has anyone's arm completely healed? :(
Avatar universal
Horrible situation, I think you should establish a legal action, since it's clear negligence  of the person who did the procedure.  She should stop and try again on the other arm, or you could just step away.  That injury is something serious that might affect you for life.  Take an action because is the only way  we can protect ourselves from any kind of negligences.
Avatar universal
Wow , its not just me then, this happened to me on Friday,I have prominant veins and have never had any problems before, i just dont like to watch. As the needle went in the pain was that intense that i jumped and pushed the nurses hand away, as the needle came out,it scratched my arm and blood came  pumping out, i asked what the hell did you do? and she replied, i dont know why you reacted like that cause i found the vien no problem! no way that felt very wrong, ive never felt antthing like it. she cleaned me up, took the blood from the other arm and i thought that was it but by sunday im no longer Able to fully extend my arm as i get a shooting pain down my arm, which then causes spitful pins and needles in my hands and fingers. Also typing is difficault and causes the same sensation in my elbow, wrist,knuckles and fingers and gets very painful the longer i type, will be seeing Dr Friday!
Avatar universal
Same thing happened to me.  Its been a week to the day and the pain is worse than before.  Mostly blow my thumb, base of wrist, and draw site.  Getting dark thoughts if this doesn't heal and is permanant.  
did it heal?
Avatar universal
The same thing happened to me recently while in hospital on holiday in cornwall and now i have severe pain in my arm radiating both up and down the arm and into my neck. I cant straighten my arm and or turn it. Do i need to seek medical attention or will this just get better on its own? It seems to be spreading by the day can it be dangerous?
Avatar universal
On my way to recovery from nerve injury/damage after getting my blood drawn over 2 months ago and I want to share my experience for those who need some help like I did. I’m in no way a physician and please don’t just take my word for it— do your own research and see a doctor if you feel you need to.
Two months ago I needed to get my blood drawn and this young, rude girl at my local Quest Diagnostics took my blood and it felt abnormally painful. I rarely get my blood drawn so I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it but looking back now, it was very painful. It felt as though the needle was a light pole going in my arm and then when she was drawing the blood, I felt this insane pressure as though she was vacuuming all my blood out. I couldn’t wait for her to finish as I started feeling light-headed and dizzy. She finished and I just left and felt normal. (I now have learned that blood draws should have NO pain— only a tiny needle prick and if there is pain, we are supposed to immediately tell the Phlebotomist to STOP and remove the needle and switch arms.) I went home and had NO bleeding, NO bruising, NO swelling, NO redness or pain. I woke up the next morning and felt a very very tender pain behind my elbow when I went to put my elbows up on a table. I was surprised it was so tender but my family told me the Phlebotomist probably just tied my arm too tight. So a week goes by without any pain or problems and I then noticed a VERY minor ache in my arm around the injection site. Just felt as though I slept on my arm wrong and cut off circulation so I would just shake it off, massage my arm and go about my day. This was an and off for the next 4-5 weeks before I came to conclusion that this weird ache in my arm began after the blood draw. It very slowly became more prominent and my arm just felt fatigued— as though I just lifted heavy furniture for an hour. I also look back and remember even feeling fatigue in my right leg, which is crazy. And I also had 2 bouts of strong dizziness— I later found out that those symptoms are also related to nerve injuries/damage.
Then one day, after a hard days’ work (very strenuous), I instantly felt my forearm tighten in a very weird way and felt heat up and down my arm into my fingers. I felt alarmed and started massaging my arm and applied ice (which is a NO-NO!). Woke up the next morning with EXTREME arm pain and could barely move it. I was beside myself with pain and discomfort, couldn’t find relief, couldn’t lay my arm down on anything either because it was on FIRE and extremely TENDER to the touch. That week I just stopped working (I’m a self-employed Artist) and laid in bed very confused but just knew it was related to the blood draw and thought i should rest my arm and apply ice and see how I feel. I basically TORTURED myself for that whole week by applying ice to my nerve damaged arm when I later found out this is a huge NO NO. I keep saying this because the pain I caused myself was INSANE! I cried ALL day in pain and slept horribly. When researching nerve damage, I read that the damaged area should NOT be exposed to extreme temperature changes. I also had gone in my jacuzzi that week! Eek! And took very hot baths. Once I stopped all this ice and heat nonsense, the pain level subsided by a large degree but my arm was still of course healing and still felt tender, painful and my Index finger and thumb was swollen as well. I felt barely any grip strength and could barely put my hand in a fist. When studying nerve damage in the arm, I read that the MEDIAN nerve is what connects to those fingers so I knew which nerve was injured. I also studied that the MEDIAN nerve travels thru the carpeltunnel and when inflamed, causes a compression which causes the pain in my hand and wrist.
After learning this, I then found out that the arm should be SO IMMOBILIZED that it should be in a sling all through the day. The damaged arm should be free from ALL tension!! When I say immobile, I mean 100%. I didn’t even brush my teeth or put up my arm or even wipe myself in the bathroom with that arm, which is my DOMINANT arm. I started acting as though I had ONE ARM and rested all day. This has been extreme for me because I’m an Artist and work with heavy materials like solid wood and sheet metal which I hand cut. SO I haven’t been able to work or make money while I heal because this is serious and needs to heal. I chose not to see a doctor or Specialist just because I felt I did extreme research and felt very confident that I found what was wrong with me but also paid attention to my body. If I didn’t improve after the resting and immobilization after a few weeks, I was going to see a doctor.
Now, thank God, after 2 weeks of complete resting and immobilization, I feel a HUGEEEE improvement. My arm is almost feeling normal now but still resting it and now doing anything strenuous and won’t until every last ache is gone. I read that your not supposed to even open bottles or grip anything tight while it’s healing. I also must say that I took anti-inflammatories throughout the day, every day. I took either Ibuprofen or Advil (Naproxen). I even took lukewarm showers everyday and washed my hair and body with ONE arm. I drove my car with ONE arm. Everything with ONE ARM, lol. I also changed my sleeping position, which was very uncomfortable, and slept only on my back or left side and would prop my arm up on a pillow. Its best to keep your arm in an L-position as much as you can. I did take a few minutes each day to gently stretch my fingers and arm so it wouldn’t stiffen.
I’ve put together that all-in-all, my nerve was pricked at the blood draw, and because I work very strenusouly, this MINOR injury never healed and I even re-injured the nerve causing more damage, which could, if not taken care of, lead to more serious problems. Again, I’m NOT a doctor but just wanted to share my experiece because it was scary. Study about nerve damage and pay close attention to your body and symptoms. I never had any symptoms of infection or a blood clot or internal bleeding so I felt more confident that I could try and heal myself. I had also read a lot that if you do just have 1st and 2nd degree nerve damage (look up), doctors can’t really offer anything and just mostly tell you to rest and immobilize the arm while taking anti-inflammatories. Hope this helps.
Did your arm completely heal?
Avatar universal
Same exact thing for me. June 9,2016, I gave blood at work sponsored blood drive. Tech probed my arm with needle until...BANG!! I came out of chair. Instantly drenched in sweat and thought I was going to vomit.
Today is August 19th, and tingling, electric pains still radiate from my armpit down to my finger tips. Can't drive for any length of time. Can't grip toothbrush without 30 minutes of pain following. Basically any time I employ a muscle in my arm, I have extreme "funny bone" type pain. I have been to two doctors and one hand specialist. Was told to ice it, then to heat it. To baby it. To not baby it. One told me to lift weights!?? I have another nerve specialist appointment on September 13th. Almost another month!! Unable to work- my job is at desk on a computer for 10hrs a day. 30 minutes of typing/mouse use causes my arm to ache, tingle and fall asleep. No one seems to be able to help. I also feel like no one believes me. Getting depressed and scared.
Oh, and of course it's my right arm..and I'm right handed! I almost wish I could just get my arm removed. I am not sure what to do. Anything you can pass on to me that may help would be appreciated. Good luck.
Same here but I'm at the beginning, I had to have a canular put in when having a crush scan on the 31st Aug 16. He hit a nerve and boy yep my body jumped off the bed the pain was extreme and shot down the length of my left arm and fingers, with a tingling sensation. It was ok after until today as I'm now having the pain and pins and needles intermittent down my arm. Should I seek advice or will this heal ??
Avatar universal
Surprised and its heartbreaking that you all has to suffer this in life. My husband started the same pain 3.5 months ago from Lapcorp blook draw. He cannot function his day to day activity/ no exercise/no sports which he loves. The most sad part is this inactive life style has impacted his tyroid and chorestrol level, he gained wait which he cannot effort because he has plantar fasciitis too. We are so upset and depressed because this happends to us.  After visiting all different doctors like physician, arm specialist, Neauroligist for EMG test . no one can really helps . They all are saying the same thing it will take time. EMG test shows no nerve damage but when how come he is still in pain and cannot live his normal life. We are still in the discovery phase as to what went wrong and what we have to do to cure his forearm pain. He have now appt next week with chronic pain doctor.
Avatar universal
I have a question I had a blood test on Friday. My doctor must have hit a vein. I went to intense excercise after. I have a huge red spot like a black and blue that is spreading. It is getting worse. I called my doctor he said to put ice on it. I have been doing that.  When I bend my arm or leave it straight i have pain then feels numb. Is this normal?
So sorry for everyone :(
I had a blood draw two days ago and the same thing happened to me. Instant shock like pain when she inserted the needle. I jumped yelled and said hey whats going on!  She moved the needle and it did it again, worse!
She said she could tell something was wrong because the blood was comming out intermittently and she said she must barely be in the vein.. I thought maybe its becase the tourniquet around my arm is so tight??? She never took it off.
My arm swelled up to the side of where the stick was like a small hematoma and there is still tenderness and pain. I too have tingling and numbness from the draw site down into my thumb and forefinger. I have a shocking sensation and pain with itching and burning sensations when I move my arm hand/wrist.
Fortunately It was my left arm this time.
It happened once before to my right arm and it was paralyzed for about three months before feeling started coming back and I was gradually able to use it again. It took about a year for full recovery.
Hoping it doesnt take as long this time!!!!
Good luck everyone.

I am also sorry for everyone. Same thing happened to me 4 months ago. A small hematoma with tingling and numbness. It was getting better I thought, until 3 days ago the shooting pains and numbness returned after a more active day.  I wanted to ask how are you doing? Have you healed yet? I guess I am hoping for some positive reinforcement so I don't lose my mind.
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