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Avatar universal

Pain under left arm, radiating to left nipple.

I'm a 44 year old male, in relatively good shape. Since I began this odyssey of trying to find out what's wrong with me, I've had more tests than I thought imaginable. I woke up near the end of August with a slight pain under my left underarm. I also had symptoms of a slight cold. Sneezing, slight fever, coughing and so on. My wife and daughter were also experiencing the same symptoms, less the pain under the arm. I went with my wife and got checked, he said I had a cold, checked my lymph's and found NOTHING wrong. I went on vacation and swam in the ocean and pool every day and the pains subsided. When I returned home the pain returned with a new symptom. I had a burning sensation that ran from my left underarm to my left nipple. It felt like the area just under my skin was in flames. My nipple showed no sign of discharge or dimpling or discoloration or inversion, it was sensitive to the touch though. I felt and still feel what seems to be a slight thickening of the muscle surrounding the nipple, but no lumps or anything out of the ordinary. At times the pain or an indescribable feeling would run down my left arm, at times to my hand or fingers. It felt weak and tingled, not necessarily a pain. Thinking it was weakness, I lifted some heavy weights and found I had lost no strength. The pain began to radiate to my left flank now, under my rib cage, where my spleen is. I called my doctor explained I had a pain in my chest, they made me go to the ER for possible heart problems. I had every test I can think of. Sonogram, cat scan, X Ray, halter monitor, EKG, Echo Cardiogram, blood work, everything came back in the normal ranges. I did not specifically have my lymph's tested but I would imagine that a cat scan, sonogram or X Ray would have picked up on a swollen lymph. My stomach, liver, spleen and pancreas were checked and re checked as was my blood, for typical blood work, all coming back within normal ranges. I haven't lost any weight that I wasn't trying to lose. I have my appetite, my stool and urine are fine. They did however find several large kidney stones in my left kidney and a large cyst, nothing to worry about I was told.  On my right kidney they found a benign tumor that if it grows will have to be removed or my kidney will have to be removed depending on how big it is and how embedded it is in the tissue, but again I went to a specialist and was told it should have nothing to do with what I am describing. At times the pain runs down my left groin to my left leg. The sensation is indescribable. The only way I can explain it is if I said it feels like bugs running under my skin. It causes a weak sensation in my leg as well but when I exercise I have no problems. I haven't lost my strength or stamina. No medications work, OTC does nothing but cause stomach pains after taking them for so long. Stronger med's such as Vicodin, Perkoset or Dilaudid do nothing at all. These medications were prescribed to me when I had a knee surgery on my right knee several months earlier. I hadn't used many of them but kept them in my cabinet. My only thought is that I went from being in the gym lifting weights 4 to 5 days a week to becoming inactive due to my knee injury for several months. In that time I was mostly home bound and spent many hours in front of the computer. I can't ever recall any injuries to my left side. Everyone of my injuries were on my right. What's worse is the pain isn't always present and almost impossible to describe. It's not always under my arm, nor does it present itself the same way every time. There are many variations to this pain, not all will be present at the same time. I've never experienced it in or on my back, only my front or flank. When you try to explain this to your doctor they look at you as if you are insane. Because it does not always present itself the same way the doctor will think you are suffering from stress or losing your mind or looking for medications. If I found it was not life threatening I'd never give it another thought. It's just pain, I can deal with pain, but when told it's possibly all in my mind, it gets frustrating. The only thing that helped somewhat, but just minimally and for just a short time was when I was having terrible muscle spasms in my knee that I had the surgery on. I took a Valium That was the first time that the pain had either left or my mind was so relaxed that I didn't notice it. I have tried on several other occasions to duplicate the results but the Valium had no effect after the first try. If any one has any insight as to what this may be, please leave a message here or please contact me at LASTSTOP060 @aol.com. Just please put in the heading that this has to do with the underarm pain. At times this site is one of my only comforts in regards to this pain. Not that I want any one to suffer but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who is experiencing this type of pain. I'm glad to see I'm not along nor am I insane. Well not insane about this at least.

Thank you.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Tony,
I know it is frustrating to explain to docs,when they run so many tests on you and find you normal but still the pain persists it is really frustating.Ok.now,have you consulted an gasterenterologist,if not do consult one immediately.A gastric problem can mimick a cardiac problem.All the strong pain killers you hav been taking could have caused a gastric irritation to mimick a cardiac problem.
Are you diabetic?If so these symptoms are somehwhat close to being associated with it,keep your blood pressure under control.
Keep me posted.
Avatar universal
I actually had most of my tests from a gastro guy. The pains started way before I tried the pain pills which I took just one or two doses of. The gastro doc said all is well too. I was on prevacid and then removed to see if that may have been causing it. He said it could sound like a spleen disorder but blood and the cat scan proved that negative. I am not a diabetic and my blood pressure is in the normal range, from 140 over 80 to 110 over 72, depending on the day. I did forget one thing though, I foud a lump on my left testicle, a testicel I have had surgery on over 8 years ago to remove a cyst. I haven't had any problems since then. My Doctor also checked that and said it was a growth, not a tumor and should resolve itself with antibiotics. I took the anti biotics and the pain cleared up but the small lump is still there. His tests concluded it is in no way cancer. I have read though that testiclular tumors or problems can POSSIBLY cause breast symptoms similar to this, however the doc said being it is not a tumor it is highly unlikely that it is caused from my testicle. The growth seems to be the same size since I found it but the tenderness is almost completely gone. There are days where I don't even realize I have this lump. It was very psychological as well, but once I learned it wasnt life threatening it no longer caused any worry. Pain is no issue. I've lived with pain most of my adult life. You can get used to it and survive even if you are in pain. At least I can. My daily medacine intake consists of a childs asperin a day and now 500 miligrams of Niaspan for my triglycerites. But before taking them through a new diet I took my cholesterol from near 300 to 176, my triglycerites from over 1000 to 300 and still working on that. My family has a history of heart and heart valvue problems. But as mentioned I had every test done and my heart is in good shape. I've changed my diet considerably, more fish, less fried or fast food. Lots of herbal teas, honey instead of sugar and cinamon. More fresh herbs, cholosterol lowering speads instead of butter. My levels were so elevated at the time of the test because I had taken the blood test at 4pm after eating 2 meals, one being a bagle with butter and then a plate of pasta salad later that day for lunch. Again for the most part, especially now ( i reccomend cinamon to help lower cholesterol, I'm living proof at how well it works ) At this point, unless I injured my left shoulder or back or arm I can't think of any other reason to have this pain.I have no muscle loss or loss of range of motion. No torn muscles or rotator cuff, I'd be aware of that pain if I had torn it. My chest muscle does not feel detatched from my chest. My bicep, tricep, forearm, back, lats and trap muscle are firmly attached and well formed. My worst problem is my right knee which will need replacement in a few years but that should have nothing to do with my left side, or shoulder. My internal organs from what I'm told are also in good working order. I've read over the 911 studies for first responders at ground zero and have found nothing that remotely comes close to what I'm describing. I am a Detective for the NYPD
Avatar universal
Sorry I got cutt off in the middle of my long winded writing. I was assigned to the landfill in Staten Island to search for body parts and evidence. I spent upwards of 100 hours there and our safety equipment seemed to be in working order. Every one who I worked there with at the time has no symptoms that I've described. Some have other conditions consistant with 911 work but not my, my lungs are healthy. I just have no idea what else to do. Like I've stated it's hard to get a straight answer when a doctor thinks you may not be telling the truth. I only wish I were lying about this, it would make it much easier. Thanks for even taking the time to read this, I am aware that you aren't giving a disanosis, I'm not looking for one, I'm also not going back to more doctors like most on these forums reccomend. I'm looking for people with similar problems who may have answers my own doctors can't provide. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
Hi Tony

I have the same exact pain you are describing, but it is on my right side.  I had my third child last November and starting in January this pain started up (we had just moved too from VA to PA ).  Now, granted, I am a breastfeeding mom, and I did tear the muscle in the shoulder a number of years ago, but the pain is strange like you said.  I have the pain in my tricept and it radiates to the nipple and down my elbow and into my hand and fingers...often times it is down into my hip and right leg

I had the same experience with the pain lifting over the summer when I was in Houston and Florida - I didn't have it at all, but a week after coming home from vacation I had it again.  

I have noticed that it seems to be tied to some kind of ductal yeast infection.  If I take probiotics, grapefruit seed extract, and eliminate all sugar from my diet it goes away.  And if I expose my skin to sunlight in a day it goes down, although not away.

I hope this helps and I'll be interested in hearing what else you find out as this is really bothersome and the docs don't know what it is, as I too am in good health, good muscle tone, healthy blood work up, etc.


Avatar universal
I'm sorry to hear about your pain, but in a way I'm also happy that I'm not totally insane. I have to try the no sugar diet for a few days. If that works I'll at least have a clue. Sadly the sunlight would be nice, but now it's getting very cold here in N Y so I doubt I'll be out and about catching a tan, but thank you for taking the time to read my post. I'll also look into the grape fruit seed extract and probotics. It just gets to the point where it exhausts me. The only good thing is I'm not losing weight that I'm not trying to, so I'd assume that it's not a form of any worse disease. And as tired as I am, if I ignore it, I can pretty much continue my regular routine. I'll keep you posted too and look into the ductal yeast infection. Although I have no clue what that may be or if men can get that. Over the years I've abused my body with lifting weights and working so it's possible I tore something in there. It seems that every other part of my body has had some sort of tear from the heavy lifting. Thanks again.

Avatar universal
I have the same pain under my right arm radiated to my right nipple.  Sometimes the pain radiates all the way back to my shoulder blade.   It feels like the worst sun burn I've ever had.  Recently a had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Doctors tell me I have nerve damage due to being placed on my right side for 5hours.  Apparently the gel pack that they put under my arm shifted or I am having lasting effects from the Anesthesia.  Doctors believe that eventually the pain will subside.  If doctors are wrong I would assume that I have some nerve damage due to the acoustic neuroma that was removed from my head.  When I went into surgery I had no pain except for my head, and when I came out I had this odd burning pain around my upper right quadrant accompanied by a small numb spot about 1 inch under my arm.  I feel your pain.  Hang in there.  When you had knee surgery, did they have you on your left side?
Avatar universal
Thanks for taking the time out ot read the post, everything seems to point to a muscle or nerve i THINK, but I've grown tired of doctors at this point. No, I was lying flat on my back but I've lifted weights my entire life and am quite large, especially my arms and shoulders and back so it's possible I tore something in there while lifting. However I do sleep with my left arm extended from my shoulder out, pointed and at times I'd wake up with some pain, but that was last year, I've tried to stop that type of sleep but I can't do it, i wake up that way at times and before this started I'd wake up with my arms asleep, pins and needles, my doc told me it was because the muscle in my arms and back were so big and possibly hitting my nerve, but i've lost some size since then.Does the pain ever radiate down your arm, make is somewhat numb? And I hope and pray that everything is good with you from your surgery. If i know its just a torn nerve i can deal with that.It's just pain, that i can live with. But it gets me somewhat nervous at times. Thanks again for reading and posting.

Avatar universal
Oh, I'm so glad I found this post !! I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome last spring, and that can play havoc on all sorts of different systems in the body, including the digestive system.

I've experienced the pains you're all talking about, under both arms and spreading to either nipple.

But, I honestly had no idea that my diet could cause it, or effect it.

I'm going to try no-sugar and low-carb dietary regimens for a few days over the next few weeks and see what happens !

Thank you, all of you, very much !
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