Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Elbow, arm, shoulder, chest pains -- they say not heart related

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 3 Replies
  • Posted By: lovemycountry
  • November 15, 2010
  • 05:31 AM

I have problems with chest pains. and arm pains since the last week of July. All the tests say I do not have heart problems. My elbow and upper arm starts to hurt then it travels through my shoulder and into the left side of my chest. It gets to be so severe I can not move my arm because of the pain until the attack is over. My chest –the left side hurts really bad. The pain can last 20 – 30 min and as short as 5 – 10 min and depends on if I take nitro tabs (4 mcg). I wear a 4 mcg nitro patch. The doctor does not know what it can be.

I told my Dr. that the nitro patch seems to help but the Dr. said I don’t have heart problems and the Dr. does not know why it could be helping. They have been giving me the nitro to help with the pain until my orthopedic appointment. It does seem to help. One Dr. thought it could be some kind of vascular spasm.

I can have the attacks while in bed, asleep, or just sitting. The also seem to come when I start to use my arm to move or pick up things. But often times I am just sitting. I can have 4- 5 attacks in 1 day or as many as 15 attacks.

I have been 2 different hospitals several times. They did an endoscopy – everything was OK. I have had MRI and CAT scans of my chest, no PE’s, no diseases, the cervical MRI showed multilevel degenerative changes, and mild right neural foraminal stenosis at c3 and 4, likely related to uncovertebral spurring.

The CT (w/o contrast) showed degenerative changes involving the gleno-humeral joint space. The MRI (w/o contrast) showed there may be minimal increased signal intensity in the rotator cuff distally, possibly tendinosis. There are findings that may represent a partial avulsion from the anterior superior portion of the glenoid labrum. There is no evidence of a complete tear of the rotator cuff.

Since my gastric bypass I have a lot of loose skin under my left arm and under my left breast that hangs down. Could this cause nerve problems or circulation problems that can be causing these pains?

Could this all be from vitamin problems?

Our family has a bad history of heart problems—now how am I suppose to know if this is heart or not.

‘’What kind of Dr. do you think I should be seeing?

I have been going to the Chiropractor for 6 weeks now. I use a TENS unit at home, use heat, at the Dr. off they do traction on my neck, heat, and the TENS unit.

Other health issues that I have:
Had Gastric ByPass
Have mal absorption issues,
Low Vit. D, iron, b12
Osteoarthritis- lower back, Left knee, knee cap, left ankle
Bone density test – low now have osteopenia
I have fallen several times in the last few years and my shoulder bothers me and my elbow hurts a lot.
PVD/DPN in feet and lower legs
Thyroid nodules

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3 Replies:

  • From everything you listed in your history, it sounds like a vascular problem. You said you have peripheral vascular disease? The doctor is right-just because it is in the chest and the arm, it doesn't have to be heart related. Have you considered anxiety to be a problem? Sometimes this can cause chest pain. It could be a perfusion problem, because of problems in your vessels. You said your shoulder and elbow hurt, do you feel numbness and tingling in this arm? Why did you get nitro in the first place if the doctor didn't think it was chest pain? Do you have a history of angina?
    RN2010 5 Replies
    • November 17, 2010
    • 05:28 PM
    • 0
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  • My husband went through intense shoulder, chest and arm pains for almost 2 years, sending him to the ER too many times to count! Finally, after seeing 5 different doctors in 3 different fields - they determined there was a SLIGHT tear in his rotary cuff. (shoulder)He waited about 3 more months for a should scope and they ended up repairing it along with chipping some "sharp bones" that was causing the pain to jump down his arm, across his chest and through his shoulder area in the back. He recovered in about 4 months, lots of physio therapy etc etc. He has now been pain free since!!! To think it took about 3 years! When asked how it was possible to have such an injury (cause it's usually baseball and football players who tear rotary cuffs and he does neither of these things) he recalled a fall down the stairs - well almost a fall, he had reached out to catch himself (using the railings on the stairs) to prevent the fall on his tush. That's all it took and he was only 32 when finally diagnosed. So you may want to look into seeing about your shoulder. It's a simple MRI and ultrasound they do on your shoulder to see if they can see anything. It's worth a shot and it's not an intrusive test.I wish you the best of luck! Sending out positive vibes for youCheers
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 19, 2010
    • 02:31 PM
    • 0
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  • There are several vascular problems that do not point towards a heart disease. It would help if you took another opinion. Consult a good vascular lab or a cardiovascular center that runs tests for vascular problems. You can get ample information on vascular problems at the website of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Check your symptoms and see what relates to you. Consult their expert doctors on panel.
    Maba2009 18 Replies
    • February 22, 2011
    • 05:45 AM
    • 0
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