Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Severe Arm Pain

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: ouch123
  • January 16, 2008
  • 03:00 AM

Having a tough time getting a diagnosis (or diagnoses) - would appreciate any thoughts on this:

Active, 80-years-young grandfather has severe arm pain that began gradually, then suddenly got much worse. It is his dominant arm, and the pain is so severe that strong pain medication (Vicodin) is not helping. Pain becomes so bad when he lies down that he can only sleep sitting up with his head tilted downward.

Symptoms began gradually about 6 months ago - just occassional numbness in a couple of fingers that went away by shaking/rubbing his hands.

After doing some painting in his carpentry workshop one weekend, the pain suddenly worsened. His entire arm and hand sometimes swell considerably for no apparent reason and there is intense burning. The hand/arm have at times become very red during such episodes, but not always. He's tried ice, long periods (weeks) of rest, etc. to no avail.

Pain medication allowed him to sleep lying down for a couple of weeks, but then the pain broke through.

He has seen several doctors, including a neurologist. Tentative diagnoses are both carpal tunnel and tendinitis, but neither of those seem to account for why the pain is so excruciating when he lies down.

He is not a complainer at all, but the pain is so severe that it is disabling. He cannot even use the computer.

He is a non-smoker and has asthma that is controlled with medication. No other health issues.

I suspect that the hand/arm pain is caused by multiple issues. Any ideas???

Thanks!

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