Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Sudden intense pain in left hand-recurring

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • November 30, 2006
  • 06:39 PM

I'd be very grateful for some advice on my 'issue.' I have recurring attacks of very intense pain in my left hand and at times my left wrist, which then leads into the hand. One moment it's fine; the next it's there. The fingers swell and become stiff and sausage-y. I've learned to be very aggressive with Nsaids (usually Aleve) and take the max dosage. It seems to slowly help, with the pain lessening in a few hours, and then staying at that level for another few hours before going away. Then it's as if nothing happened. Until it happens again, which is more and more frequesntly. Up to about twice a week.
Back last spring, I finally went in to the doctor to ask about the hand pain and another symptom, which is periodic: a major tightening in what I can only describe as my chest/stomach area. The area at and directly below the rib cage (sternum) becomes very, very tender at this time. I feel like I'm not getting enough air, and do become short of breath if I walk more than slowly and the like. Very odd for me, as I'm 36, active, healthy (so I've always thought) and definitely not out of shape. I didn't know then, and don't know now, if the hand pain and the sternum pain/out of breath are related. They are often at different times.
When the hand pain comes it literally feels like I broke it. Any motion is so painful it has me doubled over, although I'm almost always with others, so it becomes an issue of turning away and grimacing in private. I have seen an endocrinologist, who found nothing wrong hormone-wise. I saw a rheumatologist who check RA levels and found nothing wrong. She put me on a short course of prednisone which helped significantly. However, both docs, because they couldn't find "anything wrong," talked a lot about it being in my head. I gave that real consideration, and decided to not see any more physicians, to just be aggressive with Nsaids when it occurred, and basically speak no more of it. So I haven't been back. It's extremely ******n the ol' ego to even think you could be having psychosomatic symptoms. I'm not depressed, I have a great life, and have no reason to be bringing this on me. So, with the the frequency continuing, I'm now forced to realize it's not in my head, and it is "something," but what? I now am very hesitant to go to doctors for fear they will chalk it off as in my head. Often at the appointments the hand is just fine, so they have only what I say to go on. This is a very long email, but I'm just so frustrated. I write and edit for a living, and not being able to use my left hand at times is quite problematic, as all I do is on the computer. (And yes; I've looked into the symptoms for carpal tunnel and the like, and this is not at all like that pain. There is no tingling or burning; it is more like I've broken every bone and joint. So odd. )I'd appreciate real help. Thank you.

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