Pain in a limb

Dear all, has anyone experienced persistent pain in a limb since their BI? My dad, since his discharge home from hospital, over a year ago, has complained of pain, stiffness and cramping in his left arm. It's really debilitating. The physios didn't think there was an underlying injury in the arm and that the symptoms arose because of the brain injury. I'm not sure they're right. I wondered if anyone else had encountered symptoms of this sort?

12 Replies

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  • Hi, 

    Both my arms, it's 4 years now and after numerous visits to GP, X-rays etc, he is at a loss as there is no underlying cause.

    My GP suggested I get acupuncture and at last I am getting some relief. Unfortunately it costs, but my feelings of pressure in my head are less severe and also my energy levels have soared. It is working for me, that's not to say it will work for everyone.

    I have come to the conclusion that it has been nerve damage caused by the weeks of inactivity in hospital. I am hopeful that it will continue to improve.

    Janet x

  • Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. Maybe acupuncture is worth a try as I guess that's all about the signals going between the arm and the brain, although I'm not sure how an acupuncturist would deal with the problem that the damaged brain isn't processing those signals properly. The thing is that dad didn't have arm pain during his 4 months in hospital. Do you know how soon after the Bi you started getting these symptoms?

  • Hi again, I was having the pains right from the vey beginning, although I was only communicating them when I was in the rehab clinic. They were more intent on getting me to walk and seeing the extent of my brain damage. So, I've had them for 4 years now.

    It's up to your Dad to keep trying to make any new pathways in his brain by keeping on trying to do things.

    The acupuncturist can try to re-open the channels along his arms. It doesmt always work, but in my case has helped. It's not perfect but a definite improvement.

    Best wishes Janet x

  • Thanks again for your thoughts. I'm sorry you're suffering this too! But I'm glad the acupuncture has helped in your case, and it's something I can talk to my parents about. 

  • I agree with Janet.  I suffered stiffness, nerve type pain, weakness in my left side.  It debilitated to the point I cannot walk, but this occurs if I am fatigued, and worse in the winter.  Neurologist stated my TBI caused the symptoms as there is nothing wrong physically with my leg, it is stiff and painful.  As Janet said I believe being in hospital and at home and inactive does not help.   On my first admission I did not have symptoms, but second time I was admitted the doctor said I had loss of power in my left leg, and I said I am able to walk, but he stated you can walk with loss of power.   it is a fine balance keeping my fatigue levels okay, and exercising muscles.  I too found acupuncture helped.  I had six neuro physio sessions, but not enough to make a real difference.

  • Thanks for your reply also. I think it's plausible that the symptoms are related to the bi but I also think it's significant that he didn't suffer them until he got home and I do remember him wrenching his arm when we were trying to get him into bed on his first night home - we were given no manual handling training and there was no professional there to help. 

  • mY symptoms did not establish straight away,  it probably a few weeks or months.   If you feel the pain is due to BI or wish to rule out injury, I would. Request an MRI scan, not an X-Ray.  MRI scan showed inflammation in my shoulder joint, which X-ray did not 

  • That is good advice. Thanks!

  • Your welcome.  Hope your dad can find a diagnosis.  I know exactly how he feels.   If you can ask for a referral to neuro physio, and yes I had to really push for referral, and first referral I was seen by a senior physio, but no idea of neuro.  Perhaps request MRI scan first.   I take Baclofen, which helps a little, and diazepam, to reduce spasm.  I do not like taking as cognitively it can make me drowsy..

    I do remember prescribed oramoph patches, which completely took the pain away, but then I had an allergic reaction, but this is rare.

  • Try magnesium, B6 and B12.  Be surprised if he didn't notice an improvement. There might be some growing pains associated with taking these additions as the body will hopefully go through a growth spurt with the added vits. 

    Cramping can sometimes indicate not enough oxygen which can either be muscle malfunction (ie not enough magnesium), nerve malfunction (vit B12 helps) or not enough oxygen in the blood (too stressed = shallow breathing. not taking a deep belly breath = not enough oxygen). Some also say should check your salt intake for cramps too - make sure he is enjoying unrefined salt (supermarket does Maldon flakes or course seasalt) or you can buy pink Himalayan salt with lots of added minerals.  A lady who had a stroke was told by her doctor that it likely occurred because she had cut salt out of her diet!  I had too!  Once I re-introduced unrefined salt, I felt SO much better.

    With the growing research on cramps, the current theory on what causes them is muscle fatigue and failures in the neural communication pathways. Basically, you train a muscle to contract and the muscle fatigues. It, then, miscommunicates and stays contracted when it shouldn’t, causing a cramp.  No surprise then, if the BI causes nerve malfunction, nerves in other parts of the body get out of sync. 

    Give body extra vit B12 - my doc recommended 3 times per day for first few months on American Biologics Neurorecovery containing B6 50mg, Folic Acid 900mcg, Vit B12 (1000mcg as methylcobalamin and 1000mcg as cynacobalamin), Alpha-Lipoic Acid (300mg), N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (100mg), L-Glutathione (25mg), Inositol (200mg), and L-Glutamine (300mg).

    Ask your doc (people with nerve damage) for a B12 injection.  If lucky enough to have a nice doctor on NHS, you will notice a benefit immediately with disorders such as you describe.

    All the Best.

  • Hi DD,

    From your description, I wonder if your Dad is suffering from some spasticity and nerve pain in his arm ? There is no structural problem with the limb if this happens - just a fault with signals from the brain ( I have this all over but worse on the right side ).

    webmd.com/pain-management/p...

    This can happen suddenly some time after the initial injury - mine came on 5 months into recovery from suspected Encephalitis. Has Dad had his reflexes and muscle tone examined ( may be increased with this problem )  ?

    Gentle massage of the muscles during more severe spasms helps me plus regular stretching. There is medication available too.

    Angela x

  • Hi everyone who responded to my post. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to reply, saying thank you. I do have quite a good excuse though - I've just had a baby! Thank you for your input and suggestions.

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