Pain in left arm

Hi I am new here. I'm 51. I am suffering from continuous pain in my upper arm which sometimes goes to my elbow wrist and hand. This has been so bad at times that I have even took myself to A&E. This pain has been going on now for at least 6 months I have had Xrays. I can only move my arm to a certain height if I move it wrong the pain increases in intensity. Pain killers don't touch it I have even taken cocodomol 500/30 which done nothing for the pain just made me very ill. I have had steroid injection in it as well. Done absolutely nothing has anyone else suffered with anything similar as I even think my doctor is running out of ideas

50 Replies

  • Isn't it about time you had an MRI scan?

    Has your GP refered you to Orthopaedics Consultant yet?

  • I am seeing a consultant at the end of October. I have also been told to go physiotherapy but the thought of someone touching it is horrifying.

  • End of October! That seems a long way off. You've already been suffering over 6 months. Can't GP ask for the referal status to be 'upped' to Urgent?


  • I am going to make another appointment with my doctor as the pain is getting worse I thought October was also a long time to wait

  • Have you had any blood tests?

    Are there any other symptoms.

  • I have had blood tests. When it's really bad it affects me from my shoulder through to my fingers it feels like the pain is pumping up and down my arm. No other symptoms

  • So I suppose there was nothing in the blood tests?

    Does your GP think it is your circulation?

  • The blood test just said I had a vitamin D deficiency which has now been sorted. My doctor has run out of ideas.

  • I am not medically qualified but wonder what tests A&E did? Have you had ECG, Echocardigram? Was your Cholesterol high?

    Were you given loading doses of Vitamin D initially? What maintenance dose are you on now. Do you know your most recent Vitamin D blood test result?

  • All a&e done was another x-ray gave me naproxen and cocodomol and that was it. I am not taking anything now as I was Told all was ok. I don't painkillers as I was taking far to many and they don't touch the pain and I was just making myself ill with them. I will take you advice to see my doctor again to ask him to try to see if he can move things forward for me.

  • Did A&E say to come back if it didn't clear up?

    As it has got worse returning to A&E is an option ??

    Do you take Aspirin or any ibuprofen? Or just not taking anything now.

    Hope whatever you decide - whether A&E or GP tomorrow - hope you get a proper diagnosis very soon.


  • I can't take ibuprofen. I take nothing I didn't like feeling so unwell. A&E were really no help at all. Hopefully it will be sorted soon x

  • Don't let the way A&E treated you put you off going back if you need to. They will probably be more attentive if you go back. You may get different Doctor and nurses also.


  • Have you Googled :

    NHS choices pumping pain in left arm

  • Don't worry too much about physio as they will most probably use altrasound and won't force the arm too much leaving you in agony. It may be worth seeing a chiropractor. They deal with muscles, ligaments and bones etc so may be able to find where the pain is coming from. X

  • Thank you I will look into this x

  • All the best with getting a proper diagnosis and the right treatment very soon.

    God Bless

    Mary x


  • Thank you x

  • An mri should show whats wrong,that is normally what they will do when they can't pinpoint whats wrong.Its frustrating i know,All the best.

  • I have something similar but in a different direction as I can't use my arm above my chest or I get chronic pain that goes up my neck and into my skull turns out it's disk damage in my neck and they can't or won't inject steroids.

  • Hi I have exactly the same as you ive severe pain in my shoulder which goes now to my elbow down my former and in to my thumb and finger I took myself to the ae as the pain was so severe they did a x ray but didn't show anything was referred to physio had test scan, ultra sound x ray nothing major showed up .was sent to pain clinic as I suffer with crps in my other arm but they don't think it's that so waiting to see a neurologist but not till Oct 17 a long time to wait ,painkillers don't touch it so hope they sort it when I go to see them.

  • I hope they do please let me know how you get on be interested to know as my appointment is after yours

  • I will Caroline

  • Perhaps Gabapentin or pregabalin might work. Those are two medicines that work on radiating pain. I suspect this pain is coming from your neck not your shoulder. Has anyone x-rayed or MRI your neck? It's a very common side effect of a bulging discs in your neck.

  • I started exactly the same way. All my tests came back negative. At first my gp thought frozen shoulder and then because of the intensity of the pain he sent me for X-ray and ultrasound. Both were ok. He then sent me to a sports injury specialist who diagnosed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. He called it Shoulder-Hand Syndrome as that's where it started. One of the signs is mottling of the skin. It feels cold to touch but feels like it's burning inside. The big giveaway with me was the excessive nail and hair growth. It grows about 3 times as fast as normal. I'd say have further tests to rule things out. My story is mine. Hopefully you will find an answer soon so you can get appropriate treatment x

  • Well this is just a long shot, but sometimes we have what is called referred pain. You may have a dodgy disc in your neck and this could be causing your arm etc to feel pain. Ask for an X-ray on your neck or to see a rheumatologist. I have this problem and my neck and arm absolutely kill me at times and like you, this extends down to my wrist and little finger. Good luck anywayX

  • You definitely need an MRI on your upper spine,neck. X-rays do not not show any real detail. There is probably some damage to a disc impinging on a nerve causing the pain.

    I was assaulted in Tesco by 2 women, 2011. I fell like a tree backwards, then 6 months later I had a car accident. Ive had the exact experience pain wise, pain down my left arm, down into the hand & fingers. But I believe sometimes when you have a traumatic experience it makes pain worse. Did you have an accident?

    When you are in pain you are at your most vulnerable & pain killers put your brain in a fog!

    I've got an appointment at a pain clinic, I've only waited 6 years!

    But I'm going to write down all the questions I need to ask & I advise you to write it all down so you are fore-armed.

    I wish you all the best x

  • Have you tried the cold or heat gel? I'm having same problems but I know this is just part of my fibromyalgia.

  • Yes I have tried these but they do absolutely nothing

  • It's not a blood clot is it???

  • How are you now Caroline?


  • Got an appointment to see my doctor on Wednesday. The pain is now across my collar and into my neck I really need sleep

  • I assume you didn't go back to A&E then. Still an option. Pains keeping you awake? Hope you get some sleep tonight .

    Sorry and shocked to hear you are having to wait till Wednesday to see your doctor , you should have been seen as an emergency. This has been going on for at least 5 days now.

    Please remember that you still have the options of :

    Calling 111

    Calling Out-of-hours GP

    Going to A&E

    (if you don't get treated correctly you can always ask to speak to the 'ward' sister / unit Manager. )

    All the best.

    Goodnight & God Bless



  • Hi Caroline

    How are you now.

    They didn't do anything ECG when you went to A&E did they ? Or arrange any scans ?


  • No only an x-ray and naproxen and cocodomol nothing has worked .

  • If such hIgh level of pain meds hasn't worked, then I would not hesitate going to A&E.

    You don't know what it is yet.

    Are you still taking the Ibuprofen?

  • I have been in agony for the past 5weeks. Seen 6 different doctors at my surgery who all think it is a trapped nerves in my neck.

    Ended up in a&e last Thursday,gave me a shoulder x ray which didn't show anything and morphine which didn't even touch the pain. I have been referred for an MRI scan but when that will be who knows?!!

    I'm taking naproxen codeine paracetamol and ibuprofen during the day and tramadol and amitriptyline at night(which I have been on for years for fibromyalgia)

    I can't work,so don't get paid, can't drive,so have had to get taxis for appointments and my son gets married in 3 weeks.

    I just want to be "normal " and out of pain!

    Sorry for the rant!

    It's nice to get other people's opinions and sympathy,because it isn't visible to anyone,they think you are ok.

    Rant over

  • I know how you feel it's driving me mad lack of sleep is affecting my job. I'm A funeral director so I am supposed to show compassion. But at the moment I can't. I have also taken myself to a&e only be made to feel like I was wasting their time. I do have an appointment at the end of October but know this will be more tests like you say just to be pain free or given something to help with it

  • Rant away Lesley.

    This is terrible - A&E sending you away in this pain. Who prescribed Naproxen AND Ibuprofen? I thought it was one or the other? ?

    I would go back to A&E, they can do emergency MRI. Or phone 111, see if they get you in with Out-of-hours doctor. If this level and mix of meds isn't working is it worth putting your kidneys at risk?


  • I spread the tablets out throughout the day and take omaprazole for tummy.

    If I don't get an MRI soon I might have to be ringing 111 but I feel so guilty because I know how stretched they are.

    Hopefully i will get some outcome on Friday

  • Fingers crossed for Friday

  • Please don't feel guilty. You mustn't be thinking like that. Just concentrate on you.

    You are in severe pain. Don't hesitate to call them if you need to.

    You need diagnosis and to know where to go from here. Have you been given any indication of recovery time? Is a surgical procedure required? Or any treatment? You both need, and deserve some answers.

    I don't understand why they did shoulder xray and not neck?

    Did anything happen just prior to onset of pain 5 weeks ago? A trip, jolt, near fall? Did you reach for anything? Brake suddenly to avoid something? Any other symptoms?

    If this were me then I would not hesitate in going back to A&E. If no improvement then I would go at 7 to 8am tomorrow.

    What's happening Friday?

    Hope you get sorted. This should be a happy time for you. You've only got 3 weeks to get well.

    All the best with getting proper medical care.


  • How did you get on Caroline?

    GP help in any way?


  • Stronger naproxen and anti sickness as they make me ill. So not any help really just have to wait to see the consultant. I have asked to see another doctor

  • Someone needs to look at your circulation, I would have thought.

    One thing, with all the NSAIDS - might help if it is circulation ?? Not sure.

    Did the doctor give you any lansoprazole preferably orodispersible to protect your stomach?

    I guess you were rushed in there?

  • I'm not medically qualified but do wish that some of those that are would listen a bit more to their patients.


  • Defiantly nothing anyone can do until I see the consultant

  • I have 500mg of naproxen and 20mg omeprazole for sickness

  • Omezprazole is a Proton Pump Inhibitor to reduce acid production. I'm on the other one - Lansoprazole. In my case it's because of Reflux.

    It's not an anti-sickness medication I don't think, but is used to protect stomach when on high dose of NSAIDS. There is a tablet to treat nausea and sickness that you put under the lip I think. If you still have symptoms of nausea /sickness you could maybe ask the other doctor for that. Think it's called Buscapan or something like that. X

  • Sorry Caroline.

    No, not Buscapan but :



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