Hello. A few weeks ago I began to experience something I cannot explain. I woke up one Thursday morning with pain in my right shoulder and arm; I thought I had simply slept wrong and that it would work itself out. I went about my day as usual. But the pain did not work itself out - and by the following Monday, I was in tears. My fingers were painfully numb - if that makes any sense - I was unable to really grip anything; my arm felt like the bone was breaking while someone was lighting my skin on fire. It's excruciating - the kind of pain that takes your breath away, makes it impossible to think or move, makes you physically ill (nauseous). It ached all the time, then every once in awhile, it would skyrocket. On a scale of 1 to 10 - it's a 15. I was sent to the emergency room where I received a tentative diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy. I was sent to another hospital, where I was seen by 2 neurologists - by this time my hand was swollen, my arm was ice cold and slightly blue. They wanted more tests done - but I cannot get into the clinic for another 2 months. The pain is now spreading to my other arm and into my leg. My muscles feel like they are permanently clenched and can't release, my joints pop very painfully, there is still the burning, searing pain, the aching in the bone, and just typing is sometimes impossible without pain medication - it feels like my fingertips are touching a hot stove. I was put on 1200 mg of neurontin, but it is no longer working. No one seems to know what's wrong with me - and I'm beginning to fall into depression, I fear. I can't do anything that I used to do. I am a mother, a wife, a student, a photographer - and I've been rendered useless. Please - help?!
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) involves a malfunction of the nervous system that causes pain (often diffuse, intense and unrelenting) and related sensory abnormalities.
It seems that sleeping in a wrong position might have resulted into injury / Irritation of the autonomic nerves that control the blood supply of the skin and tissues of the affected arm.
If identified early, RSD is treatable with steroids and NSAIDS to reduce the inflammation. Pain can be reduced with medications like amitriptyline, neurontin, duloxetine, etc. In severe cases nerve blocks may also be given.
In case, you are not able to find a appointment at your clinic, you should visit the ER, where pain injections or nerve blocks can be done. Prescription medications with opiod combinations can also help control your pain and symptoms. You might also try to join a physiotherapy clinic, where help to regain your normal function and relieve symptoms. Consulting a psychiatrist is also important to help you face the situation and treat any underlying depression.
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