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Lower right arm pain

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For the last week I have had a dull aching pain in my lower right arm going down from my elbow to my wrist. There is no swelling and I am able to sleep although for the last two days the pain has been waking me up.

I have been taking Ibuprofen 400mg 3 times a day in combination with paracetamel which normally stops the pain during the day. Today however the pain has not gone away at all so I will have to see my doctor unless you can give me some advice on what this condition could be.

Thank you
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replied September 28th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
If the pain that radiates from your elbow down the wrist is located at the outside of your elbow, this could be symptom of so called tennis elbow.
You may feel pain when extending your wrist, forearm weakness, inability to hold objects, and more intensive pain when you grip or twist something, such as turning a door handle or shaking hands.
This pain tends to get worse overtime, and the main cause to experience this problem is doing a range of different activities that involve repeated hand, wrist and forearm movements.
Rest, applying ice for 15 min six times a day in most cases are helpful.
If the condition is getting worse and moving the elbow is almost impossible consult your physician.
Pain and tenderness of your forearm that is extending from the elbow down the inside part of your elbow and forearm to the wrist, is known as a golfer's elbow.
You may have weakness in wrist and hand. numbness and tingling at the inner side of forearm and little and ring finger and your elbow may feel stiff.
Activities that repetitively stresses the wrists or fingers lead to this condition.
Some advices like rest, applying cold at the affected area, taking painkillers, using an elastic bandage for the elbow should ease your pain.

It will be a good idea to visit your physician for correct diagnosis and treatment (he/she may suggest you a physical or occupational therapy), since inappropriate treatment may lead to a chronic pain condition.

Best wishes!
Marija
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replied September 28th, 2009
Extremely eHealthy
You need to see an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in hand, wrist and arm only.

It does sound like either tennis elbow or golfer's elbow.

Either way, without the proper treatment started as soon as possible, you will do permanent damage to the tendon in your arm, which tendon depends on whether it is golfer's elbow or tennis elbow.

You can also end up tearing the tendon or end up with what is called chronic microscopic tendon tears in the tendon. This will limit your ability to function and use your arms permanently.

The usual diagnosis is made by examination by an ortho that specializes in the lower extremity of the hands wrist and arm, and an MRI to be sure there is no further damage.

Once diagnosis is made, the conservative treatments are ice, anti inflammatories, and occupational therapy to slowly strengthen and heal the tendon.
Many times a custom molded splint will be made for you to wear during the day that will allow you some movement in your hand and wrist, but prevent you from pulling the tendon.

Usually, occupational therapy will be twice a week for about 8-10 weeks and then a permanent exercise program for you to follow at home permanently and possibly some restrictions, depending on how you do with the therapy and how you heal.

The important thing is to get to the ortho doctor and diagnosed right away. Waiting too long will hinder treatment and how far you will be able to heal.

Good luck

Fran
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