I broke my arm 20yrs ago and had a metal plate put in and never had it removed i've been having excruciating pain the pain increases when i lift my arm their's also some swelling what could be the cause and what would be the best way to alleviate the pain i'm 39 and have no health insurance
You have probably already tried most of the things that you can do for yourself: decreased activity, support (splint), medications (if no contraindications to them, such as acetaminophen or one of the NSAIDs), compression, and ice/heat as needed.
Unfortunately, without knowing what is causing the discomfort, it is difficult to determine how to treat it.
It is possible that the hardware has not failed, but that is usually not a problem, unless the underlying fracture had not completely united. But, this is kind of rare twenty years after it was placed.
Infection in always a concern, when a foreign body is concerned. But, again, this would be very rare. Usually, peri-implant infections occur within the first two years after surgery.
You do not stay if the discomfort is constant or intermittent. If it is associated with weather changes, this is actually quite common in patients with implants. It has to do with the change in barometric changes associated with weather fronts.
But, if the discomfort is constant and is new (after a long period of not having any problems), then it is concerning for something significant going on. Unfortunately, without an evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon and probably some x-rays, there is not really much of tell you.
Sorry, you are having problems with your forearm. Good luck.