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neuro arm/hand symptoms?

Discussion in 'Peripheral Neuropathy' started by fresh_eyes, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    So, over the years one of my weirder symtoms has been a lot of pain in my left arm, particularly the front of the shoulder & shooting down the upper arm. A few years ago, I had what looked like a spider bite there (this after years of the pain), and it kept coming back, waxing & waning with my other symptoms, for about a year. Nowadays, sometimes when I'm just sitting around (which is a lot! ;)) I'll notice my arm is doing something funky. I'll find that I'm holding it kind of turned in toward my body, sometimes with the thumb clenched inside my hand. I seem to vaguely remember that the thumb-in-hand thing is some kind of neurological "sign". Does that ring a bell with anyone? (FYI Have not seen a neurologist.) Thanks for any input.
  2. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    Oh dear fresh_eyes

    Here we've been putting you to work where you are using your hands so much. Please rest.

    I don't know if this is what you were thinking, but an Upper Motor Neuron Lesion can present with the hand posture you describe:

  3. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Thank you so much, Kim. That is just what I was thinking of. God, I'm loving this forum. :D

    Fortunately I'm right-handed, so when I do design stuff my left is mostly just hanging around, so to speak.

    Looks like I might want to jump back into the medical-care fray again, it's been a while since I even tried to get any.
  4. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    I have had a lot of pain, stiffness, swelling, etc. in both arms, shoulders and hands over the years, especially the right one.

    Acupuncture monthly helps. I also find that omega 3 oil has made a difference. It took some months before I noticed improvement. Didn't really notice until I went off it for awhile after running out. I didn't get more right away and within weeks began to have the old pain, etc. again.

    Got more oil and within a few days the symptoms began to wane again.
  5. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Thanks for your thoughts, Jody. I seem to have kind of a weird reaction to acupuncture, it makes me jittery/shaky. Omega 3 oils I haven't really given a good months-long try - do you use fish oil?
  6. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    fresh_eyes,

    As to acupuncture, when I first started getting it, it would leave me brain-fogged and body-stoned, sometimes for the whole day and sometimes into the next day. But over a few months, this stopped happening for the most part. So for me at any rate, it seemed that this uncomfortable reaction was part of the healing process. Just my own experience, though.

    I take fish oil, in liquid, as it absorbs better. I've heard good things about krill oil too.
  7. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    I had almost forgotten, but when I first became ill, my right shoulder hurt so bad I couldn't move my arm away from my body without shooting pain. I even wore a sling for a few weeks.

    It slowly got better, but it's always the first thing (besides my hip) to flare up. I'm going to try the omega 3. Any suggestion as to doseage/brand? I buy the Eggland's Best eggs for those oils -- any other food sources?
  8. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    fresh_eyes, earlier I resisted giving you advice, because you only asked about that UMN lesion. But I honestly can't help myself and came back to throw my 2cents in.

    First, those UMN lesions are rather rare. Of course, being the brilliant and intuitive one that you are, you may have figured this arm/hand thing out. But...the pain distribution you described is a very familiar symptom that is reported to me in my medical massage practice.

    The most benign (though not necessarily the least painful) of the differential diagnoses are trigger points that originate in muscles in the back of the shoulder (rotator cuff area). They refer pain into the anterior deltoid, and down the arm. Usually, this pain is not accompanied by numbness or tingling.

    The second most common reason for the pain distribution you describe is from a compressed or entrapped nerve somewhere along the brachial plexus - sometimes diagnosed as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. These cases do include nerve-type pain (zinging, numbness, tingling, and severe unremitting pain).

    Other causes include shoulder joint pathology (tears, bone spurs, etc)

    FWIW, I've yet to have a client with your type of pain that was caused by a UMN lesion.

    Omega3-s can help with systemic inflammation. They also clear up the little skin bumps on my upper/outer arm. The only weird side effect I get is that they make my ears very greasy. Beyond waxy, I'm talking olive oil ears :) Nancy K. says take 4 grams a day.

    The B12 methylation protocol has helped some with neuropathic pain. Have you given that a try yet?

    I so wish you were here (or me there) for me to assess you. Dr. Kim always knows when it's a serious condition that requires further evaluation by specialists.
  9. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    cj,

    I use Super EFA by Genestra. I get it at my naturopath's office, but it is available many places online as well if you want that one.

    As to food sources, there are mixed reviews on the eggs and also on fish as a source. So we all must make our best guess on those I think.

    One other thing that has helped has been an ointment called Lymphagen, which helps keep lymph moving. Some of my problems were due to edema, occasionally to the point that my right hand looked like a baseball mitt for over a month and my arm from elbow to fingertips was swollen and very painful. Useless. The first time that happened I was in agony for 6 wks, and it still was ginger and wonky for many months after.

    When it began happening again (after I began spending hours online again, this past spring) my naturopath recommended putting Lymphagen all over it and within a few days I was out of the danger zone. Amazing stuff.
  10. fresh_eyes

    fresh_eyes happy to be here

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    Hi, Dr Kim. ;) Thanks for your further input. I'm not jumping into thinking I have a U.M.N. lesion, though it's really good to know what that hand/thumb thing is - I knew I'd heard something about that, I think from a friend who had a stroke. Also I should say that my pain is moderate, not extreme or stabbing/burning - it's more like a deep ache with weakness and the hand/arm weirdness.

    I don't feel like my problem is structural, because of the way it waxes and wanes with my flu-like symptoms. Also I had none of this before I came down with CFS. (I was so healthy! I did yoga for an hour a day! :( I don't want to think about it.)

    So, anyway, I'm not making an emergency appt with the neurologist, but I do think that soon I'll seek out some medical care, hopefully with someone willing to work with me on testing for infections & maybe treating with abx and/or antivirals. Hoping that will impact my plethora of weird symptoms. (I haven't even gotten into the way half my face swells up...:D)

    Thanks again for your compassion and sound advice. :)
  11. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    Funny you mentioned the edema. I had my first episode a couple of months ago. My ankles swelled up and the puffiness moved around in different spots on my feet. Then it cleared up. Weirdest thing.

    Thanks for the info.
  12. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    Very enlightening.
  13. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    Viruses do like to cozy themselves up near the dorsal root and autonomic ganglia, so your hypothesis is sound.
  14. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    Great tip, Jody. I didn't know about Lymphagen. Did you also put it on your lymph node zones (armpits, neck)?

    It looks like a great product:
    * Rudbeckia angustifolia (Echinacea)
    * Galium aparine (Cleavers)
    * Arctium lappa (Burdock)
    * Ligusticum porteri (Osha)
    * Calendula officinalis (Marigold)
    * Trifolium pratense (Red Clover)
    * Hypericum perforatum (St. Johnswort)
    * Chelidonium majus (Celandine)
    * Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion)
    * Equisetum arvense (Horsetail)
    * Peumus boldus (Boldo)
    * In an Essential Oil Base of Lavender, Rosemary and Sage
  15. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Kim,

    I've used it in the lymph zones in my neck, under ears. It works like a charm. Within minutes, I'd have a runny nose, and phlegm running down my throat. Sweet image I know. :D

    My husband had a weird edema thing on his elbow. It wasn't painful at first, he didn't notice it. I saw that his elbow looked like it had a tennis ball in a sock hanging from it. Terrible looking thing.

    Iced it and so forth, did nothing.

    Our naturopath did some acupuncture, which caused blood and lymph to ooze out, and each treatment made the swelling shrink considerably. It became a golfball in a sock hanging from his elbow. :D By then it felt like a hard, achy mass in his elbow.

    We started using Lymphagen on it, and within a week or so, the mass had disappeared. You can't tell there'd been a problem.

    My son who has cfs, had what we thought was a big blind zit on the side of his face. It started growing and as it got more noticeable, I realized it had been there for ... 2 yrs? He'd had some real infection due to bad teeth for some time and I worried about what was going on in there.

    Tried lymphagen, and ... this rock hard lump began to get bigger, and ... softer. Really yucky. Within a couple days this thing, that had been there for a couple years, began to develop three white heads, and within another week or so, it had gone its messy route to cleaning itself out and healing.

    If you're familiar with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and the father who swore by Windex to fix anything ... Lymphagen is my Windex. :D

    Lymphagen is nice too because it doesn't go on greasy and the smell is mild and benign.
  16. _Kim_

    _Kim_ Guest

    I'm sold. I just ordered a jar and sent it to my mom who has a chronic swollen hand. She likes being my guinea pig. And she'll get a big kick out of the MBFGW reference.

    I'll let you know how she fares.
  17. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    Kim,

    Cool! :D
  18. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    alright -- you got me with the Windex thing. I ordered some too.
  19. Jody

    Jody Senior Member

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    LOL

    Windex -- gets 'em every time. :D
  20. Robin

    Robin Guest

    fresh eyes, I'm not sure about the hand/thumb thing, but another possibility for the shoulder pain that radiates down the arm (plus weakness) is cervical disc disease. A family member of mine has it, sounds very similar. It's not necessarily chronic pain (though it can be) but sometimes certain postures can aggravate it and cause inflammation, which might explain why it flares up at times.

    Or it could just be CFS weirdness. Last year I had a racing pulse and squeezing chest pain, and I ignored it, thinking it was some CFS cardiac issue. It turned out to be asthma. We get so used to the inexplicable idiosyncrasies that it's tough to spot an independent medical issue.

    If it continues to bother you it might be worth seeing a neuro to sort it out. Good luck!

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