A question for Opalcat (or whoever knows the answer)

In the “Why do girls…” thread started by the Great and Mighty troll, you posted this response…

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days in bed ill, and my hair got really tangled. Because of my low blood pressure, I can’t brush my own hair when it is tangled, because I can’t keep my arms over my head for more than a few seconds. So… when my hair gets tangled, it stays tangled (and gets worse and worse and worse) until my husband has time to help me brush it. Tonight he had time! I HAVE HAIR AGAIN!!! WOOHOO!!!

My question is this…I’ve never heard of this particular phenomenon, where you can’t lift your arms over your head without dangerously dropping your blood pressure. Did your doctor ever explain to you the reasons why this happens to you? If he/she didn’t, can somebody else here maybe explain this to me. I confess I have always been pretty fascinated when it came to the medical field, but I have been unable to locate this particular condition in any of my medical books.


“The dead have risen, and they’re voting Republican!” - Bart Simpson

Okay, it has occurred to me that this question belongs in General Questions. Moderator, would you mind moving this over to the appropriate forum?

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. (BTW, great job you are doing Eutychus!)


“The dead have risen, and they’re voting Republican!” - Bart Simpson

I have very low blood pressure, and I have been holding my left arm over my head for about three minutes now, and nothing awful has happened to me yet… I’ll keep you posted. Of course, I’m only holding one arm over my head, since I need the other one to type, so that might affect some things…

By the way, Shadowfox, in keeping with the other great Southern political modus operandi, the dead have traditionally voted Democratic.

Heck is where you go when you don’t believe in Gosh.

Can’t reply for OpalCat, but I’ll take a guess…

The low blood pressure would cause the blood to flow “downhill” out of the arms and hands, causing the muscles which need oxygen from the blood to perform work, to cramp or to be weak enough to not be able to do much.

Either that, or, just sitting up causes the blood to rush to the lower extremeties, causing dizziness and confusion. Standing up is darn near impossible, especially if you stand up quickly from a reclining position.

Now, if I can just supress the “elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top” jokes…

<d&r> :wink:

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…still nothing. I think I’ll terminate this experiment now if it’s all the same to you, my arm’s getting tired.

Heck is where you go when you don’t believe in Gosh.

Hmm, Girl, the fact that your arm is tired could be due to low blood pressure…

But seriously, My friend Neil has low blood pressure, and as such he says his doctor reccomends that he eat lots of salt and do other blood pressure raising things that are normally forbidden to us normal folks… I wonder if that’s bunk…

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I thought it was where you went if you said ‘Darn!’ :wink:

Shadowfox -
You need to see a doc about this.

What exactly happens when you lift your arms up? Do your arms get fatigued after just a few minutes? Does your face turn red-purple? Do you nearly pass out?

Arms tiring could be a neuro-muscular disorder like polymyositis, or myasthenia gravis.

Face turning red-purple could be due to a mass in your lower neck/upper chest so that when you hold your arms up, you prevent drainage of blood from your face.

Nearly passing out could mean some abnormality in the arteries to your arms & head such that lifting your arms blocks one or more arteries to your head & makes you feel lightheaded.

The best thing to do is to see your doctor, who undoubtedly will ask you to perform this (and possibly other) maneuvers to better understand the situation.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Oops - just realized I misread the OP. OpalCat is the one who needs to get this evaluated, not Shadowfox.

Sorry for the confusion…

  • Sue

My girlfriend had the same symptoms - she couldn’t raise her arms above shoulder level without feeling faint (we found out when she passed out teaching an aerobics class). Her hands would go white and cold. She had no grip strength when her arms were raised. She was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. She recently had surgery to correct it, and is now almost 100% pain free.

The problem was caused by nodes of tissue in her shoulder constricting the blood vessels to her arms. The surgery removed the extraneous tissue and mostly solved the problem. She had always had low blood pressure, but the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome hadn’t affected her until recently.

It could be a possibility in Opal’s case, but I’m not a doctor so don’t listen to me.

Ok, my blood pressure doesn’t drop when I raise my arms (that I know of) it’s that my blood pressure is already low. When I raise my arms over my head, I tend to get very faint, or my arms just go limp. I also have to sit with my feet tucked up, because if I leave them on the floor my feet fall asleep. If I stand up too fast, I tend to face-plant into the floor. When I walk or run, if I haven’t had enough water or salt I’ll get a ringing in my ears and I get very very faint, my hands tingle and get icy cold, and I need to sit down or I’ll pass out.

On a good day my BP is around 90 over 50… my doctor has recommended that I “put salt on anything I can stand”.

Btw, I’ve always been like this. I got sent home early for fainting in PE back in 8th grade, I remember…

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the Abrams’ bris was certainly memorable
O p a l C a t

Now this I don’t really understand. I also normally have a pretty low BP. At my last doctor’s visit, it was 92/48. However, I’ve only had two fainting spells in my whole life, both within a couple of hours after giving birth. I can put my arms over my head and keep them up there for hours, except for that they would get tired after awhile. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a distinct possibility. I don’t know anybody who has ever had this, but I have read about it in the medical literature and your problem with your arms is one of the symptoms.

Now, IIRC, your feet falling asleep easily has nothing to do with your circulation. That pins and needles feeling you get in your feet and legs sometimes is actually caused by a pinched nerve, usually at the knee joint or sometimes at the hip joint, depending on what position you are sitting in. The correct term for this is “neuropraxia”.


“The dead have risen, and they’re voting Republican!” - Bart Simpson

This happens to me too!! I can’t put my hair up in a high ponytail, I can’t lift my arms up to cheer for someone, and I can’t even do my own eyebrows because my arms being raised that high (not even above my head) will send me to the ground so fast…

Like, my chest starts to hurt, then I get nauseous, my arms start to hurt and go numb, my ears suddenly feel muffled (like I’m underwater), then I get wobbly, I see a bunch of black dots, and about a second later my vision goes totally black and I drop to the floor in a boneless heap! I come back to it in a few seconds but I’m breathing really fast and I can feel my heart racing. It all happens so fast- sometimes I can drop to the floor before I faceplant but even then I still black out for a second and get really confused… I’ve “come to” to me swaying, talking, or even bouncing my leg when I never told my body to do that!
Anyone have any idea what’s wrong with me? I went to heart specialist (It is a fact I have low blood sugar and I can’t stand up too fast) and he just told me, “Have no worries! Eat more chips.” and then left. Even though I don’t like it, I have been eating a lot of salt and its not helping! Heck, I even took salt tabs for a little while and that did nothing too…

I just turned 20 if that makes a difference and my average blood pressure is 80/60 with a heart rate (at rest) upwards of 155. :frowning:

Oh- and it also sometimes happens if I look down too long at my feet or my shoulders. Kinda like, down and to the right or left? Same thing happens at those times as when I lift my arms above shoulder height and so I grab something, put my head between my knees, or I’m hittin’ the floor! Xp

See another doctor - very soon.
Welcome to the dope.
Insert Zombie Joke here.

Have you been having any cravings for brains?
A resting HB of 155? I would go to the emergency room and have them check everything.

This thread makes me sad.

Me too.

In case you return, this thread was created over 15 years ago. Since then, the subject of the thread’s title, (Opalcat) has died, I expect a moderator may be along to close the thread.

Since OpalCat has since passed away, I’m going to lock this thread.

Rain-Fall You are welcome to start a new thread on the subject in the IMHO forum.