Diagnose and prescribe a treatment for my medical problem

It’s totally nothing, and I’m NOT asking you to pretend to be a doctor, or my doctor, or anything of the sort. I have my annual check-up scheduled with my MD for mid-September, and will bring this up with him then if it’s still present, and [any other disclaimer you need to make clear that this is NOT a serious request for medical advice on a pressing medical issue].

That said–my left arm is killing me. I’ve been on an exercise regimen that’s been fairly rigorous, for me, the past year or so, and I assume that I strained something in my left arm doing curls, or presses, or something and if I gave myself a few days off and took some aspirin, I’d be okay. But this is going on two weeks, and it’s starting to irritate me.

  1. It’s a general pain, located near the elbow, but not a specific muscle that I can identify, so I’m having a hard time figuring out which arm exercises to cut back on.

  2. It’s more of an ache than a specific pain. I feel it all the time, and it’s not worsened much by using my left arm–that is, it doesn’t kill me to open a door with that arm, though I’ve gotten to using my right arm more because it does make it ache a little more, but no sharp shooting pain in that arm upon use.

  3. Working out doesn’t seem to affect it. I’ve been cutting down on my arm exercise, especially the dumb-bell curls with the left arm, but I need that arm to do some exercises and it’s not noticibly better or worse on the days following a workout. It’s also about the same when I take a few consecutive days off.

As said, if this is still an issue in a few weeks, I’ll mention it to my MD, but I’m not sure what he’ll have to say. Any ideas until that time?

Aerobic exercise that involves moving the arm around a bit, but requires no lifting or strain at all. You’ll warm the muscles and increase blood flow.

At least that’s worked for me a few times.

Just saying that you’re not asking for medical advice doesn’t mean that you’re *not *asking for medical advice. My advice would be to see your doctor.

Do you mean sooner than I said I’ve scheduled my appointment in the OP? Sounds like you’re advising me to do exactly what I have already done, but forbidding me to gather additional information in the meanwhile. Thanks so much for that.

Maybe it’s tennis elbow? I had it once and it was a generalized achey pain quite near, but not in, the elbow. It’s a damaged tendon, and tendons and other gristle take a long time to heal. It was a year before mine was pain-free, yet it still feels stiff and unhappy if I left the area get too chilled.

You have terminal pancreatic cancer. Kiss your loved ones goodbye–you’ve got about seven minutes.

A friend with similar symptoms had an MRI and was diagnosed with rockin pneumonia and the boogy woogy blues. Ice it?

Do you perhaps sleep on that side? Maybe you’re overextending the joint when you do. If so the treatment is obvious, don’t sleep on your side - easier said than done.

Does sound like a possibility. I gave myself tennis elbow in graduate school, by throwing a softball before warming up. Ached for months. :frowning:

I guess tennis elbow is possible, though I don’t throw or do much left-handed. (I do have a left-handed hookshot in basketball that I haven’t used it in recent weeks.) I might have done something while doing curls that would create tennis elbow.

I’ll bite. cause that’s the kinda girl I am and IANAD,but an armchair diagnostician.

Does it hurt when you are doing nothing? Does it hurt when you straighten or only when you bend?

Does it hurt when you are sleeping?

Did it start after something specific or has it come on gradually?

It is elbow specific movements that hurt it, or if you try to write something it causes pain too?

Do you have any weakness in your grip?
Cut out the exercise for a couple of days. Do some anti-inflammatories and ice it.

Manipulate the area with your other hand and see if that gives some relief.
I hope you feel better.

Rub some dirt on it.

Hold your arm in the thumbs-up position. Tracing a line across the top, away from the thumb and towards the crease of the elbow, is there a spot, about 1-2" from the elbow that hurts a lot when you press it? Any numbness or tingling in your finger tips or the back of your hand?

If yes to any of the above, there’s probably some form of tendonitis. You can give yourself tendonitis doing all sorts of things (I have chronic epicondylitis – tennis elbow – in both hands from typing) and it takes many unique forms. The thing that is irritating it might not be the exercise - or it might be a minor sports injury that can’t heal because of some other unrelated activity, like mouse clicking or typing or using a hammer.

At any rate, you can’t do yourself any harm by icing it. 15 minutes twice a day or as often as you can manage it.

I gave it to myself by yanking/dragging my body pillow from my right side to my left. The motion I used was precisely like that used when executing a tennis backhand with resistance. I aggravated it a few days after I injured it by clapping wildly and forcefully during hockey playoffs. Boy, did that hurt!

Definitely sounds like tendonitis. I had it in my left elbow earlier this year. It hurt for about 2-3 months and then slowly went away. Anti-inflammatory medication didn’t seem to help, BTW.

I’ve replied with this before, so take it as a stock answer.

Sometimes pain in an area is a result of an injury “up the line.” Sometimes pain in the elbow, wrist, or hand is caused by a shoulder injury, for example.

Something to consider.

I noticed it just the other day. You’re doing the royal wave all wrong. Think of it more as swatting a fly away from your ear – not emptying a bottle of ketchup onto your head.

You’re welcome. Get well soon.


In some ways, it sounds like tennis elbow to me.

I had surgery for my tennis elbow in June, after a year of pain and 4 cortisone shots.

I got mine from my job so stopping the activity that caused it wasn’t really an option (at least until the surgery. I haven’t been to work since Memorial Day).
Stop the curls and stuff.

There are some good treatment exercises available online. Look for tennis elbow exercises.

Ice it as often as you can.

Motrin, Ibuprofin, Aleve…

Massage the area, as deep as you can tolerate.

Get a counterforce brace (elbow strap, found in any drug store/supermarket). One doctor told me to put it right under the elbow. The other doctor said to hold my arm out straight, wiggle my fingers and look for the tendon moving in my arm and put it there. I was told to wear it all the time, even while sleeping since most people unconsciously clench their fists while sleeping and that can aggravate it.

Most of all, while you need to stop doing things that may have caused it, don’t completely baby the arm. Not using it will just cause it to stiffen up and hurt more.
ice, ice, ice, ice…more ice.

Not a dezombiefied thread so much as a belated followup:

I saw my MD, nearly two years ago, and he diagnosed me with severe tendinitis (tennis elbow) and I went through six months of rigorous PT, and it still hurt. It took almost a year for the pain to go away.

I got it, BTW, by doing something rigorous that I hadn’t noted I was doing: stretching canvases to paint on. I was gripping the stretching tool very tightly while pulling hard on it as I stapled the canvas with my right arm. I had been doing this for months without noting it as a particular stressor of my left arm.

If the outer two fingers on the affected arm/hand are also giving you trouble – it may be ulnar nerve compression.

Very common among computer users who lean on their elbow while at the keyboard.

Cure is to stop doing that. Per previous posters, ice and NSAIDs will help while recovering.