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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Physician / Surgeon
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Experience:  U.S. Surgeon / Neurological Surgery
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I wake up some mornings with extreme pain in both my arms.

Customer Question

I wake up some mornings with extreme pain in both my arms. If I rotate my arms from the shoulders to my wrists it gets even worse, but after about 15 seconds it then starts to disappear. Then disappears altogether, until the next night and following morning. I am a side sleeper, but find now I can't rest my head on my outstretched arms because of the pain this causes. I am 65 years old, very active. I work out daily at the gym. doing a lot of arm shoulder chest and back weight training.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
Can you describe exactly where you are having the pain?

Is it neck pain that radiates to the shoulder into the upper arms / forearms then the hands?

If it is the hands, then which fingers are involved?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It is in biceps and forearms only. no joint pain. Feels like when you overwork your arms the first time you work out, except it disappears once I start moving my arms.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
OK.

You mention " I can't rest my head on my outstretched arms because of the pain this causes." -- is this because of the angle of the neck that appears to cause the pains?

Or the actual pressure of your head on the arms that causes the pains?

And if you lean one way -- is it just that arm that is painful, or is it always both arms at the same time?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The pressure of my head on that particular arm, and the angle of my arm, not my neck. Both arms only hurt when I wake in the morning and move my arms. No particular angle upon waking, they both just radiate pain in biceps and forearms. When I twist my arms they are striaght out and I rotate from shoulders to wrists, like turning a log. The pain is very severe for a second or two and then rapidly disappears and I am not bothered again.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
OK.

This is a bit puzzling, as your pain symptoms and distribution of pain do not quite fit classically into the most common reasons for arm pains.

Having these pains that are severe only for a few seconds then disappearing is quite unusual, because one would expect pain from inflammation of tendons/ligaments/muscles would persist during the day.

Nerve pains, from "pinching" in the neck could be a possibility -- but such pains, if they involve the forearm, would also tend to involve the fingers of the hand as well.

You could get pains from the joints, but those pains would typically be limited to the joint areas. And those pains also would not typically disappear so fast.

So, it may be helpful here to be examined by your doctor, then a referral to a neurologist or orthopedic surgeon if necessary. EMG testing can help to determine if there are nerve or muscle issues causing your pains.

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