I am having severe pain in the middle of my arm (between my shoulder and elbow). It started back in May but I don't remember any actual injury. The pain occurred mostly when I would reach for things (laterally, above and down). I thought it was going away in June but I believe I just got used to the pain. The other day I reached for a gallon of milk that was falling out of my car and the pain was so excruciating I felt like I was going to pass out. Now while the severe pain is still there when I reach it also has a constant ache that makes it hard to sleep. What might it be? What type of doctor (specialist) should I see. As a side note - I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 1992, and I am a 56 year old obese woman.
Person's Gender: Female
Person's Age: 56
waiting for time to heal it
Hello. The type and location of pain suggests a few possibilities:
One would be an inflammatory condition such as a subacromial bursitis or capsulitis of the shoulder with referred pain down the arm.
Another would be a stress reaction of the humerus bone, such as a periostitis (inflammation of the lining of the bone) or a stress fracture.
A third possibility (less likely) would be a bony lesion of the shaft of the humerus bone, such as a benign enchondroma or a malignancy.
Since your symptoms have been present for about 3 months it would be an excellent idea to get an x-ray of the humerus. Make sure they don't do just a shoulder x-ray as they often cut off the image at mid shaft of the humerus. If there is any equivocal findings, you can follow up with a CT scan, which gives detailed views of the bones, or a radioisotope bone scan.
Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
What type of doctor should I see? A neurologist because of the myasthenia gravis or a bone doctor (that specialty has slipped my mind)?
This is not related to your myasthenia. This would fall under orthopedics. But you do not need to see a specialist right away. Your family doctor or someone in urgent care can order the x-ray and get the ball rolling, so to speak. If it turns out to be an inflammatory condition that won't heal with conservative treatment, or a bony lesion of some sort, you would need a referral to orthopedics.
Thank-you for your help. Too bad time doesn't heal all wounds.
It may...with rest. :-)
But resting an arm can be difficult, especially if you live a busy, active life. I think the x-ray will tell you if this is something that needs immediate attention or can wait, perhaps with physical therapy or an injection, etc, to help expedite healing. Either way, it is likely to get better with time and the proper treatment.