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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5118
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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Intermittent left arm shooting pain that lasts seconds

Customer Question

Intermittent left arm shooting pain that lasts seconds
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
How long have you had this problem? Where is the origin of the shooting pain?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The arm about 3 hours
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It originates in the arm
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hellooo
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
From the neck down, the shoulder down or does it move up the arm?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
From the shoulder down between elbow and soulder
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
Any recent falls, lifting injuries, neck trauma, etc?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Carried two bags on my arm today.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But that wS earlier
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
Does the arm hurt at all between shooting pains? Does it hurt when you raise the arm overhead (e.g. when combing your hair)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It feels stiff
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What happened?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
This sounds like a deltoid strain or bursitis. The deltoid is the large muscle that forms a cap around the shoulder joint. It's function is to raise the arm up from the side of the body. When strained, some of the muscle fibers can be torn. This can cause sharp pains shooting down the middle portion of the arm where it attaches to the humerus bone. It can also cause the arm to be stiff when you try to raise it. Similarly, a bursitis is an inflammation in the deltoid bursa that surrounds the shoulder and provided lubrication, in a sense, for the rotating shoulder. It usually comes on more slowly from repetitive strain or injury, but can also result in shooting pain and stiffness.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I'm not having a myocardial infarction?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
In either case, it is important to rest the arm. Using a shoulder sling can help a lot as it rests the deltoid and lets others know that the arm is injured. Icing the affected area and taking an anti-inflammatory for a few days typically aids in pain relief and reduction of long term inflammation and scarring.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
In the case of MI, the pain is typically in the left side of the chest with radiation into the jaw or left shoulder area. It typically first occurs with activity or exercise and may be associated with nausea, dizziness, sweating, palpitations or even a crushing sensation in the chest. It is not usually confined to the shoulder and upper arm only.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
If you have risk factors for cardiac disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and/or a strong family history, it would be a good idea to see a doctor and have an EKG and blood tests done to rule this out.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have well controlled hypertension
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
I see. Well brief shooting pains down the arm from the shoulder to above the elbow, in the absence of other "cardiac" type symptoms, do not suggest a myocardial infarction. Unfortunately, this diagnosis cannot be ruled out completely without a thorough history and careful physical exam. If you suspect this you should seek medical care promptly at an express care clinic or ER.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Do you have any follow up questions?
If not, please don't forget to provide a rating. This is the only way experts get credit for their work and customers get credit for their good faith.
Thanks so much,
Doctor-Bob

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