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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5121
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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I have developed a very mild burning pain in my forearms,

Customer Question

Hi. I have developed a very mild burning pain in my forearms, originating at the elbow and going down to my wrist. Along the path of the Ulnar nerve. I used to have some kind of chronic wrist tendinitis/tendinosis years ago but it eventually cleared up, with the occasional very mild burning pain. A couple of years later the mild burning has returned for the first time. Any ideas? I'm fairly sure it is ulnar nerve related and not the actual tendons etc. I've been playing quite a lot of piano and lifting heavy weights recently.
JA: What seems to make the symptoms worse or better? Have you noticed any swelling?
Customer: Driving, for instance, increases the burning a little bit. But it is very minor. No actual pain. I am just cautious as I don't want it to get worse. There is no swelling.
JA: Is there anything else the Neurologist should be aware of?
Customer: That is all. THanks.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Neurologist about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

Hi there. Burning sensations, wherever they may be, are what we call paresthesias, and typically indicate nerve irritation or nerve injury. In the vast majority of cases, the problem is from repetitive microtrauma to muscles, tendons or ligaments from overuse. In other words, it is related to the things we do over and over, and the irritation (and inflammation) build up very slowly over time.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Got it. I wouldn't say I've been playing the piano excessively, just a bit more than normal. It onset very soon after I'd done some heavy deadlifts in the gym where I was struggling with grip strength (my forearm muscles were sore the day after).To clarify, do you mean the damage has been done to the nerves or the tendons or both? What should I do going forwards? I've been doing stretches so far and nothing has really changed. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

There may be acute injury (strain from lifting) on top of chronic overuse. Either way, the muscle fibers and/or tendons are usually the structures that are injured on a microscopic level. The nerves are firing either because they are also injured within the muscles or tendons, or are simply trying to let you know that the structures they lie in (and are "responsible for") are being injured.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Okay. What do you recommend for recovery? As I said, it isn't painful as such, but I'm paranoid of making things worse and would prefer the sensation was gone again.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 6 months ago.

Of course, and the best way to care for this type of problem is rest, rest and more rest. Wear wrist splints (both to unload the forearm muscles and to let people around you know there is a problem) and try to avoid repetitive tasks. Even using the computer keyboard and mouse is a common source for this type of forearm strain and/or tendonitis. Other than that, some get relief from icing the affected areas (reducing inflammation) and from anti-inflammatory medications such as advil or alleve.

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