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Arm Pit pain

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kdholt
kdholt Member Posts: 40
edited June 2022 in Lymphedema

I have posted on a couple different forums and read responses from people who have LE so decided to post here again as well. I had bc surgery and rads 3 yrs ago. This past Oct. I injured my arm and developed mild LE. Went to a therapist and managed to reduce swelling by a cm but still can't wear my watch on my wrist. Anyway, long story short. I am wondering if this sounds like it could be LE or truncal LE from posts  read on other forums. For the past two weeks I have had underarm pain. On a scale of 1-10 it is maybe a one-not bad just kinda there and I notice it when I press my arm to my side or push myself up with my left arm. It is definitely not bone pain. I have felt and felt for lumps under the arm and on my breast. There is nothing. My breast is not enlarged that I can tell, not warm to the touch, not discolored in anyway. So I am wondering from you ladies that have LE and truncal LE does this sound like what I am experiencing- I am so new to all this LE stuff. The pain is kinda like being pricked by an underwire bra except i feel it when I have no bra on. Also wondered if scar tissue could be acting up. Ok LE sisters let me know if this is LE symptoms or if something more ominous is going on. Oh and if it is LE does tenderness go away or will I always have it.

Thanks! Debbie

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  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that even when I take advil the tenderness is still there- it doesn't really go away. Is that a typical symptom of LE?

    Debbie

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    bump

  • binney4
    binney4 Member Posts: 1,466
    edited April 2011
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    Debbie, I'm sorry for this new crumminess that brings you here!Frown The kind of pain you mention is like the pain I have with my truncal lymphedema when it's not in good control. And it doesn't respond to pain meds either. Very maddening.

    I'm wondering, when you saw the LE therapist, what treatment did you have? Did she do MLD and wrap your arm/hand daily for a couple of weeks? Suggest gentle exercises to do while wrapped? Teach you self-MLD and wrapping? If so, have you been doing any MLD to try to deal with this new issue? Even wrapping your arm might help -- it does ease my truncal pain some when it's flaring.

    Let us know what you've tried and what effect it's having and hopefully others will come along with their suggestions.

    Hoping you get answers soon, and that there's an easy "fix" here!

    Gentle hugs,
    Binney

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    Thanks Binney for the input. I went to a PT who has worked with LE patients before but she is not an actual LE therapist. I live in a small community so I don't have the options of a big city nearby. Anyway, she did through pt manage to reduce the swelling by a cm but then there was no change so she said she could no longer justify treatment with the insurance company when we weren't noticing any additional change so i stopped going. We did talk about getting a sleeve but I was unsure what to do since my LE seemed mild. I have my yr. mammo coming up and need to set up a breast examine ahead of time with dr. so I will have her order more PT. Should I also order a sleeve? what about a camisole that I have seen advertised on some of the LE sites you LE ladies have recommended? My arm was never wrapped and i saw her 2 or 3 times a week. I was never given exercises or anything to. What recommendations do you have me?

    Debbie

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    bump

  • kira
    kira Member Posts: 659
    edited April 2011
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    Debbie, I think it's time for more PT and with a PT who knows truncal LE-you willl need more MLD instruction and truncal compression garments.

    That 2 cm rule was made up by 2 PT's for one study and it's been made the "gold standard" of defining LE by default--clinically it's only of limited value.

    If you have symtoms, you need PT. I had to fight that issue as well.

    Kira

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    What about a sports bra? Does that help? I bought a compression bra this weekend and thought I would give it a try-only it is not very prettyCool. Are there pretty under garments that might also help keep truncal LE in check? I also bought the Lebed method of movement DVD. I am trying anything I can. So frustrated-why now is this rearing its ugly head. I keep trying to figure out what I did to cause the truncal LE. I know how the other one started, but this is a puzzle. I spose I could have cut myself shaving or pulled something in my sleep. Range of motion with my left arm was definitely affected by my surgery.  Also a question- I am due for my mammo soon. That always makes me a mess - how does that effect LE and does LE show up on a mammo-just want to be prepared. Appreciate the insight

  • lovetosail
    lovetosail Member Posts: 36
    edited April 2011
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    Hi kdholt - I just returned from a surfing vacation and your armpit pain sensations sound similar to mine.  I also get a little bit of pain directly under the reconstructed breast (I had unilateral DIEP).  My arm is fine, no swelling there.  JO-5 - yes the pain is an ache, like you describe, and sometimes does wrap around to my back!  Ibuprofen helps a little, but not much. 

    As you might imagine, surfing involves pressing yourself up with your arm, and that motion, along with paddling, is a little painful.

    Thanks for posting about your symptoms, it was reassuring to hear of others experiencing something similar (although of course I wish all of us had NONE of these problems!)

  • Shrek4
    Shrek4 Member Posts: 519
    edited April 2011
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    Make sure you don't have a subtle axillary web cording. That can give quite a pain in the axilla.

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    Thanks for the input. My pain is not severe-just something I notice that wasn't there before and it is always there. Anyway, is it common for someone with arm LE to also develop truncal LE. Binney said sometimes she wraps her arm (or wears a sleeve?) and that sometimes helps with truncal LE. Why would that be?

    Debbie

  • kdholt
    kdholt Member Posts: 40
    edited April 2011
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    Isn't that funny. My LE is mild too, I have the most trouble with my inner lower arm below the elbow just above my wrist. I remember that when my LE in my arm first developed it was sore for several weeks so maybe the under arm/trunk tenderness will go away to. Just would love to know what set it off. Maybe it was always present and the loss of motion or pulling i felt if i stretched too much was the beginning and i never realized it. Actually, I am just assuming these symptoms are truncal LE. I haven't actually been told by a dr. it is but i cant find anything else wrong-no lumps or bumps that should not be there and I have been checking daily. Everything appears ok except for the tenderness and maybe slight swelling in my breast.

    Debbie

  • fromabroad
    fromabroad Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2011
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    Hi

    I have pain in my armpit(also) all the time.Ihave a medi-buister with short sleeves claas 2 that helps me with the pain.At night-dont laugh please;i put under my armpit inflatable pilatis ball It really eases the pain.Swimming also helps-but I can also tell that the pain is with me all the time!

  • hadlcis
    hadlcis Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2022
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    7 years post-reconstruction here. Had LCIS and was getting picked apart with biopsies with no end in sight. Opted for double mastectomy w/ reconstruction. No lymph nodes removed. No issues with LE. As folks who have been through this can confirm....your chest/underarm physiology changes with these surgeries and I don't have COMPLETE nerve feeling everywhere so it can be difficult to determine where sensations are emanating from. Recently while doing a chest fly with weights I felt a sensation like strain/pulling on the right side. Since then I've had a constant ache in my right arm pit extending into the underside of my right upper arm. I can't feel any lump or other abnormality. I can especially feel the ache when I raise the arm to do a tricep exercise, but for the most part it remains a low grade dull ache even when doing nothing. It's been more than a month and does not go away if I avoid the referenced exercises. Anyone else dealt with something like this? The right breast feels and looks fine. Might it be cording or something to do with the musculature that runs from chest to arm? Thanks in advance.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,928
    edited June 2022
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    Dear hadlcis,

    Welcome to the BCO Community. We are sorry that this pain has brought you here. We are glad that you reached out for help. Unfortunately this particular topic has not seen activity since 2011. Hopefully between your new post and our response the topic will get bumped back to active and others may chime in with their experiences. If you don't receive a timely response you may want to start a new topic on this subject that might draw more response. Keep us posted and let us know how we can further direct you so you can find the information that will be a help to you.

    The Mods


  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
    edited June 2022
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    Hadicis even though you had no lymph nodes removed under your arm, you did have extensive surgery which can create risk for lymphedema. The low ache you describe sounds a lot like what I experienced as my LE was beginning. Can you get access to a certified LE therapist to see if clearing lowers your pain? It is common to get fluid buildup in the breast/truncal/pitt area.