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Swollen arm, elbow, wrist, hand

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  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Oh, I meant shoulder mobility. When I hurt my shoulders, I couldn't raise my arm much at first. It took a long time before I could raise my arm above my shoulder.


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Shoulder mobility about zer

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    You must still be in so much pain. I remember the pain waking me up just from moving a little. Changing clothes was challenging.

    Do you take supplements? Magnesium and vitamin B12 are good for nerve problems. Go easy with magnesium. Too much at once leads to diarrhea.

    Since your arm movement is limited, you could focus on your hand. Throughout the day just open/close your hand, tap your fingers, or touch each finger to your thumb. Do MLD on your hand. You can try to do the breathing exercise while keeping your left arm still. It will help with overall lymphatic movement.

    Hope each day you see some improvement.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    SerenitySTAT

    Yes, this is the most pain I've ever been in and for such a longtime. I'm avoiding the narcotics because I don't want to be sick to my stomach. Hard to fall asleep and the pain wakes me up.

    I take B12 shots so glad to hear that helps nerve pain. Haven't tried magnesium.

    I am moving my fingers frequently to help push the fluid out. My hand is so swollen that I can't touch my fingers to my thumb. thanks for all your support and suggestions.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    This is one of the worst pains. It's surprising how involved your shoulders are in most movements.

    What do you take for pain? I've been able to take narcotics when required, but have you checked if there's an alternative? Being in constant pain can prolong nerve pain. For severe sciatic pain I took a combination of Lyrica, an anti-inflammatory, a muscle relaxant, and an opioid (as needed). I no longer take any of them, but I did resist taking them at first. I found rehab exercises worked better when the meds reduced the pain first.

    Are you able to do MLD on your hand? I have a facial massage roller that would probably work for hand massage. They're not expensive.

    Hope you can get some sleep tonight.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Worst pain in my life. I've been getting Toradol injections, taking Extra Strength Tylenol, Muscle relaxant some nights, and a compound cream with 2 muscle relaxants, gabapentin, and lidocaine.

    I literally can't get out of bed if taking narcotics due to nausea, dizziness so couldn't even think about taking that and going to therapy. Will talk with my doctor this week about meds.

    I think I can do MLD on my hand, I have a small massage roller to use.



  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    I did have to increase my Lyrica dosage so you might be able to do the same if you haven't been on Gabapentin long.

    Hope your doctor can prescribe something else.

  • catchphase
    catchphase Member Posts: 2
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    hi

    My daughter had lymphedema and the only thing she was prescribed was oral morph

  • catchphase
    catchphase Member Posts: 2
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    My daughter also under went a lumpectomy the surgeon didn't remove all of the cancer she didn't receive and radiation and went with out any further treatment for 12 weeks. Anyone else know someone that was in a similar situation and what was the outcome

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    I’ll see the surgeon Friday and will discuss painmeds. I’m wondering about lidocaine patches so the arm feels numb temporarily. Anyone hear of that for treatment?


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Catchphase

    Thanks for your input regarding pain meds. Are you looking for another surgeon to remove the remaining cancer your daughter has and to receive further treatment of radiation


  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    How's recovery going? Hope you have less swelling and pain.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Hi SerenitySTAT,

    I am having less pain but I think the pain I'm having is from muscle spasms all up and down my arm, especially at my elbow. Who knows what pressure was being put on my arm during the surgery in addition to the fall. I'm going to ask PT if she can release some of the knots. The swelling is going down but my fingers are still quite swollen. I'll ask the LE therapist tomorrow about that. The compression for my arm hurts and seems to make my elbow more tight so I'll ask about that also. Compression isn't suppose to cause pain is it? My surgeon gave me a referral for regular PT and I hope to get in this week.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Compression shouldn't cause more pain. Does it feel too tight? Any feedback on kinesiotaping?

    Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms. Try getting it from multiple sources throughout the day. Right now I take a tablet at night and eat prunes (also good for bones). I used to drink magnesium calm, but I don't feel the need anymore.

    Nerve issues can cause both spasms and knots. I don't know if anyone would try to work out your muscle knots while you're so swollen. I had a huge muscle knot from sciatica. I tried deep tissue massage, but what eventually worked was relaxing the nerve. Taking the muscle relaxant helped.

    How much range of motion do you have with your arm/shoulder?

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    ROM I can reach my other shoulder/arm, sitting I can touch my feet. I'll let the LE therapist know about the pain, the tubigrip doesn't feel tight but it's putting pressure on my already sore elbow. I've taken some muscle relaxant but mostly as a topical application. My stomach can't handle so many pills. Forgot to ask about the tape.

    Eating black figs, beans, spinach, and milk for magnesium.


  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Can you hold your arm out to the side at shoulder level?

    If so, you can try this. A few reps slowly throughout the day. Stop if pain increases.


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    I can't move my arm out like that at all. Thanks for the video, it will be much later in recovery to do that motion.

  • josieo
    josieo Member Posts: 140
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    Hi Veeder,

    Been following your thread. Will just add a few comments from experience:

    - If you take Lyrica, be sensitive to evidence of swelling as a side effect. My mother took it for leg pain and she had swelling of her toes. She switched to generic gabapentin and the swelling went away

    - lidocaine patches work well with no side effects. If your insurance won’t cover the 4% lidocaine patches, you can buy the OTC3% lidocaine patches by Salonpas at Walmart and Costco, which has the best pricing.

    Hang in there.

    JosieO


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Hi Josie,

    Thanks for your input.

    My arm swelling is going down but my hand and particularly my fingers are still swollen, can't bend them very far. LE therapist is doing MLD each time and that helps. Also, she gave me a smaller edema glove and new tubigrip for the arm since the swelling went down. I still have the nerve pain from the elbow down and wondering if one of the arm nerves is trapped/very irritated from the swelling. Trying to keep my elbow straight instead of bent. Will need to check with the doctor if it doesn't go away.

  • BlueGirlRedState
    BlueGirlRedState Member Posts: 900
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    Does anything else cause swelling/fluid retention? I have been dealing with lymphedema in R-arm since June 2019. Compression, pumping helped until cancer blew up 11/2020 and became MBC. Switched from Ibrance/Arimidex to Exemestane/Everolimus(Afinitor). Radiation April/May 2021 really knocked down the tumor R-axilla and swelling went way down. Late July at the coast I noticed my L-foot looked like a pancake and leg slightly swollen, calf had edema rings from socks. Pumping/elevation help. But now getting some swelling in R- leg as well. Probably have about 5 pounds of water retained in legs. MO says it is probably the cancer. Now wearing compression stockings that almost go to crotch on both legs. I urinate regularly ( every 2-3 hrs). Any diuretic teas ?

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Veeder - Glad that the arm swelling is going down. When I first had LE my hand would swell more when I walked with my arm swinging. I had less hand swelling when I held my arm close to my body.

    BlueGirlRedState - Have you checked with your PCP to see if they can find a different cause for your leg edema?

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Hi SerenitySTAT

    I am trying to keep my arm up but not bent all day so the swelling doesn't pool up at my elbow. I really wish my fingers would unswell so I can use my hand. The LE Therapist looked at the previous compression glove 15-20 and said that's too much at this point. I'm using an edema glove for now.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    I'm left-handed, so when my left hand was swollen it was a pain. I already do most things right-handed, but I'm a lefty!

    I hope your hand can recover soon like mine did. I'm still tapping my fingers out of habit now.

    How do you hold your arm up? I have a foam roller that's the right height to hold my arm at shoulder level when I'm sitting. I used to sleep with my arm on a pillow.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    I’m left handed also and this is a pain having to be right handed for now. Thanks, I hope my hand recovers soon so at least I can type and stuff like that while being non weight bearing. I’m using a pillow to prop up my arm when sitting. When laying down it’s too painful to have my arm and elbow ona pillow pressing against it so just putting my arm by my side.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    How's your recovery going? Hope you have less pain and swelling.

  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Hi SerenitySTAT,

    Thanks for checking in with me. Recovery is moving along slowly. Had first visit with PT and she loosened up the muscles where my shoulder meets my chest. I do have less nerve pain now, she thinks that was part of the problem not at my elbow. LE Therapist measurements are down in all areas of my hand/arm. We might try my regular sleeve and glove this week. My hand/fingers are still swollen and they turn blue but all the bruises are gone. After I take a walk in the park my hand is regular color from circulation improvement while moving.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Progress! 👍

    Recovery takes longer than we want, but hopefully it goes in the right direction. You may have some setbacks as you try to do more, but just keep up your rehab gently.


  • veeder14
    veeder14 Member Posts: 272
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    Hi SerenitySTAT and everybody,

    Here's an update, the LE Therapist has helped me so much. The swelling has gone down a lot by total volume when measurements were taken today. My fingers continue to be swollen especially the joints which is painful. I'm working on wearing a regular compression glove, it's very tight and I can't wear it for long but apparently it will stretch with use. Doing my exercises the other PT gave me and it's getting easier.


  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192
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    Veeder that is wonderful news! So happy to hear you are getting results.

  • SerenitySTAT
    SerenitySTAT Member Posts: 3,534
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    Veeder - Woohoo! Glad you're seeing improvement. 👍