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Pain Management

Upper Body and Appendage Pain

04/16/2007

Question:

I have a stabbing pain in the middle of my back on the right side and pain in my arm on my left side that goes from the shoulder to the elbow. It hurts all the time and is only relieved by lying on my back but hurts to get up and turn to the left or right. It hurts the most at night and in the morning. It doesn't hurt when I sit but it hurts when I get up.

I don't have much money and can't afford to go to the doctor and was wondering if you can tell me if this is something that needs medical attention or is life threatening, or will it go away with time or over the counter medicine. Thank you so much.

Answer:

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to figure out what you have and the natural history of the pain without full history and physical examination performed by a physician and often imaging may be necessary. The pain may be mechanical stemming from a spine problem and may not be life threatening but the only way to know is to be evaluated by a physician. You may be able to be seen by a physician for little or no money in a free clinic or in the emergency room.

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Response by:

Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD Salim M Hayek, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University