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Mental Health

Paralyzed left diaphragm, with severe pain

08/09/2007

Question:

I was diagnoised with a paralized left (hemi) diaphragm, about 2 years ago. I was in the Army, so they discharged me for it. It causes shortness of breath, but every pulmonologist I have seen says my lungs are healthy. I have not seen a nerologist yet, although I have asked many times...the problem everyone seems to be ignoring is the pain I am constantly in! The back of my neck, face, shoulders and chest get a "heavy" feeling.I begin slurring my words, and can not lift my arms abouve my head. I have only had my appendix removed, as far as any procedures go.I am getting very frustrated because, I was also diagnoised with severe PTSD, I am on meds and learning to deal with that. But every time I see a doctor or go to the E.R. for my pain and paralasys, I end up with a Motrin and a phsyc evaluation.I feel like no one is taking me seriously! I am 31 years old with 2 pre-teen kids.Before I was injured I was extremely active. Now I can`t even walk up stairs, or wash my own hair!Do you have any idea what I should do? If my phrenic nerve is paralized, how could it have been? What matches my symptoms?

Answer:

Without reviewing your medical records, it will be difficult to offer you helpful input regarding your situation.

If you have not seen a pumonary specialist, I highly recommend that you do so. I would start there and bring your records with you at the time of your consultation. There are multiple causes linked to diaphragmatic paralysis on one side.

If the pulmonologist cannot explain your pain, other options include seeing a thoracic surgeon or someone in the pain management arena. I would suggest that you avoid narcotics if possible.

A psychiatry consultation could be beneficial to address stress, PTSD, anxiety or depression. All of those syndromes can worsen pain.

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Response by:

Stephen F Pariser, MD Stephen F Pariser, MD
Faculty Emeritus
Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University