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 Left Arm Pain & Sweating 
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:57 am
Posts: 9
Post Left Arm Pain & Sweating
About a month ago my grandmother started having symptoms of a heart attack so we took her to ER. She didn't have a heart attack, but her heart is becoming stressed from the medications. She went home after a week.

Since then she continues to get horrible left arm pain that lasts anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours. It starts to shake worse then usual too. Along with the pain, she always breaks out in a sweat.

The doctors dont seem to really know what this could be, and dont seem to care too much. I was wondering if anyone had a LO experience this?

Sun May 20, 2007 6:16 pm

Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Try to observe if there's anything she does that sets off the pain -- eg, moving her arm, using her arm, clenching her fist.

For my dad (with PSP), he started having horrible pain attacks in his right leg, after feeding tube placement surgery. I thought they were charley horses and began treating him with quinine. One day I pointed these pain attacks out to a PT who said that these were not cramps but spasms. Spasticity is a common problem in PD and PD-related disorders (like PSP and LBD).

Usually spasticity is treated with baclofen. We are almost maxed out on baclofen and Dad still has terrible spasms. His right leg is in flexion and the right arm is in extension. We learned from the PT how to apply pressure to resolve the pain and trigger the muscle to relax. Unfortunately the brain isn't sending the right signal to the muscle to relax.

We are now looking around for other meds besides baclofen. Those with MSA, which is a disease quite similar to LBD, also have spasticity. For many MSAers, they consider having a baclofen pump implanted in the body!

I'm not sure why the sweats accompany the spasms. Hyperhidrosis (extreme sweating) is a sign of autonomic dysfunction. And dysautonomia is a problem in PD and PD-related disorders. As far as I know, there's nothing you can do for this.

I suggest you speak with your mother's neurologist about whether this could be spasticity and autonomic dysfunction. I would doubt the cardio doc or the internal medicine doc would know much about either (from the point of view of diagnosis).

Good luck,

Sun May 20, 2007 9:36 pm

Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:57 am
Posts: 9
thank you for your insight. after further discussion with an md i work with, she feels its also neurological and that basically her brain isnt sending the message to the arm. unfortunately, due to her other conditions and all her meds, there would be no relief, just to try and reposition the arm to correct the problem. i do appreciate your advice.

Mon May 21, 2007 9:47 pm

Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:38 pm
Posts: 712
Location: CA
Hi! I'm sure they checked it all in the hospital, but verify that her potassium level was normal. Earlier this year, I ended up in the ER with severe left arm pain and some heart arrhythmia thinking it was a heart attack. Turned out I was in severe potassium depletion (from blood pressure diuretic medication), which caused the muscle pain in the left arm and the heart irregularity.

Renata (and Jerome-in-Heaven)

Thu May 24, 2007 9:01 pm

Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:43 am
Posts: 215
Location: Seattle, WA
Magnesium as well - diuretics and low dietary consumption leave many older adults quite magnesium-deficient. Getting Cal into the normal range has been a real challenge.


Cal is not the real name of a real 84 year old with DLB. I don't speak for LBDA, nor do I have clever initials behind my name, so information is provided without warranty. Caveat everybody. I blog at

Fri May 25, 2007 6:48 pm
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