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Sports Medicine

Loss of strength in left arm

07/10/2006

Question:

I have been trying to find out information on my left arm. I have been unsuccessful so far, I hope that you can help. I am loosing strength in my arm and my muscles in my left arm continuously twitch and jump. I cannot as much as hold a gallon of milk with my left arm. I am without insurance and want to go to a doctor but cannot afford to go to two or three before I find someone that can help. Would like to know what type of doctor to go to start with. What these symptoms could be? I am at a loss and would really like some direction. Thanks in advance for any help that you can offer.

Answer:

The starting point is usually for a patient to consult with their primary care physician (PCP). If you have a PCP, consider calling their office to see if your symptoms are something your physician feels comfortable evaluating and treating and, if not, which specialist physician would your PCP recommend. If you don't have a PCP, you may or may not be able to refer yourself to a specialist physician such as a PM&R (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) specialist or a Neurologist.

Your symptoms could be due to a pinched nerve in the left side of your neck, a problem involving your spinal cord within your neck (either or both of which could result from compression from bone spurs), or (less likely) a problem with your left shoulder. If you have symptoms of weakness or muscle twitching involving your legs or right arm, there could be a more generalized neurologic condition responsible for these symptoms.

Since your condition significantly interferes with your ability to function and is worsening, it would be best if you undergo medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University