T Nation

Strange Pain in Left Arm


For 7 months I’ve been dealing with nagging slight pain in my left arm. Mainly the front of the elbow, but also sometimes near the shoulder. The pain seems to be consistent with the locations of the tendon attachments to the bicep. For a while I also felt pain in the forearm and on the bicep but this has mostly subsided.

Let me describe the pain, it only lasts a few seconds tops and is a 2/10 at its worst. I may feel it only a few times a day. I don’t necessarily have to be lifting anything. At no point have I had loss of strength or numbness, etc. Often if happens after moving the arm in a certain way, but repeating the activity right afterwards usually does not re-trigger the pain. However, lifting things does seem to somewhat gradually trigger it. Pain does seem to be more frequent when I move my arm around at night, and the morning seems to be the most likely time of the day to feel pain.

When I first injured my arm 7 months ago, the pain was like 8/10. I first noticed it doing side lateral cable raises, and the 8 was achieved when I did preacher curls. I immediately went to the doc when I first suspected I might have an injury. After a few weeks of physical therapy where it was assumed the problem was tendinitis, the pain had mostly subsided, but still existed. After several more weeks of no additional progress, I discontinued seeing the PT. A few months later I would see another PT who prescribed a similar routine but this once again did me little good.

I received an MRI on the front of the elbow, but nothing was found they said. I saw several doctors, a couple physical therapists and a massage therapist. I’ve heard many different theories as to the problem.

It seems when I return to the gym, the condition gets slightly worse after each workout, no matter how much I avoid using the biceps and warm up. So I do think strenuous physical activity aggravates it. Also, when I do pull-ups and bicep curls I can actually feel a slight pain and moreso discomfort right away.

Amazing that 7 months later, an MRI, and seeing several doctors and PTs and I still feel like I barely have a clue what the problem could be. I’ve investigated various tendinopathies, nerve damage conditions, etc and it seems like my condition just doesn’t quite match all the symptoms for the conditions I’ve read about.

For instance, for various tendinopathies one of the common symptoms seems to be weakness or numbness but I have never had that. I also don’t feel pain to the touch and doing various movements like turning my palm up or what have you none of which cause me any pain.

I’m not asking for advice on treatment, I’m asking what people think is the most likely cause? Then we can go from there. I’ve gone the doctor route with no luck.