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Old 09-30-2009, 12:17 PM   #1
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Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

In September of 2006 I was donating plasma at LifeSouth. When the machine cycled to send the blood and fluid back into my vein I had immediate burning pain in my arm. The technician immediately stopped the machine and removed the needle, but my arm was still very painful. I was told to take some Advil, elevate the arm and use a heating pad. The injury happened on a Monday and I was told to come back on Friday if it wasn't any better. No matter what I did the pain in my arm continued to increase and my arm also became very red and swollen to nearly the size of a football. At the time I was uninsured so the only treatment I was able to have was what LifeSouth was willing to provide.

I called them before Friday and explained my situation. They sent me to American Family Medicine, which is a Pri Med like facility. The doctor there took one look at my arm and told me that she was afraid I might have a blood clot and sent me straight to the ER. At the ER I waited for nearly six hours while I was terrified that I might be in real trouble with a clot. Eventually I was seen and they did an ultrasound on my arm. There was no blood clot. I was given a prescription for pain medicine and sent home.

The color of my arm did eventually return to normal, but the swelling never fully went away. There is a very clearly visible area on my arm that is still swollen three years later. I finally have insurance now and I saw my general practice doctor to see if she had any suggestions for anything that might be done for my arm. It is still very painful on a day to day basis. If I am careful not to use it I can minimize the pain a little, but even day to day household chores (like laundry or dishes) cause me a lot of pain in my arm. The strength of the arm doesn't seem to have been affected very much, but any lifting is extremely painful.

My doctor sent me to an Orthopedic doctor to see if he would be able to help me. The Orthopedic doctor ordered an MRI done. When I went in to get the results from the MRI he told me that he did not see anything that he would be able to fix and that I would have to

 
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Old 10-20-2009, 08:39 AM   #2
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Re: Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

i do hope you are still popping back on here even tho this was posted a while back? the one thing you REALLY do need to try and get ruled out or in here with this is a condition called RSD(reflex sympathetic dystrophy) or the newer name complex regional pain syndrome(CRPS). ONLY becasue the constriction and dilation of our blood vessels is goverend by our sympathetic nervous systems is this even a possible ramification of anything that can possibly impact the symp itself, which unfortunetly also includes someone screwing up a simple blood draw by damaging an actual vessel or as in your case, there propably was/is an injury to it at least to some degree. i also have this nasty pain syndrome when my sympathetic nervous system was actually damaged within my spinal cord during a surgery to try and remove a vascular glob of blood vessels that was kind of my 'birthmark"> very insane let me tell ya.

i have RSD in my right knee that popped in very shortly post op from that cord surgery. this casues at times deep burning stinging pain(possible bone pain too), hypersensitivity to even the slightest touch, there is always a swelling involved and whats called a vasomotor malfunction too. it would appear that these are all present in that area, or were at some points along the way? this also has some type of actual temperature change within the affected area too which can be either the area being colder or hotter than the surrounding 'normal' areas or the opposite limb?

unfortunetly there really is not an actual definitive type of test for RSD, BUT obtaining, since this is actually in the upper torso, what is called a 'stellate ganglion block' would show whether or not this is or is not at least a sympathetically generated type of pain syndrome(the block just stops all symp signals from going to and if postive would immediately reduce or even get rid of the pain being generated by symp signals, but this is only temporary,but it tells them just where this is stemming from).

the place you need to be right now for this test and the very best chance at reining in the pain would be to simply have your primary doc refer you to a good pain management facility. this is where you can also obtain that very badly needed stellate block done too. the anesthesiologists that these facilitys just have know what RSD actually is and how to do that diagnostic stellate too. the PM docs also know the very very best ways to try and manage the pain of this type of syndrome too. this is where i ended up and trust me, things got sooo much better once i got there.

but you really DO need that one type of block to really be able to determine whether this just IS sympathetically generated or from something else. and the amazing tools that the PM facilitys have and the knowledge of this nasty ugly pain syndrome is where you would obtain the best level of real understanding from treating docs and the right combos of meds that are just used to try and treat this type of pain syndrome. i am really rather suprised that you actually saw an ortho and he did not even bother to think about this possible syndrome as the reason for your symptoms and pain? most good knowledgable orthos just DO know about this particular syndrome since it can actually also occur during just about any type of ortho surgery too. its just one risk that is always there.

i am very very lucky with my particular ortho i have. he does have alot of knowledge and a good understaneding of RSD. since i also had damage in the knee where my RSD actually is and needed two seperate surgeries done on it, that alone was a huge blessing since certain precautions just have to be put into place whenever an RSD patient has any type of surgery done, espescially on the affected area. any surgery done espescially on the affected are can just cause the pain to become much worse,or even casue a mirror type spread to the opposite limb only becasue they share the very same level of the sympathetic chain.

but DO see about getting that very crucial referral to a pain management facility as soon as possible, espescially for that one diagnostic type of block being done on you. this would dictate the very best types of treatment and pain control options for you too. while no one really knows just exactly why anyone actually gets this hell triggered and some people do not,they have found ways to try and help manage it and toi also keep it from possibly spreading to other areas too.

i DO HOPE you are still out there and reading this. i just happened to pop into this board for info on my mom and saw your thread. otherwise i do not normally post here. you just really NEED to get that one block done to see where this is coming from hon. i hope you see this. Marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 10-20-2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

Thank you so much for the information. I'll definitely be checking all of that out further. I don't frequent the board, but thankfully I did have the foresight to send replies to my email address. Thanks for taking a look at an old thread.

-Teresa

 
Old 10-30-2009, 07:46 AM   #4
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Re: Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

hey no problem. i just happened to see this and it seemed to me this very well could be your main underlying problem(everything just sounded too familiar to me). i am REALLY glad you saw this too. sorry I did not get back here sooner, i kind of forgot i had posted this to you then it kind of 'hit me" duh? but i seriously think this really does need to be further evaluated as the possible Dx of your whole pain situation right now. there is a really great RSD boards here too where you can obtain alot of good solid info by some very caring people.

simply obtaining that one stellate block would truely show whether or not this is actually sympathetically maintained or generated pain. please let me know what you actually find out. the sooner a series of the blocks gets done the better the outcome with most people. of course after they truely know for certain by doing that initial diagnostic block. good luck, marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 10-30-2009, 08:48 AM   #5
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Re: Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

Unfortunately it's probably going to be a little while before I can get anything else done about it. I'm unemployed (and have been for a year) and money is tight. We have great insurance, but our extra medical budget was recently eaten up when my husband's glasses broke. Life happens.

I do have this thread saved though, and I fully intend to talk to my doctor about it and get a referral to a pain management group. I'll take a look at the RSD board on here too.

Thanks again,
-Teresa

 
Old 11-01-2009, 09:35 AM   #6
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Re: Old Arm Injury from Donating Plasma Constantly Hurts

ya, crap kinda seems to just happen and usually at the worst possible time. thank the good lord tho that you just DO have ins. if you want to, you can also PM me as well? i am just really really wondering myself if this is just RSD or the newer name CRPS? your symptoms just really do fit, unfortuently. but yes, DO seek out a good PM since they are the ones that can also do the symp block on you too. you just really need this right now. the sooner the symp/stellate blocks get started after dx, the much better they work on your pain and symptoms. you just really need that true Dx right now. let me know how you are doing, K? marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
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