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  1. #1
    Registered User blueray4's Avatar
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    Swelling in one arm after exercise, Doctor is no help!

    I've been having chronic trouble with my right arm. It gets 2 inches bigger than my other arm after lifting weights or repetitive use of the arm. There are veins on the right side of my chest and shoulder that are blue but not bulging. I lose some mobility in the arm. My hand gets cold, no pain or numbness. I've been having symptoms for 6 months. When I lay off of exercise the swelling slowly goes away, but veins persist.

    My primary care doctor sent me to a vascular specialist and they ruled out any vascular problems. My primary care doctor does not know where to go from here.

    My only guess would be lymphedema, but wouldn't exercise be good? not aggravate it?

    The only injury I can remember is slightly tweeking my shoulder about a year ago.

    My doctor is no help! Any suggestions on where to go from here are appreciated.
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  2. #2
    avatar loading 908's Avatar
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    What did the vascular specialist do to assess the issue? If it was a vascular problem, LIGHT exercise normally helps with excess fluid build up. However, that likely wouldn't be the case for you since exercise is what's causing your swelling. How does the arm feel when it swells... edematous or solid?

    In any case, get a referral from your primary care physician for a sports medicine physician, who will hopefully/likely be able to provide an explanation for you. Some offices let you make an appointment without the referral and will just have your primary care fax it over the day of your appointment or before you go in.
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  3. #3
    Registered User blueray4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 908 View Post
    What did the vascular specialist do to assess the issue? If it was a vascular problem, LIGHT exercise normally helps with excess fluid build up. However, that likely wouldn't be the case for you since exercise is what's causing your swelling. How does the arm feel when it swells... edematous or solid?

    In any case, get a referral from your primary care physician for a sports medicine physician, who will hopefully/likely be able to provide an explanation for you. Some offices let you make an appointment without the referral and will just have your primary care fax it over the day of your appointment or before you go in.
    He ordered an ultrasound, xray, and MRI with contrast dye on the arm. He told me my arm was the healthiest he's even seen, vascular wise.

    The arm, especially in the forearm feels really solid, moreso than my unaffected arm.

    I will look into a sports physician in my area, thanks.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Dtownbrowne's Avatar
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    Same problem

    Just curious if you ever found out what was wrong. I am having literally the EXACT same thing go on with me. It's even in my right arm too. My arm gets all tight and swells about 2-3in bigger. I also have blue veins showing in only the right side of my chest. No doctors have been able to fix it. I've had a nerve study, X-rays, unltrasound, and they haven't found anything. I have a couple more studies to get done on it but I was just wondering if you found out what was wrong
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  5. #5
    Registered User faith4432's Avatar
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    Arm swelling with no pain

    Hi! I was wondering if anyone found out what was causing this? My son is having the same issue with his left arm. Doctors are no help!!
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  6. #6
    Registered User faith4432's Avatar
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    I wanted to give an update for anyone searching for an answer to this problem. My son saw a Cardiologist and they did a CT scan of his chest. The scan showed bilateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in both lungs). Sent him by ambulance on heparin to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, SC. They did ultrasound of his legs, arms and sub vena cava veins and did an echo of his heart. They found a large clot in his left shoulder (sub vena cava vein) and an older one in his leg. The clot in his shoulder had cut off the blood coming from his arm. Pieces of the clot broke off and went through his heart and settled in his lungs. They performed 2 angiogram's and placed balloons in to open his vein. There's still some of it in the vein but his blood flow has improved and his pressure in his arm has decreased. He left a catheter in his arm placing medicine directly on the clot to dissolve it for 52 hours during the angiogram procedures. He has been released after 5 nights in the hospital and will be on blood thinner for 6 to 9 months to dissolve the clots and will go to get an ultrasound and CT scan every 3 months to make sure they are gone and new ones aren't forming. He will be seeing a hematologist for further testing to make sure he doesn't have blood clotting disorder, lupus or cancer (all of these could cause clots). The doctor is leaning more towards the repetitive and constrictive motion of working out with heavy weights. Some people are just prone to this happening. No damage had been done to his heart from the clot. His arm and hand have been very swollen from the procedures to remove the clot but the color came back within a day and the swelling is improving daily. During all of this, I was researching everything and have found that thoracic outlet syndrome can cause these side effects of arm swelling and changing color. The doctor confirmed that this isn't what my son had. Either way, you need to see a cardiologist/vascular specialist immediately to check into it. I hope this helps someone figure out what is going on. I should mention that my son is 21 years old. Thankful for doctor's that know how to find the problem and treat it!!!
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