Arm Trouble

I went to the doctor this afternoon about my arm.

A little over a week ago I got a pain in my neck. Nothing very unusual – I’ve gotten a stiff or sore neck once in a while dating back to high school. It always goes away in a few days at most.

This time it didn’t go away: The soreness seemed to spread down my right shoulder into my arm. By late this week it had settled into my upper arm, and I was getting occasional tingling down my arm, especially in my hand. It was uncomfortable to hold my arm in some positions, especially one I put it in when I sleep.

Today, with it not really getting any better, I called the doctor, and fortunately my regular doctor (okay, I’ve seen him once in eight years, but it’s the same one!) had an appointment open this afternoon.

After some tests, it turns out I have an impinged (pinched) nerve in my neck. This is what I figured it probably was, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t, say, a circulatory problem, which probably would have been a lot worse. The treatment is a round of anti-inflammatory drugs to hopefully let the nerve get back into place, and then to see if it comes back after a week. So I picked up the drugs (I start tomorrow) and I’ll make an appointment for two weeks from now. Hopefully, it will all go as planned. (Plus, it will be a full physical, which I haven’t had in quite a while.) I also learned that I can feel it in my arm when I tilt my head back, so I’m going to try to do less of that for a bit (which may be a good trick as we’re going to see Watchmen tomorrow).

I really like my doctor, he’s quite funny, and also a good communicator. I’d been considering switching my PCP to a new building closer to both home and work, but I’m going to stick with him. It’s important to have a doctor you like, I think.

One other thing: The clinic, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, uses software from my previous employer, Epic Systems. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how the software has evolved since I worked there, and also to see it in action. A little blast from the past, you might say.