What Does Brachial Plexus Injury Pain Feel Like?
The nerve pain that I experience from my brachial plexus injury, is very unpleasant. Brachial plexus injury pain is very different for everyone. Many of you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Some of you might have it worse than I do. Many of you reading this may get a better understanding of the pain your loved one or patient deals with all the time.
People with birth brachial plexus injuries may not feel as much, if any, pain like this.
Please Mummies, don't panic about you little ones!
I wanted to share what it's like for me. I'll do my best to describe it all for you -
My hand screams out with anger constantly every hour of the night and day. It feels like my hand is a wild beast that is wounded, screeching, howling and clawing with rage.
My fingers and thumb feel like the bones are made from white hot metal rods. They move, but they feel stiff and every movement burns from the inside.
The skin on my whole hand feels like red hot razor blades are slicing it open. The skin is also very thin and gets hurt easily because there is no sensation in so many places. When I’m doing things around the house, I cut, burn and scratch my hand on things, because I don’t feel it happening.
My forearm, feels like it is swelling with pressure, growing and burning and feeling as though it is going to burst open at any moment. The skin has large areas of no sensation, while other areas have high sensitivity, so when anything at all touches it, it makes me want to cry out with shock.
Towards my elbow, on the inner side, the skin is the most sensitive. If anything touches it, my blood runs cold and I feel like I’m going to be sick. The muscles in my forearm have wasted away a bit, and the metal plate that was installed to fix my broken bone really sticks out. I bang it all the time on things and it really hurts because there is almost nothing between the metal and whatever it hits.
My upper arm feels much like my forearm. Full of pressure like it’s going to blow up. Except that the feeling is intensified and it aches constantly. The skin is super sensitive in some places and has no feeling in others.
When I massage, squeeze or touch my arm pretty much anywhere, it tingles so strongly and stings like a thousand ant bites. The whole arm feels really heavy and it feels like I have constant and really bad pins and needles. And it weighs me down and cause me to overbalance and trip over very easily.
My shoulder aches intensely and because of the subluxation – my deltoid muscles are weak and cannot hold my upper arm bone in the shoulder socket – there is a horrible dragging sensation, like someone is pulling my arm downwards sharply all the time.
My neck, on the right hand side is always in so much agony. The weight and pressure of my arm, always pulling, and feeling like someone is trying to pull my shoulder and head away from each other. It aches all the time.
All down the right side of my torso, from my underarm to my waist, is always leaning slightly to the right. So the muscles have shortened, and when I straighten or need to lean to the left, everything in my right side stretches and feels like it’s going to snap.
You would think all of that would be enough. But no.
Throughout the day and night, every so often and from out of nowhere, come immense sharp shooting nerve pains that course through my arm, hand and fingers. The intense pain catches my breathe, makes me cry out and brings tears to my eyes. It also makes me swear involuntarily as though I had Tourette Syndrome.
Now all of that is what I deal with all day and all night – with pain killers!
I currently take 75mg of Lyrica and 150mg of Tramadol every morning and 150mg of Lyrica and 150mg of Tramadol every night. Both are slow release versions. I used to take 150mg of Lyrica in the morning, but I found out that was what was causing me to be really forgetful. For months I seemed to be getting dumber and dumber! It was driving me and my family nuts! I did some research, confirmed with my doctor, and lowered the morning dose. It worked.
I also experience some other fun side effects like increased body temperature, excessive especially when I’m physically doing anything at all, like cooking, making a sandwich, getting dressed etc, and of course that causes my body to sweat, not disgustingly, but more than I’d like!
My mouth and eyes always feel really dry. I am constipated for days at a time. I fall asleep in the middle of the day and just before dinner and I can’t sleep at night until around 2am in the morning. There are some more but I can’t think of them right now.
If I’m late or forget to take my medication, all of the above pain increases to insane levels, my arm feels like it is extremely heavy, thick and huge. I also experience withdrawal symptoms. So – hot and cold sweats, intense headache, nausea and drowsiness, oh and zombiism …… I can’t function mentally or physically hahaha.
Besides the obvious issues of only having one arm that works, and it’s not my dominant arm unfortunately, there is everything I’ve described above. Plus of course all the mental and emotional issues!
The only way to combat all of this, and be able to live a “normal” life, is to consider it normal.
All of this pain is normal for me now.
So I had better shut up, get up and get on with it!
💞 Brachial Girl
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