Two doctors down, don't want another. Why do my legs hurt?
February 2, 2007 7:51 AM   Subscribe

I keep having seemingly random pain in my legs/arms. Yes, I already went to the doctor.

He said he couldn't think of anything that could cause it. I told him it's been happening for about eighteen months and he said to just see if it stops on its own. I trust this doctor and only a few months before I had bloodwork done and he said they didn't see anything that would indicate a problem. However, it's getting kind of hard to ignore this, and I'm not sure he will do anything if I tell him it's still happening (I doubt a problem that's gone on for over a year will just randomly stop).

Another doctor told me that when it happens in my chest, it means my muscles are pulling away from the bones (wtf?) but he doesn't know why, and suggested antacids.

If I go to another doctor, I don't want to waste my money to have them tell me it's nothing or they don't know.

Basically, at least once a day now I will get a sharp pain and it will sort of fade in and out for about a minute, then it's gone. It happens mostly in my legs, sometimes my arms, and occasionally other areas (chest, stomach). It's not at a joint, but I guess the muscles. It's usually just noticeable, but sometimes it makes me gasp or sit up, etc. It normally happens when I'm sitting down, but sometimes when I'm walking. (Getting up and moving doesn't make it go away)

Over the past few months I've been exercising more and losing weight (20lbs down now), and I thought that might help, but it hasn't. My legs are often pretty sore, but I am still pretty overweight, so I think that explains soreness, but not 'random' pains.

Is this really something that can't be explained? If so, any suggestions on how I can ease the pain?

I know people are going to say "See yet another doctor", but I'm really wanting to know if anyone else has experienced this, etc.
posted by jesirose to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
Congrats on your more healthy lifestyle. It hasn't helped yet but I'd encourage you to keep pursuing it. Also, do you stretch when you exercise? Stretching is key to working the acid buildup in your muscles out so that you experience less pain and soreness.

Also, have you seen an orthopedic specialist? If you've only been seeing GPs, you may want to get a referral to someone who specializes in bone/muscle.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:02 AM on February 2, 2007

I would read anything by Dr. John Sarno.

Most non-trauma-induced pain is caused by some unresolved issue stress.

Sarno also found there is no direct link to pain and things lke herniated or bulging discs.

I had very very bad back & leg pain for years. Numbness, immobility in one leg, neck pain, etc. Of course the pain people feel is genuine ( I should know), but it is not coming directly from the back or joint.

His book cured me. The pain is gone, but not before it moved to other parts of my body (just as the book told me it would). (I had intense pain in my forearm.)

I'm a confirmed cynic, and I'm telling you this is not bullshit. It's revolutionary.

Stretching before any excercise is pointless (for similar reasons as above).

Experiencing pain "because I didn't stretch" is your mind convincing you that you have pain.
posted by wfc123 at 8:31 AM on February 2, 2007

I'm gonna agree with wfc123, not in specifically what he's saying, but in his approach. If you really want to address this problem, you're gonna have take things into your own hands. I think one problem with (western or whatever) medicine is that it makes you think that its all up to your doctor. (don't get me wrong I love western medicine). You may have to see lots of doctors. You should read up, find similar symptoms. Maybe you'll fly somewhere to meet a specialist. Maybe see an eastern doctor of some kind. Maybe a chiropractor or something. Join a yahoo group or three.
Maybe it won't be that hard, but if you really want to solve this, get to work.
posted by alkupe at 8:41 AM on February 2, 2007

I have had pain in my legs for years and didn't know why. I saw a chiropractor about it and saw him for 2 months 3 times a week. He didn't "crack ma bones" he put me through physical therapy.

The pain in my legs is gone and I don't go to him anymore, but I continue doing the exercises he instructed me to do. (And added a few of my own) His theories where that I either had a herniated disc, or that my legs were too weak to hold me up. (I never got off the couch before this).

I wouldn't say to go a chiropractor since not all are good, but I would second going to see an orthopedic specialist. You may not being doing a simple exercise that would help the problem. I would keep stretching after working out so you don't cramp up. Make sure you get potassium and magnesium in your diet. Are you missing any greens from your diet?
posted by Attackpanda at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2007

Do you ever have pain in your neck or back? Sometimes an issue in the spine translates into pain somewhere else.
posted by caddis at 8:56 AM on February 2, 2007

Mine is nowhere near as frequent as yours, but I get those. It's a sudden, "why the fuck does one little spot in my foot/arm/dick [kidding] suddenly hurt?!?" and then it fades out. Never the same spot. Since they're transient, I always figured it was just what happens as you age. I do not get them as often when I'm in shape....perhaps that datapoint will be of use.
posted by notsnot at 9:24 AM on February 2, 2007

I recently had surgery for a herniated disc, and some of the symptoms were similar to what you're describing. I would echo the sentiment that it matters a great deal what kind of doctors you're going to. If you're going to general practitioners, then it's not a huge surprise that they don't know. I would start going to specialists, beginning with an orthopaedist. At least you could get an MRI to show whether you have a disc out of alignment (which could in turn be pushing against the nerves going to your arms and legs). I seriously doubt that an ortho will turn you away with an "I don't know," and I think it's weird that your GPs weren't at least willing to refer you to specialists.
posted by bingo at 11:01 AM on February 2, 2007

I thought this happened to everyone. I am a total hypocondriac, but in general if it is transient and random, I figure bodies just do weird stuff, you know?
posted by dame at 11:41 AM on February 2, 2007

Thanks everyone.

I did post in a few health related forums, but I guess I didn't find any with enough people because I never got an answer. I don't use Yahoo but I tried Google Groups and couldn't find an appropriate forum - I'll check again.

I don't have the same type of pain in my back or neck, but I do get pain there if I sit at the wrong angle for too long or something like that.

I'm only 20, so I would hope it's not due to getting older...I'm not old! I'm just out of shape, but I am working on that.

I wouldn't mind if it only happened occasionally, but it's happening at least once a day, usually more, and it hurts enough to make me gasp in pain, you know?

My doctor who said to come back if it didn't go away did offer to refer me to a specialist at that point. I guess I will call him in a few weeks and see about that.

It's nice to know that at least some people know what I'm talking about - he looked very confused when I described it.
Thanks all.
posted by jesirose at 12:49 PM on February 2, 2007

There's a chance it could be neurological. More serious conditions usually start out intermittently, so if it keeps up or starts getting worse you may want to get it checked. A neurologist should be able to tell within a few minutes whether its neurological or not.
posted by devilsbrigade at 1:30 PM on February 2, 2007

Low Vitamin D levels can cause muscle and bone pain. Google "vitamin d" "pain" for refs.
And (if you're in the northern hemisphere) this is the time of year that people are typically lowest.
posted by niloticus at 4:25 PM on February 2, 2007

Late to the party, but ...

A friend started having textbook neurological pain symptoms, eventually to the point where she was having trouble with language (speaking and writing/typing). Her neurologist thought she had MS but were tracking her for about a year before officially diagnosing her. After an MRI turned up nothing, they had her read up on uncommon allergies, and it turned out that her birth control had essentially been poisoning her. (One month after going off it, she feels worlds better.) I'm not saying you have MS or a birth control allergy, but it could be one of many many things. Also, my friend's first neurologist just referred her to a psychiatrist, which was definitely not what she needed.
posted by Airhen at 8:07 PM on February 2, 2007

Amazingly enough...they've stopped since I made this post...perhaps it was all in my head and know that I think it's normal as a part of getting older, it's not bothering me...
posted by jesirose at 10:49 AM on March 15, 2007

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