Pain In Your Calves, Arms Or Shoulders That Your Doctors Can’t Treat Can Be Cured

Most doctors have little understanding of the source and treatment of pain caused by multiple areas of inflammation on a tendon


From Lexica —

The Types Of Pain That This Column Relates To

If you have pain in your calves, shoulders, arms or wrists that arises after activity (exertion) that has not been identified as being caused by arthritis or by a vascular blockage, your pain might be caused by multiple areas of tendon inflammation.

If Your Doctors Haven’t Been Able To Resolve Your Pain

  • If you have pain upon exertion in your arms, legs or shoulders that cannot be tied to arthritis or vascular restrictions;
  • If your doctors have been unable to diagnose a pain that arises after exertion
  • If your doctors have told you that you have referred pain from your back, or especially
  • If your doctors have told you that you should have back surgery to treat an aching type of leg or shoulder pain,

then keep reading.

The Pain In My Left Calf That None Of My Doctors Could Treat

I had so much pain in my left calf that I couldn’t walk more than about 250 yards on a level surface without having to sit down for several minutes until it decreased. Then it came right back after again walking a short distance.

My many doctors gave me multiple MRIs, ultrasound examinations of my vascular system, nerve conduction tests, steroid shots, physical therapy, examinations by orthopedic surgeons and more. I even tried a LOT of acupuncture.

One of my doctors finally said, “If this doesn’t work, there’s nothing left I can think of to do.” It didn’t work. The sports’ medicine specialists were similarly stumped. Nothing worked. Nothing helped. They all came up empty.

“It must be referred pain from someplace in your back,” was their default mantra. “Let’s get another MRI of your back!”

I finally went to a pain specialist outside of my very large medical group. He immediately ruled out referred pain from my back.

The pain doctor told me that nerve pain referred from spinal issues is typically a sharp, jolting or “electric” type of pain. Contrary to what my old doctors kept telling me, a dull, aching leg pain that intensifies with exertion is never a referred pain originating from an irritation of the nerves in your back.

Don’t blindly allow anyone operate on your back in order to cure a so-called “referred” aching-type pain in your legs.

Having ruled out a connection to my back, the pain doctor sent me to a San Francisco specialist in muscle and tendon issues. That new doctor performed a high-res ultrasound exam on my left calf that revealed about ten inflammation locations up and down the outside tendon.

You can’t cure multiple tendon inflammations with a pill or an ointment or a steroid injection because blood does not circulate through tendons. They have no blood vessels. The contents of a pill, an ointment or a shot cannot reach those inflammation sites.

My new doctor drew some of my blood, centrifuged it to concentrate the platelets, then used ultrasound to guide him in making real-time injections of the Platelet Rich Plasma directly into each of the many areas of inflammation that he could see on the ultrasound screen.

By six months after the injections all of my pain was completely gone. It has never returned.

At about the time that my left leg had stopped hurting, I began to experience similar pain upon exertion in both the outside and inside tendons on my right leg. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy also successfully treated that pain.

That was years ago, and I now can hike several miles cross country, up and down hills, without any calf pain. There are no cure-alls, no magic bullets, but PRP can successfully treat pain caused by inflamed areas on a tendon.

The first step is to find a doctor who has the training to recognize what areas of tendon inflammation look like on an ultrasound scan.

Most doctors don’t have that training or ability. In my experience most doctors, even orthopedic specialists and sports’ medicine practitioners, don’t even understand that this type of inflammation might be the source of your pain.

Stretching Is The Worst Advice A Doctor Can Give You

Before all this happened, I had plantar fasciitis. The podiatrist prescribed some support insoles for my shoes and advised me to do stretching exercises. The insoles worked great. Problem solved.

The stretching exercises were a disaster.

First, I probably stretched too energetically. My bad. But, second, tendons are not designed to stretch. Nature designed them to pull on things and hold things together without stretching very much.

The older you get, the less flexible, the stiffer, your tendons become. When you’re twenty and your tendons are supple, sure, you can stretch them a little.

When you’re over fifty, they really don’t want to stretch very much at all. When an older person tries to stretch them, especially if, like me, they overdo it and try to stretch them too much, the tendons get little micro tears and those tears get inflamed.

Those inflamed areas cause pain and they do not heal on their own. The older you are and the more you try to stretch your tendons, the worse the inflammation becomes.

If you already have pain from inflamed tendons, the very worst advice anyone can give you is to do stretching exercises because that makes everything so much worse.

My advice is, if you are in your mid-50s or older, run, don’t walk, away from any doctor who tells you to treat calf pain by doing stretching exercises. You’d be better off applying leaches to your leg. They won’t help but at least the leaches won’t make things worse.

If your doctors can’t successfully treat your leg, arm or shoulder pain, or if they tell you to treat your pain by stretching your tendons, going to physical therapy, getting acupuncture or having back surgery, my advice is to immediately find a new doctor who has expertise in Platelet Rich Plasma therapy and have him/her perform an ultrasound scan on the tendon in the area where the pain-after-exertion occurs.

Maybe they won’t find any inflammation. Maybe an inflamed tendon is not the cause of your pain. BUT, if they find that inflammation, it can be treated and cured.

This column is not behind any paywall. If you know someone who has leg, arm, wrist or shoulder pain that their physician has been unable to treat, send them the link to this column. A PRP specialist might be able to help them.

— David Grace (Amazon PageDavid Grace Website)

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David Grace

Graduate of Stanford University & U.C. Berkeley Law School. Author of 16 novels and over 400 Medium columns on Economics, Politics, Law, Humor & Satire.