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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Tightened and constricted feeling in forearms/calves

 Iozuk - Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:10 pm

Alright, this all started happening about 1.5 months ago. One day out of the blue, I started getting a "tightened" or rather just odd feeling in my calf. In terms of physical strength, my leg was fine but I just got kind of a "weak" feeling only in my calf due to the tightness. This was accompanied by a tightened feeling in my forearms. In terms of my you know that feeling when you fall asleep on an arm? Let's say the numbness of your arm at that point is 100 percent, well, sometimes in either arm I get maybe 10% of that. Not really numb but I feel like I have to shake my arm to get blood flowing only nothing helps but time. Sometimes after a while I feel like I get a rush of blood flowing back in my hands or legs once this passes. So basically, this was going on and off, there is no pattern. Sometimes it would be both my right leg and right arm, sometimes just my two arms, sometimes a leg and sometimes for up to 3 days no uncomfortable feelings at all.

So I then did all the major hospital tests to test for major issues and nothing came back remarkable except for a low Vitamin D level. I then did an MRI of the lumbar area and L3, L4 and L5 were slightly bulging.

What annoys me however is the non-concrete diagnosis. Within the hospital (before the lumbar MRI) my physician was like "Definitely Vitamin D. In a couple weeks you shouldn't feel anything." Well, a couple weeks passed and I still have this. After he saw the MRI, he said, "Oh, definitely your back which is causing this." Well great, I suppose I should take the words without a grain of salt since my diagnosis was switched in 5 seconds ever since my results came back.

Now I will honest about my lifestyle. I don't smoke, I am 22, I am a male, I did not take any Vitamins before this BUT I don't/didn't eat fast food ever. Do any of you have any remote clue?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:24 pm

User avatar Hello -

The symptoms are so inconsistent that they would often be blown off as some sort of psychogenic problem, since they involve all the extremities and there's no central mechanical cause for such problems. However, there are central nervous causes which should be explored in order to rule out more obscure disease processes such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or even a mild case of Guillain-Barre (GB) syndrome. These are neurological and MS in particular is often difficult to diagnose early on. An MRI of the brain would go a long way toward ruling this out or in.

If you have multiple disc bulges this could possible be the cause, but it would almost have to be secondary to some other cause, since it's almost unheard of to have multiple disc bulges occur suddenly or to begin to cause diffuse symptoms such as yours all of a sudden. I think a central nervous system (CNS) problem or possible virally-mediated nerve problem (which would, if identified, be treated with steroids) are the most likely suspects.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us as needed, and also keep us updated.
 Iozuk - Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:35 pm

Thanks for the reply. I did take an MRI of the brain and it's all fine, thus the MS and the other is ruled out. I actually just had a meeting with a neurologist yesterday (where he did all the physical tests) and he stated there is nothing seriously wrong with me. However, I didn't receive a concrete diagnosis. He basically stated that I could take a nerve test if it still persisted after 3 or 4 weeks. I've noticed that it's usually always worse after first waking up and walking around. Exercise seems to help but that could be because the cramps coverup the odd feeling in my calve. I really hope to find a concrete diagnosis as this problem is somewhat annoying.

So in your opinion, would my only option be to see the neurologist again for a nerve test or see a different kind of specialist?

Thanks for your help, I appreciate it
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:38 pm

User avatar I think the nerve conduction study with the neurologist (as well as electromyelogram at the same time) might at least rule out one or two other obscure possibilities (or rule one of them in) and would be the next logical step. If that uncovers nothing then you'd have to start looking at possible psychogenic causes. However, the neurology studies do make a lot of sense, still, as there are other possibilities that have yet to be explored and ruled out and which wouldn't show any plaques on the brain.

Good luck with this and keep us updated.
 Iozuk - Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:15 pm


Well, I had the nerve test conducted and although I don't have the results test back yet, he didn't see anything there that would cause my symptoms so he ruled out anything neurological. He basically said that he assumes it's then something muscular-skeletal and for me to see a Rheumatologist. Getting kind of discouraged but what can you do?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:27 pm

User avatar At least serious neurologic problems such as MS or peripheral neurolpathy have been ruled out. The orthopedic consult certain wouldn't hurt and might just uncover something that's not obvious. If it also fails to turn up anything physically concrete then you'll probably have to consider psychogenic causes. They also can be ruled out as well as in. It's frustrating, sometimes, to get good news, at least when it doesn't answer our questions.

Good luck with this. Keep us updated.
 Iozuk - Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:14 pm


I went to a rheumatologist and after some time he wants me to go back to a neurologist as he feels I don't have a problem that is of a muscular-skeletal origin. It's getting kind of frustrating and disheartening to have to go back and forth, still with no diagnosis.

Some update in my condition though. My right leg has actually been fine now for a month. My right forearm is usually a little better than my left forearm in terms of feeling a fatigued feeling. The main issue now is usually the left leg. However, no longer do I feel the feeling in my calf but rather the lower part of my leg, where the ankle is and in parts of my foot. It's not a tightness but rather like a "tickle" or sensetive sensation within my foot as if I'm on the verge of a twitch in my foot.

At this point though I'm lost and wish one of these doctors I've seen could give me even one idea.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:38 am

User avatar The good news is things do seem to be improving. You may wind up not finding out what it was before this is over, but it's always more comforting to know, even if the problem resolves on its own.

The neurologist is probably the next logical step if musculoskeletal causes have been ruled out. Hopefully something will surface with at least a clue. Also hopefully it continues to improve.

Stay in touch.

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