Hello and thank you for the question Linda.Answers given are for informational purposes only and are not meant to replace an exam by an in-person.I am Dr. Sohaib, a practicing Internal Medicine Specialist and i will do my best to help you today.
There are few important possibilities responsible for your symptoms;
A compression over the spinal cord can give you weakness in a limb; and if this weakness is mild, it can give you a feeling of heaviness and "dead" limb.
Age related vertebral degeneration, disc prolapse or even a cord tumor (which can be benign) can give these symptoms and an MRI of the spine is the most useful test to diagnose any such problem with certainty.
Another possibility is of impaired circulation to the affected limb; this can happen due to cholesterol build up in the arteries supplying blood to the limb. Critical narrowing of the arteries or obstruction to the blood flow due to a clot or external compression from a mass can also be responsible for this.
At this point, i will suggest you to see a neurologist for a comprehensive neurological examination of the limb; and your doctor may order some tests like Nerve conduction studies, MRI of the spine, or doppler scan of the limb (to check blood flow).
Once an exact underlying cause is identified, a specific and targeted management plan can be instituted.
Until then, there is no harm in taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain control.
There is another possibility that i forgot to mention; very rare but i would like you to read about it by clicking the link below;
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