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Arthritis Action
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Steroid injections for right shoulder pain

Hi guys and gals,

I have confirmed arthritis in my right shoulder and also C3 to C6 in neck. Neck is manageable and generally is only mildly bothersome and is usually managed by exercises. Shoulder is a totally different issue and varies from a dull ache to incredible stabbing pain or longer periods of intense pain. Pain control can only be by CoCodomol 30/500 (at this stage) as I am on Warfarin and other pain killers can't be used.

I am in UK and am gonna be referred for a physio assessment due to pain now extending to soft tissue pain, and bolts of pain shooting down right arm to the 2nd and 3rd fingers which then tingle and go numb for a period of time. A Nerve is being trapped I suspect.

I am having a sports injury massage therapist work on soft tissue and this is a big help. the original injury/trauma occurred some 20 years ago when I slipped off a bungalow roof, turned in mid flight and speared into ground with my right shoulder. Nothing broke. This therapist feels that the original trauma has caused the bone to become enlarged and over time as I have aged and this is affecting a nerve.

My GP has now offered me steroid injections ......... not overly keen but thought I'd post on here and invite any comments. Thanks for staying with this to the end.

John

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Hi John, I had the steroid injection in my right shoulder last Friday for the first time. I have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my shoulder, hip and knee. When I had the injection they did it using ultrasound to guide it to the right place and told me I also had bursitis and will need to start physio to prevent it becoming worse again. I can't feel any reduced pain yet but was told it can take a few weeks to make a difference. I have had increased pain and some swelling and soreness in my shoulder which has been really uncomfortable and I have managed it by taking codydramol. I am allergic to aspirin so can't take anti inflammatory medications. If the steroid works and enables me to do the physio without so much pain I have been told I should be able to be able to use my arm again almost back to normal for a long time so I thought it was worth giving it a go. As I am 51 I want to get as many years without pain and loss of use as possible. I will post again in another week and say if the injection has started working. Not sure if I have been able to help much.

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Hi suem,

Thanks very much for your input.

Well, you read my mind ......how do they get the injection into the precise right spot. Ultrasound ! Magic ! That is the thing that bothered me.

About 25 years ago I developed a heel spur and went for a cortisone injection. I was then told it would be about 8 weeks before I felt any improvement ... reality was no pain after about 4 weeks. In those days it was a bit hit and miss, this guy got it spot on ...... hole in one so to speak.

I am now 74, but not of the pipe, port and slippers around a fire brigade. I am still working, very active and have no desire - or intention - of curling over and giving up. Knee - yeah, been there done that, all sorted. So, and you may be thinking that (at 74) I'm being greedy but yeah ..... I wanna get as many active years outta this body before the grim reaper strikes :-)

To be honest sometimes I'm not sure what is worse, the osteo pain or the soft tissue pain.

Anyway, thank you for your time and if you can manage an update later it would be much appreciated. Your comments re ultrasound have give me a measure of hope.

John

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Hi John, it has now been 4 days since the injection and it is definitely starting to work. It is slow at first and then you realise that you can pick something up without it being so painful. I slept a lot better for the first night in ages without the pain making me keep tossing and turning. I will give you another update after a week but after a few days when it did get a bit more painful after the injection I am hopeful that it is now starting to work. I just need to arrange physio with my GP that I was told when I had the treatment and I am looking forward to using my arm again without too many problems. Just in time for the gardening!

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Hi suem,

Thanks for that update.

That's great news, especially after just 4 days :-)

Yep, the tossing and turning at night - even getting a decent nights sleep would be a dream come true.

I have so far managed to perfect doses of CoCodomol at certain times of day to keep the pain under control and it amounts to 3 single tablets, one taken early morning, one late morning and one mid afternoon, then nothing till next early morning. That's doing the job but its not ideal. Good as its gonna get for now.

Look forward to your next update in a week or so, meanwhile, best wishes for continued success.

John

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Hi John,

I feel your pain. I have OA in several parts of my body. About a year ago it appeared in my right shoulder. I made an

appt. with my Rheumatologist and he gave me a cortisone shot. It took the pain away. I lift weights at the gym and had to go down to 3lb weights. When I overdo things both shoulders hurt. I have pain patches I buy over counter and also use a heating pad. I would recommend the cortisone shot as it did help me. Good luck and keep us posted.

Sue

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Hi Sue,

Thanks for your comments.

Your comments are interesting in that originally I thought the OA in the right knee was a one off, confined to that spot as a result of a sporting injury in my teens at high school. I was very much into high jump and long jump. Right leg was the take off leg in high jump and so tended to do all the work.

Now I am just beginning to think that OA maybe factored into my DNA. Now it is the right shoulder, but, I am beginning to feel similar signs in my left shoulder - which has had no injury to it - ever.

I know I'm pushing my luck with the next question but is a cortisone injection the same as a steroid injection ?

Thank you again .... I'll post updates on here in future.

John

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Hi John,

Your welcome. I believe they are the same. Cortisone and steroid. I actually got one in my good ankle last week. I know that OA is in my DNA as I have siblings that also have arthritis. I have had an ankle replacement and knee replacement on the right side. I am still able to take classes at the gym but no jumping.

Good luck

Sue

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Hi Sue,

Well I am now waiting for the wheels of the NHS to turn for the next step but I picked up on your comments on the pain patches and heat pad ..... pain patches were, are, quite amazing and I will be able to survive on them for a bit ..... hopefully. Shows how 'with it' I am (not) when it comes to checking out pharmacy products. I got mine over the counter at Boots.

Thanks.

John

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Hi John,

I am happy the pain patches help you. I use them at night when the pain is bad or I overdo things. During the day I have pain cream that helps. I also take a warm shower and stretch. I took a weight class last night and so far the pain has been mild. Have you gotten the cortisone shot yet ? When I see my rheumatologist next week I am going to ask for a shot in the other shoulder that has developed arthritis. My ankle has been acting up since I have been doing a lot of walking. For this pain I wear an ankle brace or put K tape on it. I feel as if exercise is very important when you have OA. Unfortunately some pain comes along with it the next day. I also have been going to acupuncture which has really helped my range of motion. It is pricey, so at first it was once a week and now I go every 2 weeks. Before this treatment my shoulders hurt so much I had trouble getting a jacket on. Now I am able to do this on my own. I hope you are doing well. Keep me posted.

Sue

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Hi Sue,

No I haven't gone for the cortisone shot yet. On 12 April I am having a physio assessment which hopefully will lead me to an MRI scan when we can really get a good fix on what is happening.

As time has gone on I can now identify two types of pain from the shoulder ...1) from the arthritic joint bones themselves and 2) from the surrounding soft tissue.

I think the patches, which I'm still having great success with (Acumed brand) are settling the soft tissue pain actually, and maybe a tad helping with the bone pain.

When I go to the massage therapist she gives me a short dose of needling too. It all helps.

She feels that the bones that were damaged when I fell off the roof in the first place, as I have aged, have swollen and the swelling itself has not just evolved into OA but trapped a nerve or is otherwise affecting the soft tissue in the shoulder. Hence wanting and MRI.

I have also been thinking about Acupuncture too.

So, at the moment the pain is under control but the mobility is still lacking quite a bit ..... like putting on a jacket :-)

Oh, I forgot - yesterday I went to my Chiropractor and he gave me a burst of ( what sounds like a rattle gun) on the affected bones on the shoulder to help loosen them and give me some more mobility and now I can say it feels much better .... we'll see when I go to put my jacket on and how things are at the end of the day.

I'll keep in touch with updates.

Thanks for all your comments.

John

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I have severe osteoarthritis in both shoulders. I have had numerous injections. At first they worked well. However after a time they became less affective. Remember the injections treat the symptoms not the cause.

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I have had arthritis in several places over twenty five years without having to resort to injections or surgery. It may be luck, but it may also be that I have modified my life style. So here are a few things I have done: 1.keep warm. Try long johns, polo neck jumpers, a buff etc. You will soon know if it works. Avoid air conditioning if you can or wrap up if you cannot. It is the slow cooling down that is treacherous. You feel the pain, but not necessarily the cold. 2. Try an anti inflammatory diet, cutting out margarine and oils high in omega 6. I cook most meals from scratch with small meat portions and as much veg as possible.

I eat msm powder, omega 3, vitamin D and sometimes rose hip powder. The latter often recommended in Scandinavia.

The main thing is an open mind and willingness to try different things. These things generally take time.

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