Shoulder Pain .. Rotary Cuff?!

Since I've been diagnosed with fibro about 6 years ago, my pain has been mainly in my back, neck & shoulder. Over the last 12 months my right shoulder has become agony.

My symptoms are -

- Pain keeping me awake at night

- Cant lie or lean on shoulder

- It is clicky when I move it

- It is stiff & often inflamed

Has anyone experienced this before? The pain is so intense, I've been crying most of the night. I'm making a doctors appointment tomorrow.

40 Replies

  • All the symptoms you list *could* be signs of rotator cuff injury, but as the name implies, it follows an injury to the shoulder that involves one of the four muscles that stabilize the shoulder in that area. At least that is my understanding, that there is an injury involved. But it culd be the slightest thing I imagine in FM: straining it, using it too hard and pulling it in the wrong direction at the same time, sleeping on it wrong, etc.

    Not being a doctor, my recommendation is to see your GP and start there, get orthopedic consult from the GP, if necessary and so on.

  • Hi Clare,

    Thanks for your message. The pain I've been experiencing is excruciating, like nothing I've experienced before! Going to have to give in as pain killers aren't working & the pain is beyond a ten.

    C x

  • Charlie, I am truly sorry are experiencing such intense pain. I hope you will find what is going on to cause it to exist and why it is so bad. And of course, treatment for it.

    I wish you the best with your doctor tomorrow. My thoughts are with you.

  • Thank you. I went to the doctors yesterday & was sent for an X-ray today.

    I've also got a double appointment next week with the GP who will go over the results and I will get anaesthetic & steroid injections too. So, hopefully that will help.

    Thanks again, C x

  • Charlie, I have had shoulder problems off and on for years so I know how sore you are just now. I have had steroid injections into my shoulder which helped one time but another time not at all. My recent shoulder pains were as a result of a fall down stairs, I thought but the physio thinks that the pain is coming from my neck and I have some exercises to do.

    I hope you manage to get some relief and find out exactly what is wrong with your shoulder but please try not to be disheartened if you don't get answers to everything tomorrow. Linda

  • Hello, thanks for your message. I have been to the doctors & have had an X-ray. I will need to wait until next week for the results & will also be having steroid injections next week.

    Do you have any suggestions for pain relief? I already take a concoction of pain meds (pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, diazepam, severdol & capsaicin cream).

    C x

  • The best thing are heat pads, ones that you can microwave, but they are not easy to get in place. I use an infra red lamp when it is really bad as there are few painkillers that actually help. I had pain plasters once but they are hard to get as the are very expensive and docs don't like having to prescribe them. I can't remember what they are called but they did take the edge off. The injections are not too sore and do work quite quickly though. I hope you manage to get some relief soon, Linda.

  • I do have a wheat bag that I heat up in the microwave & it wraps around my neck/shoulder. It gives some temporary relief.

    I've never tried an infra red lamp, I'll have a look into those. Are they expensive?

    I've asked my doctor and pain clinic for the patches, but they are a little reluctant because they are morphing based and even tho I take severdol, they don't want to increase the dose due to my age (24), they think I'm too young to be on that level of pain meds.

    C x

  • Pain is no respector of age, sadly. I don't know how much the heat lamps are, ours is ancient, but very carefully looked after and used loads. The other option might be a basic tens machine. Sorry I can't be any more help, Linda.

  • Yes that's very true. I'll have a look into it .. I've got a tens machine, which I have been using for the last few days. However, it's very awkward to wear whilst working.

    C x

  • I had a rotator cuff injury when I got a box down from a high shelf, ended up having months of injections into the joint.


  • Hello Jan, thanks for you message. I have an appointment next week with the GP to have steroid injections.

    C x

  • Hi charlie_red

    I am so sorry to read that you are suffering with this issue and I genuinely hope that you can find the answers that you so desperately desire and deserve. I have pasted you a link from the other day as another member has been suffering from this recently. So I hope that you find it useful:

    I want to wish you all the best of luck with finding some resolution and relief to this problem.

    All my hopes and dreams for you

    Ken x

  • Hello Ken,

    Thanks for your message & for sharing the link,, it does seen similar. I've now been to the doctors who organised a X-ray and I've to have steroid injections next week, so hoping that will help the pain.

    C x

  • Good luck with the steroid injections and the x-rays, I hope that it all works out well for you.

    Take care

    Ken x

  • Yes I've had pain for a year if I move my arm say to put a jacket on I get the most horrific shooting pain and I cry with it. It effects me at night when I'm drying my hair when getting dressed when reaching for something. I go to an osteopath who knows about Fibro , it does help but the pain does come back . I'm no doctor but mine was useless just put me on pregablin and pain killers never even examined me , sorry I'm not much help but at least you know your not alone x

  • Hello! Thanks for your message. Ouch that sounds sore, that's what hurts my shoulder too, doing simply things like driving, getting dressed etc.

    I'm already on a concoction of pain relief (pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, severdol, duloxtine & capsaicin cream). I'm booked in to have steroid injections next week.

    C x

  • Oh sorry to hear you are suffering I too have this and all you said about it I had X-ray but it come back clear but I'm still in agony with it so I'm baffled and so is my doc hope you get some relief with it at your doctors x

  • Hello! Thanks for your message. Ouch, it's so sore. My GP sent me for an X-ray today & I've got an appointment to go over the results next week & to also get anaesthetic injections.

    How do you manage your pain? Anything that particularly helps?

    I'm already on a concoction of pain relief (pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, severdol, duloxtine & capsaicin cream).

    C x

  • I don't manage it nothing works anymore Ive now got hospital appointment to go on a drip so they can put a powerful painkillers all around my body it's meant to take the pain away for 2 to 3 months can't wait I've been in pain now for 20 years! Had enough now hope you get some help with your pain too x

  • Oh dear, sorry to hear that your in so much pain. Hopefully the drip will help you! What pain relief do you use just now?

    C x

  • Co codamol codeine extra codeine pregabaline and mirtazipine x

  • Aw that's quite a mix & similar to me. C x

  • I have similar but it's coming from my neck although the pain is in the shoulder. I'm doing Physio at moment they're trying different things acupuncture didn't work. So they tried gentle manipulation yesterday heard a big crack top of spine just waiting to see if that was the cause when it all eases off. Been 4 months now. Didn't go to drs cause I thought it was a fibro flare. Till a hydrotherapist told me different. Really fed IP with it. Hope you get some relief soon.

  • Hey! Ouch .. I also suffer neck, head & back pain. The pain in my shoulder seems different from my usual fibro pain, hard to explain really! I just know that it's not just a flare, seems to be more.

    I've never had manipulation done but I do go for a weekly massage. My neck, back and shoulders seem to be filled with knots and is so tight. When she is working on my back all it seems to do is crack. The same day the pain is rather bad but seems to wear off a little the next day.

    C x

  • That sounds so like mine.!!!

  • Oh dear, sorry to hear your suffering with so much pain too

  • I also have this problem with my left shoulder, i am awaiting an appt with orthopeadic surgeon to see what more they can do about it. I have had physio but this has not done any good. It is very painful and just doing things that you could do normally are so hard, like doing up your bra, showering etc. the pain i have is now radiating down my arm. I normally use crutches due to my mobility but these are proving hard to use and aggravating my shoulder even more.

  • Hello Linda,

    Sorry to hear your experiencing so much pain in your shoulder. I'm finding everyday things really hard, like driving, dressing and drying my hair.

    What pain relief do you use? I'm already on alot of pain relief (pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, severdol, duloxtine & capsaicin cream). I'm booked in to have steroid injections next week.

    C x

  • Oh Charlie poor you. It is a nightmare having shoulder pain. I have had surgery to my right shoulder for impingement but the Orthopaedic Surgeon gave me a steroid injection 6 months prior. The injection worked for a while then he listed me for surgery. The surgery was keyhole so not too intrusive. Get your GP to refer you to see an Orthopaedic Surgeon Charlie, have you had x rays on the shoulder if not insist on this so you can get the proper diagnosis and treatment. In the meantime I used an antiflammatory rub and a hot water bottle for the pain as that helped for me along with painkillers. Let us know how you get on. Gentle hugs x

  • Hello Mistyang,

    Thanks for your message. I was at the doctors yesterday and she sent me to get an X-ray. I've got a double appointment next week to go over the X-ray results & to get steroid injections.

    The GP wanted to get an X-ray first before she refers me to orthopaedics. I have been using alot of pain relief - pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, severdol, duloxtine & capcicim cream, plus tens machine, tiger balm and heat packs.

    Not getting much relief tho.

    C x

  • Hi this could be a rotator cuff problem, with fibromyalgia the majority of people also have myofascial pain syndrome and this causes knots in the muscles, the muscles shorten and then that pulls the shoulder joint out of position. It happened to me, and I had many years problems with it. Also it can cause impingement, ie., because the joint is pulled out of position it binds on the bursae that cushions the shoulder joint and causes pain on movement. It can be dealt with yourself, or with therapists, my own experience since 1988 is that conventional doctors aren't that good at treatment, although they are good at tests to diagnose.

    The treatment: (1) Trigger point therapy to deal with knot in the muscles, either with a therapist or you can do it yourself (Clair Davies, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook gives you details of what to do, or Clair Davies Frozen Shoulder Workbook).

    (2) Exercises and stretches - they are really, really simple and easy and only take a few minutes a day. I use the book called Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff by Jim Johnson.

    I bought both of the books on Amazon second hand.

    After decades of pain and useless help by conventional medicine, I am pleased to say a miracle has happened to my shoulder since I started this self-treatment. I had ALL of the same symptoms that you have, plus pain on lifting my arm above shoulder level. It took about a month to make my shoulder virtually pain free from absolute agony for years/months, although it is still weak.

  • Hello! Thank you for your message. Ouch that does sounds sore. I've just been for an X-ray today & I've got an appointment with the doctor next week to go over the results.

    Thanks for the references for the books, I will have a look. I'm starting a chronic pain course with the pain clinic next week. This will include a lot of self help resources too.

    C x

  • My own experience of pain clinics is that they do not use trigger point therapy as a resource or teach it - although some use trigger point injections, the trouble is you have to wait for the appointment for injections. I have myofascial pain syndrome (as do over 70% of people with fibro) and I have use trigger point massage on myself for a number of years very successfully, but I was missing trigger points in the chest wall and one under my armpit that were shortening muscles and pulling my shoulder out of position until I consulted an amazing physio who found the problem. I think they use trigger point therapy more in USA - possibly because John Kennedy also had Myofascial Pain and his therapist/doctor Janet Travell researched it and wrote about it. Interestingly, although Kennedy had lots of other chronic conditions, it was his Myofascial Pain that almost stopped him from entering politics, because the pain was so severe, until he found Dr. Travell. Good luck with the pain course, I think people find it really useful.

  • Hi Charlie, I have shoulder, neck and back pain...also sometimes the back of my head aches as well. Mine didn't click though. I was hurting so bad I couldn't sleep as I couldn't lay my head down on a pillow. I finally went to a pain clinic and was put on Opana ER and now it's bearable. Hope this helps as I know how miserable it is to hurt so bad sweetheart. xxx Mitzi

  • Hello Mitzi,

    Thanks for your comment. I also have head pain, which I take diazepam for. The GP said my head pai. Is due to the muscles and tendons in my neck being very tight.

    I go to the pain clinic too. My next appointment is next week, after waiting 8 months! My issue with the pain clinic is that it takes forever to get an appointment. I've started writing a few notes about my newish symptoms to take with me next week.

    What is Opana ER, not heard of that?

    C xx

  • It's been my saving grace, without it I couldn't function. It's addictive but it's not like this fibro is going anywhere. I was hurting so bad that for 6 months I couldn't even lay my head down on a pillow, as it would raise up on it's own, the muscles were so tight. Hope this helps sweetheart!!! xxx Mitzi

  • Hi, mine are the same. Had an MRI which showed degeneration of all cervical discs. Had facet joint injections as a diagnostic in May, now having denervation op on Saturday. Consultant said could do the other side two weeks later. Hope this works ! Can't bend forward to do anything either. Been prescribed targinact now.

  • Hello! Thanks for your message. That sounds very painful, good you can have the operation tho, hopefully that should give you some relief.

    I've just been for an X-ray today, so will find out results next week. I'll also be having steroid injections next week too.

    I already take a lot of pain killers (pregablin, cocodomol, tramadol, severdol, duloxtine & capsaicin cream). but nothing seems to really help the agonising pain in my shoulder.

    C x

  • Hi Charlie , hope the steroid injections work ! Sounds like a good idea, look forward to your update x

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