Shoulder problems

Evening all. Anyone have any tips for shoulder problems? My left shoulder has been getting worse for a couple of weeks but the last couple of weeks it's been excruciatingly unbearably painful - and I'm used to pain! It's really sharp and seems to be random as to which movement sparks it but when it catches I'm literally doubled over in pain. The doc has referred me to the physio team for assessment and treatment advice but he's not sure if it's an impingement, a rotator cuff injury or possibly even an unstable shoulder that is popping out of place as ive had a sub luxation on this side before. I had an impingement on my right a few years back but it was nowhere near this bad and the exercises I was given for that really aren't helping this time. Plus I'm getting almost like a grazed feeling in my palm in that hand - it's kind of pins and needles but rougher.

Doc has given me max strength coproxamol to help me overnight as it was keeping me awake. It helps but the pain is getting through them which surprised me as usually they kill everything pain wise. I've just got myself a neoprene shoulder support and it's good for restricting my movement so it's not sparking off so much but it's just moved where the pain is to higher up my shoulder and more over my collarbone rather than being down the inside of my bicep. It's also making my shoulder blade hurt at the back.

So anyone else had anything similar and any tips to help with it - I'm not sure when my appointment will come through but I'm really struggling to wait much longer.

Thanks in advance as always x

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Milford,

I've got a bad shoulder problem at the moment, fell head first over a kerb in a car park a couple of weeks ago and was very badly bruised, now have a rotator cuff problem in my right shoulder, had one a few years ago on the left side which still troubles me.

The pain is dreadful, taking soluble paracetamol as on other drugs, only getting about 4 hours sleep a night. I use ice packs in the day and prop my arm up with a very thick pillow, this rests the arm in a good pain free position. At night, I have a pillow under the arm so that it is slightly raised. I am being referred for physio but it didn't help last time, I have not embarked on the exercises which I was doing a few years ago as the shoulder is so painful., will wait til it subsides.

At the moment the ice and fluffy pillows are helping.

Good luck.

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Ouch that sounds nasty - hope you get on the mend soon. I'm struggling to find a comfy sleeping position - tried propping my arm up but that hurt more. Oddly sleeping on that side helps which I'd expect to be the opposite. I do need to start icing it though maybe. Thanks for the advice and hope you get some relief quickly x

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Hi one of my problems Lupus, and I say one of them lol. I have been having problems with my shoulders since June last year. After an ultra sound and an MRI my left shoulder showed that a piece of bone had grown through my rotator cuff and split it. Ouch indeed. I had that shoulder operated on at the end of January and although it is still painful, some days quite so, it is nowhere near as bad as it was. My right shoulder is very painful and limited in movement and I have just had an ultra sound on that shoulder to check the rotator cuff is ok. I haven't had the results yet, but the doc doing it did tell me the rotator cuff is still in tact, but they were checking bone growth. They want to catch it before it splits the cuff like the other one, and shave the bone.

I too sleep on my side, it seems to be less painful that way. Sometimes it is like someone is giving me a permanent dead arm. Perhaps you could ask your GP to send you for an ultra sound so they can see what is going on. Hope you get it sorted, we have enough pain to contend with.

All the best 😊

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The way they seem to do things here now is they refer it to a central team who review it and decide whether it needs x rays, scans, physio, injections Etc. then write to the GP to tell them what to do next - seems an odd system to me as presumably just slows everything down. I was still waiting back for a date for injections into my hips so my gp thought it would be easier to add it on under the same thing I think but as is law of sod the hip appointment came through a few days later so I'm not sure if the shoulder has been lost in the interim. I think I may have to chase it this week.

the muscle bit ends up feeling a bit like a dead arm - like I've been punched and it's bruised and the base of my thumb is a bit like that - it's going between feeling kind of numb and being quite uncomfortable - the only way I can describe it is it feels like it should hurt but it's being muted. But when the shoulder kicks off it's definitely a sharp pain down the inside of my bicep and it doesn't stop being excruciatingly sharp for a good minute. If I put my hand on the front of my shoulder and put a little bit of pressure there while I move it slightly then it kind of grinds and snaps and then I can move my arm the same way without the pain coming back. The only two things I can think of that would do that are an impingement where the tendon is catching or a sub laxation where the joint is actually slipping out of place but when I did the subluxation before it was more a constant niggling ache and not as sharp and the impingement on the right was never this sharp. Funnily enough it has got dramatically worse since the gp looked at it and pulled it around 3 weeks ago so no idea what he sparked off but I hope he doesn't do it again!

Not sure whether to pop my arm into a sling to give it some rest or just stick with the shoulder support and hope it helps ease it eventually by pulling my shoulder blade back into place. Definitely think I'll chase up the referral this week though

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I do sympathise. I have had a shoulder problem. A quick help is to use Deep Freeze gel or Olbas Oil on the area and sit in a comfy position whilst it eases the pain. It won't kill pain totally but does ease it. I went to a Chiropractor and after 2 visits it was hugely improved. I now only go every 3/4 months. I take the odd Co-Codamol when I have over done it. Good luck.

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Finally tried olbas oil last night - I had no idea it could be used as a muscle rub until you suggested it. It hasn't fixed the main pain but it really helped with the muscles that were tightening up around it so going to use it 3 times a day per the box - thank you. If anyone else tries this be warned though don't use too many drops as it heats up loads. As a bonus my sinuses were clearer last night than they've been in ages 😊

Oh and I'm wearing a better fitting new bra today too and that's helping too as the straps aren't landing on the same spot so has taken some pressure off

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So pleased it helped a little at least and the bonus of breathing easier! If you find it too warm - try Deep Freeze from most big supermarkets near to where they sell Olbas. It goes the other way - cool! If sat Misty says, it is a frozen shoulder find a Chiropractor with a Tens machine. Good luck

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Hi mifford

Sorry to read of your painful shoulder problem. Another possibility is it might be frozen shoulder in which case physio and a steroid injection could help!. Have you tried ibuprofen gel on the area?. Might be worth a try just be careful to do it three times a day as its an anti inflammatory!. Do hope your referral comes thru quickly. Gently try to keep it moving in case it's a frozen shoulder. They can be very painful and arm can seize up if not moved. Good luck. X

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Thanks to both of you - unfortunately I can't use ibuprofen gel as I react to nsaids even in gels. Can't even use deep heat! I'm not sure what deep freeze gel is and whether that would be similar? Never knew about olbas oil so will try that. I wonder if Vicks would work the same too.

The frozen shoulder possibility is why I've not put it in a sling yet as I don't want to restrict the movement. Ice has been helping slightly if only to numb it for a while bt tens machine does nothing and not sure the support is helping much.

Any other help from anyone greatly appreciated :)

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I'm having the same issue and have done for months. Are you a side sleeper? I always sleep on my side and I think a good portion of the issue is our mattress has given up; it's saggy and uncomfortable and has given me shoulder and side pain. I have a side sleeping pillow which sort of helps as it supports my neck, and we've taken the unfortunate decision to sleep in separate beds so I have more room to stretch out and adjust my sleeping position for now. In the interim I try to stretch my shoulder during the day as I suspect a pinched nerve in my case. I hope you find a solution.

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Hi Silvergilt. I do side sleep as can't sleep on my back but we have a relatively new mattress and I move sides a lot during the night because of my hips. I have been wondering about my pillow though - I got some new ones a couple of months ago. It's an awesome pillow but it does support a lot - it's not firm as such it's almost like the bounce back is strong. I do wonder if it might be pushing my neck too much and if that might not be helping. I also wondering if holding my iPad is making it worse too - I switched to a mini to be smaller and lighter but I hold it more whereas the bigger one rested on my lap so I'm going to try using a lap rest for it that I ordered yesterday and see if that helps at all.

I'm pretty certain it's either an impingement or it keeps subluxating though as I can kind of grind/click it and it'll stop hurting altogether for a few minutes. It might also exolain why it got so much worse after the gp pulled me about if he's shifted it more.

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Hi Mifford,

If you haven't had a look yet, our blog article about pain management may have one or two helpful tips for you? lupusuk.org.uk/pain-managem...

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Thanks Paul - funnily enough having had a read it's reminded me that I need to ask why I've never been checked for fibromyalgia as I've often wondered if it runs alongside the lupus. Might give arnica a try and see if it helps with the shoulder as well

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I finally got round to checking on my referral - the doctors sent the referral to the physio team on 3 August but it wasn't received. The receptionist is sorting it now and hopefully they'll speed the referral through

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So just to update everyone I finally saw the physio today - actually got a really good one who recognises that if she follows the instructions of just dealing with one specific area it isn't going to solve the problem and that I need to be looked at as a whole far more than most patients so that's a good start.

The good news on the shoulder is it isn't rotator cuff but the bad news is it is the start of a frozen shoulder as Misty suspected, with an impingement thrown in for good measure. Luckily she said that although the pain is as bad it is only just getting started and hopefully we can undo the worst of it so I now have lots of little exercises to do every 20 minutes to get the movement going again before it gets worse. She suggested ice won't help much but heat might and to lie with my hands behind my head, support my shoulder on that side and stick a heat pack in my armpit. Seemed a bit odd but she said there's actually more of my shoulder accessible through the underneath armpit area than anywhere else so not sure if that advice helps anyone else.

She did stretch my arm up above my head and stretch the shoulder while pressing on it to stop it rotating forward. I've never felt pain like it! I was almost screaming at her and actually begged her to stop - I was impressed that I managed to just writhe around shouting no no NO at her when she wouldn't release it as opposed to very strong swear words lol. When she eventually released it she did tell me I actually didn't do too badly as she's had grown men that she's made cry when she's done that before! Classic physio though - she's then getting me to push against her and I'm still wanting to scream telling her I can't move the muscle and all I got was "it'll come back, you'll live" ... yeah thanks! Lololol

I've also got to work on building up my stomach and butt muscles now I've had the steroid injections into my hips so I have exercises for those as well - thankfully she only started pulling the rest of me around after the shoulder as it didn't feel so bad after that. I mentioned that I'd been told I was hyper mobile in my back before but she told me that was rubbish and my back was as stiff as it gets and needs more movement into it. She did pick up that I have too much movement in my hips, my knees, ankles and also my elbows which is a new one on me as I didn't know they were bendy. It's weird because to me I assume hypermobility means I can move more and be double jointed whereas my movement is quite restricted - she explained that it's because I'm moving in directions that I shouldnt be able to so it makes normal movement quite restricted as those muscles don't work as hard as they should so it masks it which was interesting. I'm starting to think that hypermobilia might be a big part of the muscle/tendon problems for me - I'm beginning to wonder if when I flare and the tendons become swollen I then start moving beyond normal range and then the tendons don't recover properly which causes a weakness that doesn't get fixed and this slowly deteriorates over time.

So lots of physio exercises for me - I'm gritting my teeth today as the shoulder hurts like hell now and persuading myself to do the exercises isn't easy but I know I need to - and back to see her in 4 weeks when I get back from holiday. I'm away in Cornwall in 2 weeks and I am also determined that the diet will start as soon as I get back - the excess weight really isn't helping. I'm looking to take a stone off by Christmas - I get married 27 December so it'll make the dress fit slightly better without being too big. Then after that it's time to get serious about losing all of it no matter how long that takes or how hard it is - any hints from anyone on the best way to do that greatly appreciated! Slimming world was good before but I need to get back on it and stick to it.

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