Is it possible to get a flare in your shoulders? - NRAS


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Is it possible to get a flare in your shoulders?

Jules13 profile image

So this weird. When I was diagnosed in 2017, my inflammation and flare was pretty much targeted to my hands and wrists.

I have not been able to take my MTX for three weeks due to a very nasty chest infection and I only noticed my hands and wrists feeling sore a few days ago.

But then I also noticed that my neck and shoulders were really painful. I haven’t done anything to make them hurt. Haven’t lifted anything or sleep funny. So is it possible to get a flare in the back of the neck and shoulders?

26 Replies

Jules13, yes it is possible to have a flare anywhere and everywhere. It was my shoulders in November , my hips and knees as of last week. I hope you manage to restart your MTX soon.

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to Mmrr

Have started it again even though chest not fully cleared up. So fingers crossed. X

Not half!.. I've had terrible trouble with my shoulders in the past. They are a lot better now but still not great. Can't recall exactly how long it was, but they never troubled me until a good few years after I was diagnosed with RA.

edit... there was a lot going on with my health back then so difficult keeping times and order of some events, but I'm pretty sure that, like you, my shoulders did not start giving me trouble until a few weeks after I stopped my meds. Once I was put on an effective med things did improve. Hopefully your shoulders will do likewise after you restart MTX.

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to wishbone

God I hope so. My rheumy nurse said that MTX Stays in your system for over a month. But I don’t think so. I know what a flare feels like and this is it. Unconsciously rubbing my hands and wrists a lot and friends have noticed me doing it. That’s a massive tell tale sign. I think my pain threshold is so high now that it takes a while for me to register. X

wishbone profile image
wishbone in reply to Jules13

I think it can vary a bit. I remember being surprised by how long it was before I flared...think it was well over a month. Even my rheumy seemed a bit surprised. Once I did start to flare however, it was severe and continuous, and lasted throughout my meds abstention which went on for quite a few weeks longer.

Hope you get some relief soon.

I get a very painful shoulder every now and then, I wouldn’t know whether to call it a flare or not, but can’t lift my arm above my head when it happens and feels something similar to a torn muscle when I try... and it throbs even when motionless at that time- and when I tap lightly or rub the area on the very top of my shoulder it feels bruised (similarly to how my thumb joint feels right now lol) however within 2 days it’s like nothing was ever wrong! Weird! I think if I wasn’t on meds it would be a heck of a lot worse!

Hope your chest is improving now and that your symptoms subside once you’re back on your meds for a while xxxx

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to Ssmart

That’s exactly what it feels like. Pulled muscles. But I haven’t done anything. Hmmm. Good to know x

Ssmart profile image
Ssmart in reply to Jules13

Yes I hadn’t done anything to mine either hopefully yours passes as quick as mine did, I massaged a lot of deep heat into it, which is when I realised how bruised the joint felt, just one of the delights we get to creep up on us I guess xx

I have had the same. When it got very bad I was given a steroid injection into the shoulder joint, it it felt worse for a couple of days, but after about a week it was much better. That was six months ago. I am aware it is still there but I really look after it now and manage most things OK.

Most definitely, my shoulders and upper back/arms quite often cause me pain.

Lots of pain in my shoulders especially the last couple weeks. Hope you are coping ok ❤️

Yes Jules. I have had a very painful shoulder, going into neck, for several weeks . It came when I was on a break between biologics and felt like a nail stuck in my shoulder joint. It's much better now I have started on new med. I hope it eases off for you soon . it's a horrible pain & makes it very hard to sleep.

Hi Jules, if I’m going to flare it is nearly always my neck and shoulders. It comes from the base of my neck and radiates into my shoulders and is quite debilitating as I can’t turn my head and very painful. I have been on morphine because of it for 4 months. Hope it gets better once your meds get back into your system xxxSarah

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to sjhewitt42

I just had a call from my RA team. She said to wait for another week and see if my second mtx injection helps. I’m seeing them in two weeks anyway so she said if it was still bad they’d see if an injection will help. I was so afraid I’d messed up my whole year of recovery.

I have it permanently in my shoulder. Feels like a pulled muscle. Also had flare in my shoulder and had to call out of hours for help as couldn’t move arm more than a millimetre without screaming. Thankfully, hefty painkillers and steroid hit sorted it. Mine started in my knee and wrist too. It’s a weird disease this!

Hi Jules 13, My hands are mostly affected but every so often I get aches and pains in my shoulders, arms and knees but hands mostly over Christmas I had carpal tunnel which you can get with RA but that pain is different to the pain of RA in the hands I was diagnosed in 2017 as well it is horrible thing to have especially when you can not dress shower or clean your teeth I hope your neck and shoulder clears up soon x

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to Tillie20

Ughhhh. It’s awful isn’t it.

My RA started very suddenly and severely 3 years ago with pain in virtually every joint including my shoulders. The shoulder pain was what I found the worst to be honest - not sure why but it made me particularly miserable. Methotrexate has been very successful so far in keeping the pain at bay for me so fingers crossed that it will kick in again for you. Gentle hugs.

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to Bookworm55

I just hope it’s not my fault. That I stopped my mtx for too long.

Bookworm55 profile image
Bookworm55 in reply to Jules13

Well I’m sure it’s not! I’m only on 10mg mtx and I must admit to not taking it some weeks. I didn’t take any medication when abroad for 3 weeks - with no noticeable inc in pain. I have however had pain from over - using my joints -last time when dismantling a sofa.

Started in my shoulder... thought I’d mysteriously broken it I was in so much pain!!!😂

Hi Jules,

It started in my elbow at first then moved to my shoulder, it does feels like you’ve broken something and very bruised. I can’t get any sleep or any position that’s comfortable, it’s been going on for months. Going on to mtx soon so in hope it will help

Hope you feel better soon xo

Have you checked out the possibility of PMR (Polymyalgia Rheumatica)?

Jules13 profile image
Jules13 in reply to MissMinto

Oh god I’m not sure I even want to look at that. I’m diagnosed with seropositive RA so I hope these aches and pains are because I simply stopped my mtx for a while. I’m seeing my team in two weeks so will see what they say xxx

I have both seropositive RA and developed PMR a couple of years ago. It's the same treatment for both conditions so you wouldn't be adding anything new into the mix - it may just be that you need some steroids to bring it under control whilst you wait for increased methotrexate to kick in. Good luck

My worst pain is from shoulder to shoulder and where the neck crosses the spine. I'm weaning off prednizone and my methotrexate has been increased to 15mg's three weeks ago. Total time on MTX is 9 weeks. I wonder about the severe pain which seems to subside by the afternoon. Should I tell the doctor the MTX isn't working or should I wait longer? Is the prednizone giving me trouble (went from 15mg's to 10mg's a few days ago)?

I have lots of Q's but, shoulder and neck pain - that's my worst.

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