shoulder pain: hi sometimes I can't move my left... - NRAS


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shoulder pain

Craighead profile image
14 Replies

hi sometimes I can't move my left arm from my side because the of pain in my shoulder. The only thing that relieves the pain is steroid injections. I had a X ray and it showed wear and tear. Has anyone else experienced this ? Any advice would be great

14 Replies
RAexperiences profile image

Sorry I accidentally answered u under the back pain question…please refer to there!

AgedCrone profile image

I think you need to push for a consult with a rheumatologist & get a full diagnosis & be prescribed some suitable medication.Your description of not being able to move your arm from your side rings bells with me…at the start of my RA journey 20+ years ago, both my arms & shoulders were so painful I could only move my arms backwards & forwards…but not away from my body at all…I would spend days in my PJs because I couldn’t move my arms to get dressed.

Back then I was in my 50’s & my GP said “ you must expect aches & pains at your age- take an aspirin “.

I did not do that…instead I found the name of a recommended rheumatologist & told that GP I needed a referral letter…..I saw the rheumy privately, & after diagnosis, he referred me to an nhs rheumatologist that I should see & the rest is history…..lots of meds etc..,but manageable pain & on the whole I am leading a good life now…but you have to stand your ground, & not put up with unbearable pain…just because a GP with probably very little knowledge of modern RA treatments, won’t refer you.

Good luck…..& do try to get off steroid injections….they just mask the condition…..& grateful as one is for the pain relief you probably do need other more suitable drugs…..steroids are not an ongoing treatment as such, & they don’t prevent RA damage ..…if you do have RA, you really do need a full diagnosis that will get you the treatment you need.

helixhelix profile image

Are you now on treatment for RA?

It is possible to have RA and osteoarthritis at the same time, so it could well be osteo. But you still shouldn’t be left in pain, so you need to keep pushing your doctors. At the very least you should have some physio to help you manage this.

When you are in pain I know nagging doctors is the last thing you want to do as so frustrating. But keep at it!

wishbone profile image

Think you're aware of my problems from previous posts of mine. Little else to add other than L've never had an x-ray on my shoulders but it's pretty obvious it's due to wear and tear. The only real relief I get is when my RA is controlled though the problem is always there to some degree.

MichMx profile image

I’m sorry to hear of your shoulder pain. Have you seen a rheumatologist. I have terrible shoulder pain during the night and in the mornings associated with my RA. I’m unable to move my arms fully during the night. RA meds have recently been changed and not yet working so I’m taking short dose of Prednisone. However the best short term help for my shoulders (until meds work) is currently Lidocaine patches which I wear for during the night. These have helped reduce pain during the night to help me sleep. I’ve had these prescribed by GP for 2 weeks to see how I get on. I’m also trying some acupuncture from the physio. Hope you get to the bottom of your symptoms soon.

Esmereld profile image

Yes. The pain is excruciating. I sympathise. I had two steroid injections. First one did little. The second one about six months later worked a treat. Very occasionally get a bit of pain but nothing like it was. Got to be best part of 20 years ago. I didn’t have X-rays so don’t know the condition of the joint. Hope you get some help with it. I remember crying with the pain. Not able to reach for pain killers. Always about 5 a.m. 😢. Have you tried any of the creams/gels?. Ibuprofen or voltoral might be worth a try.

Vixen2 profile image

Hey Craighead. I’ve had RA since i was in my 20’s. (51 now). Recently been diagnosed with Bursitis in my left shoulder. (Narrowing of the muscle). Total agony. I had to go to a&e because of the agonising pain. Was in there 7 hrs! So i know how you feel. Using an icepack on the shoulder might ease the pain. Or a heatpad. A warm bath? I’m going to be booked in for a steroid injection soon. I know how awful pain is. It’s so frustrating & tiring. Good luck with everything. X

Runrig01 profile image

I had similar pain in my shoulder and what is known as painful arc syndrome. Unfortunately X-rays won’t show issues with tendons or bursas. You really need an ultrasound, mine showed inflammation of the 3 tendons attaching to the shoulder. I do find steroid injections help it, lasting for over a year on some occasions. OA itself should not stop you being able to move your arm. Push for an ultrasound.

It really depends on how much wear and tear you have. I experienced a problem like this with my rotator cuff and the pain was akin to that of a dislocated shoulder- which my Gp sent me to Aand E for only to find it was my rotator cuff. I had very strong pain relief and gradually I managed to regain use by resting then gently lifting my arm. If you let it remain static for too long it would be hard to regain a normal function. But it does depend on how bad the wear and tear is and only a specialist can help you with this. Good luck.

Green230461 profile image

Unfortunately yes I have had this and it resulted in a full shoulder replacement which is WONDERFUL so do not worry about that!Pain relief was short lived naproxen/paracetamols/ oramorph finally hypnosis kept me going to the op- now I am a bionic woman 😎

orange33 profile image

Hi I’ve had shoulder pains on and off for years I do haveRA. As in a previous post on here I have now had x-rays and I’m now about to have an ultrasound on both shoulders hopefully I will now find out what is really going on with my shoulders. I wish you well.

Appletree12345 profile image

I feel your pain, but it can get better if you find the cause. I’ve had operations on both shoulders for full tear of rotator cuff. After couple of years I again got severe pain in one shoulder and restricted movement. Constant ice packs help numb pain, heat packs, baths with Epsom salts. Main help is physio - once initial inflammation reduced, daily exercises eventually loosened up. But it’s taken 9 months so far and still some pain and restricted movement but improving. I don’t know the cause, no x ray, everything organised remotely, including physio. But I find the online exercise program good. I’ve been told it could be RA flare, osteoarthritis, a frozen shoulder but I reckon it’s a bit of all of that and results of wear and tear and past surgery. Good luck. First step try and get diagnosis.

Elmo333 profile image

Hi Craig, I get the terrible shoulder pain where I can’t move my arm away from my body. It is horrible but it only lasts a few days and then often swaps sides!!! It is worth remembering that Ra doesn’t always show up in scans

Leics profile image

I know your pain I had the problem in my left shoulder and they said it was rotator cuff problem. Paid out a small fortune for private physio and that made things 100 times worse. So physio was stopped and the final straw was my collarbone fracturing picking a coffee up I had been suffering the same pain for 18 months even tried acupuncture which also didn’t help turned on the pain signals more than they already were. Anyway the good news is I stuck to my guns and refused to leave when they were just going to discharge me from fracture clinic. Then they lost my referral but 6 months later had an operation which was a decompression because my shoulder had completed seized and calcified up so I wasn’t able to move it even if I wanted too without screaming the place down. That was about 8 years ago and it’s been fine since. Even surgeon said it was a complete mess one of the worst he had seen. So my advice find out what it is and don’t put up with it like I did.

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