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Shoulder / arm pain - so draining

(73 Posts)
Loobs Mon 30-Oct-23 08:21:40

I have been very fortunate up to now (67 yrs) not to have suffered much with illness etc. I have had a knee replacement and need the other one done soon, but apart from that, basically lived pain free. However, I am now suffering from dreadful shoulder pain - bizarrely one day it is a painful shoulder, the next the top of my arm, then sometimes it all feels just a dull ache until I reach for something and scream at the unexpected pain. I am living on painkillers from first thing in the morning which I hate but I have no choice. I am due a scan in November and I am hoping that they can identify the problem and do something about it - as I am (carefully) typing this, my arm and shoulder are painful even an hour after painkillers (2 ibuprofen and 1 paracetamol). I have had problems with my shoulder on and off since looking after the grandchildren 12 years ago - I did too much reaching behind me in the car - but this real problem started 2 months ago when I reached to the side awkwardly. Does anyone have any idea why this pain is 'transient' (I know it sounds mad) and also if there are any strong painkillers that don't make you sleepy?

M0nica Mon 30-Oct-23 08:34:48

It is being suggested that the transient pain I have is caused by problems, with my spine.

Juliet27 Mon 30-Oct-23 08:34:58

I’m sorry you’re suffering. I too have left shoulder pain but I know mine is down to arthritis. Physiotherapists diagnosed the grinding sound differently but an eventual X-ray showed arthritis. I think years of walking dogs with the lead on that side and raising a heavy garage door did the damage. Some days I’m hardly aware of it but other days I can knock my arm against a door handle and the pain shoots through the shoulder. I do take turmeric regularly and I’m sure that has helped and I do take ibuprofen at night.

Marydoll Mon 30-Oct-23 08:39:22

I have RA and chronic shoulder pain, which keeps me awake at night. I am already on controlled drugs for RA, but they don't help the pain. 10% Ibruprofen gel, which I get on prescription. eases it a bit.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 30-Oct-23 08:42:41

MrOops went to the Physio and has exercises to do for his shoulder pain, maybe a visit would be a good idea ? they x rayed him too. It wasn’t very expensive and he is seeing some improvement.

RosiesMaw Mon 30-Oct-23 08:42:49

Frozen shoulder? (Rotator cuff injury )
Some people have surgery but it doesn’t always work. I found that it went away of its own accord after about 6-9 months but during that time I was seriously incapacitated- couldn’t do up a bra strap, had pain dressing, even putting a coat on and don’t get me started on loo paper difficulties.
DH had died some months previously and one “therapist” suggested it was all in my mind , then subjected me to a gruelling deep tissue massage which left me black and blue!
You could try acupuncture, but otherwise I got by on Naproxen with Omeprazole to protect my stomach

lixy Mon 30-Oct-23 08:48:48

I had something similar that was diagnosed as rotator-cuff damage.

It kept me awake at night and, like you, I was doing a lot of ferrying Gcn in the car and carrying them on my left hip.
My GP prescribed a steroid injection.

However it just so happened that I had a back massage (first and only time!) before the injection was arranged. The masseuse found lots of knots in my back and popped them. I haven't had the steroid injection and haven't had any trouble with my shoulder since.
Might be worth trying a sports massage?

lixy Mon 30-Oct-23 08:50:29

crossed posts with Rosie'smaw - mine wasn't a deep tissue massage, just a 30 minutes at the local beauty parlour.

foxie48 Mon 30-Oct-23 08:57:57

I find going to a good physio is well worth the money. OH had a serious rotator cuff injury, saw a surgeon eventually who said he could operate but there was no guarantee of it being 100% successful. He went to an excellent physio who gave him exercises to do, which he did religiously and he now has complete mobility again and is pain free. I go to a MrTimoney -Corley practioner for general body maintenance but would always go to a physio first for any new joint or muscle pain.

Grannynannywanny Mon 30-Oct-23 09:07:24

I had a prolonged period of this type of severe shoulder pain about 10 years ago which was diagnosed as a rotator cuff issue/frozen shoulder. Anti inflammatories, physiotherapy made no improvement. After 9 months of pain and very restricted movement my GP injected my shoulder joint with cortisone. The result was miraculous and I was pain free 3 days later.

Sago Mon 30-Oct-23 09:13:58

My dreadful shoulder pain was caused by a statin!

Primrose53 Mon 30-Oct-23 09:52:53


My dreadful shoulder pain was caused by a statin!

That’s interesting. How did they pinpoint that?

Charleygirl5 Mon 30-Oct-23 10:12:02

It could well be rotator cuff problems but maybe a massage could identify and even help the pain if you can afford it.

You need a diagnosis. Difficult when OA is also probably part of the problem.

Good luck.

Loobs Mon 30-Oct-23 10:17:57

Thank you all for your replies. Although I am well aware of exactly when I did something that kicked this off, I had also thought about back issues and having checked my mattress, decided I needed a new one and ordered it (Emma - hope that it's as good as the reviews) so maybe that will help. I have tried Naproxen and Co-codamol but they both make me very sleepy.
I will definitely try the massage and had also considered acupuncture so may try that too. The one thing I had thought about and which would be a last ditch effort is the cortisone injection - I well remember my father having one for tennis elbow (admittedly 35 years or more ago) and it is the only time I have seen anyone with grey/green skin - he said it was agony. That really will be a last resort.,

Charleygirl5 Mon 30-Oct-23 10:29:04

Allow the masseuse/massure to decide what type of massage to give you after you explain your problems because you do not want to be leaping off the couch in agony.

I did this when I explained the medical problems I had with my lower limbs and also explained I had bil. knee replacements and also pin and plate to an ankle because I did not want too much pressure applied there. You at least will not have that problem.

Grannynannywanny Mon 30-Oct-23 11:23:19

Loobs don’t let your father’s experience put you off accepting the injection if it’s offered. My GP injected local anaesthetic prior to the cortisone injection. It’s a couple of minutes discomfort and that’s nothing in comparison to months of ongoing pain. My pain was completely gone within a couple of days of the steroid injection. I just wish it had been offered sooner .

Cressy Mon 30-Oct-23 11:39:02

Loobs I agree with Grannynaanywanny. Have had two steroid injections in my shoulders. They were uncomfortable for the minute or so it took to inject but the results were so worth it. Completely pain free a couple of days after.

Marydoll Mon 30-Oct-23 13:17:26

I have steroid injections in different joints, every time I visit the RA clinic. If they were that awful or useless, I wouldn't be having them.

Loobs Mon 30-Oct-23 13:34:41

Thanks - if offered the cortisone I'll have it done. I really don't want another knee replacement but I know it will be worth it in the long run so I guess I need to think that way about the injection. I am curious though Marydoll - can you just keep on having these injections as I always thought you could only have 2??

bridie54 Mon 30-Oct-23 13:55:09

i would definitely recommend a private physio. All the better if you can get a good one recommended.
I have shoulder, neck, back of my head pain. It varies in intensity but i know the cause is that i have a partially paralysed right arm/ shoulder so a lot of my problems are now with the left hand arm /shoulder neck areas.

I was recommended a private physio who used to be a physio for one of the top Scottish football teams and he was brilliant.

The NHS physios just want to speak to patients on the phone. It beats me how they can diagnose what is wrong doing that.
The last time i saw the physio privately he just looked at me from the back and could see issues. He also remembered me from previous visit probably 4 years before. He did a very painful but ultimately pain relieving type of massage and recommended 2 exercises making sure i was doing them correctly before i left.
Hopefully your scan answers questions for you. Good luck.

Marydoll Mon 30-Oct-23 14:21:17

They are in different joints, months apart.. You are asked where you want them up to two at a time.
Sometimes I opt for the Kennilog one in my backside, it covers all bases.

PernillaVanilla Mon 30-Oct-23 16:30:00

I had this problem and it turned out to be inflammation of the bursa and joint lining. I had phisio for months and although it helped a bit the problem would not resolve. Eventually I had an ultrasound diagnosis and cortisone injection which resolved the issue immediately. Honestly it didn’t hurt at all just mild discomfort, the area was anaesthesised first. Well worth it and total cost £140.

M0nica Mon 30-Oct-23 16:38:57

I am another, the first steriod injection I had for tendonitis in my hand was so painful, for about the first 4 or 5 hours, I really began to regret it, but first thing next morning I woke and realised I had slept the whole night through without being awoken by pain, The first time in about 6 months and I knew immediately that it was all worth while

Sago Mon 30-Oct-23 19:36:53



My dreadful shoulder pain was caused by a statin!

That’s interesting. How did they pinpoint that?

After weeks of agony I read the leaflet, one of the more common side effects was acute pain in the left shoulder!
I stopped the statin and the pain gradually disappeared.

Norah Mon 30-Oct-23 19:44:36

I'd frozen shoulder in 2001. several months of intensive physio. the pain never returned. I recommend goo hands-on physio.