Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Group

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory, multisystem, autoimmune disorder. It is a disabling and painful condition which can lead to substantial loss of mobility due to pain and joint destruction. The disease is also systemic in that it often also affects many extra-articular tissues throughout the body including the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, and muscles... The symptoms that distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other forms of arthritis are inflammation and soft-tissue swelling of many joints at the same time (polyarthritis). The joints are usually affected initially asymmetrically and then in a symmetrical fashion as the disease progresses. The pain generally improves with use of the affected joints, and there is...

0 Online
0 Online

Shoulder pain

Hey everyone. As some of you know, I'm not yet diagnosed with RA, I have an appointment with a rheumatologist in a little bit less than a month now, and I'm trying to write down all symptoms I have to give the doc a clear picture. The main trouble is my knees, but lately (the last few months) I've had some troubles with my right shoulder, and I'd like to pick your brains about it.

Every morning it feels as though I've slept weird on my shoulder. Note that I mostly sleep on my back (if I do fall asleep on my side my cat will let me know quite loudly that he wishes me to sleep on my back so he can sleep on my stomach!). It hurts especially in the morning, but also throughout the day. It used to only come once in a while, so I assumed I had just slept in a bad position, but now it's there almost every day. The pain is what I assume is the rotator cuff. It hurts when I lift my arm up and out, like when I get dressed, for example. No swelling or sore to the touch, just hurts when I use the arm.

So, is this something I should bring up with the doctor, or do you think I just need to get a new bed? Does anyone recognize this type of pain? I don't want to come across as a hypochondriac when meet the doctor as I assume he won't take me as seriously then, so that's why I'm coming here first.

Replies

Christine26
Christine26

Hi MushyMushy, Yes this is something to mention to our doctor along with your other symptoms. It seems this is more than the way you are sleeping or even an new bed option. But whether it is RA it probably is not as RA is almost always bilaterally. ? a tear in the rotator cuff, that is known to really hurt. Hopefully you can get this solved sooner or later. Maybe your PCP can help address the problem of the shoulder while you wait for the Rheumatologists appt. or even ortho if you can get one sooner? Best of luck to you.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Christine26, thank you for your reply. Yes, the bilaterallity (?) made me think too. Some times when I wake up I will have similar pains in my left shoulder, but it leaves pretty quickly. Also, I've read that with RA it can start on one side, and then hit the other one after a while, so it MIGHT go over to the other one as well. If it's not RA in my shoulder, I'm thinking it could be something connected to it, an inflammation of some sort.

I'll put it on my list of things to bring up with the doctor, I'm glad to hear I'm not being too paranoid and that I should look this up.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Shoulder pain (exactly as you describe) was part of my initial RA onset and continues to be a problem area. Oddly enough, like you, my right shoulder is far worse than my left. My ROM is very limited, especially in the right shoulder, but I am working with a PT now to at least maintain the flexibility I have.
deleted_user
deleted_user

....and what we won't do for our cats, LOL!
Melinda56
Melinda56

Hi Mushymushy, I too have the same pain in my shoulders, left and right, with the right shoulder the predominant one. I was considering an orthopedic dr. when my rheumy said no, it's RA. So, I was put on prednisone and the pain is gone for the most part. When I go off prednisone, who knows. I feel for you, because the pain is excruciating. I will pray for you, and best wishes. Oh, by the way, happy Labor day. prayers
sammyo1
sammyo1

Yes, pain anywhere in the body should be discussed.
Something to keep in mind is there are various forms of arthritis.
You want an accurate DX so don't leave anything out.
Shoulder pain can be from the actual shoulder anatomy or even the neck (cervical).
Let the doctor determine.
Wishing you the best of luck.
Sammy
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks everyone, I'm glad I'm not alone with this pain (although I'm not glad anyone of us has it!). I'll definitely bring it up and let the doctor determine how to move forward with it. I get more and more nervous as the appointment comes closer, and I second guess every symptom I have, trying to give it a different reason (such as "no, I've just slept weird") so it's good to get some people behind me who can help push me :) I guess I'm one of those people who don't want to be a burden, so I keep downplaying everything, even when it's really bad. Sigh. I'll work on that bit too :)
WaterLily14
WaterLily14

Oh how I remember that - I would wake up in the wee hours and could not move either shoulder half an inch without experiencing excruciating pain! Of course my hands, fingers and wrists were stiff and swollen and my elbows hurt, too. It was so painful to even get out of bed. Then I would spend most of the morning on the couch with a pack of frozen peas on each shoulder and some Advil until I could move. I had to give up my beloved swimming during this time also. I am so thankful that is over now. All this to say I know what you are going through and feel so bad for you - I would not wish it on anyone. But remember there is always hope and things will get better!
Emerald22
Emerald22

Yes..it was one of my first symptoms and just on the left side. I thought I just slept funny too. Def tell the Dr about it.
willferg
willferg

Before I realized what was going on with me, I had the kind of shoulder pain, in just my right shoulder. I thought it was from holding my iPad and doing repetitive movements for too long. I was quite mortified to think I got sore from playing games on my iPad!

Now I realize that there was more going on. My shoulder hasn't hurt since, unless I overdo it. Now the pain is consistently in my wrist, hands and fingers, plus the occasional ankle. My pain travels, hence my dx of palindromic arthritis (according to my doctor).
deleted_user
deleted_user

Wow, 51percent, thank you for that very educational reply! As I read about twisting the arm while having it hang down, I did it. It hurt, a lot, so now at least I know where the pain stems from! I'll bring it up with the doctor, and it seems that a lot of people have experienced this as part of RA. It's good to know what other problems it can be because of, so I'll keep that in mind and see what the doctor says. I really hope it won't come to surgery, but if this progresses I may have to re-evaluate.

Thanks everyone for your input, it really helps me getting prepared for the appointment!
mechellebelle
mechellebelle

I totally recognize it. You should mention it to your rheumy as well as your GP. I'm 45 and have been working A LOT lately and my issues seem to be related to overwork and generally doing more physically than I have the "spoons" for. Like running below E.

I started seeing a chiropractor and her adjustments felt WONDERFUL. I only needed 3, then she said I should see a massage therapist once a month if not more often. Not a spa therapist, but someone that will help you heal, so to speak.

So, I am doing that and it is helping, but what helps So Much More is to watch very closely how I sit at the computer. My posture combined with stress are the big culprits and I try to constantly push my shoulders back and keep my back straight. Plus, I try to take breaks and not push below an empty tank if I can help it.

Only con here is that sometimes my mid-back will get angry that I am doing this, so the pain will shift between shoulder/neck to mid-back. So I try to find a happy medium.

Back when I was in total pain 24/7 with inflammation, and nearly bedfast, my shoulder area gave me a lot of trouble. I was only 34 then and when I moved the inflammation out with mtx, plaquenil, and accupuncture (18 months of it) that pain finally left me for a long time.

I hope yours is "movin' on out" like the Jefferson some time soon too!
Mari31
Mari31

I had the same shoulder pain you are describing about 1 1/2 years ago. I could barely lift my arm. Went to my PCP and he did an Xray and did not find anything, so suggested I ice it and take Aleve. I did, and a couple of days later it went away. Flash forward to 3 months ago, and pain started again. Not as severe, but constant. Started in the right neck/shoulder, but now some in the left . Was diagnosed with RA yesterday. Sometimes they are sharp pains. others just hurt when I lift arm. Pain is much worse in the middle of the night.

Good luck to you, as this is all new to me also.