Question about shoulder problems

I am on Enbrel, but I still have a lot of symptoms. I searched on shoulder issues and found some info but I wanted to asked.

My right shoulder, or arm, is very tender and stiff. I can hardly lift anything and I have great trouble getting my hand above my shoulders. The pain is not deep in the shoulder it is centered in the tissue at the top of my bicep and edge of my shoulder in the front. I can press on the spot and it is tender. The pain radiates down my bicep and as the day goes on and the pain gets worse it begins to radiate into my forearm.

This started about a week ago, I guess it is a flare even though I am on Enbrel. The pain is pretty bad and it hurts all night while I try and sleep. I can’t find a comfortable position with my arm at night and I will wake up (if I go to sleep) and the arm is in a lot of pain and I have great difficulty in moving. I am getting about 2 hours of sleep a night. I will usually have to pick it up with my other hand and move until I find a position that hurts less so I can try and go back to sleep.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? I just got off prednisone (low dose 5mg) because it makes my back hurt. I don’t want to go back on it for the arm. I am taking the pain pills and some ibuprophen and ice it down at night trying to sleep.

Any ideas or suggestions. I have been on Enbrel for 5 months. Docs says I have to give it another opnth or two before we consider chainging.

As if PsA is not enough, I also have a torn rotator cuff, and your symptoms sound very much like mine. I don’t imagine the PsA helps any with a torn rc (which about half of older people have, as I understand it), but it is a separate condition. They’re going to give physical therapy a try with mine, which is fine with me. Physical therapists are the unsung heroes of orthopedics, I think. Let’s see what she can do!

It’s possible you have another autoimmune disease called polymyalgia rheumatica. My husband has this and his upper arms and shoulders (and his thighs) are how you describe your pain. Bioligics and DMARDs aren’t effective against this, only corticosteroids. My husband is on Prednisolone (UK version of Prednisone) and it’s working for him. Apparently it can burn itself out but often people have to be on steroids for up to three years. My husband is now being tapered off the prednisolone gradually. Hopefully it won’t recur once he’s off them altogether. Only treatment then would be to go back on them.

Check out subacromial bursitis.

Have had it myself, in both shoulders, and what I experienced could be described just as you have. I waited and the right side (my dominant side) just got worse, until I lost function in the arm, it took an ultrasound guided lignacaine/depo-medrone injection in to and around the bursa to resolve it. The left side kind of eventually resolved without such drastic intervention but it was a burst of oral steroids for something totally unconnected that really got rid of the “this could come back” feeling.

My experience is that my biologic is not great for the soft tissue inflammation that I get with my PsA. It’s a nuisance for certain, especially as I have to pay to get an u/s guided injection, but a really targeted injection works way better for me than throwing NSAID’s at it.

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Hi there @tamac, if your shoulder is progressively getting worse, as far as range of motion is concerned, do a google search on “frozen shoulder”, otherwise known as “adhesive capsulitis”… that might be an option for what is causing the issues in your arm.

I had this problem last year, initially I thought the problem was in my upper arm, the first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t stretch that arm up, but over the course of about 3 months or so it worsened to the point where I had little, to no, movement in my arm (was only able to use to in sawing motion, hence some of the trees got trimmed with a hand pruning saw lol)… it can resolve itself if given enough time, average seems to be about 3 years (mine took about 12 months, with the help of a couple of cortisone injections. If diagnosed early enough physio/exercises/stretching can help and prevent it getting worse.

It is a very common problem in the over 40’s, and a very painful one, I think the only thing that has ever dropped to me to the floor with pain when moved the wrong the way.

If you even think this might be the issue the sooner you get it looked at by a doc the better the chances of a quicker recovery. The only limit in movement in arm now is that when putting that arm behind my back I cannot reach higher that my waist, which is really only a problem if I have an itch I cannot reach lol.

Best of luck with it, and do let us know how you get on with it!!!

I wish one of these answers was “it’s probably something minor thats easily fixed with this magic pill!”

I’m sorry you have to deal with this on top of everything! I hope it will be better soon!

Hi Tamac, check with your PT. That’s almost exactly the same as some issues I was having. Turned out it was mostly because I was poorly positioning my shoulder when under force, because I’d been sitting in that position all day using my mouse. I was rolling my shoulder forward when doing things like opening sliding doors and windows, putting a lot of force on the tendons just in front of my shoulder. A Physio session, some daily exercises, and hey presto, it was 80% better within a day.

It may be something totally different, but here at least it is much cheaper and easier to get in to see a Physio, but well worth the while in case it is something simple and mechanical.