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Could this be a frozen shoulder?

(14 Posts)
Halsall Thu 13-Feb-14 16:03:31

I've had arm pains for well over a year - mostly in one upper arm, but a bit in the other too. It comes and goes slightly but the left arm has definitely got worse over the last few weeks. I'm aware of it aching when I wake up, and daily activities like raising my arm and (especially) holding it out from my body, or towards the back, are uncomfortable. It's not total agony but it's fairly constant and is now really getting me down.

From reading around, it sounds as though frozen shoulder might be possible, especially as both sides are painful and I'm 50, which apparently is the classic age for getting it! Thing is, I don't have much pain in my actual shoulder, though it is fairly stiff. It's much more a deep, burning ache in my upper arms.

I'm seeing the gp in a couple of weeks (earliest appointment possible sad) but have mentioned it before and been given the brush-off. Apparently 'we all get aches and pains'. So I'm not really expecting much constructive action....still, any advice welcome.

magimedi Thu 13-Feb-14 16:08:11

I have had two frozen shoulders - not at the same time, thank God & had both of them operated on. 100% success.

The classic test is undoing your bra from behind - if this is giving you pain & you are struggling to do so & it is getting worse then it is a frozen shoulder. The pain I had was far more in the shoulder than upper arm.

I first noticed it when trying to tie an apron behind my back & then the movement got more & more restricted.

Very unusual, I was told, to get it in both - but I was obv. the exception.

Halsall Thu 13-Feb-14 16:12:18

Thanks, magimedi. It is painful to cope with the bra! It's the fact it's getting worse that concerns me, really.....I could pretend for a while that it was just strained, but after a year it's got to be a bit more than that, I think.

Glad to hear the op was successful.

magimedi Thu 13-Feb-14 16:23:30

I am about to send you a PM.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 13-Feb-14 16:50:15

Thanks lovely magimedi smile

Lovely magimedi got me through this Halsall, she really did, I had a frozen shoulder last year, started really deteriorating (how I remember that burning ache) from Christmas onwards. I had a corticosteroid injection in my shoulder joint first which worked temporarily (in May) and then I had surgery in November. So glad I did and it is getting stronger all the time. I'm swimming now!

It is a bloody pain up the arse, and so debilitating.

For a while I thought it was tendonitis - I was rowing and thought I'd over done it. Actually first of all i thought it was a reaction to my flu jab, but that was the burning ache starting.

I left it too long before seeking help, because in the end my shoulder was completely frozen, my arm was useless. For me sleeping was a nightmare, just couldn't find a position that wasn't agony. Lifting it up and away became impossible, daft things like washing my hair, getting out of the bath, putting my seat belt on all became so difficult, driving in the end was impossible. God and yes, the bra test!

It is very rare to get it in both sad

You really need to be very clear to the GP that you need a referral, that you can't go on and the rate of deterioration is worrying. Maybe before you go, get advice from a physiotherapist?


I'm so sorry you are going through this.

magimedi Thu 13-Feb-14 16:52:04

flowers Pistey

So pleased to hear about the swimming!

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 13-Feb-14 17:02:14

I didn't think I would be able to even though the physio told to get my arse in the pool. And I went and I CAN! Three times a week now I do 50 lengths of half turtle-esque breastroke and half back stroke. That to me is extraordinary, backstroke. Just before my op, I couldn't really move much at all!

OP - I think when it starts deteriorating, tis time to take it very seriously, and yes, I'm looking at your doctor there smile

Halsall Thu 13-Feb-14 17:02:40

Thanks to both, very cheering to hear that others have got over this. I used to swim but tbh I now can't even contemplate trying as things are, which is obviously no good at all.

I'll be firm with the GP.....

magimedi Thu 13-Feb-14 19:42:44

Six weeks after my shoulder op I was doing front crawl again!

Go sort out that GP - NOW!!!!!!!!!!

dreamingbohemian Thu 13-Feb-14 19:49:38

I've had frozen shoulder and I think it's more in the shoulder than the arm really.

Do you spend a lot of time at the computer? Are you doing everything as ergonomically proper as possible?

If your GP fobs you off I would strongly recommend seeing an osteopath, even if privately (it's not super expensive). I saw one for a different problem and it was the first time in 20 years I had a proper diagnosis and some pain relief, it was pretty amazing.

RatherBeOnThePiste Thu 13-Feb-14 20:01:32

It affects the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint, just all becomes inflamed and thickened.

Some times for me it felt like a sharp stabbing pain in my shoulder joint, but it also felt like a band around my arm that was so painful and stopping movements. I also had deferred pain, my forearm was often dreadfully painful as was one side of my hand. Weird.

I also took waaaay too many painkillers, was on max does of co cocodamol for months

Beat your doc with your good arm Op until they listen! smile

Halsall Thu 13-Feb-14 21:03:19

I do use a computer but thankfully not chained to it all day, or even at all some days, so probably not enough to cause this. Should mention that I'm R-handed, so it's not even my dominant arm.

RatherBe, yes! My foream does quite often get sore and achey, right down to the wrist. I get the pain in the front of my shoulder too - the bit of arm that goes up to the shoulder, iyswim, around my armpit.

Anyway, I've promised the very kind magimedi that I'll kick the gp's arse if he tries to fob me off. Last time he asked me to touch my toes and once he saw I could do that, he lost all interest and I got the 'normal aches and pains' response.

BIWI Thu 13-Feb-14 21:09:39

I've been suffering from rotator cuff tendonitis for the last few months, and actions like trying to undo my bra, taking a t-shirt/sweater off over my head, putting my arm back behind my head have all been problems for me.

I've been seeing an osteopath for a few weeks now, and it's definitely getting better.

IMVHO GPs are useless at diagnosing or helping with these things. If you can get to an osteopath, I'd definitely recommend that as a first port of call.

There's nothing normal about having pain like this.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 13-Feb-14 21:28:55

Sounds identical to the pain I've been having. Right down to pain in the top of the arm an around into my armpit. You do need to ask your GP for a referral to a physio. Mine has been really good. I have increased strength and movement in it and much less pain.

It put it out again a couple of weeks ago but this time, with the exercises I've had 2 weeks of manageable pain rather than 4 months.

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