More Questions About Arm Pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    I think I've written before about pain in my upper arms. (I also participate in an MS message board, and since I can't tell whether many of my symptoms are from fibro or MS, I sometimes forget whether I've posted about some particular thing to one or both boards.)

    Anyway, although I've had generalized pain and achiness in my neck, upper back and shoulders/shoulder blades for a long time, more recently, I've been getting pain in my upper arms, from the point where the arm and shoulder meet down to the shoulder. Sometimes it feels as if I've had a shot in the arm--kind of like a bruise. At other times, it's a general achiness. And sometimes, I don't notice anything at all until I reach for something or try to pick something up that weights anything more than maybe a pound, sometimes less. I usually have to use both hands to carry plates of food from my kitchen to our dining room, just a few steps away. This can be especially difficult when my MS is acting up and I need to use my cane to walk. I run out of hands!

    I've also noticed that I seem to have pain *under* my arm, along the inside of the arm from my bicep, up around my shoulder and down from the collar bone, along the inside (i.e., the arm side) of my rib cage and down about halfway to my waist. This whole area (including the side of my breast) feels tender to the touch and achy, but when the area is lightly massaged, the pain seems to ease temporarily. All of this is mostly on my right side.


    1. Does this kind of pain sound familiar to anybody?
    2. Does anybody have a more long-lasting solution? Tylenol and NSAIDs don't seem to do mush good.

    I get the feeling that every time I use my right hand or arm,
    I'm making the problem worse, but I'm right handed, and I'm too stubborn to just stop doing anything. Sometimes, though, I feel as if I need to have my arm in a sling!

    --Laura R.M.
  2. Carlacat

    Carlacat New Member

    I have arm pain also and mine goes all the way down to my hand, I can feel the pain when I move my fingers. I can barely write with my right hand and cant pick up anything that is too heavy. Also my arm between my elbow and 4 in above my wrist is swollen, it has been for months now but the doc is just now getting around to it after dealing with all my other medical problems. I had to go today for a vascular doppler and it hurt when she applied the thing to scan my arm with, but that may be the fibro. Mine may be differnt then yours I dont know. I do know my arm is very weak and I have to drive with my left hand and its hard for me to write. If I talk on the phone with that arm it goes numb.
  3. dlizard

    dlizard New Member

    its my right one.... I hurt it in the gym in july... it curled up all by itself and I ahd to literally pry it off the bar... ever since, the arm has been giving me fits... I'm doing the ART thing and it helps some but not completely.. reaching is absolutely when I notice it and some days are far worse than others.... but its hard to function when its your dominant side! My pain is very much like what you described Laura... Good luck!
  4. Nana2Andromeda

    Nana2Andromeda New Member

    I have the same pain in my back, neck and between the shoulder blades, but the last year I have had pain in my right arm. Mostly from the elbow to the wrist. There is times lifing a gallon of milk is very painful. I was wondering if this part of the fibromyalgia. My doctor has givin me shots to help with the pain, but it hasn't helped. I have have had the carpal tunnel surgery and a ulnar nerve surgery.
    I too am right handed and the more I use my hand the more pain I have.

  5. healing

    healing New Member

    Laura, there are some pesky trigger points on your shoulder around your shoulder blade (one of mine is virtually underneath the blade) that can refer pain all the way down your arm. Mel is right in his advice. There's also a nifty tool shaped like an S called a Backnobber -- you can just type that name into a web address and it will take you to the Pressure Positive website. You can use the Backnobber to apply pressure to your trigger points and that may relieve the pain down your arm. Hope this works for you!
  6. Jenelle

    Jenelle New Member

    I too have pain in my shoulder, neck and arms. It first
    started after a car accident. I was under therapy for 6
    months and then did not see a Chriopractor for 6 months==
    by that time I was a mess. I could not turn my head when I
    was driving-had to turn my whole body to see behind me, Thanks goodness for outside mirrors. In the morning to put
    on deodorant I have to put my hand on top of my head and hold on or the paid is so severe The arm will fall off. It was first on my right side which seemed funny - made me onesided --however, now the worst is on the left shoulder. I wish I had something to stop the pain when I move it. It
    now feels like it is popping when i move it. I have to move it very slow but I use it as much as I can because I
    am affraid it will lock up if I don't use it. The pain goes down to my elbows making it bad when they use a tourniquet to draw blook or strap on a blood pressure cuff.
    The blood pressure cuff pusing on those sore muscles really hurts. I just grit my teeth and pray it will soon be over.
  7. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    Laura...what a coincidence, I was about to post same question. For the past month its been so bad in left arm I can't reach above head or lift a plate without that horrible electric stabbing pain shooting down arm. I also get it when I yawn and stretch...can't do that anymore. I have been getting Trigger point release therapy from my chiro but so far it's not helping. My Rheumy just prescribed Neurontin for it so I hope that helps enough so I can keep up with the stretches my chiro wants me to do to increase the range of motion. She says if those trigger points have been there a long time it can take a long time to get rid of so I'm trying to be patient but I'm with's very hard to deal with and wish I could just put my arm in a sling because the least touch sends pain down to hand. I am curious if you find out if this is MS or FM related because I really wonder sometimes if I'm not getting MS too but really am too tired to pursue more tests and really don't want to know if I have yet another DD!!
    BLess you and hang in there.
  8. morgana

    morgana New Member

    I too have the arm pain it goes from my neck through what seems my collar bone all my shoulders and into my ribs mainly on my left side and yes it goes underneath my left breast and it feels tender to the touch.The pain can get very intense lifting anything is very painful and i ache for hours afterwards.i also get what feel like cramps in my wrists and i also have elbow pain and the insides of my elbows are so sore.I have vitamin b12 shots and the pain feels like ive just had one of them (SORE).
    I broke my neck c2 fracture in 1985 so I think alot of it is due to that but the pain gets considerably worse during my period and also in times of acute stress....
  9. Kimba

    Kimba New Member

    You seem to be talking about my body. A storm came through here last night and after the maybe 2 hours of sleep, I felt like I couldn't move. My arm pain is just like you explained except I have it on both sides and my left hurts more than my right.

    You also my want to try pool therapy. It has done wonders for me, just make sure the pool is warm enough. It does not have to be anything special, just get in and move about. It will loosen you up. Make sure to follow up with a good hot shower. It works wonders for me.

    Take care and ((Hugs))

    Blessed Be
  10. Carlacat

    Carlacat New Member

    Neuro ordered emgs on both arms and I had it done last week so as soon as I find out the results I'll let ya know.
  11. lilwren

    lilwren New Member

    Back in October my right arm went numb and since then it’s been hurting something fierce! I have the exact pain as you describe! This may sound weird, but the only thing I've found that helps is Xanax -.25 mgs knocks the edge off the pain enough for me to cook dinner or do laundry. I too felt that using my right arm was making it worse, but now I think using it helps - I wish I knew for sure though. I try to use housework as physical therapy - sometimes it hurts bad enough to make me cry but I do it anyway. I thought my arm would fall off from folding towels yesterday! I can’t open jars or bottles anymore – my hand grip is just gone. It’s so maddening to be 39 and not be able to open your own bottle of water! L

    The docs have no idea what the problem is. Last week I had a Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging done of my upper body to see if it would show anything (of course insurance wouldn’t cover it). The report said I had ‘hyperthermia over the carotid vessels that may warrant investigation of circulatory compromise’ – whatever the hell that means! I’m sorry – this DD is so frustrating! I did a search on-line and it sounds like it could be a million and one things! The doc has ordered an MRI and Ultrasound of my neck. If something shows up I’ll share it with you. My holistic doc keeps telling me it is all related to mercury toxicity from my amalgams so I am in the process of having them replaced. Who knows!? I just keep plodding along.

    I hope you find some relief Laura.


    Sharon L

  12. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    First, thanks to all who have responded to my original message about arm pain. I wish I could say it's been taken care of, but in fact, it seems to be worse now. However, part of that may be the after-effects of physical therapy yesterday. I called my therapist, and she's worked me into her schedule for some ultra-sound therapy.

    Second, my PCP stands by his diagnosis of rotator cuff tendinitis. I'm sure the fibromyalgia is involved in some way, too, but for now, the PT is concentrating on the rotator cuff thing. She seems very sensitive to my pain and is *not* pushing me to do things when they hurt and might be aggravating fibro or CMP problems.

    --Laura R.M.

  13. RedB

    RedB New Member

    I think your doctor may be totally correct. I recently started suffering from the same type of pain, and I definitely have bursitis, which I think is closely related to rotator cuff tendinitis. The reason I am sure is because anti-inflammatories don't touch my FM pain, but a hit of good old Motrin relieves this pain. I'm having a tough time getting rid of it. I've been icing it lately, and it seems to be helping quite a bit.

    The way you can tell if it is bursitis is to hold your arm all the way out, and then bend it downward at the elbow. You will feel the pain in the back of your shoulder and underarm area if it is bursitis. I get a lot of regular FM pain around those areas, but this is totally different, and unrelenting. The FM comes and goes.

  14. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    Mine started out being the worst nerve pain in the upper left arm (luckily not my dominent arm) but then the range of motion got so bad I couldn't get my arm far enough up to tough the top of my head or behind my back. When the trigger point therapy wasn't working, my doc says it's frozen shoulder and may take months to get better with continuous therapy and stretching exercises. The FMS/CMP can make it even longer especially if you have trigger points on top of trigger points...I have them all around the shoulder/neck area and under my arm too.

    Apparently this is common for women in the 45-55 age group (I'll be 55 soon) with and without FMS...another hormone thing. All I know is it hurts like no other pain I've ever had...I get some relief from Neurontin and Klonopin but at night it's the worst if I lay on back from the pressure pushing on that shoulder blade trigger point so I have to position myself halfway on my side because if I'm all the way on my side that also makes it hurt worse.

    It does help to wear a wrist/arm support same as for carpel tunnel so hand doesn't curl under while sleeping and cause more pain or while working or doing anything around the house so you are more cautious and don't constantly bump it. I really would like to put my arm in a sling except for doing exercise/therapy because I'm always holding it up against my body so I don't accidently bump it and get those horrible shooting pains. I also suggest when doing the stretching exercises like where you have to walk you fingers up the wall as far as you can...yikes, that's a them in the shower so if it starts to hurts you can put arm under hot water to sooth it. I also use cool or ice therapy alternated with heat which helps when really bad.

    Remember if your range of motion starts getting bad even if there isn't a lot of pain make sure you get going with some kind of therapy before it turns into a frozen shoulder. If I'd known how bad it could get I would have asked my doc about it much sooner.

    That's about all I can think of on this horrific part of this DD...good luck to anyone dealing with this...bless you with a painfree day.
  15. azadobe

    azadobe New Member


    I know what you mean. I had a frozen shoulder and therapy did not work, I had to have it manipulated, having a frozen shoulder is the worst, if I could have cut it off it might have helped the pain, its excruciating. Now the other shoulder is going too. I find that elevating the arm helps a little bit. Do not put it in a sling, it will only make matters worse. I know what you mean by bumping it, cause it hurts like the dickens when that happens. I soak in a hot spa and swim when it get very bad and also you might use a stretching exercise where you have to pull up your arms, yes it hurts but this helps stretching slightly. Also using a dowel lying down and sitting up; pulling arms back behind your head. I just wonder is this another symptom of this disease? Just curious.
    Hope you feel better.

  16. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    My PT (actually an OT) has given me some gentle stretching exercises, which I think may be helping. I'm also getting ulta-sound therapy, which feels nice when I am getting it (maybe more because of the massage than from the ultra-sound), but which I don't think is having any lasting benefits. Some days my arm hurts worse than others. I was miserable on Saturday, but that may have been a reaction to my Avonex shot, which I got Friday night. (I don't usually get a reaction like that from the Avonex, but muscle pain *is* a common side effect. So who knows? Maybe I was just more vulnerable that day.)

    I think now that my PCP was right about the diagnosis of rotator cuff tenditis--or at least something involving the rotator cuff. All the muscles of the rotator cuff seem to be where my pain is, and the OT says pain can be referred from the tendons to the muscles. Today, my right arm hurts more than usual, from the top of my shoulder to about halfway between the top of my shoulder and my elbow. That doesn't count the excrusciating pain if I move my arm the wrong way. And lately, the painkillers I'm able to tolerate don't seem to help much.

    Gentle stretching, however, does seem to make it feel a bit better, at least temporarily. I'm just a bit worried that if I do too much of the stretching to relieve the feeling of tightness in the muscles, I might have a bad reaction--especially if I get carried away and wind up stretching the wrong muscles.

    So far, at least I don't seem to have a frozen shoulder. My range of motion actually has improved, even though I still have pain. Unfortunately, according to the PT, this condition can last for months--maybe even a year! I know I'm aggravating the problem by doing too much at my computer, but I can't just stop living my life for a year! (I spend a *lot* of time at the computer doing disability rights and health-care reform advocacy and doing my computer-based music.)

    --Laura R.M.