Upper arm pain - anyone else?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Kat_in_Texas, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Kat_in_Texas

    Kat_in_Texas New Member

    I've had various aches and pains for years but doctors never a reason or gave a diagnosis ... just tests, tests, and more tests. You know the routine.

    I was relatively pain-free and felt good for about a year, which was wonderful. I didn't think too much of it but enjoyed feeling "normal" and "happy." Then in October, I started having strange achiness in my upper arms. First it was just on my left side, then on both. That lasted for a couple of weeks, growing more painful each day, and then both shoulders started hurting. I kept trying to pinpoint when I "injured" them (this was prior to my FM dx) and couldn't for the life of me figure out what was happening.

    I got to the point where I couldn't reach for something without feeling like my upper arm muscle was being torn or ripped. I couldn't sleep on my side because my shoulders couldn't bear the weight of my body. Within days I was experiencing shooting pains down my forearms and pain in my elbows.

    My PCP finally referred me to a rheumatologist who then dx'ed FM. Good, finally a diagnosis. I'm currently on Cymbalta and take Trazodone at night to help me with getting better "deep sleep." Both are helping a bit.

    This pain is just the weirdest thing. I have little aches and pains in other parts of my body, but nothing compares to this arm pain, especially the upper arm muscle pain. It feels like I spent hours at the gym weight-lifting! Okay, I confess that I would have no idea what that would actually feel like, but you get my drift! :) It's like the extreme muscle soreness that you get after working out for the first time in a while.

    Does anyone else have pain in their upper arms? I soak in a warm bath once or twice a day but that only helps for a short time. The Cymbalta takes the edge off, but the pain is definitely still a problem. I try to "baby" my arms as much as possible and not reach across a counter or table, etc. but it's hard to change an automatic reflex and when I do reach for something, the pain is excruciating. It takes me several minutes to recover from the jolt of pain it causes. Just reaching over to turn off the alarm clock in the morning can literally take my breath away. Pulling the sheets up in bed is a challenge. Turning the steering wheel in the car is not only extremely painful, but I'm worried about that being a safety issue. If I had to make a sudden sharp turn, I'd be doubled over in pain. That could be a real problem, both for me and other drivers around me.

    I'm at a loss as to how to deal with this or what I can do to decrease the pain. I'm fortunate that I can still get out and about ... work, go to the grocery store, walk around the mall or whatever, but it's still affecting my life every moment. Plus I have to have someone else put my coat on me every time I go out! :(

    Anyone have any helpful hints for me???

    Kat in Texas

  2. bettydroop

    bettydroop New Member

    HI Kat. That is where I felt it the most at first. It was like in my deltoid area- it was so strange. it felt like you said - like I had been working out for hours apon hours or something. Then sometimes it would feel like the muscles were being ripped off the bone or something. I would imagine someone taking the meat off a chicken limb or something. Sorry but thats what it felt like .

    I understand my friend, I wish I could help, but I know what you mean. I can say one good thing.. it went away....well... it went away to my HIPS.. thats all HA!
    TAke care Bett.
  3. carebelle

    carebelle New Member

    Kat ,I have this in my arms to.It does feel like they are ripping apart at times.Its very hard to even pull my cloths from the washer and dryer.Or run the vacume cleaner.
    I have not found anything to help sorry.
    Somedays it doesnt hurt at all but most of the time they do hurt.
  4. cbella

    cbella New Member

    Hi Kat, I was just diagnosed about a month ago and my muscle pain "travels" to different places, almost every day. Yesterday, I had to drive for 6 hours and my upper arms were killing me and still ache. I take Magnesium which helps with the muscle pain and pain med when it just gets unbearable. I really believe in large doses of Magnesium and don't be afraid to use those muscles-- I think it definitly helps. Good luck and Happy New Year----cbella
  5. Kat_in_Texas

    Kat_in_Texas New Member

    Thanks for the replies. Sometimes it's just comforting to know that someone can relate to what you're feeling. I have thought several times lately that I must just be imagining the pain - or going crazy. No one in my family or circle of friends could understand what I was talking about. Betty, your description of meat being pulled off the bone was exactly correct! Maybe that's what I'll tell them next time they ask how I'm feeling ... sure to impress them anyway, huh?!? LOL!

    I'm sorry that you are all having the same type of pain. Just this afternoon at the grocery store I happened to turn around quickly, and that simple movement just about brought me to my knees with pain in my left arm. And I didn't even really MOVE my arm. It's insane.

    cbella, thanks for the tip about magnesium. As a matter of fact, I started a magnesium/calcium supplement just this morning. I may add more magnesium to that once my system adjusts to the new supplements. I'm also going to be taking Vit E and B6. My stomach usually rebels at any new "stuff" so I'll give this combo a week before adding more to it.

    Thanks again. Hope you all have a quiet evening and a good night's sleep ......

  6. Nanledaroe

    Nanledaroe New Member

    I can also relate very well with the upper arm muscle pain. That has always been my worst area, the upper arms and shoulder region. The description of feeling like you've been working out all day at the gym really hits home. I'm always telling my husband the same thing.

    I always have trouble getting to sleep because I prefer to sleep on my side but my sore arms make it almost impossible. I also have a hard time at "drive thru" windows, having to hang my arm out the window hurts like crazy.

    If you find something that will help the pain, I'd love to know about it too.

  7. kingsladybug

    kingsladybug New Member


    I had upper arm pain for WEEKS, but not sure it was the same. It felt more like someone had a blood pressure cuff on me and kept pressing and pressing. The pain was so bad it would wake me in the middle of the night and prevent me from getting to sleep. It has finally gone away.

    FM is so WIERD .... you never know what is going to hurt or how long it's going to last. It always seems to change. Mine will hit a location and last several weeks, and then move on somewhere else.

    Take care of yourself.


    P.S. Doctor never had an answer to my upper arm pain, by the way. Sometimes I think we just imagine it all!
  8. JuliannaG

    JuliannaG New Member

    first in the right arm, then in the left. It gets so bad sometimes, I can't pull a blouse over my head, and have to get my husband to help me. I am thinking that I will have to change all my tops to those with buttons in the front.

    I used to do a lot of gardening when I was well, and when the pain started, I thought that I had pulled a muscle, so would rest the arm for a while, but every time I worked in the garden for too long or too strenuously, it came back, so now I hardly do any garden work at all.
  9. snuggle

    snuggle New Member

    I have this also. I think reaching forward to type on the keyboard and use the mouse and reaching forward to the steering wheel triggers mine. Getting trigger point massage helped me when it was excruciating. But it is hard to find someone who is really proficient at it and it will be painful at first. If you call and ask if they do trigger point therapy they will all say they know how to do it so ask more questions. Chronic myofacial pain syndrome book by claire davies (sorry, not sure about title but this is the correct author)can give some trigger points that may help or books by Devin starlynal (sp?)

    Also keeping the area warm helps. This means all the time. Any chill will bring on symptoms. I always have a jacket tied around my waist to put on at a moments notice. I would like to find a neoprene sleeve that would fit over the deltoid area. I think I saw something like that at sharper image that has magnets in it.

    feel better, Michelle
  10. u2

    u2 New Member

    Dear Kat, don't despair. I know how you feel.

    I used to use my arms a lot teaching and playing piano, and oh it hurt. They did find out that I kept getting (or not getting rid of) tendinitis and bursitis, from repetiive movements. any kind of repetitive movement can do it.

    I found that ice helped. I was given injections (cortisone) but it never worked for me.

    Another tip is to try to rest your muscles and then do gentle excercises. Do you have access to a physiotherapist maybe? Keep your muscles warm too.

    Hang in there.there is life with FM.
    Hugs, U2 (Hilary)
  11. STEFFI43

    STEFFI43 New Member


    In the past few weeks, I, too, have had pain in my upper arm. It feels as if I have been exercising for hours or that I have no strength at all in my arm. Both shoulders feel as they have been ripped out. It is getting harder and harder to work.

  12. desertfog

    desertfog New Member

    I had the pain you described exactly in my upper arms and in my thighs for 2 years! Now, I have CFS and I'm still confused how FM and CFS are related so what caused my pain may not be what is causing yours. It just sounds identical. I was told it was caused by a virus, one of 6, that I had in my body. I don't remember the exact name but through treatment, the pain completely stopped. The funny thing is before I said my pain stopped, he looked at my results and said to me 'the such-n-such virus is gone, your pain is gone isn't it'? And yes, it was! I still have other aches and pains, but I no longer have that horrible pain in my upper arms and thighs that feels like you have been working out all day. I can now reach over my head!

    Have you ever been checked for viruses? I don't know if FM sufferers get them like CFS suferers do. But, I can say, literally, I feel your pain! LOL Sorry, just trying to keep a sense of humor about all the strange things we go through. I hope you can get relief from it.
  13. Tigger57

    Tigger57 New Member

    I get that.. especially the large muscles of the upper arm and my legs. What I found out was my calcium was way out of whack. Have they tested you for anything like vitamins and minerals.

    I have to have mine checked because of gastric by-pass surgery.
  14. Hoops

    Hoops New Member

    Like Michelle, typing and moving my arm forward aggrates everything. About a month ago my right shoulder and arm were excruciatingly painful and it appeared out of the blue. I can take pain but after three weeks of it and little sleep, I went to emerg. It took two shots of demerol to give me some relief and that calmed things down for awhile.

    They took an x-ray and said that my neck disks C6-C7 were compressed and that the shoulder and arm pain was coming from a pinched nerve from the disks. I've always had neck problems along with fibro and never the arm/shoulder pain before. I took anti-inflammatories for a week and when it got really bad, a Tylenol 3. I don't like taking meds but had to this time.

    Now, on top of the right upper arm throbbing, the pain is going into my left shoulder and arm. And my upper back/neck area is all in spasm. I've been on the computer more lately and that's probably my own fault but who knows? I have costochondritis too and some people on that board are saying they've had the same and it's coming from that. Who knows? Costo, fibro or the neck? I'm going to try the magnesium too. Hang in there everyone. Mare
  15. zeitgeist

    zeitgeist Member

    Same problem. Feels like pain radiating from the center of your bones out through everything, over worked and severely strained, and last, like your muscles are being filleted away from your bone. I have a compound cream for another problem which has been a Godsend. I can put it on in the middle of the night and when it has absorbed and taken effect I can fall back asleep. I also use it during the day if I need to. It is Ketoprofen 5%, Gabapentin 10%, Lidocain 10%, Ketamine 5%, Diclofenac 5%, Cyclobenzaprine 2%. It may help you. Yes it would be nice to get to the root cause of the problem and fix it but in the meantime there is something to be said for being able to function.

    If you are still reading I've had 2 neck surgeries, still have bulging, herniated, compressed disks, arthritis, bone spurs, foraminal narrowing, impingement and, nerve damage. This is in the area of the neck that would affect the upper arm however, I have nerve damage in other areas and know what that feels like in all its many different forms and this upper arm thing is not from the neck, spine, disk problems.
  16. Toppa

    Toppa Member

    Is there a name for this compound? Can you share where you got it from?
  17. zeitgeist

    zeitgeist Member

    Sorry I missed this in my email somehow until now. No there is no name but your Dr. can write the prescription and have a very good pharmacy that knows how to compound make it. My insurance company sent me a letter saying they would no longer cover this. It would only be covered for cancer patients. My Dr. then changed an ingredient and now it is a "different prescription" but with the same effect. If you have a good Dr. who believes that it is better to have as much function as possible as opposed to laying in bed in pain it helps. Good luck!
  18. jshoes56

    jshoes56 Member

    I am in physical therapy having just had my right rotator cuff repaired when I started experiencing the same pain in my upper arms. It was excruciating and started slowing down my progress in PT. As you know, fibro and surgery don't go well together to begin with and physical therapy can be a very up and down process as it is. There were several things that helped: a compound cream, using my TENS unit on my upper arms and shoulders (you can get a prescription from your doctor and order one online, use mine regularly for my fibro, is a lifesaver), using a portable ultrasound on the backs of my arms and shoulders (generates deep heat for muscles, another item you can get a prescription for from your doctor and order online), deep massage from my physical therapist, and also doing stretching exercises with Thera-Bands.

    Using the Thera-Bands gave the most immediate relief. It seems counter-intuitive, but the resistance bands forced the muscles to work and tighten more and then release. After two sets of 10, the pain and soreness was always gone. I have learned that is the tendency, my muscles shorten and tighten and don't release and that is why they hurt. Even being on a heavy duty muscle relaxant 24/7, I still work through my stretches to force my muscles to release and relax. Thera-Bands can be ordered from Amazon--relatively inexpensive.
  19. dvdgauthier

    dvdgauthier Member

    Hello everyone. I have read all or most of the comments here. I googled upper arm pain and found this forum. This past year, I started having problems with insomnia. It's not getting to sleep at night, it's staying asleep. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep for hours or at all. The next problem that arose was stiffness in my hands and feet that makes me feel like I need to crack my hands and feet. It mostly happens when I lie down at night but some during the day too. The next problem after that was pain in my upper back and neck when I wake up in the morning. I thought is it my bed or what? I've only had the mattress set for 3-4 years and it never bothered me before.

    This past week, the pain in my upper back and neck hasn't been as bad but now my upper right arm is killing me! The crazy thing is when I think about it or worry about it, it makes it start hurting. I'm thinking ok, is this just a mental thing? Am I stressed or anxious about something that I'm not fully aware of? I have had issues with anxiety most of my life and I even tried meds for a little over a year but none of them really worked so I stopped taking them years ago. I don't feel that I'm overly stressed or anxious about anything lately though.

    After reading the comments here, I'm thinking ok could this be FM? I read up on the symptoms of it a few weeks ago and I have some of the symptoms but I don't have health insurance. I can't afford it so I just go to Urgent Care whenever I have a problem. I don't know if I should make an appointment or not. I still owe them money from having really bad 'rhoids last year and 3 appointments and $400 later, they told me to take warm baths and eat more fiber until they go away. Therefore, I definitely don't want a repeat of that expensive advice. Any ideas anyone? I'm very into natural remedies for things. I like someone's idea on this forum about magnesium. I will check into that...
  20. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Well-Known Member

    Sorry you're in pain. For a doctor to diagnose FM you will have experienced unexplained wide spread body pain for at least 6 months. If you've read up on how it's diagnosed you will have seen the areas on a diagram where if you press it, it is painful. FM feels like you've got the flu.

    What I suggest is fill a sock with white rice, sew up the end, and pop this into the microwave for about a minute, give or take and drape it around your neck. Stress brings on the pain with FM.......muscles get tight and then....voila.....you're in pain for a couple of days or more. Try some epson salts in a bath and soak in this. It's got magnesium in it that the body absorbs. Read as much as you can about FM. I must have seen at least 6 doctors until I finally read about FM. Lately I've been doing slow stretches in the morning to stretch all my muscles, especially around my neck and shoulders and it's helping. Also I use heating pads and the best one is a shoulder/neck heating pad which I use at night to keep my muscles from getting stiff.

    Good luck.