If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about RA in the last five years …

April 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Posted in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 5 Comments

… it’s that it doesn’t obey the rules!

I’ve always been a very law-abiding citizen, a positive goody-goody in my youth, and I just don’t think that’s FAIR!

I’m not having a flare, I’m not in a great deal of pain, none of my small joints (you know, the one’s that RA affects when it obeys the rules) are causing me an problem at all. Hurrah. Believe me, I’m not complaining about that. Even my acromoclavicular joint, that little one in the shoulder/neck area that’s given me a lot of gyp in the past, is fine.

No, this time the problem is the wacking great big joint – the ‘ball and socket’ where the upper arm bone (humerous) fits into the shoulder – the glenohumeral joint apparently. Good job I have a love of words, because there’s very little else to love about my left glenohumeral joint right now!

As I said, I’m not in a great deal of pain – in fact no pain most of the time. However, something’s going on in that joint which is causing a nerve to get trapped whenever I try to a) lift the arm past horizontal height sideways b) lift the arm past what I can only think of, given that I’m reading a book about Germany in World War II at the moment, as Nazi salute height c) lift something heavy or d) sleep on that side. And when it gets trapped, IT HURTS! Fortunately it doesn’t hurt for very long, unlike that typical toothachy grinding pain of RA, but it does hurt… a lot!

I’ve had it for months – I couldn’t be bothered to go and see the doc. After all, it only hurt if I did things that I didn’t really have to do, and I thought it would just get better.

It got worse.

I also thought that it wasn’t RA. It might not be … but I saw the doc today and she thinks it probably is.

On the bright side, she’s referred me to physio. On the not so bright side it could take weeks, because I’m at work. If I was off work because of it, I could get an urgent appointment so I could get back to work.

If I was off work because of it, I would have no money coming in… I’ll wait.

Also on the not so bright side, she’s dubious about the physios being able to do anything about it. If they can’t, I’ll probably have to have an investigatory ultrasound (no worries) and an injection (nerve or joint related I’m not quite sure – decided I’d rather not ask …) … big worries! However, as I’m immuno-suppressed she’s not keen to go down the injection path because of risk of infection. I assured her that as I’m a wimp I’m also not keen to down the injection path, because of risk of pain!

Just have to sit back and wait for the physiotherapy appointment now, and hope it doesn’t take so long that I AM off work with the problem by the time I get the appointment!

Flippers crossed.



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  1. Hmm. That particular shoulder pain when the arm is in certain positions sure does sound familiar. Been there, done that may times, Penguin–and man, oh man, does it hurt. Most times my shoulder did the ol’ rheuma-ache at rest as well, though. I’d end up keeping it bent at the elbow, my lower arm tucked up protectively against my chest, fist clenched under my chin. Attractive, eh?

    The last time this happened I was at work. Next door to my office was a chiropractor. I was in such pain I decided to pop over and ask if he might have any ideas–and he did. He used ultrasound therapy on it for about fifteen minutes. To my utter surprise and delight, when he was done I had much more range of motion–low pain as opposed to just-shoot-me-now pain–and could allow the arm to hang normally off my shoulder. Incredible. If ultrasound therapy is a possible option for you, you might want to give it a try.

    In the meantime– GOOD hearing from you. I hope you’ll have a restful, playful and pain-free weekend.

  2. Thanks Wren! Yes, I’ve had ultrasound before, for other shoulder problems, and it helped enormously. That’s something the physios do, so let’s hope they decide to give it a try!

  3. Good luck with all of this. Limited range of motion is not good for all kinds of reasons. Hopefully the ultrasound will make a difference and/or physiotherapy.

  4. Thanks Carla – I hope so too! It’s not good but it could be a lot worse … although that’s not what I was saying about 3 o’clock this afternoon when I stood up and swung my arm behind me to get my coat. What I said under my breath isn’t printable, but fortunately no one heard! 🙂

  5. Hmm it’s always something, isn’t it?! Even when we’re feeling good, there’s always something to keep us on our toes. Sorry to hear about the shoulder, sounds really painful. I’ve had a joint injection into my hand and it wasn’t sore at all (I was terrified beforehand!) so I wouldn’t worry if they decide to do it – mine was a great success got rid of the pain and swelling for about 16 months. Good luck!

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