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Shoulder locking

One of the many symptoms that eventually led to a positive R/A diagnosis was severe swelling in my left shoulder. My rheumatologist injected directly into the shoulder, however he said that this couldn’t go on indefinitely. Following excellent treatment and being prescribed Methotrexate pen-injections my R/A is under control, however, particularly when in bed, my shoulder locks solid and can only be unlocked by performing a sort of heil Hitler salute and violently twisting my arm, sometimes it sounds like a rifle shot. Apparently this is quite common and can suddenly cure itself, have any of you guys had any experience of this?


  • Airwave!Airwave! Posts: 2,344

    I can’t physically move my shoulder at times, it gets locked in position, is that it? I know it’s badly worn and bone on bone. At present I try to relax my muscles and try to move another direction which works after a fashion.

    its a grin honest!

  • CrookeseyCrookesey Posts: 119

    ‘At times’ by definition means that ‘sometimes’ it isn’t locked, my only way out is the ‘Hitler salute’. I’m interested in how relaxing your muscles helps, and how you do it, I lay in bed and it keeps on locking, however when I’m out and about it very rarely locks, could I be unconsciously expecting it to lock when I’m lying in bed?

  • MoWWMoWW Posts: 41 mod
    edited 8. Jun 2020, 12:23
  • CrookeseyCrookesey Posts: 119

    There is little to no pain, just the locking whilst in bed. My rheumatologist originally sent me to a hospital based physio, however he concluded that a bone joint sent out of kilter by severe swelling, that has now been eradicated by medication, could not benefit from physiotherapy.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

  • I had that about 6 or 7 seven years ago and it lasted for a few months and it was hell. I was prescribed Amytrptyline which helped a little but physio and a steroid injection sorted it in the end. It’s still a weak spot for me but never been back to that level of problem again thankfully

  • Airwave!Airwave! Posts: 2,344

    Hi, my shoulder joints Lock because I have a large gap with a very uneven joint which can’t rotate easily due to arther. Relaxing the muscles in any part of your body is easy but then I’ve been practising, it’s a way of releasing pain for me in my many affected joints. Often I have to move in the opposite direction first.

    its a grin, honest!

  • Well I’m on my second day of wearing a shoulder support strap, it works. The bad point is that it’s a one sizer, and a bit small for me, however it appears to have done it’s best to accommodate my frame. My shoulder only cracked twice last night, and once so far today, and most noticeable is that my offending left shoulder has started to feel similar to it’s mate on the other side.

  • The shoulder brace is still doing it’s job, I’m not wearing it at night and experienced a sort of deep thud whilst attempting to click my shoulder in bed, it appeared to indicate movement of the entire shoulder joint.

  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,897

    With any kind of support we are usually advised to wear them only for short periods as otherwise the muscles decide they are no longer needed and everything gets worse long term. I'd suggest you ask a physio for advice and exercises to accompany it. It might not be easy to get a consultation right now but it's possible they could give some phone advice.

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • The problem is that the medical profession rarely recognise these ‘mobility aids’, so can’t really give advice on something that don’t accept as workable. I fully understand their reticence, as acceptance could bring forth a tsunami of requests/demands for them to supplied on prescription.

    I’m doing fine with my shoulder brace and lower back support belt, it makes me feel that I’m taking on the dreaded R/A. I also take 800mg of Nurofen off my own bat, in addition to my prescription medication.

  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,897

    Crooksey, I didn’t mean to imply that you should see an NHS physio. A private one would not be restricted by NHS financial constraints. We have an excellent local physio clinic which, for £30, will learn all about your medical needs, prescribe exercises, give other advice and only suggest that you return if things aren’t helping.

    As for taking Nurofen with meth – it’s your choice but, according to NICE:

    “Both methotrexate and ibuprofen can increase the risk of nephrotoxicity.

    Ibuprofen is predicted to increase the risk of toxicity when given with methotrexate. Manufacturer advises monitor.

    Severity of interaction:


    Evidence for interaction:



    Ibuprofen is the active ingredient in Nurofen. We can get away with self-medicating for only so long. Sooner or later our lack of expertise leads us into potentially severe trouble. I suggest you check with your rheumatologist or pharmacist.

    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
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