Severe muscle pain with RA


Hi all. I have been diagnosed now with RA for over 8 years. I have controlled it with MTX and Steroids as well as Naproxen. More recently I have started to suffer with severe pain in either my left or right shoulder, never both at once (thank god). The pain comes on gradually and gets worse in the evening and progressively worse through the night. It doesn’t feel like stiffness pain, more severe sharp pain in the muscle when I try to move my arm and lifting it is a no, no. I notice that I seem to get it if I try to do anything active. If I take extra Steroid or Naproxen it takes ages to kick in. Has anyone else had this muscle pain and what helped or what were you prescribed. I’m not due to see my consultant until June and it’s only a telephone call, so I am trying to find out as much as possible before I have that appointment. Thank you.


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,726

    Definitely muscle pain is possible with RA. I actually gave up driving once my second son had gone to uni as I no longer needed to drive every day so, when I did, I found my shoulder muscles in particular had taken a rest and were hard to get going again. 

    But I think it does sound as if your meds regime needs a review. It's unusual to take extra steroids when needed and you'd probably be better off, both now and long term, with more DMARDS and fewer steroids. If your recent blood tests show that inflammatory levels are OK then maybe you just need some regular shoulder exercises which you can find here . Start slowly and gently with just 2-3 repetitions and gradually build up. If it's hard to get going take some of your regular pain relief half an hour beforehand and maybe also warm the shoulder with a wheat bag first.

    Definitely one for your consultant and maybe keep a short pain, and extra meds taken, diary until the appointment.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • airwave
    airwave Member Posts: 579

    Yep, all sounds familiar! It may well be that you haven’t been using your affected joints as much over the last few years and favouring them so you don’t overuse them or incur pain? Your muscles and joints may well be less developed and need some gentle exercise within your limits to encourage the ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the rigours of life and hold your arthritic joints firmly? Loose joints wear quicker.

    I use a shaped pillow from IKEA, the long sides are rolled to two different sizes and the middle concave on one side and convex on the other. The firm pillow supports my head and takes the weight off my shoulders but even so I need to turn over to stop the numbing pain. One of those shapes will help you, they aren’t expensive, circa £8 or so last time I got one.

    I am a big advocate of wheat bags (madam makes them in different sizes and shapes, friends and family ‘borrow’ them frequently) the heat will ease pain and encourage any healing by increased blood supply from the heat.

    As to pain relief, I don’t take painkillers regularly, the side effects don’t agree with me and they are for short term use or your body will get used to them with reliance on them a short time away. So if I do need relief, I turn to a hot bath, wheat bags, analgesic creams, massage, heated foot spa, relaxation, cognisant skills and sometimes a whisky before bed. Sleep is a great aid. The GC often get me out of a bad day, who can resist them? Food, chocolate, hot drinks all help😃! Curiously Tramadol in smaller doses has less side effects for me.

    There is so much info on this forum, you just need to search for it, ask your GP about the Pain Clinic and their courses.

    its a grin, honest!