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Old 08-18-2004, 12:25 PM   #1
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Post Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

Hello Everyone

I was diagnosed yesterday with arthritis in my rotator cuff yesterday by my Rheumatologist. I have had severe pain in both my upper arms for about 5 months. I cannot even raise my arms anymore without extreme pain. I had told my dr. yesterday that soon I will no longer be able to drive. He had asked me which arm was worse and I had told him my left. So he had only done an x-ray on the one shoulder and some more blood work. He said that it showed arthritis on the rotator cuff which leads to Tendonitis of the arm. He believes that I have the same in my other arm. I have been on Bextra 20mg for my Fibromyalgia. He said he doesn't believe the Bextra is helping me and gave me a script for oral steroids. When I had first gone to see him several months ago my sed rate had come back at a 37. I had asked him if taking the Bextra would bring down my sed rate and he said no. All along I had thought for some reason that taking the Bextra would bring my sed rate down. I am guessing that the blood work that was taking yesterday might include another sed rate. But I was wondering if anyone else has arthritis in the rotator cuff and maybe they would share with me what treatments have worked for them.
Jeanne

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Old 08-18-2004, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

Arthritis is often in the joint or bone, not in the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that surround the shoulder. Problems with the rotator cuff are often a result of injury or wear and tear or arthritis in the shoulder that may grow a spur and rip it. I do not believe the rotator itself can be arthritic. It can be torn, stretched and injured or bruised however.

Have you had a orthopeadic surgeon look at it or an MRI done? An Xray isn't going to show the soft tissue so I'm not sure how he could figure out you had arthritis in your rotator cuff when it is soft tissue and the only way to see that is via an MRI or other means of soft tissue films. I honestly don't understand why he only xrayed one shoulder and not both it makes no sense if both are a problem.

I would suggest to you that you have your doctor order and MRI or again, see an orthopeadic surgeon to see if they can really determine what is going on and how to fix the situation. I would further suggest you get the opinion of a surgeon because if it is tears they can be fixed you don't need to suffer with it. Physical therapy can help but the problem will never go away if it is torn but the pain can be greatly reduced and functionality restored to a degree.

Apparently you do have some swelling going on somewhere due to the SED rate however I would honestly question what that is. He could be right, it could be the shoulder causing the increase but I would think the arthritis is in the shoulder joint itself and again not the rotator, the rotator problems could be a problem which are a result of the arthritis but it is not arthritic itself..

 
Old 08-19-2004, 07:53 PM   #3
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

Hello Kissa
I have definitely made an error as I certainly misunderstood what my Rheumatologist had said. He had showed me the x-ray of my left shoulder and had stated that it had showed arthritis and also stated tendonitis with the rotator cuff. I had just assumed that he had meant both were in the rotator cuff but after reading your reply and then also doing a little researching myself I realized that it is impossible to have arthritis in the rotator cuff like you stated. Thank you for clarifying that mistake and explaining things to me.

I have had so much pain in my arms the past months but the weird thing in the pain had started in both my biceps. I never thought their was a problem with my shoulders. The pain is constant with no relief with my pain medication's and I do take 15mg of MS Contin 3x a day for my back and neck pain. I was just wondering if this sounded normal for this diagnosis. I don't think that I would have done injury to both of my rotator cuffs as I have the pain in both arms and it had originally begun in my right arm but is now more severe in the left. I have even discussed this with my neuro surgeon and he did another cervical mri and he said he doesn't believe my arm pain is coming from my neck. Well, again, thanks for clearing things up for me.
Jeanne

 
Old 08-20-2004, 04:57 AM   #4
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

It is really possible you tore your rotator cuff seeing how your neuro didn't see any neck problems. I had the same problem last fall but it did turn out to be my neck crushing my spinal cord and not my shoulder.

You really need to get an MRI by the sounds of the pain it's more like a rotator cuff tear than just arthritis. I have had arthritis in my shoulder for years and it wasn't as severe as you are indicating. However, when my rotator cuff was tore I definately had the pain. This is why it leads me to believe you have a possible tear. Tendon strain can be painful too but again, not as bad as you are describing. If you are in an advanced stage of arthritis (meaning you've had it for years and years) then yes the pain could be that severe but because you had an acute onset it leads me to believe something else.

Are you by chance on steriods at all? Aventricular Necrosis (I think that's how it is spelled) is caused by steriods where the blood supply dies to the bones and it too is very severe pain and chronic. They would be able to pick this up in an Xray unless it just started and not much blood loss has occured yet.

How long have you been on the MS? Sometimes it seems when we get new injuries or probs the meds just don't want to seem to work on them. I'm on 30mg 3x daily with vicodin for breakthrough and sometimes it doesn't help with most of my pain.

The good news is if it is a tear you can start therapy and see if it helps, sometimes it does, and if worse case scenario you need surgery it's a very simplistic surgery with not much compared to others I've including a neck fusion.

Definately try icing it, I found with the rotator probs that heat only made it hurt more. See an Ortho and may be try the therapy first after an MRI.

Good luck to ya let us know how it is going

 
Old 08-20-2004, 04:46 PM   #5
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

Hello Kissa
I am sorry to hear that you had to have a cervical fusion. Last year my neuro surgeon had made me decide on which one that I had wanted fixed meaning my lumbar or neck. I had a difficult decision to make and finally decided on my back as I had chronic pain much longer in my lumbar area. Well, needless to say that surgery has not made me better but worse. If you will look at my signature in my first post you will realize that I do have cervical injury as well. My neuro surgeon and pain management doctor have both told me that I have mild compression on my spinal cord. If it weren't for the outcome of my lumbar fusion, then my surgeon would most likely again recommend surgery. But he has told me that now he doesn't want to operate unless absolutely necessary. But with my lumbar fusion I also had BMP and I often wonder if this could have caused some of my inflammatory problems or maybe the hardware. I guess you could say that I wonder about so many things because my health has gone downhill since this surgery. My health insurance is also going through renewal at this time. So hopefully if everything goes okay, I am going to ask my primary doctor to send me for an MRI of both shoulder's.

Speaking of steroids, I have had my share. I have had 3 lumbar epidurals and one cervical epidural. I also had one cortisone injection into my hip. Then I went into the hospital one time and my neuro surgeon gave me a couple of injection's into the area's were my hardware is located. I was giving these injection's to see if maybe the hardware was causing my pain, but I have know idea what were in those injection's. I have also read the Burton Report a little to late. I have heard of avascular necrosis as my step farther had this when I was a child. Also I am a member of another board and someone that I speak with has developed this from steroid injection's.

I have only been on MS for about 3 months. I was previously taken Percocet. But I do take other meds as well to help with my muscle and nerve pain such as Topamax & Flexeril. I was first prescribed two MS Contin's a day and that barely helped me. My doctor then increased me to three a day. But is seems everytime I turn around their is another kind of pain creeping up on me and it is all inflammatory related. But thanks for the tip on the icing. I used to use that a while ago on my back and never thought to try it for my arms or shoulder's. But my shoulder's still don't hurt, only my arms.
Jeanne

 
Old 08-20-2004, 05:58 PM   #6
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

I feel for you, sounds like we are greatly alike in many ways. My lumbar is acting out now, it to is herniated. I am looking to get it checked but I will not have the surgery unless I can't walk or something severe is happening. Read too many bad stories.
I've had the injections and oral steriods over the years, since maybe age 16, I'm 38 now. I can tell you it has totally destroyed my knee and both shoulders. The cartilage is completely mush and I've had a few surgeries as a result of it.
I never knew what AVN was until last fall, here I been taking them off and on for 22 years or so. My neck referral pain into the shoulder was thought to be AVN but it wasn't. I started to do research and my heart just felt through the floor. I am not at risk for that the rest of my life as are you or anyone who has taken or used steriods.

Doctors don't tell you about this neither does the pharmacy. I guess the percentage of it happening is 3%. Well 3% is too high. They warn you if you are going to get a headache from medications even if it only occurs in 2% of the patients, why are they not telling us about AVN. Furthermore as you know from the Burton report, SI's are not intended to be put in the back. If you stop by the pain board there's a fella there called Shoreline who had many of them and now his back is full of scar tissue.

Good luck with your shoulder I hope its nothing serious!

 
Old 08-26-2004, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: Arthritis In Rotator Cuff

Hello Kissa
I am sorry to hear that you have injury to your back and suffer so. I completely understand you wanting to wait on having surgery as a last resort. I did suffer for over 20 years with back pain before I had my surgery. But sometimes waiting to long is not always good. I think their may be a possibility that my nerves may have been compressed for to long and that may also be why I suffer so and I have also developed scar tissue. You are only one year younger than I but I turn the big 40 next week. My body does feel much older.

I have heard of the member you mention on the pain management boards as I believe he was once a member of the back problems board. When I get a chance I will check out that board. Thanks for all you help. I wish you some pain free days. Have a good night.
Jeanne

 
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