Shoulder pain

About 3 weeks after surgery my ‘affected’ shoulder started hurting.
So that was 3 weeks into the exercises in That Leaflet - you know, the pink one with the woman with short dark hair. The exercise where you stand side on to a wall and ‘walk’ you arm up and hold it there for a count of 20 (Exercise 6) was worst.
I asked my BCN if I should stop the exercises, and she said no.
I subsequently got through 25 sessions of radiotherapy on pain killers - my shoulder was by then agony.
After treatment was all done, I had a follow-up with my surgeon, and I mentioned the shoulder pain - which I was trying to ignore. She immediately referred me to a physiotherapist.

It seems I have a ‘rotator cuff infringement’ - which if ignored could have got a lot worse. The physio thinks it MAY be something to do with the exercises. The exercises either caused something, or made something worse - she’s not sure.

Anyway, I’m wondering if anyone else has had a similar condition?
Could the exercise advice be inappropriate for some of us?

Oh yes I suffer the same condition which I’ve had for several months on and off before my diagnosis has got a whole lot worse since my WLE and SNB two weeks ago the exercises make it worse and is the only real pain I’m suffering now will be seeing my breast care nurse today and ask if I could have a cortisone injection because I’ll be starting rads in a short while not sure if this is advised have laid off the exercises and just keep mobile I have good movement but it is painful will let you know how I get on todayxx

Have spoken to bc nurse this am she said I could have a cortisone injection and to make an appt to see my GP which I have done this PM hope this helpsx

About 18 months after my initial dx and about 12 months after radiotherapy I started having problems in both shoulders, got to the point I couldn’t fasten my bra, struggled with my coat and couldn’t reach up shelves etc.
My onc totally dismissed it - said it was frozen shoulders, nothing to do with the BC, could happen to anyone. Anyway wasn’t prepared to put up with this.
Saw a rheumatologist privately near to work, who dx “rotator cuff infringement” but even more interestingly said it was more than likely caused by radiotherapy and is commonly known as radiation induced fibrosis. It was only when I consulted good old Google that I realised how common it must be. I asked why it had happened in both shoulders and he said, the affected shoulder was where the radiation beam went in and the other shoulder was where it came out.
He immediately gave me cortisone injections in both shoulders to free them enough for physio. I had a couple of months of physio and have more movement now. It is not perfect but a lot better.
Apparently this sort of thing is more common than lymphodoema, my argument to my onc is why is it never mentioned. It was never mentioned to me as a possible problem or side effect. According to my rheumatologist I should have been given specific exercises to combat this during radiotherapy. Needless to say I wasn’t.

Hello Sam, Looby and Peg, I, too, am suffering with dreadful shoulder pain, so was interested when I saw your posts. I had this on and off before bc dx buit is substantially worse since (WLE & SNB)
Particularly aggravated by the rads which I am nearly at the end of thank goodness. The pain of moving my arms up and then back flown again afterwards is the worst part of all of it. I mentioned it to my onc recently and he just put it down to the Anastrazole And told me to give it 6 months!I know it isn’t just that but it has definitely made it worse. I stopped doing the exercises as I had a haematoma after surgery and was told that the exercises might be making the fluid build up worse. Now I’m not sure what to do. Even reading a newspaper is painful… I don’t see my onc again until July and the BCN at my hospital isn’t very helpful.
What to do…? Should I take this up with my GP now?

Southcoastbeaachgirl all I can add is my bc nurse has said it’s Ok to have a cortisone injection so I have made an appointment for next weds hoping to get it sorted by the time I start my rads and possibly chemo not sure on that yet one less thing to worry about as it’s now disturbing my sleep and I’m dozing off during the day and it’s doing my head in hope it gives some relief!!! Stay strong girls!! :))

Thanks Loobyb will follow up. I have also found it disturbing my sleep and am losing some strength in one hand because of it. Have been b*ggering on with it but am now encouraged to do something about it! thanks so much x

Southcoastbeachgirl my pleasure hope it helps:))

I found that using a gel called biofreeze after a warm bath helped with my shoulder pain, I have just finished six months of physio which has made a huge difference and I am only bothered by pain if i have done something energetic like cleaning the car or widows. Biofreeze is available from most chemists.

I’ve had some more physio and my shoulder is improving. I’ve got a bunch of exercises to do to strengthen the arm - mainly involving rotating the shoulder.
One that is particularly effective is to put your ‘affected’ hand on your buttock, and move the arm so your hand is an inch or so away from your body - hold for 10 seconds. Doing this with the ‘good’ arm is easy, but it is very hard with the shoulder condition. The exercise strengthens the affected muscles - there are other exercises that are harder to describe, I’m sure there will be websites out there with detailed instructions.

This started BEFORE radiotherapy, so was not caused by it - but I’m sure holding my arm above my head for rads can’t have helped.

Southcoastbeachgirl (and anyone else who has shoulder pain) - I’d definitely go see a doctor or physio if I were you. I ignored the pain for months, thinking it would just go away eventually - if it wasn’t for a lucky appointment with my surgeon (who is clued up enough not to dismiss it) then I would have gone on to suffer much worse pain.

Hi girls
I also have shoulder pain. ( WLE & SNB in March and finished 15 rads 2 weeks ago).
Every morning when I wake up it seems to be worse even though I am doing the exersises the Physio told me to. If I hold my arm in the same position for a long time it seems to get worse. Saw GP and she just gave me strong Ibroprovin jel thats not helping one little bit.
On top of that I have a very sore and tender nipple,a rectangular rad burn under armpit just above a scar that was also burned so its red and sore and pain in the breast itself. The burn cream that BC gave is helping a little.
I’m not due to see BN or ONC for another 4 weeks so it looks as though will have to put up with it all.
I am not a happy bunny .
Sorry thats my rant over for today
Ann W xx

Have had cortisone injection and now a week later I am pain free and have full mobility the first couple of days was very sore so girls do it if you can the benefits far outweigh the the pain in the long run should have done it a long time ago!!