I had bilateral frozen shoulders three months after finishing rads (after surgery and snb). It took me months to get it properly diagnosed - it just felt like really painful upper arms and shoulders which were agony if I reached for anything.
It it didn’t occur to me that it could be related to the BC, but the orthopaedic surgeon who diagnosed it suspects it is. Apparently they don’t know what causes frozen shoulder but it’s more common after surgery or other trauma as it’s a sort of auto immune response when your body lays down scar tissue in the shoulder capsule. And it can therefore be on the other side to your treatment side. My oncologist agreed.
Once I’d got it diagnosed (MRI) the steroid injection helped hugely. As others have said, although the symptoms are similar to shoulder impingement the treatment is very different so do get it diagnosed as early as you can.
Im on a slow recovery - apparently it can take up to two years to go!
Yes the GP did say that I might need a steroid injection, however that's another needle! So I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do about it! I'm going to go back to the GP and get a referral for a scan, as you suggested - at least then I'll know that I'm doing the correct exercises. It probably is totally unrelated and just age and I suppose to be honest, it doesn't really make a difference, the treatment is still the same, regardless. I'm just always trying to find the cause (I was a nightmare when I had cancer!), I can't just accept that these things just come on, so I drive myself bonkers trying to find a link or a reason.
Thanks for prompting me to go back to the GP!
I had a mastectomy nearly 5 years ago now. In the last few months I started to get shoulder pain. I've had physio and have also been to the GP to rule out any return of the cancer. No scans were taken, but the GP assured me that the nature of the pain indicated a shoulder impingement (so both he and the physio agreed).
I wanted to try accupuncture as well as physio, but while I was chatting to the accupuncturist, I remembered that I can't have any needles on the affected side!! So she treated the other side and treated me for relaxation, which was still lovely!
I said to her that I would check out whether it was ok for me to have the treatment on that side (after reading loads of stuff on the net, I can confirm that it's probably safer if I don't). In my search, I saw that lots of woman have suffered with frozen shoulder since having lymph nodes removed, some months/years later. I can't find anything linking a shoulder impingment to mastectomy/lymph node removal, but could there be a link? Should impingement and frozen shoulder are very similar issues (I think). Shoulder impingement is very common in people of my age (48) apparently, but I cannot think of what could have caused it, other than carrying heavy shopping bags! The pain is interfering with work slightly, but it's at its worst at night - I'm having to take a neurofen each night just to get a full night's sleep now. I am so tired everyday due to lack of sleep and I don't want to develop an addiction to pain relief!!
Is anyone else affected by this at all?