After repetitive motions for some weeks in January I was now diagnosed with shoulder bursitis. I was injected with cortisone into my left shoulder on Wednesday. 3 days later now it hurts more than before, especially at night, waking me up many times.
1. Why does my shoulder bursitis hurt so bad at night that it wakes me up several times. I feel tendon pain moving down my entire arm?
2. When can I expect relief/healing? The doctor said that cortisone is fully effective after 10 days.
Does anyone have some experiences with this, I would very much appreciate it.
It often takes several days for the steroid to work at maximum effectiveness. Also, there is always a little inflammation set up from the injection itself, as it causes a tiny amount of trauma.
Pain is always magnified at nighttime. During the day you can distract yourself with activities. However, when lying in bed, it is just you and your body. So, any small aches and pains, that during the day aren't noticed too much, get noticed.
You can get referred pain down the arm and into the neck from any shoulder disorder.
Hopefully, the antiinflammatory properties of the steroid will decrease the inflammation, and thus decrease the discomfort. You have to remember that the steroid is not a pain medicine, it doesn't just mask the symptoms. It is actually trying to treat the underlying cause of the pain. So, you have to give it a little time to work.
Thank you so much for advising me. It has been 8 days now after the injection. The sharp pain that shoots through the entire arm (when I move the shoulder wrongly) is still there - that hasn't changed.
I called my doctor and he told me to take 2 Aleve in the morning and 2 in the evening to help take the inlammation and pain down. Plus he wants me to wait another week and come back if it hasn't improved.
You know, it is so frustrating, everybody tells me that they had cortisone shots and the cure started a day or two later. They tell me I should not feel pain by now and it should be heeled, and that the treatment failed.
Once it is hopefully healed in a few weeks (because I keep hoping!!!), do you think it will come back? (Since I won't muck the stalls of my horses any more - I did that for 3 weeks in January when the soil was heavy from the rain, that's how I hurt my shoulder...) Or is it healed for good?
Bursitis, or any of the overuse inflammatory problems, can come back. If you irritated the tissues once, you could do it again. But, hopefully, you will recognize the symptoms a little earlier and not let the problem get out of hand. All of the overuse inflammatory problems can be very frustrating, for both the patient and doctor.
Sometimes, injections do not hit the exact spot to get maximum benefit. It may take a couple of injections, spaced out, to get the best outcome. The first injection may not have calmed the inflammation down enough. Especially if you had a significant amount of inflammatory tissue built up.
In some cases of bursitis, immobilization for a few days really helps, such as in prepatellar knee bursitis or olecranon bursitis of the elbow. The problem in the shoulder is that you run the risk of significantly reducing range of motion, or even a frozen shoulder. But, in some cases, it may be tried (though it is not usual).
Continue with the ice or heat, whichever makes you feel the best. Most people use ice for sharp acute pain and heat for soothing the pain. Gentle ROM exercises are very important, as you don't want to get a frozen shoulder.
I just made another appoinment for next Friday with another doctor who has an excellent rating. We are going on a trip and of course I expect to be magically healed by the time we come back!!!
I liked my previous doctor but his rating was shockingly low, (I found out later) and I got an appointment right away... Maybe he did everything right but I found somebody closer now.
So far it is 9 days after the cortisone injection. I had a really bad night, the shooting pain through the arm is still the same... Time to get an exact diagnosis - unless it is all better next week...
I still am open and receptive for a late cortisone response that heals this inflammation!!!
We went for a few days to Lake Havasu! And on day 11 after my cortisone shot, I was in the sun (105 F) and then went for a swim in the cold lake - AND coming out all shoulder pain was gone! Can you believe that???
The cold shock must have taken care of the bursitis. My guess is that probably the cortisone took the inflammation down all along or actually did have an effect and the cold shock was an impulse just at the right time to take care of the rest.
(SUNBATHING IN BLASTING HEAT - SWIMMING IN COLD LAKE)
2 days later, what is left now is tendon pain here and there and stiffness but not this horrible pain any more. I woke up only once last night from laying on that shoulder - it might take a little more time.
I have a new doctor appointment with a new shoulder specialist on Fr and I wonder if I should go at all - maybe he can help my tendons and prescribe physical therapy, what do you think? Or will time heal the rest???
It would probably be good to get another opinion. Inflammatory problems can be chronic in nature and very frustrating. Since appointments with specialists are often hard to get, I would take advantage of the opportunity.
Alternating heat and cold therapy, called contrast baths, is what you did with the sun bathing, then swimming in a cold lake. This has been a widely used therapy in treating athletes. It can be quite successful, as you have found out.