Meet other women who are similar in age and dealing with age-appropriate issues.
Posted on: Nov 27, 2015 06:07AM
I've been on Arimidex for only about four months. I have constant hot flashes, which seem to be abating somewhat. A little over a week ago, I started having a dull ache under my right shoulder blade. (My lumpectomy was on the left side back in March 2015.) Last night it got really bad. It felt worse when I lay on my left side-- couldn't find a way to position my right arm that wasn't excruciating. Felt better when I lay on the painful side.
Of course, this is a holiday weekend (yesterday was Thanksgiving)...I will call the onc when the workday begins, but don't have much hope of finding her in. I've been taking ibuprofen, but don't want to overdo that, as I had a dental implant last week, and I had already been taking big doses. Just got out the heating pad to see if that helps.
Has anyone had shoulder pain on one side like this? Needless to say, I'm alarmed and worried, and I'm hoping it's a side effect of the drug. The pain is bothersome, but I'm more worried about what the pain means.
Posts 1 - 30 (32 total)
Jun 21, 2019 10:33PM Lined wrote:
I started Arimidex 7 months ago and my shoulder pain is getting worse. In fact many joints hurt and now my lower back hurts. My whole body is constantly achy. I’m afraid that maybe the cancer spread to bones. I had a bone scan today and terrified while waiting for the results. I don’t know how to deal with my anxiety. I never had these types of pain before . Can bone metastasis be treated or is it a death sentence
Jun 22, 2019 02:06AM - edited Jun 22, 2019 02:21AM by powerthruit
Jun 25, 2019 11:01AM Shell07 wrote:
I started Arimidex in December 2018 with no side effects until April 2019. Shoulder pain left side progressively worsening. Saw orthopedist who felt it was related to a combination of left side breast cancer treatment (lumpectomy, radiation)and fractured left wrist in July 2018.
I started Physical Therapy on June 10th with limited mobility in Left shoulder and very painful. I decided to stop taking Arimidex to weed out what was causing the problem. I no longer have shoulder pain! Now what to do??? Try another aromatase inhibitor?
Jul 6, 2019 06:15AM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Shell07, I wish I knew what to tell you. Since you're so new to AIs, you could definitely try another one. A friend of mine had lots of joint pain right away with Arimidex and switched to another one (not sure which one). Or you could stick it out and see if it goes away, as mine did for the next (almost) four years.
Recently I've been experiencing excruciating shoulder pain on the right side. I came back to the boards and was surprised to find this thread that I started in 2015. I had forgotten about the shoulder pain back then, only four months into taking Arimidex. I guess it went away--I wish I had posted a followup!
But like Lined, who posted last month, not only has the shoulder pain come back, but now I pretty much ache all over, just as she describes it. I woke up at 4:00 this morning and got up to pee. When I got back in bed, I just lay there, noting that pretty much every spot in my body was aching. Shoulder, both hips, knees, calves, feet, oh, and I had a headache, too. I could not get comfortable, so I just got up. I do this many mornings.
It started with sciatica last December. I went to physical therapy for that and it did NO good. That has gotten better on its own (I also take Pilates, and that helped more than anything). But about a month ago, the shoulder pain came back. I assumed it was too much computer use, but when I went for my annual visit with the surgeon, he thought it might be the Arimidex. I've been on it FOUR YEARS, and I only have one more year to go. I have taken myself off of it for a month to see if that helps. I'm tempted to just stop it now, but I'm superstitious about the "magic five years." I dunno.
For most of the time I've been on Arimidex, I've had the hot flashes (they've diminished), and I feel like my body's thermostat is completely messed up, no matter what the outside temp is. I've resigned myself to that. But-- except for the shoulder incident that precipitated this thread-- I haven't had a whole lot of side effects. That I can remember, that is.
Aug 23, 2019 02:05PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Update: My shoulder and arm pain has continued to the point where I can no longer talk myself out of investigating it. Sometimes it feels like it's in the shoulder, other times sharp pains in the biceps, or the triceps, other times not much pain at all! Ibuprofen definitely helps it. Over the past few months that I've been experiencing it, it hasn't gotten worse-- in fact, it's less than at the beginning when the pain kept me awake at night. But it's s-t-i-l-l there, and I'd like some answers. Actually, that's not quite true: I don't really care what it IS-- I just want to know what it ISN'T.
I called my MO's office yesterday and much to my surprise her nurse got back to me within the hour with orders for an MRI. I expected some "tut-tutting" or at least a recommendation for PT. It's Friday now and I've put in a call to the imaging center to try to get this scheduled early next week. I'm getting very antsy.
Right now, I'm crawling the walls. Just took 1.4 mg xanax a while ago and waiting for it to kick in. Oh please let it be Arimidex side effects or computer mouse arm or something benign. Yeah, I know we all wish that, but...
Aug 23, 2019 05:36PM - edited Aug 24, 2019 08:08PM by JaneQPoppy
Aug 23, 2019 09:26PM - edited Aug 24, 2019 08:07PM by JaneQPoppy
Aug 23, 2019 11:53PM Peregrinelady wrote:Jane, I was diagnosed a couple of months after you and also have vague arm pains. It started with shooting nerve pains in my shoulder blade only occasionally. Just recently I have muscle pain in my upper arms, especially when I reach for something. I am thinking it might be from the Arimidex. Keep us posted on your testing and try not to stress too much.
Aug 24, 2019 08:07PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Thank you so much for the reply, Peregrinelady. The original BC diagnosis didn't cause me any distress, for some mysterious reason. I breezed through the lumpectomy and radiation without batting an eye. But this is some kind of delayed reaction. It is making me nuts. Thank you for your words. I wish I had someone in my life that I could talk to about this, but people just can't relate unless they've been through some kind of health scare.
Do you plan to investigate your arm pain?
Aug 25, 2019 01:26AM Peregrinelady wrote:I am waiting it out right now because it has dissipated in the right arm and now the left arm has the same muscle pain. I also have kayaked lately so it is probably from that. I think muscles and joints don’t bounce back as well when you are on the antihormonals. At least that is true for me. Ever since I had hip pain that I was sure was mets, but turned out to be bursitis, I try to figure out other reasons for aches and pains. If something persists, then I will go to the dr. Yes, other people don’t really understand the constant apprehension about mets. I try to exercise and stay busy to keep my mind off of it.
Aug 25, 2019 09:39AM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Thank you so much for this dialogue. Yesterday and this morning, my arm hardly hurts at all. Knock on wood, it's nothing. But I got to the point where I could no longer talk myself into ignoring it. I'm grateful the MO's nurse took me seriously, right off the bat.
Aug 25, 2019 11:13AM Peregrinelady wrote:I am glad the pain has lessened. I just went back to the beginning of the thread. I did not realize that this started in 2015. Glad you are getting the MRI. Let us know how that goes. Do you know how much of your body will be included?
Aug 25, 2019 02:25PM - edited Aug 27, 2019 09:10PM by JaneQPoppy
I assume just my shoulder and upper arm.
It started back when I started this thread and then it went away. The sciatic pain started December 2018, and then the arm pain came back about six months ago. My arm hasn't been hurting continuously since 2015.
Aug 26, 2019 11:19AM katcar0001 wrote:
I have been following this thread since I have been having a strange shoulder pain for 2 weeks now. It feels like someone is digging their knuckle into my back between the shoulder blade and spine but does not seem to get worse with movement. I thiiiiink it may have to do with my sleeping position as it's fine when I go to bed but it wakes me up early in the morning and then persists until late morning. Then the cycle starts again the next morning. But there is that niggling worry... I am coming up on 5 years in November. I am concerned about the right course of treatment after that--to continue with an AI or not. I have very little tissue left for the BCI test because my prior onc did worthless tests with Foundation One and Caris, and I would rather have saved the tissue to do the BCI test.
Aug 27, 2019 09:09PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
@ katcar0001 - Am I understanding correctly from your history (in the footnote) that you had IDC on the left side and then a benign tumor removed on the right side and THEN a lumpectomy on the right side? Also, sorry, but what is BCI? I'm not seeing it in the list of abbreviations.
At this link https://www.lbbc.org/sites/default/files/LBBC_Hormonal%20Therapy%20Guide_2017.pdf
on Hormonal Therapy in another thread, it emphasizes that joint pain is a very common side effect of these drugs. Still, one can't help but worry.
Coming up on five years and what next? I hear ya on that one! I'll be five years from the surgery in March 2020 and five years on Arimidex in July. I really want to stop it.
I'm having the MRI of my shoulder tomorrow. Oddly, after constant pain (often so bad it made me cry) since about February, for the last couple of days, virtually no pain at all! Go figure.
Aug 28, 2019 09:04AM katcar0001 wrote:
JaneQPoppy Isn't that ironic that the pain resolved right before you get a MRI? I really hope that your pain is resolved for good, because I know what it is like, and it is an awful drain esp. since it interferes with sleep. Please let us know what your MRI determines. Hopefully, it finds nothing of interest!
BCI is the Breast Cancer Index that reports two scores: how likely the cancer is to recur 5 to 10 years after diagnosis and how likely a woman is to benefit from taking hormonal therapy for a total of 10 years. See more at https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/breast-cancer-index-test
Yes, you are correct--I had a benign tumor removed via lumpectomy from my right side (just wanted to make 100% sure it was benign or that it wouldn't morph over time), and IDC removed via mastectomy from my left side. Otherwise, it sounds like we had similar pathologies. I have managed pretty well on Arimidex to this point. I do strength training twice a week. The weird thing with both Tamoxifen and Arimidex is that I have trouble gaining weight and keeping it on. My biggest issue from Arimidex is that when I first start walking, my feet are very stiff and sore, and I walk like a duck. But then once I get going, I feel and walk normally. All in all, I feel better on it than Tamoxifen, but I guess time will be the real test. I would like to stay on it for 2.5 more years for a total of 7 years of therapy. I think my shoulder pain has something to do with my sleep position. Working out does not seem to make it worse--just sleeping. I read that shoulder pain after sleeping is quite common, and this site is thorough at describing the possible causes of shoulder pain and has exercises to help. https://melbournearmclinic.com/shoulder-pain-at-night/. I have started the exercises. If the pain doesn't resolve in a couple of weeks, then I will make that appointment with my onc in Mexico.
Aug 28, 2019 11:49AM JaneQPoppy wrote:
I'll have to ask my oncologist about the Breast Cancer Index. I qualify on all the points.
Today the arm is hurting a bit. Oddly, the pain today is in the triceps area.
I'll report when I get the MRI results.
Aug 28, 2019 05:02PM katcar0001 wrote:
JaneQPoppy That is strange that the pain has moved. It is your right arm? So that is not the side where you had 5 nodes removed. I wish it were an easy explanation, and ruling out anything other than a pinched nerve or something like that is the first step. I will be checking back to see how you are doing.
Aug 28, 2019 05:19PM - edited Aug 28, 2019 05:21PM by JaneQPoppy
Thanks katcar0001. All my surgery was on the left side. All this pain has only been on the right side. Shoulder and upper arm. Sometimes right on the very top of the shoulder. Sometimes in the bicep area, today more in the triceps area. A couple of months ago, it was really bad-- I couldn't sleep on that side at all because of the pain. Recently-- the last few nights, I can sleep on the right side with only a little pain. I take Pilates from a private teacher (who is also a breast cancer survivor-- she had a double mastectomy over 25 years ago), and a couple of months ago, I could not do some of the exercises, including holding my right arm straight up next to my head because of the pain. It is very weird how it keeps moving around, but all in the shoulder/upper arm area. Would side effects do that? Would (God forbid) bone mets?
My MRI appt is in about an hour and a half and I AM getting antsy. Took 1/4 mg of xanax a little while ago. My MO's nurse said to call her because she will get the results before I do. I'm going to leave her a message when I get home.
Aug 29, 2019 04:43PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Just got a phone call from my oncologist: no cancer. YAY! When I saw her name on the caller I.D. instead of her nurse's (who usually calls me), my heart stopped. She said I do have tendonitis and bursitis and some other stuff and wants me to see an orthopedist. I'm so relieved I can hardly see straight. Thanks for the good wishes katcar0001.
Aug 30, 2019 12:14AM Peregrinelady wrote:That is a relief!
Sep 3, 2019 08:43AM katcar0001 wrote:
JaneQPoppy Phew! Fantastic news! What will you do for the tendonitis and bursitis?
My shoulder pain is the same if not slightly worse. My trainers says my left side is winging a bit, and my masseuse says I have inflammation there (bursitis?). I am getting tired of it waking me up every morning between 3 and 4.
Sep 10, 2019 04:06PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Hi katcar0001- I'm just going to live with it and be more careful with my body mechanics when I'm at the computer. I do not want any more doctors or drugs in my life!
Oct 19, 2019 07:40PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Geez, this is getting old. Now I have back pain on the left side. It started one day, and iIt's been going on about a week. Not lower back, but rib cage area. It sometimes moves to the side, and it occurred to me that it might be constipation. It feels like a "kink" or maybe a spasm. Ibuprofen helps a little. I'm so weary of chasing down these pains and worrying. I only have eight more months on this drug and I'm counting the minutes.
I'm going to see if it hangs around for a few weeks before I call the oncologist. As with the shoulder pain (which is still there, BTW, but less) I really don't care what it IS-- I just want to know what it ISN'T.
All things being equal, I got off really easy on my cancer journey, and I feel a little sheepish about complaining... but it's not the pain that bothers me, it's the worry. Thanks for listening.
Oct 24, 2019 12:21PM katcar0001 wrote:
JaneQPoppy, I am sorry to hear you are experiencing more pains due to Arimidex. I wonder if switching to another AI would resolve your issues? Or perhaps you could switch to Tamoxifen?
I am still having terrible scapular pain and cannot sleep on that side at all. It is time to have it looked at. I have a doctor appt Sat. Worried... no kidding. I know just how you feel.
Oct 28, 2019 06:03PM JaneQPoppy wrote:
Hi katcar0001,how did your doc visit go--please tell us. Did you have an MRI?
For myself, I'm not 100% sure my aches and pains are caused by Arimidex. At least, I'm not sure which ones are... Anyway, I only have about 8 more months on it (to bring me to 5 years), so I'd rather "bear those ills I have than fly to others I know not of."
I really don't want to have to break in a new drug for such a short time. Right this minute, my back isn't hurting, but my arm/shoulder pain is there. The sciatica is about a 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10) and only when I'm up and moving around. Actually, if I lie perfectly still and don't move anything, I'm good.
If only I could train my cats and dog to bring me food, eh?