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Shoulder pain after radiation

Hi, I'm Patricia J S.

In March 2019 I had a lumpectomy/sentinel node biopsy right breast and then 4 weeks of radiation. September I couldn’t lift my right arm. I went to an acupuncturist, chiropractor, and massage therapist. After none of these worked I went to my pc dr and he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who said I must have torn my rotator cuff and ordered an mri. I told every specialist and dr about the surgery and radiation and they all said this has nothing to do with that. I was scheduled to have a nerve conduction study when I just happened to have a follow up with my oncology surgeon and he was shocked that none of these drs and specialists knew this has everything to do with radiation! I am now seeing a physical therapist and feeling much better. Whew…cancelled the nerve conduction study just in time!

  • Post #1
  • Sun Nov 3, 2019
Hi, I'm Auntie

Curiously, I had been wondering if the pain in my shoulders (new) could be related to breast radiation (last session 3 weeks ago). I have appointment with radiation oncologist Monday and and planned to ask about it. Your post is very interesting and no one has ever told me about this side effect.

  • Post #2
  • Wed Nov 6, 2019
Hi, I'm Betti

Just a thought-think of how your arms were positioned during radiation treatments. If like mine 6 years ago my arms were above my head with my hands grasping a bar similar to a bicycle handlebars.

  • Post #3
  • Wed Nov 6, 2019
Hi, I'm Joyce C S.

was everyones arms positioned in this fashion, or have they changed that?

  • Post #4
  • Sat Nov 9, 2019
Hi, I'm Rosiejo

My left shoulder hurts every time I have radiation. Apparently the left arm is positioned a certain way so it does not get radiation. Sometimes I am given a warm towel for my shoulder during treatment and that seems to help.

  • Post #5
  • Sat Nov 9, 2019
Hi, I'm Betti

I believe you are positioned this way for BC rads. as they don’t want the arms in the area being radiated.

  • Post #6
  • Sat Nov 9, 2019
Hi, I'm Lcford

I had breast cancer a little over a year ago. I had 20 treatments of radiation. As I progressed through it I had to have help with my left shoulder to grip the bar. It got progressively worse. About 6 weeks after I went to an orthopedic doctor. MRI showed scare tissue definitely from radiation. My left shoulder was frozen. Surgery wasn’t an option. I did therapy, had massages on it & have exercises daily for it. It has finally let go a year later, not completely but much better.
Yes, the doctors all agreed it was from the radiation.

  • Post #7
  • Sun Nov 10, 2019

I had the same reaction on my right side after finishing radiation on August 2, 2019. It was so painful and I couldn’t lift my arm past my ear. I had a bone scan and everything came back normal so they scheduled me for physical therapy. I didn’t start yet but the pain has subsided so I will reschedule if it returns.

  • Post #8
  • Sun Nov 10, 2019
Hi, I'm Diana

I had the same thing. It was worse than the radiation. It hurt from months. The doctor said it was frozen shoulder. I went to physical therapy and it didn’t help. I purchased a blender at the mall and they put it in a bag. I was carrying the bag and the bag broke which jerked my arm. It was so painful, but within minutes of that happening the pain was almost gone.

  • Post #9
  • Tue Nov 12, 2019

I am so glad this information was shared So if this happens to me I will know what to do? I am now in my second tour of chemo. Each of you are in my prayers.

  • Post #10
  • Fri Nov 15, 2019

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