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Started pain in neck and shoulder. Difficult to move due to severe pain. Is this indicative of osteoarthritis or a hormonal imbalance?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10458 Questions
I am a 43yo female, and in the past 6 months what started as neck shoulder pain has become systemic joint pain. Every morning, I awake feeling unable to move without severe pain. I take 20 mg of oxycodone and 600-800 mg of Ibuprofen, wait an hour, and I am able to get up and out of bed. I am wondering if this is indicative of osteoarthritis, or a hormonal imbalance. I do notice that pain is worse just before rainy weather moves in, during stressful periods (work or personal) or after I go off my usual diet. On good days I eat healthy, and can run 5-6 miles in an hour. I am 69.5" tall and weigh around 170-175, body fat is around 25%.
Posted Sat, 11 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
Repeated back and joint pains can be due to multiple causes at this age the commonest being poly arthralgia. Other causes can be rheumatoid arthritis, gout, inflammatory diseases like SLE, bursitis, fibromyalgia, etc. For proper diagnosis, some of the blood tests are advisable like-
1. Serum calcium levels.
2. Serum Uric acid levels.
3. RA factor
4. ESR and CRP
5. Serum Creatinine
6. X-ray of affected joints.
You need a thorough clinical examination followed by investigations under the guidance of an orthopedician.
Till then for symptomatic relief, you can continue taking oxycodone and ibuprofen, do hot fomentation and apply local analgesic gel on the affected areas.

I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Started pain in neck and shoulder. Difficult to move due to severe pain. Is this indicative of osteoarthritis or a hormonal imbalance? 58 minutes later
Would you recommend I see an orthopedician rather than a rheumatologist? Is there a specific reason why I should see one rather than the other?

I worry about taking too much ibuprofen. How do I know if I am taking too much?

And how do I decide where to do a hot fomentation or apply local analgesic gel? My pain is specific to my joints, but not just one or two joints. EVERY joint. Fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, my entire back and neck. I have tried swimming and hot tubs. Both help alleviate pain in the short term, but then it comes back worse than before. I have also used a product called "Fast Freeze" in the spray bottle, and I often spray it EVERYWHERE. Is there any problem with doing that?
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
You should consult a rheumatologist as your symptoms are more likely to be due to rheumatoid arthritis rather than osteoarthritis.
Ibuprofen is a safe analgesic. Taking it continuously for 4-6 months might cause gastric ulcers. You can decrease the doses in case you feel a pain under your rib cage.
If all the joints are paining then soaking in a hot tub is the best way to relieve pain. You can use fast freeze to reduce the pain for short term.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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