Arm and shoulder pain

Hi, my name is Craig. I had a right hemisphere ischemic stroke in July 2018 affecting my left arm and part of my hand. I found exercises on line and worked several hours each day on movement and direction control with good success after weeks of work. However, after two months my arm, wrist and left side of my hand became very stiff, heavy and painful. Assured that I was not having another stroke I sought physiotherapy and was told that this was a chronic condition that I would have to live with. The pain became worse in a short time and went to my shoulder and scapula muscles as well. I have since tried a number of rounds of acupuncture, osteopathy, mirror therapy, meditation and my own home program of light weights, stretches and anything I can think of. No matter what I do, the pain does not get better and increases. As I have movement and reasonable strength I do not meet the criteria for NHS assistance. But I’m convinced that this condition can be fixed and am ready to make the investment for outside help or any amount of time for self-help but I desperately need direction and help and would appreciate any suggestions. 

Hi Craig, you seem to have tried a number of things to help with your pain. I wondered if you have tried any medication, I know some people don't like to take prescribed drugs. I was like that until the stroke but now take several different tablets which have helped me a lot. 
Low dose Amitriptyline is supposed to help with pain, it might be worth having a discussion with your GP because you don't need to be in pain all the time. Exercise will  help with strengthening muscles and may help with pain but sometimes you need a little bit more help in the form of medication, even for a short period.

Hope you managed to get on top of the pain.


Shortly after my stroke I developed painful fingers. I was prescribed Baclofen. This helped, but it does have side effects. I weaned myself off it in the end.

Hi Anne,

Thank you for your reply and advice regarding amitriptylene. I have always tried to stay away from prescription drugs unless absolutely necessary but I will ask my GP for advice on this as the pain is now severe and 24/7.

Many thanks,



KHi John,

Although I have stayed away from drugs and have put all my efforts into other ways to recover, I will look into this drug. Thank you for your reply and advice.


Hi Craig, I can understand your reluctance to take anything but it might be useful in the short term, there's no need to be in pain all the time, I imagine it will make you feel quite down if it continues.

Hope you manage to speak to your GP about it, I know it's a bit difficult to get appointments at the moment.



I've had problems with both shoulders and had keyhole surgery in the past after being diagnosed with calacific tendonitis. 

Try looking at this lower site.

It may be worthwhile having a scan to see if it is something not related to your stroke. 


Let me know how you get on. 

Take care.


my husband had a massive right side brain stroke last july he is paralysed on his left side and has no movement due to muscle loss he has extreme pain, i obtained a roll on called ReThink muscle and joint roll on with CBD 100mg i use this on his neck shoulder leg and back once or twice a day when the pain is bad and his pills dont help, it does work, my daughter tried it for her shoulder and back when she pulled her muscles quite badly as well, I paid £19 and i found it in a  bp garage shop


I too have had a right side stroke. This was in August last year. My left arm became useless and I had to use my right arm and hand to lift the left side. This resulted in quite severe pain in right shoulder. An ultrasound guided anti inflammatory injection did help but it revealed a long bisep tendon rupture which I knew about and a 1 centemeter tear in my shoulder muscle. Following a course of physio and self help stretching exercises have helped but it took time.Meanwhile my left shoulder has been very painful and a steroid injection helped a bit, but I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. This has restricted movement but stretching up to the point of pain and beyond has greatly increased range of movement without pain. Physios will not recommend going beyond the pain threshold but doing it gradually helped me.







Have you been using a collar & cuff to protect the shoulder joint from 'dropped shoulder'? I used one all the time when I first came out of hospital and can thoroughly recommend it. 

Hi I had a stroke in March this year( just before lockdown). After years of caring for others I found myself needing to be cared for. Such a shock to the system.... my left side is affected and I'm experiencing severe shoulder pain which is affecting my daily exercises, hence recovery. I've just been put on Amitriptyline as other medication didn't suit me. Hopefully I will be able to get a decent nights sleep without waking up in pain. Thanks to others messages I know there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Take care everyone x

Hi Ann,
my doctor has just prescribed me 10 mg amitriptyline daily. My shoulder pain is affecting my recovery and exercises so I'm hopeful this will help.  I read your messages the other day and I'd like to thank you for your suggestion which I relayed to my doctor. Onwards and upwards with recovery to you too x

Hi Craig, 

I've just been prescribed 10mg amitriptyline daily for my shoulder pain and I'll let you know how I get on with it. The pain is debilitating and sleep depriving so hopefully this medication will help my recovery and enable me to do my exercises. Hope your feeling better. Good luck with everything.

I too suffered with shoulder pain and my doctor referred me for physiotherapy at the local hospital. I was diagnosed with frozen shoulder and had several treatments there and exercises to practise at home. This helped enormously. I suggest you ask to see a NHS physiotherapist when you feel the time is right. Good Luck. 

HI louise I had my stroke 9 years ago like you it affected mey left side, I too had severe pain in my left shoulder which ran down my arm,I also noticed that my arm was hanging in a strange way, hard to explain but it didnt look or feel right, it transpired that I had got a subluxed shoulder which is not uncommon in strokes, the physio on the stroke ward had an exercise which he said would resolve it which encompassed me sitting at the side of the bed and pushing my left arm as far onto the bed as I could and when I did that he would hit my shoulder quite hard it realy didnt work so I put up with the pain until I got home and spoke to my GP who sorted out a couple of gold injections in my shoulder and after the first one the pain had reduced to a vague ache the second one didnt improve the situation straight away and I was still left with a faint ache, however a few weeks later I noticed that Ihad no more pain at all, I still get a dull ache every now and then but cant remember the last time I was in pain with it

Hi Louise, sorry to hear about the pain your experiencing following the stroke, but hope you get some relief from the low dose of amitriptyline. It is supposed to be very good for pain and may even help with your sleep. You'll have to let us know if it helps because your experience may help others as well.

Really hope it helps.


Hi Davet 

thanks for your reply. My physio has said my shoulder is subluxed and I've been doing an exercise which sounds similar to what you had to do. It's very painful when I do that particular exercise so I am listening to my body and only doing it to the bearable stage. Hopefully this medication will take the edge off and enable me to exercise more. Take care.

Hi Ann, 

I will let everyone know how I get on with it and hopefully I'll get better sleeping patterns. Thanks for your reply and take care x

Something I have found really useful is a rope and pulley system which you can buy cheaply on Amazon. The basic idea is that you use your strong side to passively exercise your weak side. It made a massive difference to me and after a few weeks the pain subsided and my pain free range of movement improved a lot. If you search for "Vive Shoulder Pulley" on Amazon, you'll see an example.

Hi , i have one bit of advice for you Craig, change your diet in regards to intake of sugars and caffiene. Remove sugar from your diet and see the change . Take care , onwards and upwards Tony