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Arm Pain and Psoriatic Arthritis

I have had psoriatic arthritis for almost seven years now. My pain usually resides in my lower back and my knees. This past week I had a new experience. My right arm got to hurting. At first, I thought I had pulled a muscle since I had been out doing yard work right before it started hurting.

Is this arm pain due to high blood pressure?

I rested my arm for the first day. By the second day, I was starting to get a bit worried. See I deal with high blood pressure. It is a condition I had even before psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis started. My thoughts went to what if my blood pressure was high? What if I was having a heart attack? Arm pain in your right arm is an indication of having a heart attack. This had me really concerned. I have a blood pressure monitor so I grabbed it. It was not high.

Concerns over lingering pain in my arm

After checking my blood pressure to find out that it was not high I went back to thinking it had to be a pulled muscle. My next step was contacting my primary care doctor to set up an appointment. The first thing the primary care doctor did was order an x-ray. He told me that there was nothing broken. I never thought it was. What he said next shocked me I have to admit. He told me that the x-ray showed degenerative areas. My question was degenerative as in arthritis? I had other x-rays of my back and knees that had showed the same. I then asked if he thought it was osteoarthritis or psoriatic arthritis. His response to me was he could not tell me which, but that it did not really matter. What did matter was the degeneration that was going on. Wait… What?

Coming to terms with the degeneration in my arm

It was hard to wrap my head around. I cannot really explain why it took me by such surprise. Psoriatic arthritis does not happen in only certain areas of the body. The only areas I have had pain in is my lower back and my knees. That was enough in my estimation, but psoriatic arthritis said no. Would I have to live now with my arm always hurting? Would I be able to do much considering I am right-handed? You never realize how much you use something until that something is no longer there or becomes a problem. I already know how debilitating my back pain is. I always say that psoriasis is just that disease that keeps on giving. Could psoriatic arthritis be the same? It keeps giving joint damage to all parts of the body. Does this mean that I am going to have to change my current biologic so that it covers more of psoriatic arthritis?

Getting support from others with PsA

I had all these questions swirling around in my head. It still was hard for me to wrap my head around. When I have questions I know I have friends that have been dealing with psoriatic arthritis far longer than I have. So I questioned a few of them. Even given what the doctor told me it took them talking to me for it to soak in. One of my friends asked me first thing why it should come as a shock to me when psoriatic arthritis attacks all joints in the body. The arm has joints too. That statement really hit home with me. I know I just didn’t want to accept it.

Making a plan to address my arm pain with my doctor

Now at my next rheumatology follow-up, I will be taking a copy of the x-ray for the doctor to see. From her thoughts on the matter, we will form a plan on how to deal with it going forward. Another conversation will be if it is a side effect of my current biologic. If so where do we go from here? All I know is my arm is hurting and something has to change so I can get back to using my arm as usual. My first granddaughter will be born in November. I want to be able to hold her, love her and not worry about the chance that my arm pain might put me at risk of dropping her.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • kitzers1
    5 months ago

    I also woke up one morning and could not lift either shoulder. The right worse than the left, I am right handed. I had pain or tweaks in it for many years, but it always worked. At one point it radiated up into my neck and down into my hand. I also have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel bi-laterally. My fingers were going numb and tingly. I had one position that if I crossed it I had pain that made me sweat and want to pass out. It would ache for hours after. Long story short, I had an x ray, I have psoriatic arthritis and it is not broken as well. But when it got stuck in the straight out position and felt like it was going to pop out of socket I was concerned. I ended up on high dose Prednisone which I am fighting with now. Its really intense at times. I got a shot and I will exercise it on my own. I made it move when it was stuck. Each flair teaches me 3 things. How strong I am or not at the time, Discipline to my body which I may have forgotten but my body reminded me, and that the separation from my brain and my physical body is necessary to keep control of myself. I have conversations with me, and I tell it NO. WE come to a compromise and carry on. I always wonder who else is hurting when I am as well. Bless you.

  • Vickie Wilkerson author
    5 months ago

    Thank you. Boy can I sympathize with your arm pain. It definitely is intense. I also get the tingling in my fingers like they are asleep. It is not fun. Bless you as well and I hope you find relief.

  • Marc19
    6 months ago

    I have had arm pain around the forearm and biceps after similar activity. Don’t forget about the inflammatory processes that are part of PsA that cause synovitis and enthesitis which may help explain your symptoms in your arm. A possibility, but your Rheumatologist will know.

  • Vickie Wilkerson author
    5 months ago

    Thanks for the information. I have not heard of either of these two but I will look into it and have that talk with my dr.

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