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Shoulder issues - Your stories?
Old 12-06-2018, 08:11 PM   #1
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Shoulder issues - Your stories?

Not looking for medical advice. Looking for your stories, if you had a similar issue. In the past I have posted similar issues and this forum has given me useful info on recovery time and problems the doctors don't tell you.

Had an MRI. I have:
  • A partial tear of the supraspinatus.
  • Tendinitis on the infraspinatus and subscapularis
  • and partial tear, tendinopathy and a medial subluxation of the biceps tendon

I have looked these up, both for an understandable description and prognosis. I am not in any immediate pain. These are all long term issues caused by overuse. And to think, DW claims I don't do much.

Again, I am not looking for medical advice. I am going to follow my orthopedist's recommendations. I just want to hear from those that went down a similar path.

Thank you.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:38 PM   #2
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I have been having intense pain for the past 5 years. I did PT course 2 times - did not help. Have regularly had shots in hopes of avoiding surgery. It seems that the time has come. I set a date once and canceled. Will have my shoulder fixed after the holidays. My understanding is the the PT is long and painful (which is why I have chickened out to date).

complete rotator cuff tear/rupture of shoulder
superior glenoid labrum lesion of shoulder

Good luck....

My other shoulder is starting to be problematic now likely due to over-use. I need to have at least one shoulder/arm in working order.

I have given up so many things that I use to enjoy because of this issue.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:40 PM   #3
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I was on a jury in a medical malpractice case that started out with pretty much that same list of injuries. If your treatment plan includes surgery at some point, my best advice based on that experience is to make sure the surgeon has experience working on shoulders in other people your age. You do not want a guy who specializes in fixing ankles for young athletes doing his first shoulder surgery on you!

Best of luck with whatever treatment plan you and your orthopedist decide on.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:46 PM   #4
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I had a ladder fall on my shoulder and after a few weeks I couldn't lift my hand above my head. Went to primary dr who told me I needed an MRI but following guidelines he told me they had to do an xray first which would show him nothing.


So after MRI they send me the results saying I have a torn rotator cuff. Went to see a great surgeon who told me I didn't have a torn rotator cuff at all, I had a frozen shoulder. He told me he only does surgery if it necessary and recommended physical therapy for six weeks. After 6 weeks I felt much better and continued the exercises at home. Took me a full year to recover movement and strength in my shoulder. So I'm glad I took this path instead of surgery.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:22 PM   #5
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My shoulders have been hurting this week, too, although probably not for the same reasons. In my case, I think it's a combination of arthritis, remnants of some old rotator cuff issues from when I lifted weights more than I do now, and the usual aches and pains of aging. I have never had to have surgery, or even gone to a doctor for my shoulders. That said, shoulders can become surprisingly painful, and so suddenly!

Mine feel better today after sleeping with a couple of extra thick, fluffy pillows last night so that I wasn't leaning too hard on them while sleeping. Also I have been doing very gentle shoulder exercises/movement, mainly rotation and very gentle stretching, which helps; probably the movement is helpful for the arthritic component of my shoulder pain.

Hope your shoulders feel better soon, Z3Dreamer.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:23 PM   #6
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I had a total tear of my rotator cuff (supraspinatus) in August. I was chopping fire wood and over did it and didn't stop when it started hurting. Then I waited until Oct and it never got better. Couldn't raise my arm over shoulder level. Got the MRI and it showed total tear. Choices were Arthro surgery or do PT and maybe it would get somewhat better. I'm 51 and not ready to be in pain/limited reach the rest of my life. I did the Arthro and so glad I did. I had the surgery 6 weeks ago. They basically make small insertions in your shoulder and then weave a suture through your tendon and anchor into your bone. Total in and out of the hospital in about 3 hours. They put you under. I'm in PT now and gaining more and more range of motion each day. I recommend the surgery, but PT is the real key; you need to take it seriously and do all your homework exercises.
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:41 PM   #7
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Wow what a coincidence! This morning I had surgery to repair a full thickness torn rotator cuff. This is my second such surgery in just over a year but on different shoulders. This time (the left side) was direct result of a fall forward in a parking lot wherein I instinctively used my extended arms to break the fall. However, I believe both shoulder tears arose from long term overuse and gym workouts. My ortho doc told me that a full thickness tear is highly unlikely to heal on its own and that surgery is the only option. In contrast, a partial tear like you have may respond to shot and physical therapy. I can attest to that as my left shoulder was actually the first to act up about 8 years ago and I had success at that time with shots and PT. But, clearly that shoulder was weakened and ultimately succumbed to an injury that a healthy shoulder probably would have endured.

Apparently, the condition can manifest in weakness in the shoulder and/or pain. In your case, it sounds like pain is not a major issue but you don't mention if weakness is significant. IMHO, you'd probably benefit from shouts and PT and of course your ortho doc will have the best advice and I doubt that would be surgery at this point. It will come down to how much this condition impacts your life. Both times I opted for surgery, I was in serious discomfort and had major limitation on the use of the affected arm and shoulder. Also, I understand that in some cases, the repair for full thickness tears becomes more difficult the longer it goes untreated.

If you eventually require surgery, know that it typically entails some degree of pain following the procedure but that's usually quite well controlled with pain meds and icing. It varies but in my case - which is fairly typical - my arm is in a sling for 5 to 6 weeks. PT begins after 4 weeks and I won't sugar coat that the first dozen sessions or so include brief periods of teeth gritting pain. Fortunately, that subsides but left me drained for the rest of the day last go around. I was pretty much back to normal 5 months after the surgery. And that is without any major complications such as a "frozen" shoulder.

BTW, there is an active facebook group on rotator cuff and shoulder problems.
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Shoulder issues - Your stories?
Old 12-06-2018, 09:48 PM   #8
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Shoulder issues - Your stories?

I injured my right rotator cuff about 20-25 years ago trying to dunk a basketball. Didnít go to the doctor, but I had mild shoulder pain for several weeks. Later my chiro told me that I had a torn or partially torn rotator cuff at some point. It healed on itís own whatever it was, and I have no pain in my right shoulder unless I try to throw a baseball or lift a lot of weight over my head. Less range of motion now.

Same with my left shoulder. I broke my left clavicle when I was 14. No pain now, just weak and lesser range of motion. I cannot do more than 1 or 2 pull-ups.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:53 PM   #9
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I'm in PT now for left shoulder pain. I developed severe pain in my left shoulder this summer when performing certain movements (mainly swinging a golf club). Lived with it until it got to the point where a full golf swing brought me literally to my knees in pain and range of motion was decreasing to the point where it affected basic daily functions. GP had no specific diagnosis, ordered xray which revealed nothing and referred me for PT. Been going 2x per week since end of October and doing exercises that I can at home in between.

While it is definitely better than it was before starting PT, progress has been inconsistent; some days it feels like it's improving and other days not. One problem I think is that the PT's can't decide on exactly what exercises I should be doing. Near as I can tell they seem to think that I may have a partial tear of the subscapularis along with minor rotator cuff tendonitis. We have discussed referral to an orthopedist for an MRI, but I gather that insurance will require full course (8 weeks) of PT first. If subscapularis tear is identified, more PT will probably be prescribed before surgery is considered. All the medical pros seem to have an aversion to surgery.

FWIW, my research on shoulder issues indicates that it is extremely difficult to correctly diagnose and successfully treat. Hopeful, but not optimistic that I'll be ready to go for golf by spring. Already preparing DW for prospect that mid February southern golf trip may need to be amended.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:03 PM   #10
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I messed a a shoulder years ago lifting weights.

Never did see a doc, but even to this day, the shoulder is weak.

After messing my shoulder up, tossing a football around made me throw like Johnny Unitas in his bad throwing days.

There's no pain day to day with inactivity. But if I say, go bowling, my shoulder would feel sore and sprained until adequate rest.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DektolMan View Post
I had a ladder fall on my shoulder and after a few weeks I couldn't lift my hand above my head. Went to primary dr who told me I needed an MRI but following guidelines he told me they had to do an xray first which would show him nothing.


So after MRI they send me the results saying I have a torn rotator cuff. Went to see a great surgeon who told me I didn't have a torn rotator cuff at all, I had a frozen shoulder. He told me he only does surgery if it necessary and recommended physical therapy for six weeks. After 6 weeks I felt much better and continued the exercises at home. Took me a full year to recover movement and strength in my shoulder. So I'm glad I took this path instead of surgery.
I also hurt my shoulder in a fall and was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. The orthopedist actually used an X-ray to make his diagnosis -- he showed me on the film that the head of my humerus was too close to the end of the collarbone. He said the shoulder "capsule" can bunch up like a piece of Saran wrap for a variety of reasons, not just an injury.

I got a cortisone shot and half a dozen PT sessions along with some elastic bands and exercises I performed at home. The treatment loosened up my shoulder somewhat, but as you say, DektolMan, it was a year before I could begin to throw overhand again.

One thing I mentioned to the orthopedist was that I had been living with the pain for a year before I finally went in for treatment. He said it's best to delay treatment for a while after the onset of frozen shoulder so the joint can settle down and become more responsive to treatment.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:52 PM   #12
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I'm in PT now for left shoulder pain. I developed severe pain in my left shoulder this summer when performing certain movements (mainly swinging a golf club). Lived with it until it got to the point where a full golf swing brought me literally to my knees in pain and range of motion was decreasing to the point where it affected basic daily functions. GP had no specific diagnosis, ordered xray which revealed nothing and referred me for PT. Been going 2x per week since end of October and doing exercises that I can at home in between.

While it is definitely better than it was before starting PT, progress has been inconsistent; some days it feels like it's improving and other days not. One problem I think is that the PT's can't decide on exactly what exercises I should be doing. Near as I can tell they seem to think that I may have a partial tear of the subscapularis along with minor rotator cuff tendonitis. We have discussed referral to an orthopedist for an MRI, but I gather that insurance will require full course (8 weeks) of PT first. If subscapularis tear is identified, more PT will probably be prescribed before surgery is considered. All the medical pros seem to have an aversion to surgery.

FWIW, my research on shoulder issues indicates that it is extremely difficult to correctly diagnose and successfully treat. Hopeful, but not optimistic that I'll be ready to go for golf by spring. Already preparing DW for prospect that mid February southern golf trip may need to be amended.
Have you had shots into the shoulder? That is the first thing my ortho doc did before getting the MRI. In my experience, a partial tear responded well to the shot and PT combination. The two full thickness tears did not and actually got worse.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:20 AM   #13
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No injections yet...haven't been to the orthopedist. I expect that is coming after a few more weeks of PT. For some reason ( I suspect insurance ) everyone wants to complete 8 weeks of PT before doing anything else. Glad to hear that the cortisone was helpful though. I think it would help me also, to be able to do some of the strengthening exercises that I just can't do now because of the pain and weakness.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:23 AM   #14
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I think the PT is some kind of medicare requirement.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:28 AM   #15
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I pulled down some suitcases and felt a pull in my right shoulder. Haven't gone to the doctor yet, as although there is some limitation to movement, I will be getting a hernia fixed this month. Need to get back on the Pickleball court, then will address in a few months.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:02 AM   #16
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I have had four shoulder surgeries... two from playing football in HS and two from playing rugby after college. Both shoulders had AC Separations. Other than an occational ache in the shoulders they are doing ok.. have more issues with the three knee surgeries I had. The wrist and elbow surgeries do not bother me at all.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:04 AM   #17
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After a hard fall on my right shoulder while skiing, the Orthopedist said, "I've got good news and bad news. Bad news, your shoulder is broken. Good news, you won't need surgery."

In a sling for four weeks, then six weeks PT. I can tell when a low pressure front is on the way..
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:10 AM   #18
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Frozen shoulder is a big concern after mastectomy surgery. The day after my surgery, my surgeon had me exercising my shoulder several times a day. Steady movement for good blood flow and flexibility. She stressed do not exert the movement, just steady and consistent. I'd talked to several women with frozen shoulder who did not do these exercises. Sounded awful, literally frozen and took a very long time to correct.
I think it depends on the injury. My surgery cut threw muscle, ligaments and nerves. Also took lymph nodes. I always move injured joints, even if it's a little painful. Heat helps too. It opens the veins for healing blood flow. All this is what I learned from surgeons and physical therapists. I'm not a DR.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:33 AM   #19
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Okay, here we go.

Have had four surgeries on my left arm. Two on my shoulder. One was nerve issue, one was snapped bicep where it attaches to my forearm.

Have separated my shoulder many times. A couple years ago I had shooting pain after hitting golf balls on the range. Doctor x-ray'd and had me do PT. Did that for a year. It still hurt. Did an MRI and he decided to do impingement surgery grinding my collarbone. Quick recovery. Still hurt.

Went to his partner and another MRI. Partially torn rotator cuff. Fully torn labrum from top to bottom. Bone spurs. So, go back in and clean it up not sewing the labrum back together cause I'm too old. Cut the bicep at the top this time and attached back in front of arm.

Now seven months after surgery. About 90% of strength back, most of the pain gone and a weird looking bicep but golf game is back and in some ways better. Lots of time in the sling. Have worked hard on my own to strengthen it back to as close to normal as I can get it.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:03 AM   #20
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Timely thread.


Felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder while unloading firewood. It's been sore for about six weeks. Was referred to an orthopedic surgeon's office where they took an xray and determined that it's either a torn rotator or simply inflammation due to bursitis. Was told that only an MRI would be conclusive. For now went with an injection followed by six weeks of PT.


Am in the process of picking an ACA plan for next year. I realize that everyone's situation is/was unique regarding shoulder issues. But am attempting to ball-park the medical costs should the PT prove ineffective.



Am estimating about $4500 for a shoulder MRI and $9000 for arthroscopic surgery. Sound about right?
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