Torn Rotator Cuff

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by reniram, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. Peace Warrior

    Peace Warrior Am Yisrael Chai CLM

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    Oh yeah, I've been there (2 surgeries).

    The shoulder joint itself is not a per se ball-and-socket joint. IMHO, beside the elbows and ankles, the shoulders are the most complex joints. The rotatory cuff tendons keep the humerus correctly aligned with the scapula. The muscles connected to those tendons need to be CORRECTLY worked-out daily in order to keep that joint safe. Rehabilitation attempts before surgery is the call 95% of the time. Until you have one or both, do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT move your arm/shoulder around trying to "find the pain." Doing so can aggravate and worsen the injurie(s) to the tendons/muscles.

    I had two surgeries mostly due to my insurance company not ponying up for a quality MRI at first. (Yes, I was surprised to find out there are different levels of MRI's and these are based on the price paid.) Besides the low quality MRI, which had the first surgeon short on time allotted for fixing all the he found was wrong once inside, he then decided to only fix what he knew was wrong FROM THE MRI in order, I think, to avoid liability from me or the insurance company.

    If you go the surgery route, tell your doctor and the radiologist to do the best MRI possible.

    Good luck.


    PW
     
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  2. Road Dog

    Road Dog Senior Member Millennium Member

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    Both my shoulders have been redone. The recovery time for the second one was far better because I started working it earlier than the surgeon suggested. Nothing insane just normal movements. Both surgeries were worth it to me and within a year I had all of my strength back.
     
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  3. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    I tore both of my rotator cuffs in '83/84 while in Germany... both skiing... one on a high icy mountain in Austria and the other near the bottom of the hill on my last run in the Black Forest... caught an outside edge, and boom down before I knew what happened.
    I never had any surgery but went to the doctors over there and after I got back. I've been going to physical therapy when it gets to hurting and I tend to not use an arm too much. I don't want things to atrophy, so I keep active and I've been exercising the last two years to build up my muscles and strength, especially in those areas.
    I've never stuck with the exercises shown me by the therapists, but now I do my own with pushups and 10-lb dumbbells.
    There's a retaining wall about 5 feet high on the south side of my lot and I used to just hop up a bit put my arms down on the top of it and push myself up. Well about 2 years ago I went to do that and just about did a face plant on the top of the cinder block and cement wall... twice!
    I decided then to do something about that with exercise including pushups and all kinds of leg lifts and some floor stretching. Later I added dumbbells and worked up to 10 pounds with lots of arm and chest-strengthening exercises. Along with the stretches before my treadmill use, I added a bunch of others, including kicks and punches. I even bought a 15-lb purse-type weight to strengthen my body for bowling. Two years ago last Thanksgiving I pulled a hamstring in my left leg during the start of the second game and had to stop.
    I want to try bowling again some day as I had kind of given it up because of my torn shoulders.
    I'm going to be 74 in June and I want to stay in shape and be able to defend myself, too, so I do practice kicks and punches and am pretty agile for 73+.
    When you get "rehabilitated" enough to start some kind of exercise program, keep it up and strengthen the muscles in the shoulder areas.
    I didn't care for the exercises the PT gave me to do with rubber strips and doors, but I'm doing well with my chosen regimen every other day with usually 4 miles on the treadmill while watching streamed TV. I thrown in 1-1.5 minutes at 6mph, but walk at 4mph except for cool down.
    Other than exercise at PT and a lot of MRI's over the years, the most treatment ever offered was by one Navy doctor to trim some of the sharper bits, but I never had anything done.
    I discovered after the injuries that poling while skiing caused "discomfort" and water-skiing-type activity could be painful, too. Also improper... dead-weight hangs from a pull-up bar weren't good ideas, either. :D
    After PT or whatever you get done, develop an exercise program that you can keep up and stick with it.
    When I do my stretches and pushups, I start in bed after Wifey gets up. My shoulders crunch a bit, but no real pain.
    Good luck with your rehab and treatment.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  4. gunsmoke92

    gunsmoke92

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    Get an MRI! Without it you just don't know, and depending on what they find, inaction can mean the difference between being crippled and getting back to semi normal. I tore mine on the 4th of July, was prescribed some steroids for the inflammation, and it felt better, so the wife and I climbed on our Goldwing and rode about 3500 miles over 2 weeks. When I got back, it was hurting again, to the point I was having trouble sleeping. Went back in, more steroids, and an MRI. Of 4 main tendons that make your shoulder do what it does, I tore 3, badly. The doctor told me if we (I) had waited another few weeks, it would have been unrepairable. I got lucky. I had the surgery, still in physical therapy, but the strength is coming back, and the range of motion is improving every week. If you're looking at surgery, research the doctors in your area. Mine has the bedside manner of a toad, but is absolutely brilliant as a surgeon, and anyone who has used him will say the same thing. You want great, not nice, although both would be awesome. Good luck.
     
  5. 1SG Ret

    1SG Ret

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    I had my right shoulder surgically repaired in my early 60s. My surgeon specialized in sports medicine and was once a team Doctor with one of the NFL teams, early in his career...I felt pretty lucky about that. Pain was minimal and I had twelve sessions of therapy. My secret was that I did a lot of Glock .40 cal. shooting in the weeks after surgery...kind of kept things loose in my shoulder ;-) After the fact, I asked the Doctor if it was OK to shoot handguns again, and he said give it about 6 months to heal. I guess shooting wasn't the brightest idea, but I had no problems from it, and my shoulder now works like it is supposed to.
     
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  6. Resqu2

    Resqu2

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    Tore a labrum in my shoulder some years back, Dr wanted to fix it but I declined and just rehabbed it myself and after a year it was fine. Now earlier this year I started having range of motion issues that continued to get worse and Dr diagnosed it as a frozen shoulder and said the likely cause was not fixing the first tear. I’m learning to live with the ROM issues but it just hurts really bad at night and affects getting any rest at all. Life sux after 50.
     
  7. Krav Maglock

    Krav Maglock

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    Take L-Glutamine. I tore mine a few years ago and I healed up after about a month. I was told that hospitals give it to burn patients to help accelerate healing. :dunno:
     
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  8. rogn

    rogn real dogs

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    There are surgeons and there are surgeons. My wife got run over by a horse, actually hit by a horse and tossed several feet in the air. Fractured humerus, completely torn rotator cuff, and most muscle anchors avulsed.. Two plates 13 screws and a lot of PT and she is about 95% on ROM and 80+ on strength. She was fortunate enough to get orthopod who had trained in East Germany and as a result of cultural deprivation they had developed some very skilled surgeons. Wish some of our homegrown had similar training.
     
  9. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

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    I injured my rotator cuffs in both arm last July while weight lifting. No tears but extremely painful for about 6 months. PT helped get me back and I've been lifting again (light weights, nothing over my head) since just before Christmas. Only occasionally keeps me up at night.
     
  10. pntblnk

    pntblnk

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    Have had both of my shoulders done over the past two years. As others have said, find a good surgeon that will do only what he needs to and everything he should do while in there.

    First was circumferential labrum tear (read detached all around) and rotator cuff torn in two places. That one was a ***** for the first 9 weeks. Arm strapped to my side, sleeping on my back only, passive Pt only, etc.. but got better quickly after I could start doing active PT with resistance. Was back in the gym doing pull ups by month 5 and using ~90% of pre surgery weight by the 9 month mark. Had a number of bone spurs that he took down - probably the most painful part of the recovery - bone takes a while to heal.

    Second shoulder was a cake walk. This was was torn rotator cuff in two spots as well - likely caused by the over use and similar bone work as the opposite shoulder. Doc thought that the spurs were causing impingement and “rubbing” holes or abrading the cuff making it more likely to tear. Was doing resistance work within 4 weeks and back to ~90% of pre surgery weights in the gym by month 5....much faster recovery without the labrum.

    As others have said, do the PT religiously. Every set, every rep, every day...makes a world of difference. Stretching PT is just as important as resistance - maybe more so to get range of motion back. Don’t be afraid of the surgery - sure it’s difficult but nothing a normal person can’t get through and when done you’ll be glad you did it. 6 months of difficulty or a lifetime of limited capability, poor range of motion or loss of ability to do the things you love.

    One final comment is that the longer you wait the more difficult recovery becomes due to additional damage you may cause over time and your ability to recover the older you get.
     
  11. kwijybo

    kwijybo

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    Sister did this, didn't take care of it, and ended up with a "frozen shoulder". Had to go in for surgery to fix it, the frozen shoulder, and then the dreaded rehab.
    Take care of it as quickly as you can.
     
  12. GeorgiaGlocker

    GeorgiaGlocker Philippians 4: 6-7

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    I had surgery a few years back. The PT will be brutal but necessary.
     
  13. wyntrout

    wyntrout

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    I use a lot of supplements that supposedly help with joints... pharmaceutical grade Youtheory Turmeric with black pepper extract and the Osteo Bi-Flex glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM complex with other stuff and Hyaluronic Acid.
    My shoulders don't bother me in sleeping, unless I try to "hug" the pillow. I usually sleep on my back or my side... stomach not so much.
    I wear a splint on my right wrist for carpal tunnel. The left was "released back in 1990, but never got the right one done. I can't imagine using my left hand for everything!
     
  14. reniram

    reniram

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    Thanks for all the thoughts. Seems this isn't uncommon at all. Nearly three weeks in the pain and range of motion are much better, but nowhere near normal. Time to quit being a hero and see a doctor.
     
  15. reniram

    reniram

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  16. 8Ring

    8Ring

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    I started having left shoulder problems in 2017 - impingement syndrome - couldn't lift my upper arm away my chest (abduction). I never had any trauma to my left shoulder. So I stopped doing overhead presses and seated fly exercises. (i've never been a big weightlifter, just 10-12 reps with fairly light weights). I did 8 visits of PT in 2017 and did home exercises. Then in 2018 started getting weakness and couldn't do pushups or keep my left arm out straight from my body for over 30 seconds. I had a couple biceps injections that gave temporary relief. Over the past couple of months the weaknesses got much worse and the joint became more stiff.

    Got an MRI in late December that showed big bone spurs under the distal clavicle and acromion, a big tear in the supraspinatus, and damage to one of the biceps tendons. Had surgery on January 20 and will be in a sling until March 4 when the rehab will begin. The intraoperative pics showed the big supraspinatus tear and the biceps tendon looked like the end of a mop, so the surgeon cut it and reattached it to the humerous. On the good side the pics showed that the head of the humerus and the labrum were in good shape without cracks, divots, or bone spurs.

    Maybe I should have gone to the doc and got a x-ray when the impingement syndrome started as those bone spurs may have irritated the rotator cuff. Anyway, I wear my sling at the gym and ride the exercise bike and get sympathy and encouragement from those who have had shoulder surgery before. My wife is a nurse, takes good care of me, and keeps a close eye on me and my shoulder.

    My advise is to get medical attention, get the x-rays or MRI needed to obtain a diagnosis. and then get started with physical therapy or surgery. Good luck in your recovery.
     
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  17. pAZ Ron

    pAZ Ron

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    Slight tear left rotator cuff Jan, 2019 falling skiing. MRI confirmed a 5 mm tear, not all the way through. Was very painful range of motion overhead or behind my back like reaching for seatbelt, long sleeve shirt behind my back, reaching overhead ie. daily activities.

    Let it go to see if would recuperate. By spring, I went to PT. Had to get a shot midway through the course of PT treatment to be able to complete the therapy. Modest improvement during PT.

    I am not too sensitive to pain. But by summer I thought I am going to have to have surgery ... can't accept the limitations and pain that I had. I did not have surgery.

    Over longer time, doing the PT exercises and other weights at the gym, I gradually got stronger and pain went away. So it took more than 9 months for most of the improvement.

    Now at 12+ months, I have ~ 95+% range of motion with an infrequent minor twinge in some positions like arms directly over head or reaching behind my back. I am careful but don't baby it.

    Only exercise I used to do and now skip at the gym are the military (overhead) shoulder presses. I never did high weights but I backed weight off a little and do more reps. Good luck OP!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  18. nursetim

    nursetim

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    I wonder if stem cell therapy would help?
     
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  19. reniram

    reniram

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    Nine month update: no surgery after consulting with my doctor who recommended I continue the stretching regimen I had started. The improvement has been slow, but steady to the point where my shoulder is at 85 percent normal. To say I'm happy is the understatement of the year. Thanks to all who replied to this thread with suggestions and comments. It means a lot to me.:cheers:
     
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  20. Haldor

    Haldor Formerly retired EE.

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    Tore mine 4 years ago, riding a dirt bike in the desert. Age doesn't necessarily come with wisdom.

    Never had the surgery and I am mostly recovered. There are certain moves that remind me (rolling over to smack the alarm clock is the one that always gets my attention). I tend to support with my off-hand if required to reach across my body with my left arm. I am not even vaguely tempted to have a doc do anything to it now.