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Rotator Cuff Injury

Question:

What treatments or physical therapy did you do for your rotator cuff injury? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Elizabeth, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

First I ignored the constant pain from rotator cuff injury as I was in school for massage therapy. Luckily, I never transferred my discomfort to my instructors or clients during massages. I understand pain all too well after having numerous surgeries. Finally a trip to the orthopedist proved a full tear in the supraspinatus. Pain like no other. Now here it is 10 years later, bam! Torn again and retracted. Scale of pain 1-10 I'll be honest, Mach 10 and counting. I hope this can be repaired; the pain is rough. To be again honest to you, a torn rotator cuff surgery separates the men from the boys. It is brutal pain but you can manage it with patience, proper medication and your physical therapy. I am now 62, and here I go again. Never give up, do exactly as your doctor tells you. Frankly, I am a woman, and my statement earlier of the surgery separates the men from the boys. It is tough stuff but if I can do it on left and right shoulders and now the right again you can too! Good luck!

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 27

Found physiotherapy didn't work for my rotator cuff injury, I am waiting for an MRI and then I expect surgery.

Comment from: Yamaha Mama, 55-64 Female Published: March 01

Two years ago I was about to ride out to work and and enjoy a summer beautiful day. I own a 650 Yamaha VStar Classic. I rode to the end of my driveway to get out on the street. My bike hadn't warmed up long enough and it stalled just as I turned into street. Luckily, it laid down gently and I jumped off easily, no problem. Except as it lay in the street, no cars or neighbors came out to help me pick it up. I remember watching video about how ladies can properly pick up their own motorcycles in the event no one else is around. Well, I turned my backside to the bike and lifted at the steering wheel and seat, up it came, so easy, just like in the video. But I must have forgotten to bend my legs to absorb the weight. After I rode to work and got off the bike and the initial "adrenaline rush" wore off, my left arm began to throb and hurt. After about 3 days and much pain, I went to see my doctor and get x-rayed. He said the rotator cuff wasn't torn but certainly was damaged. He did not advise any treatment until the swelling and pain resided. Essentially I did not receive any physical therapy or treatment other than some mild pain pills, but an achy pain lingered off/on for about 6 months, especially at night. I was told to elevate my arm over my pillow at night and not sleep on that side but on my back. Today, two years later, my shoulder still sometimes aches/pains in cold weather and I still can't lift my elbow to 45 degree level when exercising. Moral of the story, wait for someone to help you pull up anything heavier than your own weight. Don't try to be "super woman" like I did. Better yet, keep fit in a regular exercise program and weight lifting to prepare yourself for any heavy lifting of any kind in any emergency. I'm 60 yrs. old and very fit for my age, but you can injure or damage yourself at any time, when you least expect it.

Comment from: Ron, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 07

I am now 80 yrs. old - about five years ago I ended up in a storm in my sailboat (30 footer) and dropped the anchor to wait it out swinging on the anchor. Things worsened so lifted anchor to move into docks nearby. In lifting anchor felt a sharp paint run through my shoulder but kept lifting the anchor as the anchor rode was very taut and hard to pull. Finally got it up and docked nearby. Shoulder pained me quite heavily then. Over time things seemed to improve and x-rays at the time did show a "double tear" but it felt like it was healing to a point of almost forgetting about it. All seemed fine until a further sailing venture through winching in the main and tailing at the same time resulted in another sharp pain and then I realized I was stupid in doing just that. Docs proposed operating to do one of two things - either relieve the pain or give me more use of the arm which meant two different approaches from a specialist which I thought odd. Anyway I did not go for surgery as the recovery period for again use of the arm was to be around six months. Delayed and finally said no to surgery and here I am today - still sore but not that bad and not taking any pain killers as pain only there if I use the arm the wrong way. Hope this will help someone.

Comment from: adica, 35-44 (Caregiver) Published: June 12

Being a professional, we tend to see many of these types of rotator cuff injuries, but a massage can help to relieve some of the pain, and also help with the maintenance.

Comment from: ljsnana07, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 27

I have been having severe pain in my left shoulder that travels down my arm and my pinkie gets numb. I have been taking physical therapy for 6 weeks now with no relief. I already had surgery on my right shoulder in May of 2014 and I'm still having trouble with the rotator cuff in that shoulder, I think I may need total shoulder replacement on both sides.

Comment from: coach, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

I did physical therapy for a month and I took a Cortisone shots in the shoulder., An MRI showed acute damage. Remember, if one or more tendons are torn, they will not heal on their own. They will have to anchored back. Good luck you all.

QUESTION

Medically speaking, the term "myalgia" refers to what type of pain? See Answer
Comment from: dawna, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I had a small tear in my rotator cuff and several bone spurs removed during surgery. I've been in physical therapy -- moving and stretching my arm. Two days ago I woke up in lots of pain. I couldn't move my arm. I went to the ER, where the doctor said my symptoms sound like frozen shoulder, and I will need surgery again in that shoulder. I'm still in pain waiting on a surgery date.

Comment from: infantry125, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

I injured my left shoulder while in the military. I was thrown against an object that wasn't going to move, causing my arm and fingers not to work at all. Two years and two surgeries later, I'm now in physical therapy. This is a very slow healing process and painful! I have experienced what I can only describe as a pulling sensation from under my left armpit moving up to left nipple level. Usually icing under my arm or directly on my shoulder, heat can arrest this issue. I had 8mm of my collar bone removed, rotator cuff repaired, ac joint repaired, etc...

Comment from: Abelwhite, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

69 year old female. First experienced pain a year ago while bench pressing. To date have had two cortisone shots and am awaiting surgery. Not sure whether I want to go through with it because of the long recovery time. Right now it's pain I can live with.

Comment from: fallen angel, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 02

I am a 31-year-old female who was involved in a car accident two years ago. I was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and underwent surgery for it.

Comment from: Inkwe, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 13

I was playing field hockey when I was involved in a collision with a player attempting to tackle me when I tried to evade another. I fell on my right shoulder seconds before the final whistle. Despite the immediate pain I did not go for medical attention figuring that my shoulder will heal (who goes to the doctor after just falling down?). I played league games the following two weeks but my right shoulder kept being sore and I was unable to lift my arm past horizontal. Eventually I saw my doctor who referred me to radiologist for x-ray and ultrasound from which a full thickness tear of the supraspinatus was diagnosed. I was prescribed with NSAIDs and rest from sport activities. The shoulder is much better now (full range of movement and no pain except when performing a throwing motion) and seeing my doctor for follow-up soon.

Comment from: Jooli8, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I slipped and fell at work. I thought it would be ok to go back to work even though my shoulder was a little sore. Big mistake! I am a 45-year-old waitress and the repetitive motions only made it worse. Doctor said I tore my rotator cuff. I have been in physical therapy for about three weeks and have had a cortisone shot. It seems to be getting a little better but still very sore.

Comment from: jamma, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I was given an antibiotic called Levaquin for an abscess caused from chemotherapy. Two weeks later, still taking the Levaquin, I woke up and my arms were stuck to my sides. My oncologist sent me to physical therapy. We did stretching (very slowly) three days a week. Three months went by and the pain was too excruciating for me. Medicaid wouldn't pay for an MRI so I found out that the hospital has its own program where they will fund it if qualified. I find out that I have a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder and mild tendonopathy in my right. I see the shoulder specialist tomorrow!!

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I was in a car accident with a shoulder dislocation and a rotator cuff injury.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I have apparently torn my rotator cuff. This occurred when my small dog ran off quickly while still attached to the extendable leash. This pulled my arm sharply causing pain. I have just started physiotherapy and hope to avoid an operation.

Comment from: JDM, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 07

December 2009 I was biking off-road in the Alps. The day had dawned bright and clear, but by the time I topped the summit and started down the other side a blizzard was blowing up from the south. Visibility contracted and the falling snow blanketed over obstacles in the trail. I rounded a bend and slammed headlong (couldn't see to hop over it) into what turned out to be a large flat-sided rock. The impact produced a perfect flip over the handlebars and a not-so-perfect one-point landing on my outstretched right arm. Ouch! After several months of persistent shoulder pain I finally consulted an orthopedist. Tests revealed a rotator cuff tear. I was referred to a physiotherapist and started on a course of massage, stretches, and targeted exercises to improve blood supply and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. This has been partially successful but one year later I still experience intermittent pain (particularly at night) and loss of mobility and function. Probably the outcome would have been better if I had sought treatment immediately, thus avoiding the tissue damage caused by chronic inflammation. Word to the wise!

SLIDESHOW

Pain Management: Surprising Causes of Pain See Slideshow
Comment from: Archemedes, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: January 28

I had two cortisone injections into the shoulder. It cleared up the pain for a while, but in the long term did not work.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

I had a car accident last year when a single decker bus went into the back of my car. The pain in the shoulder was gradual and I managed to get physio treatment in May 2011. The physio advised me that I had whip lash and the rotator cuff and nerve endings had been damaged in the accident when I lurched forward and then back in my chair. I had 6weeks physio where I was able to raise my arm but still have problems bringing the arm back. I have been advised that this last 20% or so will take longer as the nerve endings were affected too. I can now go back to playing the sport I love (Netball) although I still have to be wary when taking the arm back too far or too quickly.

Comment from: borntodrive, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 12

I am 64 years old and an over the road truck driver. I have always been healthy with no bones, muscle, ect. problems. I was unloading and it was a double lazy boy couch that was wedged in under the ceiling of the trailer. I had to stand on my tip toes with my arms fully extended and work the couch loose an inch at a time. I felt a sharp sting in my right shoulder and thought I had just pulled a muscle. Two months later the soreness was still there and raising my arms above my chest or out to my side or behind was painful. Went to the doctor and they took x rays and told me I had a torn rotator cuff. Went on predisone for 10 days and then started passive exercise. After 1 and 1/2 months it was still not improving so I got predisone for another 10 days. Then I went on naproxen. From injury till now was about 6 months. Told the dr. I was not improving and he referred me for an mri and a specialist. Complete rotator cup tear. Had surgery about three weeks ago and I am wearing a sling that holds the arm pretty secure. Pain was severe, especially at night. I go and see the dr. 5/13/11 for follow up and maybe therapy. Just tripped this morning and tried to catch myself and stretched my arm and felt something give.

Published: May 03

I take issue with the description of ultrasound to diagnose this problem. I have been a sonographer for fourteen years. Ultrasound IS NOT used to evaluate bone. Ultrasound CANNOT penetrate bone, so to say that the test is dependent on technologist ability is unfair to our profession!

Comment from: Eternal optimist, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I am an active 64-year-old. Some 11 years ago, had frozen shoulder from cutting a tall hedge. Took about 2 years to heal. Some 3 years ago, had difficulty moving my arm. I had lots of injections and acupuncture, over many months, and finally ultrasound and x-ray. No arthritis, but ultrasound showed a calcium spur that was grinding through rotator cuff - 2.5 cm 'partial' tear. Requested to see orthopedic specialist. Had operation to remove calcium, during op, surgeon discovered that the tear was a large, complete tear. Then had lots of physio. Shoulder did not progress as well as physio wanted. Sent back to specialist. Then sent for MRI scan, followed by further surgery to attempt to repair the tear. Tendon was frayed (from calcium spur) and muscle weak - from reduced use over long period of time because of shoulder pain. Repair held for just over 3 months, then had re-tear. Still having physio. Still have pain, disturbed sleep most nights, and limited range of movement - nothing above shoulder level. Now having physio and exercises to strengthen deltoid muscles - to take strain off rotator cuff. Swimming (breast stroke) is very helpful. Just starting to play golf again after 6 months off. Removal of calcium from shoulder has been successful, but rotator cuff repair has not. I was aware that the operation was a long shot. Surgeon has said that it would have had a better chance of success if he had seen me at the beginning - some 3 years ago. The message is, as with all things, to seek help earlier, rather than later. I find it is better to keep active and keep using the shoulder carefully and gently, otherwise it stiffens up, but I cannot, currently, carry out tasks that require strength or pressure. There is a slight improvement every day, so it is important to keep up with the daily exercises.

Comment from: Dr. Roger, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 24

Some two months after completing External Beam Radiation for Prostate Cancer, I woke one morning and could not move my left arm. A trip to my doctor and an X-Ray did not determine what the problem was. A follow-up appointment with my oncologist started with concern and then a recommendation for an MRI. The MRI indicated a Rotator Cuff. As I use the VA Medical Care System, I have a six month wait to see a Shoulder Clinic Specialist. If surgery is required, there is a one year waiting list.

Comment from: Norse, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 11

Had rotator cuff surgery twice. Pain still. Dr says that I don't have enough tissue to attach to bone. He says there are no replacement parts for this ligament or tissue. He say I am all done, just hurt. Must be something that can be done.

Comment from: patient, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I have a great massage machine that looks like an orbital sander and vibrates deep into the muscle. Using it straight away stopped my shoulder from going stiffer and took away what stiffness I had.

Comment from: Suecee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I am a registered nurse and I was pulling a heavy container of equipment (approx 100-150 lbs) on two wheels from behind and tore my rotator cuff.

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