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Old 02-15-2008, 06:24 AM   #1
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Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Hi everyone, I was hoping to find anyone who has had or knows about shoulder decompression surgery. Had this done a couple weeks ago, major pain. I was suffering from problem for almost 3yrs on & off, come april/may of 2007 found myself in major pain everyday. After seeing several doctors & having several diagnosises I ended up finding problems in the shoulder. My symptoms were misleading because the pain & muscle spasms were in pretty much the whole upper left side, neck, shoulder, upper back,breast, upper portion of rib cage, all of left side, causing limited use of my arm. At times could mimic even cardiac problems. Lots of chest pain. At the end before surgery could barely drive, driving really aggravated the pain & wearing the seat belt was agony.
Ended up with the decompression being done because tendonitis/bursitis along with arthritis in the shoulder. The surgeon said there is a 70% success rate with this surgery, I am in some major pain & was wondering if anyone else has gone through this & what they had experianced. Waiting to see if this surgery is going to work is taxing so hoping someone can give me some input. Thanks so much, Sammy

 
Old 03-05-2008, 11:01 PM   #2
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Sammy,
How are you recovering from your surgery? I am scheduled to have it done in April. I have some different symptoms and a different cause, but the surgery sounds the same. My rotator cuff comes out of place every time I move my arm. This has caused shoulder impingement, bursitis and tendonitis. Therapy hasn't helped my shoulder stay in place. This means that I have constant swelling from the pinching that is taking place. The decompression would make room for the swelling, thus decreasing the amount of discomfort in my shoulder.

The doctor has given me the choice of whether I should have the surgery or to just live with the pain. It has already been a year with the pain so I am leaning towards the surgery. It would be nice to hear from someone who has experienced the surgery. I understand it takes about 4 months to get back to normal activities.

 
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:00 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Hi - I recently had the subacrominal decompression surgery - 2 1/2 weeks ago - because of a impingement in my shoulder, plus a part tear in rotator cuff. I was in pain for approx. 6 months, didn't have a good range of motion in that arm, did some physical therapy which didn't really help much - so I opted for the surgery. He did the arthroscopic surgery, made the extra room, didn't repair the tear - it was so small. Well, I'm still in quite a bit of pain, doing PT 2X a week now, have less range of motion now than before I went in, but they say that's to be expected and it could take up to a month or more before I'm feeling better (hope so) - but probably months. I'm still doubting whether I should of had the surgery or not.

 
Old 03-08-2008, 10:59 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

I had the decompression surgery done last June and I guarantee that it does get better. It was done arthroscopically to make room for movement and I had a small tear which may or may not have been repaired (I can't remember). I started pt after about 10 days and did it 2x a week in the office for three weeks and then at home a few times a week until I felt so much better that I didn't bother. My shoulder isn't perfect, but at about 90% it's better than it was before the surgery. Yes, it's painful the first couple of months - and the pt can be agonizing - but you will heal and be very thankful that you did it. I had the choice of whether to live with the pain or have the surgery and I think I made the right decision. Don't despair!

 
Old 03-08-2008, 04:13 PM   #5
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

ptchamp - that is very encouraging - I hope you are right. I started my PT the day after surgery and have been doing it 2X a week at the place and everyday at home and still in lots of pain and not seeing much improvement - even though its only been a few weeks - I guess I have to give it more time.

 
Old 03-12-2008, 08:15 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

I have good range of motion in all directions except for behind my back. The constant soreness/pain in my shoulder just gets tiring. At first, my shoulder pain was when I made certain movements. Now, it hurts just hanging and I get more pain when making certain movements. I have had very painful bicep tendonitis several times this last year because of my shoulder problems. I am leaning towards getting the surgery. I don't know that I want to put up with the pain for years on end.

Can you tell me when you went back to work and when you began driving after your surgery? I have a long commute to work and carpooling really isn't a reasonable option. I am worried about being away from too long. A couple weeks is ok, I am hoping to be back to work after that. I need to be able to get to work. Also, how long did you need assistance when recuperating? I will need to have someone come in from out of state to assist me after surgery.

 
Old 03-13-2008, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

I think I started driving about three weeks after surgery - maybe 2 1/2. My doctor knew it was out of necessity, since my 15 year old (who had just gotten her learner's permit and was happy to drive me around) was headed off to camp. I didn't need pain meds during the day and I couldn't have driven with them in my system anyway, but I did occasionally need them at night when fatigue set in and I was pretty sore.

I don't work outside the home, but if I did, I probably could have gone back to work - without depending too much on my right arm - at three to four weeks, maybe before, assuming my doctor would have given the okay.

My surgery was outpatient, on a Thursday. My husband took off Thursday and Friday and was back to work without worrying about me the following Monday. Of course, I had a 15, 12, and 8 year old at home taking care of me. If you live alone, yes, you will need some help, but if you have a spouse and self-sufficient children who can all give you a few days afterwards, you should be okay.

 
Old 03-15-2008, 05:55 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

mountainreader - it depends on whether or not you have full rotator cuff repair or only decompression - on the going back to work and when you can drive after the surgery. I only had the arthroscopic decompression - so I went back to work (desk job) a week after my surgery and was also driving in a week - my left shoulder was operated on and I'm a righty so that did make a difference with driving - not sure I would have driven that soon if it was my right shoulder. It's been 3 weeks out for me and I'm still in alot of pain, but getting thru it with my PT still 2T a week and working on my exercises every day - I still need some pain pills for sleeping at night and before PT - but hopefully I'm halfway there.

Last edited by NJpeg; 03-15-2008 at 05:56 AM.

 
Old 03-15-2008, 07:24 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Thanks for your replies. I appreciate your feedback. You are giving me a good picture of what I will be facing.

I am having the arthroscopic decompression. Unfortunately, it is on my right shoulder and I am right handed. I have scheduled two weeks off work, supervisory job. This may be hopeful, but I do have more leave if I need it. I am also hoping to take a short trip about 3 weeks out. I guess I will make that decision as the time approaches.

Please keep me posted as you continue your rehabilitation.

Thanks again,

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Old 04-16-2008, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

NJPeg,
How are you progressing? I had my surgery on the 3rd and I a bit behind you on the recouperation level. It is nice to compare what to expect.

MountainReader

 
Old 04-26-2008, 05:14 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Mountain Reader - I am about 8 weeks out and am progressing slowly - I had a cortisone shot 2 weeks ago along with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and they both kicked in about 1.5 weeks later and now I am feeling better - not much pain anymore - my PT thinks he can move me more too, but my range of motion is still not great, but getting better. I see my ortho. again in 2 weeks. He had said if I wasn't progressing he would suggest a manipulation under general anesthesia (to get my shoulder to move), but I think if my PT thinks I'm improving slowly, then we just continue with PT.

I really didn't think it would take this long to recover! It was only arthroscopic surgery for impringement and they didn't even repair the small tear.

How are you doing?

 
Old 04-26-2008, 02:56 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

NJPeg,

Wow! Our experiences are very different.

I'm sorry you are still in such pain. What did your doctor tell you about how the surgery went? Did he mention any concerns from what he found? How much range of motion have you gained? It sounds like it is limited. Are you developing frozen shoulder? My dad developed it after his decompression/ tear surgery. The second surgery went well though and he now has full use of his shoulder and he is back bowling in a couple leagues. There is a light at the end, but sometimes it is hard to see.

My surgery was just over 3 weeks ago. I have had four therapy sessions so far and I have two scheduled for next week. (I was out of town last week.) My PT is happy with how I am progressing. I have gained some good range of motion and I am using 2 lb weights for my PT now. I haven't taken my Lortab for the last week, but I relied alot on the Extra Strength Tylenol and ice while I was gone. (Sitting on the plane was very uncomfortable.) I do have a constant soreness still and I have developed some bicep pain. I haven't had any trouble with my bicep since I had a cortizone shot in December and it is a development that I am not happy about. My bicep looked good during the surgery though. When I have my arm extended or bent in and I turn my wrist, I get a shooting pain from my wrist up to my shoulder. I also get twitches in my bicep/shoulder muscle also. I also get a clicking sound when I move my shoulder. I have lax tendons though that are what caused my impingement so I am not sure if the popping will ever go away. My shoulder subluxes every time I move it. The doctor says the surgery for that could result in a limited ROM so he wanted to try the decompression first. I think that part of the reason my ROM is improving as it has is because my PT spends about 20 min. a session doing passive manipulation of my shoulder. Last time, he got my arm up over my head. I still can't really do that on my own, but I am hopeful it will come in a couple weeks. Both my doctor and PT have cautioned my about not getting too confident and doing too much until the bone has a chance to heal so I am trying to be careful.

Keep me posted on how you are doing. I wish you well.

Mountain Reader

 
Old 04-27-2008, 06:08 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

Mountain Reader - well all my surgeon did was shave down my bone to make more space - that's it - did not repair the tear (it was less than a 50% tear). He said the surgery went fine and I should have recovered in about 6 weeks. But I guess I developed scar tissue quickly and possibly frozen shoulder because of that. My PT pretty much justs passively stretches my shoulder for about 20 minutes each session, then I do the pulleys and finger ladder. When standing I can reach out in front a little bit higher than straight out - that's it right now - not above head at all - and worse to the side. It has been getting better though since the cortisone shot. I am not in much pain anymore since the shot, but just afraid when the shot wears off. I really just want to be able to shave under my arm (for the summer!)

I am getting sick of going to PT and want this to be over! I see doc again in 2 weeks - hopefully I will be slowly progressing! Wish you well too.

 
Old 04-27-2008, 08:16 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

I hear you about the shaving. It is interesting how many things we do on a daily basis that you don't even think about until you can't do them anymore. One of my personal goals is to be able to reach behind my back to fasten my bra. I haven't been able to fasten in the back for over a year.

How many exercises did your therapist give you right after the surgery? It doesn't sound like they have you doing very many. Did you have to stop doing some as your shoulder stiffened up? How long after your surgery did you have your first follow-up appointment?

I started PT 5 days after surgery with about 8 exercises and have increased to 18 by the end of week 2. I am gradually increasing the range I can move and am building up to a 2 lb weight with some of the exercises. I go for my fifth session tomorrow morning. My ROM is better, but still painful. I have also developed more bicep pain. I'll see how it goes during the next couple weeks.

 
Old 04-28-2008, 07:58 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone have shoulder surgery, need some help

I have home exercises to do (pendulum swings, arm up and down - to the side, pulley, hold behind the back, etc.) -but at PT - its pretty much passive - he stretches me and I do the pulleys. When I go on my treadmill at home, I do 3 lb.weights with my arms though. I always try to keep my shoulder moving throughout the day. Its hard though as I have a sit at the computer job.

I started PT the day after surgery. My first ortho. followup after surgery was 2 weeks. I just don't see my range of motion getting any better no matter how much my PT stretches me. (it hurts too).

 
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