I'm a 29 year old female, who has had shoulder pain for years. I was a competitive swimmer as well as a fitness junkie who did years of strength training. The last month or two it has gotten considerably worse. I can't sleep, and am in constant pain. I finally went to an orthopedic doc a couple of weeks ago.
We tried a cortisone shot (based on my symptoms, he gave it to me in the rotator cuff area, which he suspected was the problem) and then scheduled an MRI for later in the week, the pain only got worse. Then, a couple of hours after the MRI, it got considerably worse. The doc saw me first thing on Monday 1/25 and gave me two more (he gave me one for the bicep tendon and the other for the impingement - we had the MRI results showing that there was a tear in the bicep tendon as well as a rotator cuff impingement on the acromium). They still have not worked.
He told me that if they didn't work, it wasn't wise to keep trying the cortisone because of the side effects and that it most likely would not work even if we tried again. I am supposed to go in early next week if the pain is not gone.
He is recommending surgery. I have done PT in the past - with no long-term relief, I was doing pilates exercise up until the pain was too unbearable (which are very similiar to PT exercises). I have done heat and ice and NSAID's.
I guess what I need is opinions from people who have had this type of surgery. I want relief from this pain, but am scared that the surgery won't help. I don't want to go through a surgery and wish I hadn't done it. I just don't know what else to do. I can't bear much more of this pain. I also don't want to think about a long recovery. I'm a busy mom of two kids and the thought of having to rely on people isn't appealing. However, I hate being in all this pain. I'm ornery and tired all the time.
Hi there. There really isn't a good board for shoulder and arm issues. This is as good as any.
If you do have a tear, it is prob wably a good idea to pursue surgery. I have several co-workers who have had shoulder tears and were only able to find relief when the repair was repaired. Depending on the severity of the tear, the healing can take place fairly quickly.
As for the impingement, I've had problems with that myself. I did two rounds of PT with no success. Finally went to an ortho. MRI showed the impingement. He was able to do arthroscopic surgery to "clean up" the debris and remove some bone on the under side of the shoulder to make a bit more room for the swelling that was taking place and making the impingement worse. I also ended up with bicep tendonitis and bursitis because of the impingement. Both of those got better when my impingement was better. I'd been in pain for over a year and had lost much of my ROM. Within a few months, I'd increased my ROM dramatically and I was in less pain.
If you aren't fully confident in your surgeon, I'd be happy to share the name of my ortho. He specializes in shoulders and works on many of the professional athletes in the area. He has his main office in Bountiful.
Thanks! I go see him tomorrow to most likely schedule surgery
I'm just curious, were you told that pt could "heal" the impingement, or just make it so it wasn't painful? I'm just not sure how you would fix that without surgery considering the approach is to take out bone.
My shoulder impingement is caused by a "loose" hyperflexible rotator cuff that subluxes (comes a bit out of the socket) every time I move my shoulder. The pinching that occured by things being out of place was making the impingement inflammation pretty bad. In doing PT, I was hoping to learn to tighten the muscles enough that it would help keep my rotator cuff in place. I was hoping that by doing that I could keep the irritation from being as bad and allowing the shoulder to heal. It really didn't help at all. Surgery did help. By shaving the bone down, it gave more room for the swelling to keep it from being as painful.
The impingement surgery was fairly straight forward. A few days in a sling and PT early on. I was back to work in a week. Certainly not normal that fast, but doing well. Of course, my shoulder was so bad before the surgery that I was actually feeling some relief. I was so extremely excited after the surgery and PT when I was able to get my arm behind my back again.