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Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

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Old 06-25-2005, 09:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2
dabomb99 HB User
Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

Hello all,

I'm so frustrated, any advice is greatly appreciated. I am a 23 year old male, very active with sports and had worked out consistently for about 2 years straight.... until nearly 10 months ago, I woke up and my left shoulder was killing me (my only guess is that I worked out my chest at the gym 2 days before). After a month off, no more pain, so I tried working out again (decently heavy), but the pain came right back when I tried lifting anything heavy. After a few weeks, the majority of the pain was gone again, but a little bit has remained...

Over the last 10 months, I have seen 4 different Orthopedists, had a cortisone shot which didn't help at all, had an MRI which showed only a very very slight impingment (Dr. said not enough impingment to be causing my pain), and participated in physical therapy since February, 2005. The final "answer" that the orthopedists give me is that I have rotator cuff tendonitis.

I talked to a chiropractor recently, who said that it's basically impossible that someone my age could get tendonitis in my shoulder, espeically considering it is my left shoulder, which I don't use to throw with in sports. He recommended I start going to a chiropractor for treatment and that I stop doing the physical therapy, since lifting even the light weights are hurting me.

I haven't tried to work out in 8 months now because I know I'm not "healed" yet, and I have lost sooo much strength. It still hurts to sleep on my left side, and approx every other day, my shoulder hurts mildly for no reason. Of course, I haven't mentioned all the creaking and cracking my shoulder does when I try to "loosen" it up... Bottom line is that I am still in pain, and nobody seems to be able to help me - should I try seeing a chiropractor? Anyone have any other suggestions? I'm so frustrated... I want to get back to the gym but I'm so depressed about this shoulder that it doesn't feel like I'll ever get back... Thanks a lot for your time and replies.

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Old 06-26-2005, 05:53 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 224
Josie115 HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

My situation is very different from yours, but after my fall skiing in March I've done a lot of research...I broke my rt. humourus at the greater tuberosity..once that healed..6 wks. I started more active pt..also had an mri that showed a slap 2 lesion and minor rotator cuff tear as well as "frozen" shoulder..(inactivity and scar tissue). Also smashed my hand..different story..anyway, after 3 months of pt..the mri results and the decision from the hand surgeon, i'm scheduled for surgery the end of July. Long story is painful and sleeping is a b*tch..

MRI's are not the definitive test for dx shoulder problems. Impingement can be seen but slap lesions are often missed. It sounds like you have a number of things going on but could have a slap lesion..also, rotator cuff problems and more than like, some scar tissue..and tendonitis. I'd look for an orthoped who specializes in shoulders and sports injuries. keep pushing until you get some answers. Quite often, until the scope it, they can't tell what it is. The question is, do you want to live with the shoulder pain? These types of injuries do not repair themselves. They can manipulate your shoulder during surgery to break up the scar tissue. Get better range of motion and then move slowly on to strength training.

The only thing the chiro will do is charge you some $$ maybe make your back feel a bit better but do nothing about your shoulder problems. Shoulder problems will plague you forever until you get to the source of the problem and get the follow up pt. Usually, they will want to see improvement with therapy over 3 months before considering surgery. Get to a sports med place.

Old 06-27-2005, 03:31 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 58
zandy HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

I had a rotator cuff tear (right shoulder) and frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) and it took a good 18 months to heal! Frozen shoulders heal in stages, you can read all about it on the net, just google it. I would not be surprised if you had a "tear".

An xray showed nothing. An mri confirmed it. A LOT of rest was needed, then slowly p.t. was integrated. A cortisone shot did help alittle bit, but was extremely painful to the point of tears.

This all happened in 2001, and I still have a little bit of pain/discomfort in my right shoulder, but nothing I can't handle (feels like little pinches when I turn my shoulder different ways, or raising my hand over my head), so it still requires some watching what I do with activities, nothing too straining.

Old 06-27-2005, 04:53 AM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 19
goawaypain HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

hey, I too had left shoulder pain and mri and xrays showed impingement and bursitis. I am right handed. I tried PT with no results so ortho guy decided to go in and shave off bone that was impinging. well once he got in there he found that my cartiledge called the LABRUM was torn. now the mri did not pick this up. so he had to tack in in place, shaved the bone off and release the AC ligament which also helped the catching as they call it.
so you may have more going on than what the mri shows, they are not perfect he told me.
I had to keep my arm in a wrap around the waist sling for 2 months. well after that i could not move my arm even an inch and had to have PT for 2 months.
He said the cartiledge needed time to heal, which is different than the rotar cuff wwhere they do Pt right away. It was worth it, but now my right sshoulder hurt s the same way and should get it checked out.
My symptoms were a terrible aching all of the time, a catching feeling when I put my arm up, a grinding noise when I moved it a certain way, and I had that pain when i tried to sleep at night on my left side. couldn't do it.
Oh and I was already on perocet 6 a day for neck problems so it also could be coming from the neck. my ortho said neck problems will cause pain all thee way to the hand but shoulder problems will stop at the elbow.
If I were u i would have an xray and mri of my neck and it it turns out okay, insist (you are the paying customer u know) for a lapro surgery on the shoulder to check it out. or find a good pain doc, he the pain guy is the one that new I had shoulder problems even before the tests, in addition to the neck problems.
good luck and pm me if u want to and i will help you in any way i can. I know the shoulder pain was actually worse than all the problems i am having with my neck.

take care

Old 07-03-2005, 01:44 PM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2
dabomb99 HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

Thanks to the three of you for your responses.

Josie115, good luck with your surgery at the end of the month, sounds like one heck of an accident that you had! Thanks for the info on the slap lesions and frozen shoulder.

Zandy, thanks for the info on frozen shoulder as well - can't believe you are still in pain after 4 years!

Jo, I'd like to find out more about the symptoms you were having to see if they might match what I am experiencing. I have looked all over this site to find an option to pm you, and even asked an admin, but apparently pm's are forbidden. Is there something I don't know? Anyway, before your operation, were you able to lift your arm? Were you able to lift anything at all? Or was the pain sparatic? Also, was your pain in one centralized location? The occasional mild pain I feel is usually in different places on different days - either in my front shoulder (rotator cuff), or on top of the shoulder, or the rear corner of my shoulder. Of course, if I tried going back to lift any weights the pain would probably become a lot worse than "mild"... Hope to hear from you soon, thanks a lot.

Old 07-03-2005, 05:22 PM   #6
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 224
Josie115 HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

Hey Jo.. I'm anxious to hear about the surgery and the recovery. I'm on hydrocodone daily for back pain and am concerned about pain management for this surgery. I'm dreading it because when I first did it, was in a sling and kept pretty much to just gentle range of motion excercises until the fracture healed..I've made alot of progress with PT, but still have pain and limited rom..I don't look forward to starting over again. My labrum tear is from the 10 position to the 2 o'clock position but the bicep tendon is the mri says..impingement, capsulitis, some tendonitis, and minor rotator cuff tear. How bad was pt? I'm going 3 x a week now...geeeez, I'm sick of waking up at 4 a.m. each morning in pain. Don't look forward to trying to find a way to sleep again and getting by with one arm for a while is awful.

How are things now? what did they do for pain control? any tips?

Old 07-04-2005, 05:46 PM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Boston, MA USA
Posts: 5
badlands17 HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

dabomb99...i had similar problems 10 years ago...I played basketball for over 25 years a couple of nights a week and started having right shoulder problems...started out as mildly annoying and then got worse..after someone whacked my shoulder one night it got worse..I had multiple tests and some of the same diagnosis...maybe tendonitis, bursitis, etc..had a round of cortisone shots which gave me about 4 months of relief each time..,but after 2-3 shots the doctor wouldn't give me any more...eventually the pain got so bad I couldn't sleep at night, hurt to lift things or move my arm certain ways...xrays showed nothing...had an arthrogram (sp?) an MRI but they stick a needle in your joint, leave it there and pump a solution into your shoulder, roll you around and take xrays...when they pull the needle out if you have a rotator tear, the fluid squirts out of your shoulder...mine didn't squirt, but the xrays still showed a small tear...(btw..NEVER, NEVER let them do this to was the most uncomfortable procedures I have ever had was a way of them saving money instead of an MRI)...anyways..the pain got so bad that even big time prescription pain killers did nothing...I ended up having rotator cuff surgery and surprise, once they got in there they found not a small tear but a big one...none of this showed up on the as like one of the posters suggested, I think sometimes they really don't know until they open you up and look around...kind of sad...recovery was about 6 weeks and 3-4 months of followup physical therapy but my shoulder is pain free 10 years later and I have about 90% range of motion back..btw..have you ever considered trying acupuncture?...a lot of people swear by it and if it works would be a lot easier than surgery...good luck...Vin

Old 07-06-2005, 01:35 AM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 34
Karebear71 HB User
Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?

Dabomb99- Don't take this the wrong way, but have you posted this question before on a pain message board? It seems almost word for word like one I read a couple of years ago. Just Curious.

Old 07-13-2005, 11:29 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2
jfsprincess HB User
Smile Re: Shoulder pain, Dr.'s not helping, what to do?


if I was you I would get a second opinion for the impingement. I started with pain in my shoulder and arm in october 04, at this time i had a metal rod in that arm due from a car accident. The first two doctors I went to would not even attempt to mess with the rod. The 3rd doctor diagnosed a tear in the roatator cuff from the rod. He did the surgery and removed the rod. Well the arm froze and the pain didn't get any better. The 4th doctor I went to (works for the indianapolis colts) diagnosed shoulder tendonitis and informed me that the 3rd doctor never repaired a tear in the rotator cuff. So, for my 3rd surgery I had the tendonitis and part of the bone removed. I was doing better and movement was slowly coming back until this past week. I am experiencing pain down the arm to the wrist. I have an appoint in the morning to see what is going on. I am up tonight because I cannot sleep. The symptoms you have sound a lot like mine. Good luck!

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