Help! I have been dealing with this with NO treatment for about 5 years or more. I'm pretty sure I have the rotator cuff tendonitis, and not a torn rotator cuff. I have been in pain every day of my life for years! Sometimes (rarely) I can lift my arm above my head, but 90% of the time I can't. Sometimes the pain is so bad, I cant even move my head! Pain medicine (the doc gave me) doesn't work anymore. I dont have health insurance so I cant get an MRI, but I did pay a few hundred dollars for an X-Ray..
I've heard of people trying physical therapy to strength it, but then everything else i read says not to move it but to rest it. I do enjoy swimming, and plan on going this weekend. But geeezzz, any relief in sight? Ideas?
so sorry & I know how you feel, gosh I hate this problem we have with the insurance issues in this country. I cant imagine living with that with no way to manage it. I had the tendonitis/bursitis & decompression surgery & still have alot of pain & not all my ROM back, so I really feel for you. Hot & ice packs is what I used & still do, ice helps more then anything at all, you need of course to get it treated & a good pain med, but of course no insurance makes that unrealistic, that is such a shame. I lived with it for three years & thought I was not going to make it at times it hurt so bad. I did wear a sling before surgery to take the weight of the arm off the shoulder, that along with ice really helped me out at times. The pain was constant but at least abit better. I hope you can at least get on a decent med & ck into perhaps trying a sling for a couple days & ice rotating with moist heat. Good luck. Sammy
It really sounds like you may have more than just tendonitis. Do you have any hope in sight for getting on a health insurance plan? The shoulder is so complicated that an MRI is really usually needed to determine what is going on. In addition to my spinal problems, I have a torn rotator cuff, so I can feel your pain. Usually when people can't lift their arm above their head, that signals a tear. If you got the MRI, would you even have any coverage for surgery or other treatment? Sorry for your predicament...
toonces is right on in what she just told you about the shoulder. the rotator cuff can be damaged in sooo many different ways and cause ROM issue and yes,lots of pain too. an MRI realistically would be the oly true way of really knowing for certain just what you are dealing with. going to PT with certain types of rotator tears or other issues can actually create more problems than it solves as it can further a tear that was not complete when you started and other issues too. you really DO at some point NEED that diagnostic level of MRI just to be even able to really dictate any real treatment plan with any real hope of getting this back on track. this sounds way more involved than just tendonisits. tendonitis will come and go at times while what you appear to be describing is more a constant type of issue? limited(constant) range of motion is kind of a indicator of a much more deeply involved issue. your symptoms just sound much more in depth than mere tendonitis. this really sounds like a tendon is not fully capable of even giving you full ROMs. am i right? the thing is any good ortho or even a really good primary can tell alot by just running you thru the ROMS and based upon your ongoing symptoms and pain levels and just where that pain is radiating from,be pretty good at really narrowing down the areas of real damage.
myself and sammy just went thru our own little shoulder hell. we both recently had rotator cuff repairs done at almost the same time. i was really shocked at just what actually was going on in my rotator cuff area and the joint there too. it all showed up on my MRI. there were about five major issues that were just wrong in there that needed surgical intevention to fix. the rotator cuff tears are just a very very common type of injury to have occur in us. my ortho said this is one of the most common injuries he does surgical repairs on. the most commonly involved or torn tendon in the bunch is that supraspinatus. mine was completly torn in half and i KNOW the day and the time it actually completly went on me too. i tore that top supra really bad and the other one directly underneath it was not good either. but that was only a partial.
our rotator cuff areasare just sooo extremely pushed to their limits at times depending upon what you do and how much actual lifting you do like even daily,in your job? the only reason we can go so long without really kowing how bad things are for us is that the surrounding muslces will usually really kick in and try and compensate for the injured areas. so you can go a very long time in some cases without really knowing just how truely bad your level of possible injury really is until you get that deeper look into it with MRI. if there is any way you could possibly swing that MRI i would very highly recommend it be done(work out a payment plan with them perhaps?). it would just show you and your doc what IS going on and what is an issue. you really cannot fully rehab any area to its fullest without actually just knowing the extent of real damage,ya know what i mean? the longer this goes if it is torn,the more in depth any level of real repairs would be and the recovery time too. if you tore that most common tendon right along the top,the other tendons beneath it are being taxed way beyond what they were ment to take on and would become much more vulnerable to their own damage and possible tears too(this is what happened to me). its kind of a cascade effect that would happen when the stronger tendon at the top is no longer working for you. you just REALLY have to find out the true extent of damage there. you need this dx just becasue of the longer lasting effects this will have on your ability to just even use that arm properly, ya know? things will generally get worse in the long run with more loss of ROM as time goes by with any injury to our bodies that is not fixed. you just cannot afford to lose the use of an arm. you simply NEED to know certain things right now.
just one possibility for you here if this shoulder has a really ugly bad day from hell? go to your local ER,they will have to treat you and any financial issues can be worked out later. they would most likely do that MRI(or even a CT right now would be much better than nothing) for you there and at least you would finally know for certain whats up and what you really need to do here. you just really have suffered more than long enough with this ya know? find out whats wrong and go from there. things can be worked out between docs,surgeons and hospitals for people in your very unfortuneat situation. i know that has to suck so badly for you right now. my oldest son went for three years without ins and had to go to the ER a few different times for actual injuries. it sucked of course for him financially,but you have to look at what is the best possible thing for you right now to just retain the mobility in a very very important extremity. you just cannot completly lose all your ROMS there at this point,you NEED that arm to be as functional as possible. your basic(health/function/mobility) NEEDS right now just very highly outwiegh any financial burden that you may have to take on here ya know? being functional and healthy so you can simply 'do" what you need to do everyday is just something you have to consider here. just weigh the pros and cons here and let that dictate what you do next.
i really am so very sorry you don;t have ins to help with this,but your health does have to come first or you wont 'have' a normal life without the use of this shoulder area either. pleaselet us know how things are going for you. i do hope you can get that MRI done hon. good luck,marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
PT was the best thing for me for same problem many years ago. I did damaged it lifting weights. I was looking towards surgery, according to my DR, but month and month of PT, water excercise, helped me tremendously.
Thank everyone for your replies, Mine was almost an overnight issue. Although my orthapedic said that because I didnt fall, or since I dont play sports or anything physically that it would probably be the tendonitis. When I noticed the pain, it was at a time where I had a "labor" job, not a desk job like I do now. I used to lift heavy equipment almost daily. I guess I could have torn it then?
I do have LROF 90% of the time. He also said that if I can EVER lift my arm over my head, that it is not torn. BS right! I think he fed me that crap because I dont have health insurance. But yes, I have been dealing with this pain everyday of my life for over 5 years.
It started right in the rotator cuff area. I could pin point the pain. And my shoulder in that area pops all the time. The pain since has spread from my shoulder cuff, all the way through my collar bone on my right side. Sometimes it hurts so bad there isn't anything I can do about it except cry.
I just hate to go to the ER, rack up all those bills. I can barely afford what I have now (single mom 2 kids) I also have to have my gall bladder out, doc said to wait until I have another "attack" and then go to the ER to get it taken out. I mean come on, realisticlly most people in my situation dont have that much sick leave. LOL I only have one week!
Anyway, I guess I will have to at some point go to the ER to get an MRI. But whats the difference between that and a CT scan? Can the CT scan show a torn rotator cuff, or tendonitis?
I don't know what a CAT Scan would show as opposed to the MRI, I've never been really sure of the difference. I know that what the surgeon wanted for mine was an MRI. You could probably arrange with a GP or other Dr. to have the MRI done, that way you could avoid the ER costs. Some of the large teaching hospitals have outpatient clinics that a priced on a sliding scale depending on what you can afford, if you live near one that might be an option. All you really need to get the MRI done is a Dr's order. I've also heard of people negotiating the price for a procedure up front when they are self paying.
I am not sure if a ct can show this or not. Hopefully feelbad (Marcia will jump in here, she would probably be able to answer that one. I know the MRI can, but remember mine did not indicate it was to bad. The surgeon was not even sure when he went into the shoulder if he would do anything. More exploratory. Of course when he got in there he found he needed to proceed with the decompression & noted the arthritis that was seen. Keep in mind if they were to have went strictly by the MRI the surgery would have never taken place to begin with, because the MRI did not show how bad the problem really was.
I do know I did not have a tear, but could barely raise my arm. I could force it but the pain was out of this world. I had the popping & like a snapping sound & very little range of motion. I mean barely any. Every movement hurt.
I think I mentioned I had the tendonitis/bursitis, also arthritis & needed the decompression. Anyone who suffered those conditions can tell you its not tolerable pain when its bad. Dont have to be the rotator cuff to cause that much pain.
When I was told that was the problem with the shoulder according to the MRI I thought more had to be going on in there. I never realized those conditions could cause so much pain. Which was stupid of me because my husband has some of the same in his shoulder & he could not even get dressed by himself & had no desire to even get out of bed. PT did help him out, but he also had the calcium deposits, which they managed to break apart or down with the ultrasound & good PT.
The sling & ice really did help me make it until surgery. Keeping the weight off that shoulder from the arm hanging down managed to help that pain at least some what. I feel so bad for you becuase I know I was in agony. Alot of trips to urgent care, & several times I was placed on the steriods to help get the inflammation down, along with the steroid injection to give it a boost.
Have you ever tried that route? I believe they may be afforadable, dont qoute me on that but for some reason I dont think they are really out there cost wise. I cant tell you what would be best but perhaps asking about that & also mentioning a sling to your doctor, just when your up & moving to help control the pain when its bad. Of course you dont wear it all the time or frozen shoulder would set in. I was told to keep my arm in the sling when up & going alot. It may be worth trying. You can always pick one up pretty much where ever there is a pharmacy & they are not that expensive.
I will keep you in my prayers & thoughts, I know how hard it was for me. Good luck, Sammy
I also tried some topical products, alot of people get some relief. Biofreeze is a favorite, can get that at any chiros. I use a new one call cyroderm, I do like it, sometimes it helps. If you have not tried anything that route you may want to give it a shot. You can ask the pharmacist for a recommendation.
I think the cost of a cortisone injection will vary depending on the Dr., but oral steroids - prednisone is REALLY cheap. I think it's on the big W's $4 list. Be sure to tell them you want prednisone and not the dose pack - those are way more expensive, my ins won't pay for it. The prednisone is something that is recommended for tendonitis too. It's not fun to take, but it can help a LOT.
Thanks guys, Yes the doc recommended the sling, which I bought, but impossible to work with. I am right handed, and its my right shoulder. Go figure. I do absolutely everything with my right hand. I am an insurance agent (ha ha no pun intended) so I use my hands all the time for work. It's a sad day here in the good ole US of A when I am an insurance agent, but I have no insurance. (health wise)
I havent tried the cortisone shot, but thinking about it. My shoulder laughs at PM's.