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Old 02-20-2009, 01:58 AM   #1
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5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

I had surgery on January 14 for a massive rotator cuff tear. I'm a 44 year old female and doc said he's never seen a tear that large on someone my age...usually older people have those kinds of tears. I started PT 2 days later and the pain was almost unbearable. I do take 2 pain meds before going. Yesterday I went back to doc and he said I'm behind in ROM. Wants me back in 3 weeks to make sure the shoulder is loosening. I take PT 3 x a week and the pain during it is still absolutely terrible. How would I know if I do have frozen shoulder? I'm still in passive movement stage but cannot do a bent elbow shoulder abuction past maybe 40 degrees and I get stabbing pains down the outer side of arm at times. Anyone else ever had this? I'm worried as he said he may have to do another surgery to loosen the capsule.

 
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:25 AM   #2
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

honestly? i think at this point post op,its a bit early in your overall recovery to be worrying about possible frozen shoulder. just what tendons did you tear and were they complete(what was the full description of the whole procedure you had to have done on that shoulder,do you remember?)? i went thru this last year with a complete tear of my supraspinatus across the top,and a partial tear in the tendon running directly under that one,along with some other things he needed to clean up and clear out. my recovery has been rather lengthy and also pretty painful at times too.
when you mentioned you started PT 2 days post op,just what did that PT consist of? i know i used that CPM chair that just moves the joint without involving the tendon or muscle til i reached like 125 degrees or something(that alone helped tons in getting that joint moving a early as possible). i also was doing those standard pendulem excercises too on a daily basis several times a day. then i started very slowly with the more hands on PT with a PT person that i was thankfully already seeing prior to my complete tear for a therepy called myofascial release. he integreated the myo release along with the standard PT too. this really went sooo much better since he was also releasing some really bad trigger points and the overly tightened fascia too that just comes along with any level of inflammation to organs,muscles or nerves running to muscles.

i would find out from your ortho and compare just what your overall PT person is doing just to make certain that you are indeed doign all the right therepies to rehab your shoulder in the very best way. have you started those pullys yet? this is where that joint really gets that work out it needs to avoid possible frozen shoulder. if that shoulder joint is not simply being moved into the majority of full ROMS,it will create that capsule that can casue frozen shoulder. you need to simply be doing a PT therepy that does involve moving that joint in as many directions as possible in order to get the ROMS back and avoid that dreaded frozen shoulder too.

you just 'should be' at this point at least be making little increments of progress with pretty much every appt you have,ya know? just exactly what has you PT person been doing at your sessions? FB
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Old 02-20-2009, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

I went through surgery for 95% detatchment of my left rotator cuff feb. 21 of 08. I experienced rom limitations like you. The pt was tearful for nearly 6 months. I still have pain down both arms and in my back. The rom got better over time although not 100% better. I believe for some people it is a slower process than for others. I wouldn't worry about a frozen shoulder just yet. If your Dr. tells you he thinks another surgery is needed, you might want to get another opinion first. Keep up on the pt as it is vital to your rom increase. It never hurts to pray...especially with others. God's blessings to you

 
Old 02-22-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

I've been in passive therapy only...this week starts me moving it on my own. The 3rd day after surgery, she was moving my arm in different directions, not hard, just moving it. I've been praying, lots! Never had anything so painful...not even child birth. I read on the internet, that if you don't have aggressive treatment on a frozen shoulder, it could be permanent....I guess I'm worried about that. I do my exercises faithfully at home too....though it hurts bad too. My top tendon was the one ripped, massively... totally detached and I had some bone spurs. It was done lapro with 5 incisions.

 
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:32 AM   #5
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

i fully snapped the very same tendon you did,completely. i also partially tore the one directly under it. we also had a few other odds and ends that needed fixing or clearing out too,like the old bone spurs. just an FYI for ya but from what my ortho told me,that supraspinatus that we both tore IS the very most commonly tore tendon that orthos do surgeries to fix. its takes the most abuse over time. i do think we probably have about the same amount of damage and the rehab would be about the same too. and YES,i have had six seperate surgeries since 2001 and this one farrrrr beat out the others for post op pain and rehab,with regards to what is actually needed to get that shoulder moving properly again. and of course,the ongoing pain. that rotator stayed soo freaking hypersensitive for sooo long,i couldn;t believe it. i counted about five or six artho holes along with having a very large actual incision right over the mid clavicle area? that is where he went in to fix my supra. not too certain just where that sucker actually snapped,but it did,and boy did i feel it when it went. owchie.

while you DO indeed need to be agressive with the therepy,you also have to counter that with a more gradual going into it too,ya know what i mean? they had me doing those pendulem excercises the day after and i almost puked just when she took the dang sling off my arm from the over the top freaking pain,god(thank god for zofran).

the thing is,this shoulder joint is the MOST mobile in our bodies and we do have to actually end up moving this in every possible direction in order to keep it from growing those adhesions that can develop when it is not being moved in all directions? that is when that capsule would form and give you the frozen shoulder crap. as long as you ARE moving it around,it will eventually get there,where you need to be. it just takes time and ongoing therepy to get there,trust me. even at just about a year out from my actual surgery, my PT guy told me i was still making small increments of progress. this is just one particular surgery that you DO HAVE TO follow all PT that is recommended,which it sounds like you are right now. this will eventually get better with time, just keep on doing what they tell you to do. trust me,there is avery good reason for everything that they have you do with this particular post op rehab. like i mentioned above,this just IS the most mobile joint we have in our bodies that just moves in soo many different directions. it just needs a slow approach with things added on as you get thru certain bench marks that occur over time. the pullys really helped me alot. have they Rxed those to you yet? this allows YOU to very gently move that shoulder in specific directions using your own speed and counter balance. this helped me alot since i controlled just how far and how slowly i moved into a new ROM direction. these just really were a very crucial part of my ongoing rehab for me that i could control and do whenever i felt like it at home. they just flip over the top of a doorway and hang there for you.

with this particular surgery,honestly? as long as you ARE making any level of real progress,even tiny increments right now,you ARE moving forward here. like i mentioned before,it just takes time and effort to get things back after this surgery. just keep things moving and DO NOT stop your PT for any reason, its just that crucial for a full rehab and recovery like with no other ortho surgery i have ever had in my life. hopefully you will get those pullys soon,they really helped me alot with regaining things at MY speed. just keep hangin in there zap. things will get better with time. please keep me posted on how things are going for you,K? good luck and keep it moving. FB
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:42 AM   #6
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

Thank you feelbad for the input... I like to hear from people that had this done.... sometimes I get very depressed. I have 3 herniated discs too...that I've been dealing with since last spring. But right now, they aren't bothering me at all. T9-T10, T10-T11 & T11-T12

 
Old 02-25-2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

Zap I'm 1 month out of surgery, my second, had torn rotor cuff and a disconneted tendon. was 5 months before I could move without pain,went back to work after 7 months, will be off 9 months this time for this surgery, only advice I can give is hang in there it will get better, when it does give it about three more months cause it is still healing, me I felt better and went fishing and tore everything loose again, it can take as much as a year to heal completely. don't be like me and have too go thru it a 2nd time

 
Old 02-25-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

Chiming in a little late here perhaps. All good advice so far.

My only advice would be that I think you may be doing a little too much too soon. I know you're worried about frozen shoulder, but the rotator cuff takes some time to heal. Be patient and hang in there.

 
Old 08-01-2010, 04:09 PM   #9
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

10 weeks post op.....
consoling in a way to hear so many familiar stories of pain, discouragement, lack of communication btwn doc and pt, etc.....
i'm in the same place and on 2nd pt place....ugh!
anyone heard of "cold laser therapy"?
i'm willing to try anything at this point......and yes, sleeping (or trying) is a challenge.....finally got the doc to give me ambien cr!

 
Old 08-13-2010, 10:45 AM   #10
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

1 1/2 years since surgery and I'm doing great! Arm is pretty much back to normal, but did take 6 months to actually get there. I forget now that I had surgery! Would not want to have that done again anytime soon!

 
Old 08-14-2010, 10:30 AM   #11
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

thanks for letting us know that zapper. seriously, you do not always even hear anything from sooo many posters who pop in here for advice then mosey off into the sunset? i am really happy things just FINALLY all pulled together for you.

to the 'newbie-mom", and you DO have my sympathies with THIS particular surgery, just DO follow all of the really tried and true advice in this thread and any others you can also find i do think actually IN this particular forum on this subject too? i had my rotator done the very same time as another poster named sammy01 here did? and we REALLY posted ALOT back and forth to each other here in just trying to compare notes and simply support each other thru 'our' nightmare surgeies too. this would have been around(my surgery for this was on 2-6-08?) from feb 08 and on, so if you go into the back posts here(or just click on MY name here and it should allow you to bring up all of my posts from that particular time too? may be easier, don't know) you should be able to at least find mine and sammys posts and another poster here named "mountain reader" also went thru this one too, you should be able to at least find some usefull info that way as well? good luck to you hon. just DO whatever they tell you and you WILL get thru this. just look at how well zapper turned out? thanks again there zap for the update. FB
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
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.

 
Old 08-14-2010, 07:21 PM   #12
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

Yes, FB, I'm not even sure how I stumbled back across my post, but when I saw it, I thought...I have to update that! I have come a long way and I wanted to give that person that is just now facing it or just had it done, some hope! The first 3 months I really didn't think I was going to get better, I thought the shoulder was frozen, and I was plain miserable. Now, I'm back to my old self and glad, very glad, I had it done!

 
Old 02-10-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

Reading these posts has me very worried as it sounds like some folks have required multiple surgeries. I have a high grade partial thickness tear of same tendon and smaller tear in the tendon underneath that. Dr. says they treat high grade tears as full tear and surgery needed. I also have a very large spur which likely caused the problem. Size of spur is 9 out of 10 per doctor. Any thoughts on whether any of you with previous experience think the surgery would help?

 
Old 02-10-2011, 12:54 PM   #14
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

I see this was posted some time ago. How are you now? I am to have rotator cuff surgery on March 1 and am a little scared. I do well with pain but this sounds like awful. awful pain. Let me know if you have time.

 
Old 02-11-2011, 11:21 AM   #15
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Re: 5 weeks since rotator cuff surgery, possible frozen shoulder

I had surgery for a massive tear last April and yes, it is VERY painful. My doc also said after a few weeks that I might have to go in for a shoulder manipulation to break up scar tissue. I was determined not to do that so my PT and I worked really hard 3 days a week and it paid off and did not have to have it. Yes, it was so painful I almost passed out but it worked. I did PT for 4 months and even the last day of therapy was painful. To this day I still have some pain but not anything really bad. All in all it was worth it but if you asked me at the time I would have just said No More!! Just hang in there and do what you're supposed to do plus some. Good luck

 
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