It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-21-2011, 09:08 PM   #1
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

I'm a 54-year-old active woman, an avid cyclist and gardener. Here's my story:

Mid-September:
I lifted my right arm a bit above my shoulder and noticed a dull ache about 4 inches below my shoulder. I'm not prone to aches and pains, so I figured it would go away. It did not improve at all.

Mid-October:
4 weeks after onset, went to an orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed "Rotator cuff tendinitis" and said to take 2 Advil twice a day and return in 4 weeks.

Late November:
Returned to doctor #1 with absolutely no improvement, and requested a prescription for physical therapy. Started PT the following Monday. Exercises included gentle stretches with resistance bands, while keeping shoulder blades pinched. During the following weeks, pain increased and began to spread to other areas of my shoulder.

Late December:
STILL NO IMPROVEMENT, so asked for a referral to a sports orthopedist, and got an MRI. Noticed that when I forgot to do my exercises during the Christmas weekend, my shoulder felt better. The gentle exercises only cause more pain.

Saw doctor #2, sports ortho doc (a shoulder specialist), who read the MRI. NEW DIAGNOSIS: RC tears in the just below the acromion, and a very narrow space between the acromion and RC. Sports doc renewed prescription for PT with specific emphasis on improving scapular function. He also restricted me from cycling, gardening, and any other activities that cause (or may cause) pain or worsen the condition. Returned to PT the following week.

Today, late January:
Still no improvement, and still more pain. Some easy tasks that didn't hurt last week, hurt now.

The PT seems perplexed and encouraged me to have surgery sooner rather than later, believing the RC is being pinched between acromion and humoral head. He says has has treated many RC injuries and they are responding to treatment while I am not (he says approx. 20% do not respond to non-surgical treatment). He recommended that I continue doing the exercises on my own at home only, return to doctor #2 at my next scheduled appointment (late February) and request surgery at that time, then return to PT post-op.

I am frustrated and confused. I am planning to do the gentle exercises on my own and discuss other options with the sports ortho when I see him again next month.

QUESTION: Is it common or normal to have more pain after several weeks of gentle PT designed to improve scapular strength/function? I didn't expect complete healing by now, but at least some improvement.

The PT facility is popular and I hear other patients say good things about it. I don't want to rush into surgery without 100% certainty that it's the answer to this problem. On the other hand, I'm anxious to return to my regular activities, to be able to drive pain-free (my car has manual trans), plant the garden, ride my bike, and not worry that I will rip the RC to shreds with one wrong move. Meanwhile, what if I'm not getting the right PT exercises? I feel like I've wasted 4 months and lots of money for nothing.

Last edited by RiderJen; 01-21-2011 at 09:12 PM.

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 01-22-2011, 02:08 AM   #2
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,436
jenj770 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

I can't imagine the orthro doc recommending jumping into surgery without first trying the cortisone injections, which help many to avoid surgery. I eventually did have the surgery but that was after the injections. My experience with the PT, like you, was that it just exacerbated the problem.

I also just responded here to someone else about exercises you might try yourself. They are outlined in the book Rotator Cuff Solutions. I wish I had read this prior to my surgery.

All the best,

Jen

 
The Following User Says Thank You to jenj770 For This Useful Post:
RiderJen (01-22-2011)
Old 01-22-2011, 08:20 AM   #3
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Jen,

It was actually the PT who recommended surgery. When he referred me to the sports ortho doc, he (the PT) said the doc will probably want to give me a shot; however, the doctor didn't even mention a shot. The doc said "intuitively" he thinks I don't need surgery, but he could scope the area below the acromion to open the space, and wants to try therapy first -- but if my shoulder doesn't improve with the exercises then he'll discuss other options.

Some questions:
-- What was your diagnosis, and did it change after surgery? Sometimes, surgery turns up damage not seen on MRI.

-- Regarding the book Rotator Cuff Solutions: Have you done them since your surgery, and do you find them helpful? How do they differ from the exercises you did prior to PT? Do think you could have avoided surgery by doing the exercises in the book?

I ordered Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff and expect it to arrive next Monday. I've seen exercises on-line recommended for RC injury, but my shoulder would be screaming if I did most of them. However, I remain hopeful.

Thanks,
Jen

 
Old 01-22-2011, 08:31 AM   #4
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenj770 View Post
...I also just responded here to someone else about exercises you might try yourself. They are outlined in the book Rotator Cuff Solutions. I wish I had read this prior to my surgery....

Jen
Jen, I'm unable to find a book by this name through an on-line search. Is that the full title? Do you know the author's name?

Someone else recommended the 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution and shared with me a link to the free version of it. I glanced at the exercises, and knew right away that my shoulder would scream if I did them.

 
Old 01-22-2011, 09:13 AM   #5
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,436
jenj770 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiderJen View Post
Jen, I'm unable to find a book by this name through an on-line search. Is that the full title? Do you know the author's name?

Someone else recommended the 7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution and shared with me a link to the free version of it. I glanced at the exercises, and knew right away that my shoulder would scream if I did them.
Hello again,

I'm going to respond to this post first.

Sorry, that wasn't the full name of the book. I am now looking at it: The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan. Oops, I see this book has already been recommended. The trick is, as was explained to me by my friend, is to ice well before you start and then do them only to tolerance level. By doing this you should be able to slowly improve your ROM.

I didn't do the exercises because I had already had the surgery. I was having some problems after surgery (from the PT! which my surgeon recommended I stop immediately. He feels PT isn't always right especially if they are too set on forcing manipulations). Someone gave me the book to try the exercises, but stopping the PT turned out to be all that I needed. This book, however, helped his shoulder which was continually dislocating due to an old wrestling injury.

Now I'll look at your other post.

Last edited by jenj770; 01-22-2011 at 09:15 AM.

 
Old 01-22-2011, 09:23 AM   #6
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,436
jenj770 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by RiderJen View Post
Jen,

It was actually the PT who recommended surgery. When he referred me to the sports ortho doc, he (the PT) said the doc will probably want to give me a shot; however, the doctor didn't even mention a shot. The doc said "intuitively" he thinks I don't need surgery, but he could scope the area below the acromion to open the space, and wants to try therapy first -- but if my shoulder doesn't improve with the exercises then he'll discuss other options.

I can't believe he didn't mention the injections. I saw a number of Othro docs and they all suggested injections.

Some questions:
-- What was your diagnosis, and did it change after surgery? Sometimes, surgery turns up damage not seen on MRI.

I had rotator cuff tears from a few falls and when they went in they also found loose cartledge floating around inside, which they removed.

-- Regarding the book Rotator Cuff Solutions: Do think you could have avoided surgery by doing the exercises in the book?
My friend seems to think so but I cannot answer accurately since this is not what I did. But I wish I had as surgery is always invasive, which is not particularly my cup o' tea!


I ordered Treat Your Own Rotator Cuff and expect it to arrive next Monday. I've seen exercises on-line recommended for RC injury, but my shoulder would be screaming if I did most of them. However, I remain hopeful.
I just spoke to this in my previous email to you. I had tremendous pain as well. Couldn't sleep on that side, couldn't lift anything with that arm, couldn't raise that arm above my head (pain on the descent). The day before surgery I was food shopping and lifted a can of soup only to have it fall out of my hand. I had absolutely no ability to hold anything in that hand as the whole arm was limp and non-working. Good thing my surgery was the next day!

 
Old 01-22-2011, 09:48 AM   #7
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Thanks Jen -- someone shared the link to a free version of the book on-line, a PDF that I saved to my desktop. I'll get it printed so I can try them at home. It's worth a try -- if they hurt or don't work for me, at least I can say I tried.

< edited >

Last edited by hb-mod; 01-22-2011 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Please do not post unapproved website links, per Posting Policy. Thanks!

 
Old 01-22-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Thanks Jen. I'll try the exercises in both books in the next 4 weeks, and see how things feel when I return to my sports ortho on Feb. 22. This will be my "4-week experiment". I'll report back on my progress.

With respect to the cortisone shots: I've read both pros and cons about them. I've read that the steroid can weaken the muscle and lead to a worse post-op prognosis. My sports doc is a shoulder specialist with a special interest in RC repairs, and he may have his reasons for not recommending the shot on the first visit ---- or, he may recommend them only after PT seems to fail, and before recommending surgery. He came highly recommended and prefers conservative measures before surgery, so I'm trusting his judgment. I'll ask him his views on it though when I return in 4 weeks.

 
Old 01-22-2011, 10:39 AM   #9
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,436
jenj770 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Just one more thing to mention and that is Prolotherapy. Natural substances are used for the injections. I did this for my back and was able to avoid surgery. I highly recommend! Didn't know about it before my shoulder problem.

All the best!

jen

 
Old 01-22-2011, 02:22 PM   #10
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

I've seen a little bit about Prolotherapy. I'll do more research on it and add it to my list of things to consider.

Thanks Jen.

 
Old 01-22-2011, 09:03 PM   #11
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenj770 View Post
...
Sorry, that wasn't the full name of the book. I am now looking at it: The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan. Oops, I see this book has already been recommended. The trick is, as was explained to me by my friend, is to ice well before you start and then do them only to tolerance level. By doing this you should be able to slowly improve your ROM.
I'm already into chapter 3 of The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution. The book begins with a description of the parts of the shoulder (the bones and muscles) and the function of each muscle, then explains how the rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder. I've read each bit of that but never in the sequence laid out in the book --- it's fascinating and now I understand the importance of the RC muscles and how weakness or injury to them throws the whole shoulder off balance and affects all the other muscles of the joint.

You said your friend explained to "ice well" before starting --- did you mean "heat"? I've not seen anything saying to ice before exercise -- that one is new to me.

Jen

Last edited by RiderJen; 01-22-2011 at 09:04 PM.

 
Old 01-23-2011, 02:34 AM   #12
Inactive
(female)
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,436
jenj770 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Yes, Jen, it was ice. You want to be able to start moving the painful parts and icing helps you to do that. What he suggested was to fill a paper cup (not a small one) with water and put it in the freezer. Then you can hold it on the part until it's well iced. But you could experiment and see what works best for you. I hope it helps. He swears by it.

Hoping you can resolve the problem.

Jen

 
Old 01-23-2011, 08:53 AM   #13
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 57
RiderJen HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

Wow -- that's the first time I've ever heard of that. I'll give it a try and see if it helps.

One person pointed out that if my pain is due to a bone spur tearing the RC, then no amount of exercise will fix my problem. Meanwhile, I'm willing to try anything reasonable to see if it works.

 
Old 10-19-2011, 04:03 AM   #14
Junior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Iceland
Posts: 38
kolbrun2606 HB Userkolbrun2606 HB User
Re: Rotator cuff tear not responding to therapy

How are you now? You´re actually lucky to feel the impingement. After a small surgery (small acromioplasty so the tendon and bursa get more space) and 2 years of PT your shoulder will become better than ever. If you don´t your suprapinatus wil weaken until a small accident will tear it which is a really bad accident. Good luck!

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
Rotator Cuff Symptoms?? michlei Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems 14 01-23-2011 05:41 PM
Rotator Cuff Surgery renegaderob18 Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems 2 01-07-2011 03:03 PM
Torn rotator cuff zoranm Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems 4 05-01-2010 09:46 AM
Partial Tear of Rotator Cuff elnino Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems 2 03-05-2009 12:40 PM
Same ole song, rotator cuff tendonitis thesouth1980 Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems 10 07-21-2008 05:36 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Join Our Newsletter

Stay healthy through tips curated by our health experts.

Whoops,

There was a problem adding your email Try again

Thank You

Your email has been added








TOP THANKED CONTRIBUTORS



galalena (57), MountainReader (15), james079 (15), maggietaz (12), jerry890 (12), rainbowsrock (11), noevr (10), jennybyc (9), xilch (9), feelbad (7)

Site Wide Totals

teteri66 (1136), MSJayhawk (941), Apollo123 (858), janewhite1 (823), Titchou (772), Gabriel (743), ladybud (667), sammy64 (666), midwest1 (655), BlueSkies14 (610)



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:18 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.com™
Copyright and Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.com™ All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!