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Post Shoulder Surgery Support


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Old 06-18-2018, 02:35 PM   #1
DanceLdy
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Post Shoulder Surgery Support

Two weeks ago today (6/4) I had my shoulder surgery. This is the result of an MVA July 2017 (rear-ended while stopped).

The surgery was arthroscopic (3 holes - back, cap and front) of my left shoulder. My doctor debrided the RC tear, debrided the labral tear, did acromioplasty, cleaned up the bursa and general clean-up of floating cartilage.

I generally have a high tolerance for pain, and I work hard to not focus on it when I feel it coming on. I usually notice nausea that indicates (for me at least) that pain is substantial.

Waking up after surgery I had pain at the cap of my shoulder. They gave me acetaminophen and that helped. Once home, I took my pain meds (percoset), used ice and rested - and felt pretty good.

First pt visit (2 days post op) wasn't too bad, but subsequent sessions have not been pain free. I do pt three days a week. I do my home exercises the other days.

Post surgical visit at 9 days. Doc was happy with progress, removed the big dressing. The steri-strips were to stay for another week. No pushing, no pulling, no lifting with that arm til I see him early July. I wear the sling a lot, only because I'm left-handed and the sling reminds me of what I'm not allowed to do.

I still have quite exquisite pain at the front "hole" (have had that from the start, but not as painful early on as it is now). Over the weekend I started getting pain in the bicep that is concerning me. (I mentioned both at pt today, but my therapist had nothing to say about that, and then really dug into both). Today's pt brought real tears to my eyes. As much as I want to be done with the pain meds, I took one when I got home and have been in my "nest" with ice since.

How (in the realm of) normal is this bicep pain and Portal pain - or could it be a sign of additional injury?

Any thoughts, commiseration or sympathy will be extremely welcomed.

 
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:37 AM   #2
istitch4ever
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Smile Re: Post Shoulder Surgery Support

Hello DanceLdy,
I can empathize with you totally, as I too was shocked by the amount of long-term pain associated with shoulder surgery. It sounds as if you have excellent care...and good PTs, so keep asking and perhaps using a Diary to document your pain levels. Surgeons/primary docs respond fairly well to a patient's usage of details -- so if you can define for yourself and your surgeon the Level of pain you are at, it might help you receive more specific information.
Every single human is unique in how they recuperate from any type of surgery.....While I was at PT, I saw men in the Marines shed tears over the stretching necessary to place the shoulder at a 'limber' state following shoulder surgery---and, these men had been in PT well over 8 months. Please don't decide this is as long as you will need PT -- as everyone's surgery is so different....and thinking about what Marines do for a living, their injury/accident could have been quite different from anyone elses.
Consider taking a Percocet PRIOR to your PT session, and if your PT folks are not the types to 'warm up the shoulder' prior to the exercises, then YOU think about doing it with a warming/heating pad....for over an hour prior to going.
You are wise to use ICE as it is a great comfort to surgical sites...and if you haven't yet purchased a couple o fGEL types of ice (the type that doesn't freeze to a rock), you might wish to think about doing so. The gels can be used a bit longer than just ice, as they are built with the ability of NOT burning your arm. Start with a light towel layered over it; in time, remove one layer, and then just the gel.
My sympathy and empathy are totally with you regarding this recuperation time. I am well aware the exercises produce PAIN -- but do try to 'hang in there' (I know...I know...dumb phrase) -- My surgery was repairing a total tear of the labrum as well... but I had learned from previous other surgeries I have a body that SLOWLY repairs itself. That does NOT mean you will be the same. Medical folks kept telling me that was for the best...but I felt my body punished me for trying to get out of pain...grrrrr.

I wish I could think of other 'helps' for you(?are you in loose-only clothing, no bra, while home?) -- I truly believe that within a few months you will feel better -- and your shoulder will be able to stretch without pain. I wish you well.

Last edited by istitch4ever; 06-19-2018 at 02:39 AM. Reason: mis-spelled words

 
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:51 PM   #3
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Re: Post Shoulder Surgery Support

For me surgery was almost 5 yrs ago. 3/4 tear super spenatus tendon

My memory tells me that the "pain" was around for almost 3 months. PT was horridly hard to begin with, but eventually got better. I was able to stop with pain meds after a few weeks for PT, at home maybe after 2 weeks. There was a lot of "deep" pain for a long time from where the doc cleaned out the spurs etc. ICE is your BIG friend.

I had muscle pain in my bicep for almost a year post surgery. The key I think for me was I have continued with the home exercises and stretches. Even now if I miss them after a couple days, my shoulder and bicep start feeling "tight".

If you are an active person make sure you PT person knows. Talking to others that were'nt "active", their PT didn't seem to be as demanding.

Seems like you have good PT support, but also remember that you may need to be proactive for years down the road.

good luck

C

 
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Old 06-26-2018, 07:13 AM   #4
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Re: Post Shoulder Surgery Support

Thank you both istitch4ever and WW2ER for your kind words and responses.

I prepped for this surgery with the "worst" case in mind (doc wasn't completely sure the extent of the damage prior to surgery, so we were planning for the massive repair scenario and thankfully we only had the extensive clean-up procedures). So I have been wearing bandeau and convertible bras to work and therapy (leaving my shoulder that was fixed open and free) as well as halter and one shouldered tops and dresses. That has been so helpful - especially with the sensitivity and bruising.

My therapists (as well as my doc and his staffers) know that I do know my body. I'm a former professional dancer, so while I am used to pushing my body, I am also in tune with it and listen to it. My one therapist in particular is really "getting it" with me. She is starting to be able to read my reactions and adjust, as well as have patience with me when my body tenses and I work on relaxing so she can continue. She also has gotten into the habit of reassuring me of "normal" for this stage of recovery. She is a definite Godsend.

I think I hit a point last week and am now in a "good place" as far as pain, etc. I wrote my first post after an incredibly painful pt session. At the end of the session, the therapist taped me with kinesthetic tape to help the bruising. I showered later that night and started having a reaction to the tape. By Tuesday morning I had to rip it off. By later in the day, I had a rash and an allergic type of reaction. Several benadryls later (along with hydrocortisone cream on the rash) and I was more back to normal (I had had a reaction to the tape used to hold down my post-surgical bandages, but we - doc and I - figured it was the length of time it was on, nothing else....obviously we were wrong...) But since then, no pain meds (other than OTC analgesics) and most pains I can deal with. Ice (as in family size bags of frozen peas) is still a good friend.

Thank you both again for your commiseration. Its good to hear from others who have been down this road and survived with their sanity (?) and humor intact.

 
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Old 08-22-2018, 07:02 PM   #5
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Re: Post Shoulder Surgery Support

Hi,

I had my shoulder surgery last year and though the recovery was good without too much pain (I have a high pain tolerance tolerance though). My surgeon Dr Smith from Canberra Orthopaedics was great and couldn't have asked for a better experience! I was nervous as hell before the surgery but the pain wasn't much post surgery. But even after a year I can say that it hurts a bit when you try to raise your hand up but my PT says this will go away in a few months. I have strictly followed what the doctors and my PT asked me to do, exercise regularly.

So don't worry you will be fine, the first few months might be a bit difficult but it isn't too bad. Hope you have support at home.

 
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Old 08-23-2018, 02:34 AM   #6
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Re: Post Shoulder Surgery Support

Hey DanceLady, How are you doing? If it feels comfortable and time avails, please give an update on your progress. It sounded as if you were 'on-tracks superbly, but love to hear how this week has faired for you. This old Yank is proud of you, I am. You're a trooper, you are!!!!!

 
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