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Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems Message Board

Shoulder Instability Urgent!

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Old 01-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Norman, OK
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madgravity34 HB User
Shoulder Instability Urgent!

I have had a shoulder injury ever since I had my first seizure 2 years ago. I was admitted to the hospital and was not supervised, during which time I had a second seizure and fell on my left shoulder. I am a big guy, around 250+ lbs at the time, all I know is when I regained consciousness I could not move my left shoulder without immense pain, the kind of pain that makes you cry out or almost vomit. This is on top of the fact that after my seizures I have constant knee pains which my neurologist states could be caused by nerve damage.

At the time, the orthopedic surgeon simply looked me over and said he could not see any obvious issues, which may have been the hospital's attempt to cover their ***, but he put my arm in a sling and gave me pain medications. Within 2 months I was able to move my shoulder without issue and I felt things were back to normal.

Fast forward to a year later, I am an avid tennis player and I noticed more and more than my left shoulder was causing me a lot of problems and it was steadily getting worse. My shoulder flexibility went to hell (ROM reduced considerably) and it started making loud popping sounds when moved in certain ways. Then the pain started again, I could not sleep, I could not do anything in a good mood anymore because my shoulder was constantly aching.

In the last 6 months I have seen my primary care physician and a orthopedic surgeon. Both have told me that I have shoulder instability and the joint is "lose." The end result is the weight of my arms causes the ball to rub the sides of the socket and causes the constant pain. I've have had an x-ray and MRI which have confirmed significant inflammation and some degeneration of the tissue in the joint.

Now my orthopedic surgeon gave us 2 choices, either I could try physical therapy or I could go straight to surgery. I come from a family that believes surgery is the last resort (if to be used at all). I decided to go for physical therapy and after 4 months have seen no improvement. Luckily my primary gave me strong anti-inflammatories and mild pain killers (tylenol-3 which doesnt do anything for the pain) during this period.

The issue is this, in the last month my PT asked me to stop taking pain killers so we could better assess the improvement or lack thereof, I complied and saw now improvement and (suffered quite a bit) many people felt I became a real a**hole in the last month because I am always in pain and I don't sleep well. I do not wish to get surgery at this point, I would rather take something for the pain and remain on anti-inflammatories as well as continuing to see a PT.

However, my orthopedic surgeon has a policy that he does not prescribe ANY MEDICATION to patients who are not under-going surgery. I am not sure what to do at this point because it seems my primary may be hesitant to put me on medications again.

I am looking into seeing some new physicians that are closer (located in Norman or OKC where I go to college instead of 3 hours away) but who should I be looking for? I am not sure if I should try another orthopedic specialist or look for a general practitioner? And cost is a huge factor for me, my family does have insurance and I am covered, but I have already had an MRI and I am assuming seeing another specialist means I will have to get another one?

Thanks for all your help, I don't know how much longer I can stand this without any help.

**Also if any of you are located in Oklahoma, are their any physicians that you recommend? Thanks**

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:24 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: Shoulder Instability Urgent!

If your intention is to just take pain meds, then see a general practitioner or pain management doc. If you want surgery, see an orthopedist.....they operate for a living. You can get and take your films/CD with you to a new doc. They may not need a new MRI.

The bottom line for you is this....sooner or later you are going to destroy that joint and if you don't get it fixed now, you'll be getting a shoulder replacement instead. Tears in tendons and ligaments rarely heal without surgery. If they do heal, they heal lax. The excessive movement will keep producing bone spurs and they will fill the joint socket. Eventually, you'll get pockets of bone eroding the joint from the outside. If you think you hurt now, just wait.

I speak from experience.

But it is your decision. Fix it now and hopefully avoid a replacement down the road or get a replacement down the road for sure. I don't see surgery as being out of the picture.

good luck...........Jenny(22 orthopedic surgeries and counting)

Old 01-08-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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Location: texas
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gaderob18 HB Usergaderob18 HB Usergaderob18 HB User
Re: Shoulder Instability Urgent!

I had popping when i moved my shoulder as well. I opted for surgery which was a month ago so i'm still in the early stages of recovery and getting ready to start therapy in about 2 weeks. In surgery the doctor cut away some of the clavical bone due to the popping and also fixed the tear in my rotator cuff. Trust me recovery after surgery is painful but you will get pain meds from the doc to help. I have only had two goodnights of leep since surgry a month ago due to the pain and still being in a sling. This is my 3rd surgery due to the other doctors not doing the surgery correct. I live in Weatherford texas which is about 20 minutes from Ft Worth and I found a great orthopedic surgeon in Decatur Texas. He is a top doctor from the internet search i did plus I talked to someone who came from near Shreveport Louisiana to have surgery which is a 4 to 5 hour drive from here because she knew he was a top doctor as well. My suggestion is to do research on the internet for surgeons near where you live and if you find call and ask questions like how long he's been doing this and things like that. You want to have all your questions answered by him or her and feel good with them. If you feel any red flags like that you don't feel good about go find another one or even get a second opinion.

As for your MRI and xrays you can take them to your new doc or he can request them. My advice would be if therapy does not work opt for surgery, since you tried everything else. Good luck and keep us updated

Old 01-09-2011, 04:59 AM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NYC
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Re: Shoulder Instability Urgent!

Since your rotator cuff may be the issue (I've had rotator cuff problems and surgery) this book is excellent and may solve the problem. I wish I had read, and applied it, before my surgery.

The Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan



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