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rotator cuff surgery

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Smallpotatoes, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Has anyone here ever had it?
    I've had problems with my left shoulder off and on since my junior year of high school, 23 years ago. It came back about a month ago when I was playing rugby. I can't even bench press an empty bar now without feeling pain. Sleeping seems to do more damage to it than anything. Turning over on it or sleeping on my side really hurts.
    On Thursday I called my doctor for an appointment, hoping to get a referral to an orthopedic specialist and all I got was a recording saying the doctor was out of the office until Monday and I couldn't leave a message.
    I've been icing it every night and trying to stay away from upper body weight training, but it doesn't seem to get better.
    I'm hoping to avoid surgery because I've read that your arm has to stay in a sling for two months and you can't drive during that time. Is it really that bad?
  2. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Where exactly is the pain? Front or back of the shoulder? Surgery is a last-ditch option when it comes to the shoulder because the muscle fibres are very small. Easy to injure and tough to heal.
    I shredded my rotator cuff a couple of years ago, specifically the supraspinatis, but it was 'fixed' with a few months of physio and acupuncture. It still gives me trouble but I know I just have to strengthen the surrounding muscles to get it better. And stop playing ball. But I'm not ready to retire just yet.
  3. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    Mostly in the back of the shoulder
  4. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    If you go to the gym, really work your back. It's your rotator cuff, but if you do enough work to strengthen the muscles around it you may be able to avoid surgery. At least that's what I'm hoping with mine. :-\
  5. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Go lighter weight, higher reps on your shoulders. But if it's painful, get thee to a doctor.

    Physio can sure your strength exercises to do with a resistance band. I use one to warm up the entire shoulder area before I play.
    One they may not show you is the ceiling push. Lie on a bench and hold two light dumbbells (I use fives or eights, depending in the day). Arms straight up and push toward the ceiling, using your back muscles. This will build up the serratus minor which provide support to the shoulder muscles.
    Also do some YTIs ... again, with light weight.
  6. Chad Conant

    Chad Conant Member

    I can confirm the rehab sucks.
  7. In Exile

    In Exile Member

    I have torn the rotator cuff of each shoulder - the right as a 17-year old pitcher, and the left when I was about 25. Both were class 4 tears, meaning severe. Surgery was too invasive then and not much of an option. For about six months, with each injury, I couldn't lift my arm above my head, or comb my hair, brush my teeth etc. Time made it a bit better, but until I was 33 years old both bothered me terribly - no range of motion, hard to get comfortable, difficult to sleep on, etc. Then I finally got to a physical therapist who put me on some very simple, VERY light weight exercises. Long story short, I recovered to such a degree that over the next nine years I pitched 450 innings in an adult baseball league. Absolutely miraculous. Most of the exercises appear in Nolan Ryan's Pitcher's Bible. I understand that surgery is different now and less invasive, but I'd still go see a therapist to get you started. Neither shoulder bothers me at all now.
  8. Seabasket

    Seabasket Active Member

    Small potatoes, it's very possible you won't need rotator cuff surgery. I hurt my shoulder a few years ago and I thought I'd really wrecked it, but only needed therapy. I remember speaking to my doctor, who told me it usually takes a violent, almost catastrophic event to tear your rotator cuff. Throwing 96 mph will sometimes do the trick because it's so unnatural. But it's not an injury that ordinary people just get from tossing a ball around.
  9. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I first got the injury from wrestling in high school and playing rugby seems to have brought it back, so it seems to be more of a traumatic type of thing than overuse.
    Is it worth trying to do light weight exercises for it and icing it and hoping that takes care of it or should I go to the doctor?
  10. PaseanaARG

    PaseanaARG Guest

    I tore the rotator cuff in my right arm in 03. Rehabbed it, rested it. LIfted light weights. No problems now.
  11. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Definitely go to the doctor. Just to confirm it's not a rotator cuff tear.

    Most likely he'll tell you to do the light exercises and rest. And it could even put you at ease some (you could be pysching yourself out thinking the worse, when it's really not).
  12. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    It could be a labrum, a slight separation, almost anything from the symptoms you mentioned. First things first -- see a doctor.

    I thought for sure I had torn my left rotator cuff lifting weights a few years ago. I told the ortho doctor of the team I cover about it, he put me through some simple tests right on the spot and informed me I had separated it and likely a small tear in the labrum.

    His whole deal was how much pain can you deal with? If the injury hasn't gotten any better for some time, affects your quality of life and keeps you from doing certain things, you should consider surgery. If not, deal with it, because surgery for almost any shoulder injury is a bitch to recover from.

    As it turned out, I needed about six months to let it heal and it did. Feels good now.
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