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Torn rotator cuff

2523 Views 18 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  hkunz
I think I have a torn rotator cuff. Is there anyway I can recover from this without surgery? The way the economy is going and everybody beating the door down for jobs I really dont want any time off.
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I think I have a torn rotator cuff. Is there anyway I can recover from this without surgery? The way the economy is going and everybody beating the door down for jobs I really dont want any time off.
im gonna say no. i am currently living with a left shoulder rebuild from injuies from iraq. i basically have no ligiments left in my shoulder. i get a cortizone shot from the VA every 3 to 4 months. im bionic for a little while:)sphss till it wears off then back to the VA. rotator cuff have diff levels of broken. the basic one i can remember the name is rarely operated on just cortizoned for a while and phys therapy to build the muscle around it. the more extreme the cuff then obviously the higher the chances of surgury what has your dr recomemmded. im very initmate with shoulders do to my injurys i will be happy to pass all my knowlegde on to you. surgury will put you no work for 6 to 8 weeks then limited duty for 3-6 months all the while going to phys therapy after the initial 6 to 8 weeks
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If it is more than 3 mm than you probably will need it done. If it is 3 mm, and you don't pitch for the dodgers, I'd do the rehab route first. The rotator cuff surgery is not a perfected surgery. More than likely, you will be unable to work for 6 months, then limited for another 6 months. When its all said and done, you won't be 100%.

Shoulders move in all different directions. If it were your knee, Id say go for it. Everyone I know who had knee surgery are now 100% with little down time. I have a 3 mm tear, but have not had surgery. I have to do all the PT exercises for the rest of my life, other wise the pain/stiffness creeps back in. Anti-inflamatorys will be your friend.

If you do have surgery, the odds given to me are:

20% chance you'll be fixed 95%
50% chance it will stay the same (no improvment)
30% chance it could get worse.

It sucks but life goes on. Do your research.
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Had my left shoulder Rotator Cuff done 18 months ago. The doctor told me it was torn bad enough to get surgery. The KEY to a good recvery, Do you excerises after surgery. I was off work for 5 weeks, (what the hell, it was at Christmas / New Years). I went back to work at 50% for 1 month, has PT 3 x per week, 14 visits total. At 2 months the Dr. called me 100%.
Just my 2 cents.

PM for my Doctors name. He is in Laguna Hills.
Start with Rehab. If it doesnt work, get the surgery. I have had hundreds of patients who did well after rehab depending on their lifestyle. If the rehab doesn't help, you will have at least diminished post surgical time in rehab by pre-strenghthing the shoulder.

It does depend on your tear. Full/partial and where the tendon is torn...The supraspinatus and Labrum are the most affected and will decrease your odds of rehab recovery. If its in the Infraspinatus, teres, subscapularis you have better odds.

I would employ a rehab facility who will start with the decreasing the muscular spasms (guarding), with Myofacial or Active release, Ultrasound and electrical stimulation. I would STRONGLY encourage your PT to use KINESIO TAPING. This is my Gold standard for being able to use your arm at work or home without damaging or aggravating the shoulder. Once the pain has decreased and your range of motion is improved (without pain) THEN only should you start with resistance exercises. Too many facilities start with resistance exercises that remove the possibility of allowing the tear to scar. You WANT it to scar....

I'd be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Just PM me...
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Here's how I'd put it - if you aren't sure you need surgery, you probably don't! Its when it gets painful to lift your arm above your head, keeps you up at night, stabbing pain when you reach out that you probably need surgery.

Try some simple exercises - take a 16 oz. soup can, stand up, hold the can at your side and lift your arm forward until horizontal 10 times, then out to the side until horizontal 10 times, then hold the can up level with your head and push up to the sky 10 times. Repeat the routine twice more if you can. This helped me a ton with my shoulder, kept me playing volleyball. The key is to use no more than a pound, just fire up the little muscles in the joint and not the big muscles. Hope this helps!
Well, I've had major shoulder pain for years where i can't even bear to change the radio station in my truck. I lift weights and do construction. I wake up and turn over every 1/2 hour cause of the pain. My arms fall asleep while lifted over a chair,etc.

Anyway, I have no insurance and can't afford surgery. A month ago a painter I know who is all screwed up with his back gave me a full bottle of Naproxen I believe. It's a real strong anti inflammatory drug. Boy did that improve things. I only took it for 2 days and it really helped. I just take them for 2 days every once in a great while. So what I am getting at is maybe try an anti inflammatory first and see if it helps. good luck
Been living with one for over 20 years. Can't throw a ball and I have some pain in lifting my right arm in a few positions. Tried PT and cortisone, no help. Figure I can continuing living with it until the surgery become less invasive if it ever does.
I have been aroudn the block on this both personally and professionally. First, if it is truly hurting you then get an MRI to confirm. They might want to get an MRI with "contrast". This is when the radiologist will inject Gladolinium (e.g. dye) into your shoulder capsule to provide a greater contrast on film.

Second, once you get the results a good orthopedic will tell you if you have a partial tear or a "full" thickness tear. A partial tear can be repair via rehab in most cases while a full thickness tear needs surgery. I have had two partial tears and I keep fighting off surgery with rehab and tons of exercises in the gym.

Lastly, get more than one opinion once you get your MRI results because not all doctors are worthy. Some actually frighten the hell out of me because they are so bad.

good luck
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Don't do it. I had my first surgery in 96 and have had 9 more since and I am still unable to lift my arm over my head. Not worth it. Rehab and work out.
I had major damage to r. shoulder, rotator cuff fractured humerous and 8 other repairs in 1 surgery. all with the scope. 1 year later I was back to benching 365 and a full recovery Dr. John Perry in mammoth ca. best in the area.
I had two tears in the labrum repaired last Feb. My shoulder still hurts and my range of motion sucks. I go to PT 3x a week and they wrench on it while I try to keep from yelling. Damn thing just will not loosen up. Now Dr. is talking about putting me under anesthetic and moving it . My Dr is the doc for the Padres. hmm maybe that is why they are losing.:D
I had Rotator surgery when i was 14 (pitcher in HS) before the surgery i did the whole nine yards PT, Shock therapy where the put those pads on your arm and shocks the hell out of your muscles. Still a no go. So i went under the knife or scopes should I say. I had a slight tear in my cuff, Shoulder impingement syndrome and bursites sp? 6 months later i was able to pitch again. 2 years later the pain came back in college.
Thanks for the replies everyone. I have not been to the doctor yet. I may go tomorrow but the lake is sounding better. Thanks for everyones experiences.
i do MRI's for 30 packs on weekends

Cool is Schlitz alright:D

schlitz malt liquor........yum:)grn
I think I have a torn rotator cuff. Is there anyway I can recover from this without surgery? The way the economy is going and everybody beating the door down for jobs I really dont want any time off.
You need to have it checked out by a competent Ortho surgeon. As you can see from some of the replys that this injury could affect the quality of the rest of your life.
I tore the cuff and ruptured the biceps tendon on my right shoulder playing rugby in 1975. I could not throw a ball 10 feet it was so messed up. I had it repaired in 1976 at the age of 26. I continued to play rugby for another 12 years with no pain or problems. At the age of 59 both my shoulders are still holding up.
Do yourself a favor & GET IT CHECKED OUT :D
I tore my left years ago when I dislocated it, did the sling and PT for a few months, back to full duty quickly with excercise.

However, I broke my right shoulder in 79, and didn't know until a few years ago. Now I can't reach into the back seat to get my cane, which is a major pain. :mad: I can still use a wrench and a keyboard though:) Surgery could be on the horizon, but I have other surgeries they have to do first.
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