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Advice On a Separated Shoulder

 Hello everyone, i need medical advice soon. Well this is going to be a long post but please read it all.  I am 16 years old and i am 5 10 205.  Last year as a junior during a football game towards the end of the year i seperated my shoulder.  A grade one, or two seperation, they didnt know even though they took x rays. 

I took of about 6 weeks of any lifting to let it heel, and it never did. So i went back to the doctors ( a sports doctor- highly reccomended in my area) and he gave me a cortozone shot in my shoulder, and told me that in one month i will be a 100 percent to go back and lift.

So i started out hesitant to even bench, but then i started benching more(only once a week) and for a couple of weeks of that my shoulder feels like crap again. I cant bench , it clicks, and i can feel sharp pains shooting through my traps and whole shoulder.

So i went back today to discuss my options with him. He gave me three options

  1. stop lifting and dont lift the rest of your life ( this guy must be insane) 2. Keep on lifting and come in every three weeks for a cortozone shot ( i dont know about this everyone ive talked to said dont do it) 3. to get surgery done to it and dont lift for 3 months ( the surgery is just to clean out the inflamation and maybe some spurs that may have occure , its not tendon surgery).

Well number three easily sounds like the best choice but I have a problem and that is I am supposed to be attending the Nike football combine in
Chicago in mid april. I believe i can play at the Division3 or a community college level.

But i go to a small school who doesnt get recognized much, so the combine is really my only way of showing what i got. But if i get cortozone shots until the combine ( so i can still bench and train to get my 185 max reps up) and then get the surgery done after that, the three month rehab period is butting right up to when my two a day practices start, and i will be weak as hell coming into the season. Please i need some help.

I have been thinking about it all day today. I have talked to my coaches, my trainer at the school and stuff but i want some peoples opinions who wont make a decision based on whats better for them.

Of course all of my coaches said skip the combine and get surgery right now because there not worried about my future, there only worried about next year. But please I dont know what to do . thanks for any responses i am gratefull.

Your coaches and trainers are probably right, and they are worried about more than next season. The doctors/trainers will find any significant injuries at the combine anyways.

One of the primary mechanisms of separating a shoulder is by falling on an outstretched hand (even if that’s not how you did it). This motion is very similar to the bench press motion, so every time you go to bench, you will be replicating the injury process.

If it hasn’t healed on it’s own, it’s not likely that it will. You will probably end up developing faulty mechanics in you bench press to compensate for the shoulder pain.

Cortisone shots are not a good option in my opinion. They are going to mask the pain, and the pain is there as reminder that something is wrong. You could seriously screw up your shoulder if you go that route.

I know this isn’t the advice that you want to hear, but it sounds like you need the surgery. Obviously you aren’t going to stop lifting forever, especially if you are planning on playing football. Avoiding surgery in order to go to the combine will likely result in them finding your injury during their evaluation (trust me, the will be able to elicit a pain response). So you wouldn’t be any better off, and then having the surgery afterwards would put you in bad shape for the season.

My vote is for getting the surgery done now, and then busting your ass during rehab. Then continue to do so all the way up to and then through next season. If you have what it takes to play college ball, then prove it on the field next year, and take it from there.

Just my 2 cents worth.

thanks alot for the post, yeah i know its not want i want to hear but u do have a good point, its just so hard for me to be in this situation and have to choose. thanks for the response i think im going to see another sports orthopedic facility in another town for a second opinion.

[quote]Modi wrote:
Your coaches and trainers are probably right, and they are worried about more than next season. The doctors/trainers will find any significant injuries at the combine anyways.

One of the primary mechanisms of separating a shoulder is by falling on an outstretched hand (even if that’s not how you did it). This motion is very similar to the bench press motion, so every time you go to bench, you will be replicating the injury process.

If it hasn’t healed on it’s own, it’s not likely that it will. You will probably end up developing faulty mechanics in you bench press to compensate for the shoulder pain.

Cortisone shots are not a good option in my opinion. They are going to mask the pain, and the pain is there as reminder that something is wrong. You could seriously screw up your shoulder if you go that route.

I know this isn’t the advice that you want to hear, but it sounds like you need the surgery. Obviously you aren’t going to stop lifting forever, especially if you are planning on playing football. Avoiding surgery in order to go to the combine will likely result in them finding your injury during their evaluation (trust me, the will be able to elicit a pain response). So you wouldn’t be any better off, and then having the surgery afterwards would put you in bad shape for the season.

My vote is for getting the surgery done now, and then busting your ass during rehab. Then continue to do so all the way up to and then through next season. If you have what it takes to play college ball, then prove it on the field next year, and take it from there.

Just my 2 cents worth.[/quote]

This is good advice. I’ve separated my left shoulder twice, once in football and once in rugby, though not nearly as bad as what it sounds like you did. Don’t get cortizone shots just to bet the farm on some rep test at a combine. If you need surgery, get surgery, both so you can play football and so you’re able to lift for the rest of your life. I played DIII football, though I spent the vast majority of my time on the bench, and if you look good enough on film and are a good player, that will matter a lot more to recruiters than your lifting numbers.

Find a chiropractor who does Active Release Technique: http://www.activerelease.com/

I agree that you should find a different doc - seems weird that he gave you the all clear and you were able to mess things up in a few weeks.

Read this article too -

Push-Ups, Face Pulls, and Shrugs
…for Strong and Healthy Shoulders!
by Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1426252

Great info for talking to your doc and for putting into practice.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Find a chiropractor who does Active Release Technique: http://www.activerelease.com/
[/quote]

CalLaw,
I had great success with ART for my shoulders, but I’m not sure that it would be of benefit here. I think ART is best used on muscles, tendons, entrapped nerves, etc. and less effective (if at all) on sprained (partially torn) ligaments.

I know they say it is effective on a vast array of injuries, but I’m not sure that the a-c separation would be one of them.

[quote]Modi wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Find a chiropractor who does Active Release Technique: http://www.activerelease.com/

CalLaw,
I had great success with ART for my shoulders, but I’m not sure that it would be of benefit here. I think ART is best used on muscles, tendons, entrapped nerves, etc. and less effective (if at all) on sprained (partially torn) ligaments.

I know they say it is effective on a vast array of injuries, but I’m not sure that the a-c separation would be one of them.[/quote]

Have you seen the OP’s shoulder? How do you know the OP’s statements are accurate? He could misunderstanding the extent of his injuries. He is, after all, 16.

Hence, he should see someone qualified to determine what options, besides surgery, he has. Neither you nor me nor anyone else on this board is qualified to tell him what his injuries are. All we can do is refer him to qualified professionals.

BTW, I had a grade 3 AC shoulder separation. It was awful. It took MONTHS for me to heal, and you can still see my arm “hanging” down a little bit.

When I was 19, I was injured in May. I wasn’t cleared to go to AIT (military training) until Feb. of the next year. It literally took me six months before I could do any push-ups without pain; and nine months until I was Army ready.

The tendons never fully healed, and I’ve never been able to bench more than 205 lbs. without severe pain. I can do anything else - I have full mobility, I can do dips, overhead presses, etc. But benching kills my shoulders.

Granted, my injury was severe. I hope your case is better. But as someone who has had an AC injury, I can tell you it might have lifelong implications for your training.

[quote]Modi wrote:
I think ART is best used on muscles, tendons, entrapped nerves, etc. and less effective (if at all) on sprained (partially torn) ligaments.[/quote]

I recently had an A-C sprain (same shoulder I injured a decade ago). I went to my ART guy. He didn’t do ART on me, but he was able to treat me. After the sprain healed, he used ART to break up the scar tissue.

A chiro skilled in ART knows a hell of a lot more than just ART.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
Modi wrote:
I think ART is best used on muscles, tendons, entrapped nerves, etc. and less effective (if at all) on sprained (partially torn) ligaments.

I recently had an A-C sprain (same shoulder I injured a decade ago). I went to my ART guy. He didn’t do ART on me, but he was able to treat me. After the sprain healed, he used ART to break up the scar tissue.

A chiro skilled in ART knows a hell of a lot more than just ART.[/quote]

CalLaw,
I wasn’t trying to make you look bad, settle down, and for once, try not to overreact.

I was saying that ART might not be the best treatment for him.

I also said I have had ART for other injuries, and I found it effective. I have nothing against Chiro’s, but you specifically suggested that he find one who performs ART. Then you said that your ART guy didn’t even do ART to treat your separated shoulder except to break up the scar tissue after it had healed.

I agree that he should see a specialist, and I also agree that at best we can only guess what his true injury is. I think his best bet is to get another opinion from an orthopedic surgeon, but there are other qualified professionals out there, so he does have a lot of options.

Take a deep breath before you respond next time, this isn’t always about making someone else look less knowledgable. I was simply offering my viewpoint on the situation.

[quote]MODOK wrote:
Ok, is it a grade 1 or grade 2 A-C seperation? How long ago was the initial injury? Here is the straight skinny on A-C seperations; unless they are a grade 3 seperation, surgery is not going to repair it. he orthopedist even told you he was just going to orthoscopically debride the labrum, but that he wasn’t going to physically “repair” the joint, correct?

Here is what you need to do, and I am speaking from some pretty significant orthopedic experience here. If you are in Michigan…find the nearest D-1 or professional football team. Michigan State or Michigan or the Lions or even the Redwings. Find out through the internet who their team physician is. The team physician is always a practicing physician outside of their work with the football team. Make an appointment with one of THOSE guys. They deal almost exclusively with injuries of this type to athletes, and will be able to give you the BEST care you can get.

I went through this myself last summer; I had a grade 1 A-C seperation and an anteriorly dislocated S-C joint at the same time from deadlifting. I went to 3 orthopedists who seriously jerked me around until I came up with that plan, got in to see GA Tech’s team physician, and he got me healed right up. I was back to benching in 3-4 weeks and my shoulder felt great. It may take a few minutes, but do a little research. One orthopedist is definitely NOT the same as the next when it comes to working with athletes.[/quote]

^^Do that^^

hello , thanks everyone for the advice … i think i am going to go with the surgery but its the timing i am having trouble with … skip the combine and get it now. Or wait until after the combine and hope its healed before football starts. Whats more important , going to the combine and getting my name out there, or getting surgery right now and getting ready for next season.

thanks for all of the advice

defen21,

where are you from in michigan? I have had some pretty serious injuries and seen this personal trainer who has been rated top 100 in america over the past couple years. he really knows his stuff and helped me rehab super fast, and now I’m stronger and in better shape than I ever thought I could be.

[quote]defen21 wrote:
hello , thanks everyone for the advice … i think i am going to go with the surgery but its the timing i am having trouble with … skip the combine and get it now. Or wait until after the combine and hope its healed before football starts. Whats more important , going to the combine and getting my name out there, or getting surgery right now and getting ready for next season.

thanks for all of the advice[/quote]

Skip the combine; get the surgery now. Make sure you’re healed up for your season next fall.

Which do you think college coaches would prefer - a strong senior season or some numbers from a workout in June? I mean really, this is a no-brainer.

Lots of kids skip combines and still get spots on college teams. But it’s almost impossible for a fringe player like yourself to overcome a poor SR season. Most college coaches won’t give a damn that you were injured. All they’ll see is that you didn’t produce on the field.

You could bench 185# 76 times at the combine but it’s not going to matter a shit if you have a sub-par, injury-hampered season in the fall.

Think about it. What numbers do you think you’d have to put up to ensure a college offer regardless of your SR year performance? Have you ever even come close to those numbers? That’s important to consider, because if you screw around with a serious shoulder injury, you just might end up having a shitty SR year.

Is one combine worth that?

[quote]Modi wrote:
Take a deep breath before you respond next time, this isn’t always about making someone else look less knowledgable. I was simply offering my viewpoint on the situation.
[/quote]

I don’t understand your post. You told the OP to rule out an ENTIRE COURSE of treatment. But you’ve never seen the OP’s injury. You don’t know what it is.

Indeed, in his post, the OP wrote: “the surgery is just to clean out the inflamation and maybe some spurs that may have occured its not tendon surgery.”

In other words, the kid very well might not need the surgery. If the scar tissue and other adhesions are the problem, then ART would work perfectly for him. But he won’t know until he - follow me now - sees a chiro who does ART.

Again, to the OP, find someone who does ART: http://www.activerelease.com/

You might be able to avoid surgery. If you bring the issue up to your parents and they give you drama, let me know and I’ll provide you links to numerous cases similar to yours. Lots of guys were told they needed shoulder surgery. Then they got smart and tried out ART. It just might work.

(I’m not telling you this because I’m a chiro or ART guy. I’m neither. But ART is terrific, and everyone who knows anything will tell you that.)

What a sign of the times. I am the only one who has recommended ART to a kid who supposedly does not have a torn tendon, but rather, has scar tissue and adhesion build-up in his shoulder.

I guess T-Mag needs to publish an article on ART so you guys can stop yelling surgery everytime you hear about an injury. Seems the only way someone can get good advice on these forums is if said advice originates from an article.

I dont want to hi-jack your thread but I have a question concerning shoulder porblems.

Jan. 27th I separated my ac joint, My x rays came back fine and I can move it. I started to bench again today, very ligt, I did 135 for a couple reps and my shoulder immediatly started to hurt when i put pressure on it. My Dr. told me it was fine to lift and move normally. Is this pain normal after an injury?

thanks for all of the advice , damn this has been a hard week just think about what to do … but umm yeah someone said it will be hard to change my parents mind , my parents will let me do what i want , they said that its my body and i can choose what options that i believe is best for me.

A question about the ART ? how long will this take ? my only concern is that i try ART for a couple of months and it doesnt work then its to late for surgery before the football season starts.

thanks alot for all of the advice, hopefully i can decide something in the next couple of days.

[quote]defen21 wrote:
thanks for all of the advice , damn this has been a hard week just think about what to do … but umm yeah someone said it will be hard to change my parents mind , my parents will let me do what i want , they said that its my body and i can choose what options that i believe is best for me.

A question about the ART ? how long will this take ? my only concern is that i try ART for a couple of months and it doesnt work then its to late for surgery before the football season starts.

thanks alot for all of the advice, hopefully i can decide something in the next couple of days.[/quote]

When I saw my ART guy for bilateral shoulder tendinitis he told me it was not going to be cured in 2 treatments, but it also wouldn’t take 20 treatments.

If you seek out an ART professional, he/she should be able to tell after the initial visit whether or not ART will be useful in treating your injury. Every session involves an evaluation along with a treatment, and the treatments change depending on how your body responded to the last one.

It took me 8-10 total visits before I was pain free (4 or 5 weeks).

It’s your body, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t seek out a second or third opinion, and explore all of your options. I would just highly advise you stay away from the cortisone shots and look at other alternatives.