T Nation

Anyone Care to Comment on Their Rotator Cuff Surgery?


#1

I was told today I have a small tear in my cuff. The Doc said it will never heal on its own. The surgery will be done with a scope and is out patient. He claims 2 months in a sling and 9 months before I can hit the weights again. $hit!!! I get shoulder pain every 4 months and then it goes away for another 4 months. It does not hurt now but the times it does it keeps me up at night.

The Doc said to get the surgery in the year or so. No rush. His comment was that the cat is out of the bag so I can keep lifting because it is torn anyway? That seemed an odd statement! Would it be worth a second opinion. This guy is renouned in this area as a sports surgeon.

What would you do?
Is the surgery worth it?
Will I be able to hit the iron heavy again after I heal (9 months)?


#2

How old are you? What exactly is torn? Did you have an MRI or an arthogram? I was told my problem was the biceps tendon, then labrum, then rotator cuff, but its was the entire shoulder capsule and my RC was fine. Took me about 18 months to fully recover after have 3 procedures done.


#3

A surgeon told you surgery was the only way to go? :wink: I would explore more conservative(i.e. less invasive, less expensive) methods before I went with surgery.


#4

mine they told me was torn badly (i couldnt lift my arm) and my bicep and trapezius were also hurt but it all healed in 8 or 9 months without surgery, the doc told me i had to have surgery and that my shoulder would be out about a year.
I dont know man, its tough to say, I went without surgery just fine but I also suspect the damage wasnt as severe as they had decided.


#5

Are you sure it’s torn and not just tendinitis? I had pain 3-5 days a week, every week, for 4 years before I finally had surgery. The pain was so bad the last couple of months before surgery that I just wore a hoody to work and used the front pocket kind of like a sling and just rested my hand in it.

Moving my arm literally felt like it was being torn off, sleep didn’t happen unless it was on a recliner with pillows propping my arm up and taking like 5 Advil before bed. You said you have pain once every 4 months.


#6

What the fuck are we talking about? His ‘cuff’? Sorry but i don’t know what that is supposed to be…?

If rotator cuff then simply stating it is ‘torn’ would be just as unenlightening.

As for one of the muscles in the rotator cuff being torn… if you heard a very loud POP when it went and have a very apparent weakness or reduced ROM then yes, it is likely torn. If this is only the case every 4 weeks or months then is it seems to be fine… then no, it probably isn’t torn.

I suspect he was telling you your cartilage in your ‘cuff’ ie. glenoid fosser/ball and socket joint has been torn (possibly floating in the joint), which would not only require surgery, but would also likely cause intermittent periods of pain where it gets trapped in the joint and inflames the area.

But you need to be more specific - and honestly, you need to go to a NON SURGEON and get a second opinion. For that i would say go to a sports therapist or something - it would be easy enough to find out if that is the issue with the tests we (and most other physical therapists) use.


#7

[quote]W.H.B. wrote:
A surgeon told you surgery was the only way to go? :wink: I would explore more conservative(i.e. less invasive, less expensive) methods before I went with surgery.[/quote]

I hear you on that. I dont trust them!!! It took one month to get the MRI and two months for the doctor to discuss the MRI (10 minutes). My only problem is that my $2500 deductable is used up for this year, and the surgery will not cost me anything but down time. I think I may schedule the surgery for early December just so I have an appointment.

Maybe the small tear that he saw on the MRI was the final stages of my shoulder healing?

I am 39 years old. I had a MRI and according to the Doc the Supraspinatus has a small tear were it is attached to the upper part of the humerous.


#8

I tore both my ligaments and in time…and with intense focused physical therapy, I recovered…but not with out a good bit of pain.


#9

[quote]IKIMURA wrote:

I am 39 years old. I had a MRI and according to the Doc the Supraspinatus has a small tear were it is attached to the upper part of the humerous.
[/quote]

The only time you would need surgery for a tear (AFAIK) is when it is totally severed… Of course going in keyhole and stitching it would assist recovery - but as to it being NECESSARY - i am not convinced mate.

My advice would be to definitely go for a second opinion at a sports therapist/osteopath/chiro/physio…

Someone who deals with the injury more often than a surgeon or MD…


#10

In 2003 I was doing an exercise, felt a definate pop, and within about an hour had a large bruise form on my shoulder - about 5 inches by 2 inches of fresh bloody bruise. Had MRI - full thickness tear of supraspinatus, and partial tear of subscapularis, with possible tear in glenoid labrum. Doctor said it would never heal - hurt like hell. Kept benching heavy (for me 365) and heavy other lifts. Never had surgery.

Had acupuncture done once, felt alot better immediately. Started stretching alot more which I had never done before. Most days I am pain free (unless I start really pressing around on my shoulder) except on days I bench or do other chest work - then I am sore in that area for about 24 hours. I lift lighter and more reps. I am doing nothing great now but have a good lean muscular physique - I don’t have never competed in bodybuilding even though I am fairly competitive at a state level in a sport and was invited to a national invitational this year (finally) in the sport - but was /am unable to attend due to my dad’s funeral.

I am 6 foot and about 205 to 210. I have recently benched 265 for 9 (not super strict form, some arching etc) and do heavy weighted pull ups. I do high rep alternating front shoulder flys - I did 25 pounds for 50 reps each side (100 reps total), and did 40 LBS for something like 30 reps each side (60 total reps alternating). Certainly not great lifts, and not my best lifts ever bhut pretty good for me, and good enough to stay fairly competitive in a sport which requires alot of shoulder action.

My AC joint gets pretty tender on that side sometimes. Pretty damn tender. I have spoken with many guys who had the surgery and are damn glad they did. I have not. I probably will some day.


#11

I know were Brook was comming from when he was looking for something specific. My injury is on the Supraspinatus were it is attached to the upper part of the humerous. Looking back I think the original injury happened while I was deadlifting. I think my right arm was bent on a pull and the sudden jerk/stop when my arm straightned out is when it happened. I have deadlifted since the pain went away and had no problems.

What excercises do you think would be bad on that ligiment? The way it is formed on top of the shoulder I can see were a deadlift would stretch/injur it if done with bad form. I can do all excercises without issue now, but I would like to avoid anything that might be specific to this ligiment/muscle were it is connected.

Thanks for your comments so far guys. I plan on making my surgery appointment for december, but I dont plan on going through with it. It doesnt bother me now so just in case I will have the date on the books. Its free if I get it done before January.


#12

It isn’t a ligament. It is a muscle.

It is a lateral rotator of the upper arm and as such it swivels the head of the humerus in the socket away from the body as one of its major actions. (A medial rotator would rotate it towards the body).

There are lots of exercises i can give to rehab it, but you need to stretch it in a controlled manner too, exercise light and controlled depending on the severity of the injury (not too severe if you are deadlifting and exercising as normal IMO) and you would benefit massively from some deep tissue manipulation, frictions, stripping (no), whatever - again depending on the grade of the injury and your recovery.

If it is totally severed, there should be a bunching up of the muscle just above the shoulder blade, or below the upper trap. I doubt it is… but seeing as someone suggested surgery and you are not too hot on basic physiology it is possible i guess.

Lie on your healthy side. keep your injured arm pressed against your side and thigh. Slowly lift the arm so it is perpendicular to the body.

If you can’t get it off the thigh then it is torn off the bone.

Then stand up straight, with your arms out to the side. Position your hands as though you are holding two cans of soda open and out to the side. Then pour the soda out by tipping your hands forward, then keeping the same position of the arms and body, tip your hands to the rear - as though pouring the soda out of the can backwards.

If your supraspinatus is injured it will hurt mostly as you tilt the hands to the rear. It would have also hurt as you lifted your arms up too!

Rehab is a bit more than just avoiding the lifts that work that muscle, which is why i recommend going to a professional. Do you pull your own teeth? Then why try to rehab yourself when you don’t know what you are doing?

Fair question.

I stand by my first advice that i gave last time. Go to see an injury specialist.


#13

ikimura, do sit with the doc and discuss pain management. cuz the doc downplayed the pain and 1 yr and 5months
later still have not forgiven him for his little lie. the first week after surgery i dont remember anything, and not beacause of meds, but waking up screaming and yelling while asleep. i was on oxycontin and percs
for 1 yr after surgery and i had a medium dependency and got help for and i’m ok now. this is just my experience, and did some research and found out that alot of people who had this surgery complained of the
servere pain.


#14

Brook I was looking to avoid excercises that were specificially bad/volnerable for that muscle. I have done all the tests you describe months ago with a Cyropracter. I have no problem with them, I do feel a sharp pain when taking off my shirt off my right arm. I do dips, bench rows, deads, overhead press and a host of others. Only one excercise do I fear- the fly! I think out of fear I avoid it. Once after I thought I had recovered from a stint of shoulder pain I did some fly’s and it caused me to almost cry at the gym.

I will get a second but I want to find out if insurance will cover it. If not F*** it I will just blow it off all together. After hearing Bartonmlee’s and other horror stories I will puss out and deal with the pain I sometimes get.

Thanks guys!!!


#15

Right.


#16

ikumura, if later on the pain does becomes a daily grind and rehab fails then you may have to get surgery.

again your doc can tell you. but you will get past that and it will take time. my case was really servre and bad.when i drove to the pain doc last yr aug, on the way back home my shoulder started hurting anf full on
bad pain when i got in the door., that was just driving 35 miles each way and wasnt expecting that. there

wasnt alot i could do and the worst part was i couldn’t do wipe my ass! that was a fucking chore! if your’re
less than 60yrs you can take it. my dad didnt do his surgery because of me and he’s 75 and doesen’t need more
pain.