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Shoulder Surgery & Rehab Advice?

Having my supraspinatis reattached… complete rupture… in a couple weeks, been training through it for the last year, but its finally time. First serious injury I’ve had in 35 years of training. I’m 50 on Wednesday. I’m 5’6" and 190 @12% body fat, so half way decent shape for an old guy. Anybody been through this?? And advice, especially on the rehab part would be greatly appreciated…

Are you working with a physiotherapist/physical therapist following surgery?

Three times brother, 3 times.

2 on the left, once on the right. Last surgery was Jan 2019. I’m 55 who’s also in decent shape too.

Hopefully you know this but you will be immobilized for 6 weeks following surgery. Don’t mess this up, just let it heal. Your physical therapist is super important. Its critical that you find one that knows you lift and will work to get you back to the gym.

I used BPC 157 post surgery and I think it helped with the healing.

Yes, I’ll be working with a physical therapist. Sounds like my Dr is very strict and ridged when it comes to his therapy orders and its a 6 month process, period. Not sure i like that approach, guess that why I’m asking on here

I’m up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Marquette to be exact, and my choices for physical therapy are limited. My Dr has a specific place here in town and I’ve talked to them and been advised that my Dr is very strict and ridged in his therapy approach and there is no wavering from it, which I don’t like the sound of… How did your therapy go, and how long did it take you to fully recover??? Thanks for your time…

My therapy went well. My history of lifting helped me immensely and my PT did my rehab on my second shoulder so he knew me and what I wanted.

Total PT time was 12 weeks with 2 visits per week in the beginning and tapering to once/week in the last 3 or so. I also continued at the gym doing legs and one armed exercises where I could. There is some data that shows that even one armed work benefits the injury once you can engage it again.

My surgeon also place stem cells at the repair. Not sure if that had anything to do with it. I also started HGH after I ran the BPC-157 to aid in repair.

I was doing pretty intensive stuff in my last weeks in PT which made it easy to continue in the gym once I was released. But, after 3 tears, my lifting philosophy changed to high rep, low to moderate weight and focusing on muscle stimulation. At my age, I hit the gym 3 -4 times a week and do a total body workout each time. I don’t chase numbers or personal bests anymore.

You mentioned moving to higher reps in your workouts awhile back. How has it been for you? Did you have any trouble making the adjustment?

Not really. I mean I used to be a “go big or go home” kind of guy but I was a lot younger then.

Actually, I think my workouts are way more intense now since I’m supersetting and moving from one lift to another without stopping to rest. I know I’m drenched in sweat at the end of my workout

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Listen to your doctor and your appointed therapist.

Dumb question here, but when you say one arm exercises can you be more specific!?!?!

One arm cable curls and tricep extensions mostly. I also did shoulder presses with one dumbbell

Thats what I figured you meant, but wanted to be sure. There is some research that suggests muscle will reapond that way… You mentioned bpc157, did you do the injection or the pill, and where did you purchase yours!!! Thank you for all the info. I get mine done a week from tomorrow and I’m a little nervous…

Injection. I got mine at Peptide Sciences

They need to give you a nerve block for the best experience. You will have zero pain until after about 24 hours and by then you can get your pain meds going. Don’t be too lax in this, post op pain can be pretty bad without the pain meds. The good things is, it subsides fairly quickly. You wont need them for long. Also, use lots of ice packs post op.

Do you have someone at home to help you?

I do not, I’m on my own for this whole thing…

You’ll need somebody to drive to and from the hospital. They won’t let you leave without it since you were under anesthesia.

I’ll be honest, you’re going to have a difficult time. Your arm will be pinned to your side for the next 6 weeks. You wont be allowed to move your arm under your own power for that time.

You’ll need to take off the sling for bathing but putting it back on by yourself at first is hard. You’ll need to stick to either shorts or track pants, since you can’t really button jeans or pants with one hand, can’t tie shoelaces, and you’ll need either tank tops or button down shirts. Even putting on T-shirts with one arm is hard.

Sleeping will be difficult with the sling on, if you have a recliner, that would be best.

I not trying to be negative here but the first couple of weeks really are a pain in the ass. Someone, even a friend to check in on you and get you situated in the morning and at night would very helpful.

I’ve been through this twice and now going on my 3rd! The other day I felt sick to my stomach after eating out and I threw up pretty hard. 2 weeks after surgery. I heard some popping in my upper shoulder and it feels like maybe it popped the sutures. I just seen a guy at the mayo clinic who is in sports recovery also, works with our state team.

I’m 48, and was in the best shape of my life when this first happened last march. I was under 10% body fat and changed the entire way of working out about a year before. I didn’t know I had an injury as the xray only showed a slight scar on my tendon. I’ve never really torn anything working out but it was difficult sleeping on my right side, dominant arm is right. I get an mri and I find out that I had a full thickness supra tear, but I didn’t know this just yet because I was waiting on the mri results.

I decided (he gave me a cortisone shot twice - don’t do it i think it screws up your tendons even more), i’ll just concentrate on my trail running /hiking. I was climbing on this trail and put my foot on the step (about a 1 foot 1/2 higher) and my right shoe slipped and I fell directly into myself. The full concentration of the slip felt like someone just ripped off my arm. I was 3 1/2 miles away - so I put my arm in the hand over your heart position which didn’t hurt that bad and ran back to the truck. That night was horrible sleeping and the next day was even worse. I almost went to the er but i knew i’d just get run around and screwed.

So when the doctor who ordered the mri seen me, he told me that the full thickness tear plus falling - the concentration was so bad that I shredded my long head bicep tendon which gave me a popeye deformity and on top if it - I tore my infra and my back glenoid/labrum thingy which is responsible for external rotation. He pinned the bicep down during surgery and discovered that I had a bone growth which for years has been grinding away on my tendons and once you hit your 40s - all those years of weight training is gonna change your perspective once you start really hurting yourself. I discovered jeff cavalier (athleen-x) talking about how you can’t workout in your 40s like you’re in your 20s.

I hated changing my 2 hour workouts to just 45 minutes to 1 hour. I didn’t lift heavy but started just HIT and that’s how I got to be in the best shape. Just like above poster said, it’s not about numbers - it’s just about hitting it fast and quiting. It’s so true, it really does work… Anyways, post surgery was the most painful thing I have ever felt and I have had surgery before. I truly believe that this pain was the shoulder being ground down painscale was like a 30. 1 shot of morphine and 4 pushes of fentynal did nothing.

BTW, I hate those 2 . They don’t last long and they don’t really control the pain. Tell them you want demoral unless you really do well with those two, they’ll give you dilutin first i think, then an injection of demoral. I practically yelled at them and told them it’s not working, give me demoral, and she kept saying well the doctor is gone, and we’ve already given you a lot and I said Its not EFFING working, I have been telling you that those meds do not work well on me. Just give me demoral. She said, well - demoral is weaker than morphine and fentynal . I said I don’t give a sht - it works great for me. Well we can give you something the doctor didn’t prescribe. I said well get another doctor then. Well I don’t know. Then I finally just said, i’m not EFFING leaving until you get this pain under control. ding ding ding… she walked off came back with dem and guess what? in 5 minutes my pain felt like 6-7 - manageable. I must have taken 10-12 percs by the next day. But tbh, the pain quickly subsides after the next day. I’d say by your 3-4th day you’ll be to the point of not needing them. Seriously, demoral is a great medicine for pain for me. So, this surgery is considered a major surgery and the doc had me doing passive movements 2 weeks after, which really shouldn’t be done. The strength of the force fiber sutures are 200 newtons I believe and the pressure to raise your arm above your head is 400. No matter how bored you are no matter how useless you feel as a man now - don’t - don’t don’t don’t do anything with that arm. It’s so important. This isn’t the gym anymore, it’s your shoulder and you will tear the sutures. I was helping my wife try to get a box down from the closet and it fell and hit my right arm and it ripped my bicep right out of the screw that held it down and probably weakened my back tendons around the shoulder. I think with him telling me to do active therapy after 9 weeks is a big mistake. if you only have one tendon tear then follow the advice. usually 3 weeks of rest and then passive therapy. I couldn’t even lift 1 pound. Think about that. This is a real soulcrusher of a surgery for guys. You will feel so completely useless and it sucks. take my advice, just watch netflix and relax. The first 3 months is the most important. It takes 3 months for scar tissue to build and 6 months for a full recovery. When you do weights, or active therapy if it starts to hurt, STOP. I pushed myself and we kept hearing pops. That was my sutures failing.

So, second surgery, he said, there’s nothing i can do for your popeye, just deal with it basically. I got a second surgeons advice, and he said basically the same thing. some guys can workout a certain way to deal with it, but it’s a life altering moment when you can’t lift like you used too and realize you never will. I went through the second surgery and he repaired most of the tendons and shoulder felt good and the pain this time wasn’t that bad. first 2-3 days sucks…but’s doable. So 3 weeks out, I eat some crappy food and I threw up and guess what? pop pop pop … Now my shoulder feels weird like I broke the back ones and there’s pressure on the good ones. I just went to the mayo clinic, which I highly suggest, and he’s getting me an MRI tonight at 8, meet with him on Tuesday. What did he say about my bicep? You’re way too young to give up on that. Depending on how bad it is will determine our path, but I can most likely fix it. He’s going to look at my tendons while i’m under and see if I tore them and fix them. He has such a totally different attitude than my ortho doctor who I originally chose. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad surgeon, but he’s a fast talker, get to the point and off to the next patient and doesn’t care about bicep and working out. A lot of them don’t get our mentality. That’s the most important thing to decide when finding a doctor. Also, my therapist was good as well, but at times I felt like she was pushing me even though she said don’t push yourself too hard, I felt like I had to or I was a big pss. I’ll still use her as my therapist, because they are very good, but i’m going to go into this as i’m not effing my shoulder up and taking it easy. 3 months is crucial to make. You will need a good recliner and here’s the best advice - buy yourself a OSSUR machine with a large shoulder pad, not the regular one. Don’t order from amazon. They sent me one that was returned and used! still had water in it and smelled like body odor , cat and dog hairs on it and smoke. FUNKY. I found a place locally and purchased it and the pads last about a month or two and wear out, I buy them from a place in california. just google it and you’ll find it. they cost about 75$ total with shipping or less and the ossur machine is about 220. It’s expensive but trust me, a machine that compresses your shoulder and filled with ice is so much better than a silly pad that warms up in 20 minutes. I fall asleep all the time in my chair with it on and wake up and it’s still cold. It’s truly a great machine. Don’t buy the others, buy ossur.

Anyways, that’s been my horror and life altering experience. All I want to do is go hiking and running, I can give up the heavy stuff at the gym, which I did, I trained like an athlete and there is something that will actually help the healing in the tendon but not sure if I can say publicly so PM me. So - trust me. it will be a crushing moment, but it will pass, and you will get stronger. I was 5 months out before I had this second one and I wasn’t weight training but I was doing house work - skimcoating , painting etc. I used my left hand most of the time, mind you, I was okay to do certain things that were light, and after I found out that it didn’t take, I said screw it, I gotta work on things around the house… i’m bored. hahah. but take this seriously, this is so important to keep that sling on for the first 6-9 weeks. go easy with it and if you don’t have one, get an adjustable mattress frame if you can afford it. Good luck…
and ps. i have been on my own also. my wife and i separated a week after this surgery. just be careful, don’t wear t-shirts until you can lift your arms or slip them on by pulling up to your armpit and then over your head…