Monday, December 02, 2013

Oh, man...

I effed my shoulder up but good taking out the trash Saturday, towing the can behind me and twisting it upright one-handed when it started to go over.

"Rotator cuff" is one of those things that you hear all the time, but never really picture its location until your shoulder starts hurting. I guess I thought it was a little bushing-like thing in a pitcher's arm? And when it got all tore up they just stitched up a fresh one made with... I don't know... cartilage grafted from his shin or something?

So, I've got some range-of-motion issues going on, and I have to remember not to push myself upright off a bed or futon with my right arm. Also, whatever it was managed to leave all the muscles running off the medial border of the scapula feeling on fire*. Ow.

I'ma lie down on a hot pad for a bit. I didn't sleep worth a damn last night.

*UPDATE: Bobbi says my shoulder blades look asymmetrical, with the right one seeming to lie flatter than the left? Still, I'm not sure I feel like blowing my Christmas and car repair money to take it to a doctor just to be told "Yup, your shoulder's messed up. Here's a sling."


fast richard said...

I once dislocated a shoulder, pretty much destroying the rotator cuff. They eventually relocated the attachment point of one of the muscles to hold the joint together tighter so it wouldn't pop back out every time I moved that arm.

PhilaBOR said...

That sucks. Get well soon

Anonymous said...

Get it looked at ma'am. My cuff got torn and over three days, got progressively worse until I could not sleep laying down, slept sitting down with head on table top. If you are lucky, will just need to have arm immobilized for a week or so, mine did not require surgery.

Hope you feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

Your probably better off icing it to stop the inflammation.


Tam said...

Bobbi says my shoulder blades are asymmetrical and that I should have a doctor look at it.

I don't know what a doctor's going to do except charge me a bunch of money I don't have to say "Yup. Your shoulder's all messed up. Here's a sling."

I believe I'll cut out the middleman and just go buy a sling after I take Bobbi's mom to her doctor's appt.

Firehand said...

If it's actually damage to the cuff, it can have repair work. Dad tore his badly about fifteen years ago, and put off getting it looked at for a few days. Which made it worse; for him to visibly show pain was rare, and he was REALLY showing it.

Took surgery to repair, and recovery sucked, but he's got full used of it and it only aches at times when the weather is jumping around.

I'll note that after I fell a month ago and sprained hell out of my left shoulder, it was highly relieving to hear the doc say 'Doesn't look like the rotator cuff is damaged'.

Anonymous said...

A torn rotator cuff won't heal all by itself. Only with sewing it together in surgery.

I'm lucky in that my tear isn't enough to justify the necessary repair for full use.


Anonymous said...

Things out of alignment are not going to heal quickly or correctly.

You might consider biting the bullet on this one and going to Dr. Pokenprobe.


mikee said...

After injuring my shoulder exercising back in my early 40s I spent over a decade being ginger with my shoulder, because it would hurt again when overused.

I finally went to an orthopedist who gave me a shot of cortisone in my shoulder joint, relieving the "bursitis" I'd been experiencing, for the past 2 years.

Bursitis, he explained, is when you generically hurt your shoulder joint and it needs a lube job.

Don't hold off seeing a good ortho if the pain persists or returns. You likely don't need to put up with a shoulder joint hurting like I did.

Sdv1949 said...

My Mom is currently rehabbing a partial rotator cuff tear. One of the things we learned is that 50% of fifty year old exhibit healed partial tears and 70-80% of seventy year olds do.

Also, use liberal amounts of either cold packs or hot pads. We are told they work equally well.

HTH & get better soon!

og said...

Sombra is my goto stuff for aches and pains, either injury related or otherwise. it isn't magical, but it does as good a job as any topical I've ever used, and it doesn't smell nasty or make the clothes greasy. I keep the roll ons in my bag and use the big tubs at home. it isn't going to fix an actual injury, but it will ease the pain somewhat. You might just be "Asymmetrical" because your posture is favoring the injury.

There is a Chiropractic school in Indianapolis. Maybe there's an almost-a-chiropractor just waiting to look at your shoulder.

Scott J said...

I gave myself the bursitis mikee describes when my wife and I tiled a bathroom ourselves.

Ever 4" tile that needed cut I did manually with a diamond blade in a hacksaw. Just wore the right shoulder out.

The cortisone shot brought it from about 80% of its prior usefulness to 95% or better.

I also dislocated the left falling off a bicycle once (not badly since it popped right back in on its own). That healed in about a week. Instead of a sling I just wore button up shirts and hooked my thumb over the button around mid torso.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure I feel like blowing my Christmas and car repair money to take it to a doctor"

But Wait! Obamacare is here!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

Shoulder pain is the pitts. I fell on ice last Jan and am still in pain. The doc said its partial tears in the rotator cuff, and nerve issues in the shoulder, the shoulder blade or just the impact with the ground seems to have punched a couple discs out of place also. Construction work isn't the best way to let things heal.

Getting it looked at properly can help, if you use it in ways it doesn't want to be used it can make it worse. Ended up getting MRI's since the first things everyone wanted to try weren't working.

I'd suggest forgetting about shooting shotguns or heavy recoiling guns for a while until you know whats up with it.

Good point on the left handed holsters.

DJ said...

Not to worry. Wait until after next year, when Single Payer Health Care kicks in, and getting poked, prodded, and fixed will be totally all like, free, and stuff.

Anonymous said...

The serratus anterior attaches to the medial scapula. It pulls the scapula into the ribcage, preventing it from "winging" outward. If the serratus anterior is spastic the area around the medial border of the scapula could be tender and the scapula would be lying "flatter" than the unaffected side. Google the other attachment points of the serratus anterior, if those are tender, the serratus anterior may be your huckleberry.
Trust me, I'm a chiropractor.

steve l said...

pick up a copy of Anybody's Sports Medicine Book, or the earlier edition titled "Peak Condition"; its a great reference for those of us who habitually abuse our bodies.

Unix-Jedi said...

I don't know what a doctor's going to do except charge me a bunch of money I don't have to say "Yup. Your shoulder's all messed up. Here's a sling."


And a X-ray. Maybe an MRI. And some PT.

But - sometimes there is something they can do.

I'm 2 years into "impingement syndrome", and finally getting into the 90% of where I was before. Injections of cortizne helped a smidge.

Months of PT - helped a bit. Massage therapy - helped a lot more. Some exercises that PT gave me helped, some things I did hurt more.

But when I was at the Orthopaedic Dr's - and he was just befuddled. Nothing made sense as to what the problem was and he wanted an MRI. "Just to see." "Are we going to operate?" "Well... probably... not....."

Then he said "I just came back from a conference...." and gave me a 'scrip for nitroglycerine patches.

Friggen Miracle.

I was wearing 1/4 of one at night - and you get a headache - but the difference was night and day within the first 2 days. Bloodflow into the area increases, things get a lot better, quickly.

So yes, the doctor *might* be a waste of time. Or maybe not.

Tango Juliet said...

Oh man. Can't you come up with a better cover story than "a garbage can beat me up?"

It was a dark and stormy night. I was on routine patrol just outside BadAssistan when suddenly...

Get well soon!

Frank W. James said...

I've had 3 rotator cuff surgeries; 2 on the right side (the 2nd a repeat operation because I didn't rest long enough after the 1st) and 1 on the left side.

Big test to see if the rotator cuff is the culprit is see if you can place of the hand on the side affected over the top of your head as if you were doing a comb-over from the top? If you can't raise your hand past your shoulder or your ear, it's a pretty strong bet the rotator is damaged in some way.

A damaged rotator will also make it hard to sleep; especially on your side.

No easy or cheap solution. The surgery however is not that bad; its the physical therapy afterwards that really determines the success or failure of the whole exercise....ask me how I know?

My last one required 6 months of solid 3 day a week therapy to get everything working again. The pain went away immediately after the surgery, but then nothing worked either.

That's when the conversation got serious and pretty explicit between the doctor and this patient...

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Buzz said...

Yep, "here's your sling" is about right.
A few years back I was carrying a sheet of 3/4 plywood with too much wind, twisted my shoulder and hand. Had an odd pocket in the back of my hand after that. Last year, broke my scapula in an unplanned hug of a tree during training, then tore my rotator cuff in a flat tire-induced wipeout during a race. I shoot a long gun left-handed, but a bow or a pistol right-handed. I suppose I should get proficient with shooting my pistol left. -I'm not getting any smarter or safer on my mountain bike, despite injury and recovery risks getting worse with age. Ambidextrosity with a bow would require an equipment change; I can dodge hot brass easier.

Gewehr98 said...

You have my profound attention and sympathy, Tam.

I heard from my VA doc last Wednesday that my dislocated and fractured left shoulder may prevent me from ever having a full range of motion again. That's not something anybody in their 40s wants to hear, so I'm being a real stickler with my at-home PT using those bungee cords, ropes, and pulleys they sent home with me. And if your physical therapist chews your out for shoveling snow with the bad shoulder, smile sheepishly and say, "Yes, sir!"

Jim said...

Well, I remember when R2-D2 reattached C3PO's entire arm at the shoulder joint.

Couldn't you watch that again and take notes?

/slinks out of room

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

Anonymous said...

I'll have you know that any *good* orthopaedist , in addition to saying "Yup. Your shoulder's all messed up. Here's a sling," will also add " … and don't do that anymore."

Ted said...

I had shoulder surgery about 3 months ago. After several years of pain (mild to moderate) with almost any physical activity I got fed up with it. MRI's were inconclusive as to rotator cuff damage.

I was basically told that when I woke up from surgery IF my arm was in a sling then they had repaired the rotator cuff and to expect a long recovery. If my arm was not slung then I'd probably be back to work in a week or two.

It turns out mine was caused by a "one of the largest bone spurs I've ever seen", the rest of the joint was actually in pretty good shape.

Good luck with yours. Hope it's minor and heals on its own.

Strings said...

If you'd like Tam, I have a friend in Indy who is an ortho PA. Very knowledgeable, and I'm pretty sure I can bribe him into taking a looksee.

Good guy: former Navy, doesn't BS. Let me know and I'll drop him a line

Anonymous said...

Where this damage really hurts is when your car is stick shift. I was lucky my truck is automatic. Work was (as is now) on CAD, I was LOUSY working the mouse with my left hand, the only thing that worked was my middle finger which was my response from my so called friendly coworkers comments. :^)