Discussions By Condition: Muscle conditions

severe shoulder pain

Posted In: Muscle conditions 13 Replies
  • Posted By: budisit
  • January 29, 2007
  • 02:42 AM

Recently had 12 weeks of rehab for open heart surgery. For 12 weeks I did vigorous stretches that I think might have torn a rotator cuff. That was about 3 or 4 months ago. I'm 53 years old.

Left shoulder wakes me at night. Pain is severe. Right shoulder is a milder version of the same thing.

5 or 6 weeks ago went to a shoulder specialist - did an MRI but no injury was apparent.....even though the doctor said the results are inconclusive.

The condition is not generalized soreness.....but rather intense sharp shooting pain when you move an arm in some specific manner which could be as simple as lifting a cup of coffee. Also I can feel grinding.

Very extreme during sleep....which is generally an indicator of torn rotator cuff muscle. I cannot lay on one side because of the pain and have to keep my left arm pinned to my side and roll out of bed to avoid sharp shooting pain.

Pain seems to cycle every 4 or 5 days with some relief then comes back with a vegance.

Getting worse, not better.

BUDDY

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13 Replies:

  • I have a similar problem. WHat kind of exercises were you doing that you thing you torn your rotator cuff? I had an MRI and it is the same, inconclusive. Pain in both shoulders, worse in left. Aching most nights, and can't sleep because of it.
    maweitlauf 1 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 09:43 AM
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  • I had open heart surgery July. Did 3 months of rehad afterward Aug, Sept, Oct. During which time....3 days per week twice per day (total of 6 times per week) I did the usual arobic exercise to regain cardiovascualr & strengthen muscle. BUT........the kicker is I did warm up stretches. And one in particular where you raise one arm over your head and then lower it behind your head. You take your other hand and place it on the elbow that is now behind your head and pull it downward. Which in effect pulls your muscles or stretches them as they call it. My problem might have been I am 53 years old and in fairly descent shape so I went after it like killing snakes (meaning I stretched hard and really tried to make it work). I suspect, but don't know.......that was the exercise that caused the damage. 6 times per week for 12 weeks. Additionally I was doing cable weights with pull downs and such. Having just come out of surgery and a lot of down time / bed rest....my muscles probably were in no condition to be pushing it. The rehab nurses thought it was impressive that I was capable of working so hard and let me go at it. So........like you. It wakes me at night. My shoulder specialist told me that was a strong indicator of a torn rotator cuff. But the MRI's didin't show anything and they wanted to do rehab first. I didn't do rehab because I was so relieved I didn't have to have surgery...I thought....I'll let it heal on it's own. But it has gotten worse. The left is very sensitive and the right has gotten worse. The right is not bad but it's definately there. The left really feels serious at times. I think I'm going to go back to the shoulder specialist and get a prescription for rehab exercises again and see what happens. Dunno. I found a place on the web that talks about prolotherapy. That's basically an injection of a foreign matter like saline solution or sugar or something harmless. But the solution becomes an irritant in the shoulder area which in turn attracts the bodies natural healing properties for accelerated healing. But those injections are 6 to 8 weeks apart. You take 4 to 6 shots. So I figure in that length of time, most people get better naturally on their own anyway while the injections get all the credit. Sorry to talk so long. I'm really in a quandry as to what to do. I have an older friend who had a similar problem. But didn't do anything or have corrective surgery. At least not quickly enough. It got worse beyond repair and now the damage is too great for surgery to help so he has to live with the intinsity of it the rest of his life. He says it's very difficult and could have been corrected had he acted in a timely manner. How about you ? What caused the damage to your shoulders ?
    budisit 4 Replies
    • January 31, 2007
    • 02:44 PM
    • 0
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  • hi. i am on this forum trying to figure out what is wrong with me and saw your post. I had rotator cuff surgery a week ago. it was done with a scope. i have to tell you the surgery is not bad. 1 day post op felt like my shoulder had been used as a punching bag. the second day was better. I now have other problems that have been found due because i sought treatment for the shoulder injury. just wanted to let you know that everything you are describing is what i had wrong with me. i fell on the ice while shoveling snow. i went 5 days before i went to the dr beacuse i felt they would say "you fell. quit being a baby. take tylenol and go to work" after 5 days i decided i was not a baby something was wrong. i was right. i had cracked my shoulder bone, dislocated my shoulder(which happens often with rotator cuff injuries) and shredded my rotator cuff. i begged th dr. to fix it. he agreed wholeheartedly it needed to be fixed and i had the surgery. on the 3rd day post surgery i woke up in horrific pain. it was in my shoulder blade. i went back to the dr. and he told me after an x ray that i have 3 discs in my neck that are screwed up. i had a cat scan yesterday and am waiting for him to get the results to figure out what to do next. i can tell you that while i am in just as much pain now as i was pre surgery, if sugery is recommeneded i will not be doing that. but back to the point, the scope went really well, pain wasn't that bad unitl the other problem reared it's head. hope this helps you some. take care.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Recently had 12 weeks of rehab for open heart surgery. For 12 weeks I did vigorous stretches that I think might have torn a rotator cuff. That was about 3 or 4 months ago. I'm 53 years old. Left shoulder wakes me at night. Pain is severe. Right shoulder is a milder version of the same thing. 5 or 6 weeks ago went to a shoulder specialist - did an MRI but no injury was apparent.....even though the doctor said the results are inconclusive. The condition is not generalized soreness.....but rather intense sharp shooting pain when you move an arm in some specific manner which could be as simple as lifting a cup of coffee. Also I can feel grinding. Very extreme during sleep....which is generally an indicator of torn rotator cuff muscle. I cannot lay on one side because of the pain and have to keep my left arm pinned to my side and roll out of bed to avoid sharp shooting pain. Pain seems to cycle every 4 or 5 days with some relief then comes back with a vegance. Getting worse, not better. BUDDYBuddy, I am a licensed Physical Therapist and can give you some insight here. The grinding you feel in the shoulder, pain with lying on the shoulder, as well as the cyclical nature of the pain, indicates to me that the problem is more degenerative in nature, i.e. severe Osteoarthritis. If it were solely a torn rotator cuff, you would not have a cyclical nature of symptoms. It also would not hurt nearly as much during sleep, although it might. Also, the "grinding" you feel is not a symptom of a torn rotator cuff. I would suspect that you: a) have severe Osteoarthritis, and/or a torn Labrum (cartilage), and perhaps a small partial tear of the rotator cuff (since MRI was negative). Also it is important to note that standard MRI is sometimes only 60-80% accurate in diagnosing, because different MRI units' magnets have different strengths. A MRI with a contrast dye would give you a much higher accuracy, more than likely over 85%. -Chris
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Chris,That is the best information I've received thus far from anyone, including the shoulder specialist & as information / research as I could put together on my own.I had all buy concluded my condition was frozen shoulder. How certain can a person be ? Probably not very although I think my diagnosis is as good as the shoulder specialist I went to.After studying frozen shoulder I decided to do rehab exercises that I downloaded off the web. And a week or so afterward I noticed a huge improvement. The improvement lasted for several week and I quit doing the rehab exercises - a now it's come back.....although not as bad as it was. I still can't lay on that shoulder because of the pain. And the grinding is always there a lot in the left shoulder and some in the right shoulder. The left shoulder being dramatically worse including sharp pain an intense catches from time to time when I lift a cup of coffee or other simple easy movements.I read frozen shoulder can take 1 o 3 years to heal so I have been just riding it out.....and so long as feels a little bit better I feel encouraged and don't exercise.Seems like it is frozen shoulder and rehab exercise is the key.HOWEVER you mentioning osteorathoritis naurally concerns me. I might say though that x-rays with the shoulder specialists showed some authoritis but not so much as to cause any conversation about it with the specialist. But then with the fast paced doctor'ing now-a-days there's not much conversation about anything anyway with your doctor (which is why I'm here in the first place)I've read that frozen shoulder is something that happens with open heart patients because of the recovery period and holding your chest and shoulders so still to avoid pain.....creates the atrophy muscle of the one holding the ball in the socket...thus allowing the socket to drift some (maybe more accurately describing the grinding I'm feeling). Hey....sorry to talk so much. I really do appreciate your input. Information is so helpful in recovery. Any feedback is appreciated here, Do you think should make another appointment with the shoulder specialist or perhaps a different one ? Buddy Faulconerin Missouri
    budisit 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Chris,That is the best information I've received thus far from anyone, including the shoulder specialist & as information / research as I could put together on my own.I had all buy concluded my condition was frozen shoulder. How certain can a person be ? Probably not very although I think my diagnosis is as good as the shoulder specialist I went to.After studying frozen shoulder I decided to do rehab exercises that I downloaded off the web. And a week or so afterward I noticed a huge improvement. The improvement lasted for several week and I quit doing the rehab exercises - a now it's come back.....although not as bad as it was. I still can't lay on that shoulder because of the pain. And the grinding is always there a lot in the left shoulder and some in the right shoulder. The left shoulder being dramatically worse including sharp pain an intense catches from time to time when I lift a cup of coffee or other simple easy movements.I read frozen shoulder can take 1 o 3 years to heal so I have been just riding it out.....and so long as feels a little bit better I feel encouraged and don't exercise.Seems like it is frozen shoulder and rehab exercise is the key.HOWEVER you mentioning osteorathoritis naurally concerns me. I might say though that x-rays with the shoulder specialists showed some authoritis but not so much as to cause any conversation about it with the specialist. But then with the fast paced doctor'ing now-a-days there's not much conversation about anything anyway with your doctor (which is why I'm here in the first place)I've read that frozen shoulder is something that happens with open heart patients because of the recovery period and holding your chest and shoulders so still to avoid pain.....creates the atrophy muscle of the one holding the ball in the socket...thus allowing the socket to drift some (maybe more accurately describing the grinding I'm feeling). Hey....sorry to talk so much. I really do appreciate your input. Information is so helpful in recovery. Any feedback is appreciated here, Do you think should make another appointment with the shoulder specialist or perhaps a different one ? Buddy Faulconerin MissouriBuddy, The fact that you did the exercises and it helped is great! You should keep doing them if that is the case, as long as they DO NOT HURT. If they hurt, it will make your situation worse! It does not sound like frozen shoulder, as a hallmark of this diagnosis is the virtual inability to move in most directions AT ALL, especially rotation away from the body, lifting to the side, and lifting straight in front. If it were simply frozen shoulder, you would not have the "grinding" sensation. The "grinding" is almost certainly a problem with the joint and cartilage surfaces, i.e. Osteoarthritis (OA) or a Labrum tear. More than likely, it is OA. HOWEVER, you can have Frozen Shoulder in addition to OA. Often, they occur together to a degree, but most often Frozen Shoulder occurs in females for some reason in their 40's-50's. Must be hormonal/neurological. I would follow up with a Fellowship Trained Shoulder Specialist. I have seen the following treatment to be quite effective:-short course of Celebrex or Medrol (steroidal anti-inflammatory), followed by skilled Physical Therapy. Don't do it alone - and make sure you go to a reputable clinic that treats these conditions regularly. Not all clinics are created equal. Do your homework!
    ChrisFloridaPT 29 Replies Flag this Response
  • Buddy, I just posted a reply on here, but it doesn't look like it took - so i apologize if this is redundant. It really seems more like Osteoarthritis (OA) and possible Labrum Tear as opposed to Frozen Shoulder (FS), although FS can occur simultaneously and often does with OA. FS typically does not present as a "grinding" feeling, yet OA always does. Treatment that is effective that I have seen with some of my patients:-Celebrex and/or Medrol, followed by Physical Therapy for proper, guided therapeutic exercise and hands-on mobilization and stretching of the shoulder itself.
    ChrisFloridaPT 29 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks Chris. I will adjust my perspective and begin looking into the possibility of OA. I had thought that was likely a cause some time ago but dismissed it after the shoulder specialist said the x-rays didn't show much OA or RA. I recall reading about some spin off issues that arise with bone / bone marrow that shows up in blood test results as a result of open heart surgery. But that is vague in my mind and could not carry on an informed conversation along those lines. But it does make me wonder about the connection between the surgery and bone issue. One more thing. I described a grinding feeling but feel it's actually more of a popping sensation. I think I was wrong there. I don't think it grinds because that would imply grinding all the time but rather it pops frequently. In fact you can hear it easy enough popping. Like the ball is popping in and out slightly of the socket. Does that change your thoughts any (grinding vs. popping) in terms of OA or FS ??
    budisit 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • I'm with you until you said "I would follow up with a Fellowship Trained Shoulder Specialist." What's that ? Fellowship Trained ? Is that a Chritian perspective ? I'm a Christian so don't be timid about telling me your thoughts. thanks,BUDDY
    budisit 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • A fellowship trained specialist refers to a level of education/training a doctor has received in a specific field.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks Chris. I will adjust my perspective and begin looking into the possibility of OA. I had thought that was likely a cause some time ago but dismissed it after the shoulder specialist said the x-rays didn't show much OA or RA. I recall reading about some spin off issues that arise with bone / bone marrow that shows up in blood test results as a result of open heart surgery. But that is vague in my mind and could not carry on an informed conversation along those lines. But it does make me wonder about the connection between the surgery and bone issue. One more thing. I described a grinding feeling but feel it's actually more of a popping sensation. I think I was wrong there. I don't think it grinds because that would imply grinding all the time but rather it pops frequently. In fact you can hear it easy enough popping. Like the ball is popping in and out slightly of the socket. Does that change your thoughts any (grinding vs. popping) in terms of OA or FS ??OA can definitely still be a popping sensation...but more likely it is a tear of the Glenoid Labrum (a rim of fibroelastic cartilage that borders the socket). Like I said, it can be more than one thing at once, and often is. Fellowship Trained simply means that they did advanced training in that particular specialty. i.e. Shoulder, Knee, Hip, etc. It has nothing to do with religion!Chris
    ChrisFloridaPT 29 Replies Flag this Response
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  • I have been having severe shoulder pain in my left shoulder to the point of when I try to lift a coffee cup to my mouth I cannot do it. If I have my arm in a sling position I cannot move it away from my body. It hurts on the side if my shoulder, the muscles up top that run into my nech, the sunken part my my clavical and a little on my shoulder blade. I had an MRI done a year ago and it said a partial tear in my supraspinatis and the MRI from the other day say negative and my PCP just told me I need a psychiatrist. He has been treating me for Fibro and Lupus and now he says I need mental health help? What could this be? It hurts so bad I cannot sleep at night, I have to keep it in a sling b/c letting it hang down is extremely painful and if I do anything else it feels like I have very little strength and lifting a cup to my mouth is impossible and my arms just shakes and burns. Most of the pain feels like a knife stabbing in the side of my arm.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 11, 2008
    • 06:10 PM
    • 0
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  • Just because one MRI is inconclusive, doesn't mean there isn't a tear in the rotator cuff. MRI is only as good as the picture that is taken, and the person reading it! Often times, MRI can be 60-80% conclusive, so it is not a sole determining factor. Rather, a solid physical examination of the shoulder should be performed, in addition to x-rays and MRI. You might also consider an MRI with contrast to get a more definitive reading. Either that, or find an imaging center with a stronger magnet for their MRI machine. Everything you are saying leads me to believe there is a tear of the rotator cuff. If it is a partial tear, you should be able to raise the arm somewhat to the front and to the side. Sometimes, a partial or full thickness tear can be present, and the person can have motion overhead! It all depends on the location/severity of the tear and the person's threshold for pain.I would get a 2nd opinion from a reputable Orthopedist, and have them read your MRI. If another MRI is warranted, they will order one. Chris
    ChrisFloridaPT 29 Replies
    • February 12, 2008
    • 01:55 AM
    • 0
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