AFTER the surgery frustrations

Posted , 8 users are following.

OK, I am just getting into the 'immobilization' routine of after rotator cuff arthroscopic surgery. I'm caught in a frightful quandary of (lack of) insight and understanding about what I can and cannot do. Plus not knowing makes it more difficult for me to know and work around/with this required procedure. It seems that there are some movements I am encouraged to do - elbow & wrist plus back (inner) shoulder contractions. Yet I also get a nagging caution feeling to move my operated on arm! 

How to KNOW and balance daily life activity for the BETTER without inadvertently causing avoidable damage?   

My doctor has provided excellent videos at his site but they tend to be (necessarily?) general in directions. Meanwhile I STRUGGLE with the bolster/sling' immobilizer device that I am supposed to wear for 6 weeks - expect for showering, eating at table etc. The thing is cumbersome, bulky and ends up being bumped by me just moving around. It also is causing sores/chaffing of my skin (sweating & rubbing arm to body side) and sore ribs when tightened enough to secure arm in 'position' (which also isn't well explained.

I sure I will be 'suck it up' and live with it comments, however if I had had insight into this process before I got here, maybe much of this could have been avoided?

I am also VERY GRATEFUL that such a forum as this exists. My only wish is that there were either categories or tag options for posts for better search retrieval.  Not really practical nor encouraging to think about browsing thru a long list of posts to find insights that are probably here.

Thanks for any feedback.

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    First off, have a SERIOUS discussion with your doc and physical therapist. I was in constant pain and spoke to my PT about it. She adjusted my sling and it was much better. If you're not sure what you should/shouldn't be doing - you need to talk to them before you do something you shouldn't; ask for clarification. As for the irritation, wrapping your arm in a hand towel should help. Take care, it will get better!

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your feedback. I am going to have a serious chat with Dr. and am glad I have this forum to help me gain insights & questions I need to ask. I am making serious efforts to no do what would jeopardize my recovery, but the vague 'instructions' create potential misunderstanding and frankly catch-22 frustrations (total immobilization vs. to do simple exercises). What I would really appreciate seeing would be a video at my doctor's  web site that SHOWS/demonstrates what he means by immobility including what to do and NOT do. That would be excellent and save us all his time and our (patient's) upset.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I feel your pain literally, with you where the brace is concerned. As the not showering is doing my head in, especially as I'm in a wheelchair it's a right royal pain. Hope it gets easier for you and it's not too painful for you.

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    • Posted

      Oh Lee, I so sorrow for your not being able to shower!! I only had to put that off for one day and when I did it was so wonderfully relieving. Is the wheelchair what is preventing this or do you have cut type (not arthroscopic) surgery? Surely there are 'waterproof' wheelchairs? And even with open (cut type) surgery I could envision using a hand held type sprayer that could avoid a surgical area.

      Best wishes for your recovery.

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  • Posted

    Please do nothing with your arm! No strengthening yet, just immobilize. I used my sling long after 4 weeks. I used it at night or just to rest my arm. My doctor told me diddly squat also, I came here. They will get you back in motion at 4 to 6 weeks and not do strengthening for about 2 months.
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    • Posted

      For sure I want healing first & foremost. The difficulty I am having with terms such as 'nothing' - is that a LITERAL mandate or more a guideline. I have been directed to 'move' - gently and often mainly to promote circulation. Here's a short (2+ mins.) video on what the doctor wants to have me do -

       

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mA7_uloGZpY[/b]

      I did ask the doctor what arm motion to NOT do and he told me NO outward arm rotation NOR lifting of arm. I can easily not do those without wearing the sling and my arm does appreciate a 'rest' from the sling a few times a day. I can take it off when I eat (resting arm on table top) and while sitting in a chair that has an arm rest to place my arm on.

      I am going to see a PT for further rehab after approximately 6 weeks. Until then, based on doctor assessment of healing, I will be following - as best I can get full instructions - what next movement is recommended.

      Thanks for your concern and insights biggrin. I do believe that retaining as much muscle tone as possible will assist rehab and re-strengthening too. Just HOW t do that needs a bit more 'fleshing out' for me.

       

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  • Posted

    I had rotator cuff surgery over 20 years ago, and it was a long process for me, because I had a big tear, and therapy was so painful! It tooks months before I started feeling some relief, but continued with therapy. Well I ended up having SLAP surgery in Aug of last year due to an assault from work. The surgery went well, and I started therapy about a week or so after my surgery. I started having neck pain a few months after my surgery, and have been going to therapy 2x a week, but due to severe pain in my neck, and having pain in my shoulder and arm, and my ROM not being where it should, my Orthopedic surgeon decided to go back in, and remove the scar tissue which is causing me from moving forward. I had a MRI for shoulder & neck before he made this decision. Once it's approved by WC, then I'll have it taken care of. I just want to go back to what I love; working with the little kids! You should try to relax and get through therapy, but listen to your therapist. Don't be discouraged either! It takes up to a year or so for complete healing. Don't do anything that will cause another tear! I pray you get on the road to recovery real soon; just don't give up! Praying for complete healing!! God bless!

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    • Posted

      You're very welcome! It helps me too; chatting with others about their experiences; no matter what age, because pain is still pain, and it's a blessing to be able to chat with others, and get their input on their situations. I pray that you get some true answers real soon, and remember; you are in control of your body! You have a right to ask questions and get honest answers! Your doxtor is there to HELP YOU!! Please keep us informed with your progress, and updates. I enjoy chatting with people, but most od all, helping if I can! Have a bless day, and try to relax a little; if possible.

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    • Posted

      Just when I thought I was going to go in a state of depression. The Lord lead me here! I had surgery 3 months ago today, I had a labral tear and bicep tear in my left shoulder. Recovering is challenging, been out my sling for 4 days now and I thought it was going to be easier but it's not. The first couple of months that sling got on my nerves! My biggest challenge is keeping myself from re-injuring my shoulder, I'm scared to be around a large crowd and people love hugging me but I'm not mean and I don't want to tell people not to hug me. Since surgery though I fell 3 times on my shoulder with the sling on with the pillow attached, except for the first day I had just the sling on. I fell January 19th, January 25th, and February 14th. No pain after the first 2, but this last fall I fell on ice and its been aching, popping and burning I have been praying that I didn't re tear anything or torn anything new. I see the doctor later today, I just ask that whoever is reading this please say a prayer for me #GodBless

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    • Posted

      It takes up to 6 months for partial healing, and up to 12-14 months for complete healing from what my Orthopedic surgeon explained to me. I went through the hugging part myself, but those who understand and care about you will understand. You have to be very careful out there! Do what yiu need to do in order for you to heal completely. Everyone's body is different, so worry about what your body is trying to tell you. I csn be frustrating too, but getting better is more important! I pray everything works out for you! Stay focus on our Lord Jesus Christ and have faith in Him! Keep us informed on your outcome at your appointment today. God bless!

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    • Posted

      Hi, sorry it took so long to reply back...just want to give an update on my doctor's appointment. Everything went good, he said he doesn't think I messed anything up from my falls, I knew I hadn't either. He gave my therapist permission to start strengthening, I started a little but they're still loosening the shoulder, still can't do a whole lot, I'm finally out my splint, it's been 3 weeks now that think was stressing me out. Still have a little pain here and there but I know that's expected and in the end it will be all worth it, have a blessed day I will stay in touch.

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    • Posted

      I'm really glad to hear that! Thank you so much for keeping me informed too! Just keep doing your therapy, and try to be patient, because it's going to take a while for complete healing, and you don't want to rush it. I pray everything goes well for you, and that you get stronger each day!

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  • Posted

    I find myself a little frustrated too by what the doctor tells me to do and  not to do also.  I am 2 weeks post op.  He already wants me to walk my fingers up the wall and do pendulums.  As you say,  that's not DO NOTHING.  I have to say I think you will be very pleased when you start physical therapy.  The therapist is going to help you so much and be able to answer your questions and take the time with you that you need.  As others have said on here, even though after a few months you will feel like you  can do anything, be very careful.  That's  the time when you are most likely to re-injure your shoulder.   We moved from the mountains down to the valley about 6 months after my surgery.  My husband is unable to help much so most of cleaning and sorting and packing and loading and taking things to the thrift shop etc etc etc fell on me.  I figured I would be fine.  But I re-torn the rotator cuff.  I went for surgery less than 1 year from my original surgery.  That failed too because there wasn't any good tendon left.  Now I underwent a reconstruction, using cadaver tissue to build a new rotator cuff.  That's 3 surgeries in a little over 2 years.  You don't want to do that!   Good luck to you.  Hope you get some answers soon.

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  • Posted

    I was only allowed to do anything after 4 weeks and my sling was off. When I started pt was when I did the pendulums and walking my hand. After my sling was off.
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    • Posted

      That's what I think too Scrapbooker.....in my previous surgeries I never started any pendulums or walking the wall until I started PT and was out of the sling.  But...I've never been in a sling this long either. A full  6 weeks. And he doesn't want me to start PT until 6 weeks either.   Before I started between 3-4 weeks.  I think he is trying to make sure I don't get a frozen shoulder since I am immobilized so long. I don't know..all I know is it  hurts like crazy.  Glad I have some pain meds left!

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