rotator cuff tear and FROZEN SHOULDER

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HI all! I have been suffering with a rotator cuff injury and frozen shoulder for 6 months...I did 4 months of PT, 8 visits with a massage therapist, 10 visits of acupuncture, 2 cortisone shots (one was ultra sound guided) and finally trigger point injections for my neck (only thing that that has helped...my neck though not my shoulder.  was dx with 2 herniated cervical disks years ago and the FS has irritated my neck to say the least). I am so discouraged. Nothing works! The orthopedic surgeon wants me to do the manipulation but I have heard from other medical professionals (4 PTs and a nurse practitioner) not to get it.....risk fracturing your arm. doesn't help your shoulder to unfreeze much faster, still need lots of PT, etc. The other alternative is letting my FS "burn out" as the surgeon says and heal on its own which could take another 18 months. This is so discouraging. I have done all the right things and MORE! I have spent so much time, energy and money on this! Those who have had the manipulation, can you post how it went? Or those who did not,  what HAS helped? Thank you!

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    Hello.  It sure sounds like you have been through much more than me, as I thought I had a rotator cuff injury, but an MRI proved it was only frayed and I possibly just sprained my shoulder, causing me not to want to use it and that led to the frozen shoulder of course.  My Dr. told me I had such limited range of motion and suggested the MUA then begin PT asap.  So, I did just that.  I didn't mess around with physical therapy first.  I did ask my Dr. if he had ever broken anyone's arm or shoulder doing the MUA.  He literally knocked on wood as he was saying, "not yet."  So, I took a leap of faith and had it done.  He did a block first with a needle through neck to block the nerve to my arm.  So, I had no feeling in the right shoulder and arm for about 20 hours.  I woke after the MUA, which only took a few minutes, and found they put my arm in a sling for safety because I had no feeling in it.  i did go right to a pre-scheduled therapy session later that same day to get and keep any range of motion that was gained going.  They moved my arm all over and it made me sick to watch them do that because I couldn't feel my arm, but could see it swinging up high and all around.  Ugh.  That plus the anesthesia earlier that day really did make me get sick, so that to me was the very worst part of the MUA day.  The next day, I could start to really feel my arm again and again went right to a PT session.  That was much more rough and they had me start raising my arm and doing slides with a pillow case against a wall to raise it as high as I could on my own.  No muscle, so very hard to do.  Keep pushing yourself and the muscle grows back quickly over a couple of weeks.  Today is my 3 week date after MUA and I can reach far above my head, do those wall slides with no problems at all.  I am still having problems reaching behind my back, but am seeing some progress there finally.  And, reaching behind my head is starting to come back as well.  I do still have enough dull pain that wakes me up every 3-4 hours in the night for a bit and I take some Advil or Tylenol and put some Aspercreme on the area that is bothering me.  I was given a prescription for Hydrocodone, but only took one the first day I could feel my arm, then one that night again and decided those didn't make me feel anything but a little sick, so stopped using them.  Advil and Tylenol actually help reduce inflammation after PT, where the Hydrocodone only makes your brain not feel the pain.  So, easy choice for me.  Sorry so long, but the MUA did put me on a fast track to getting the range of motion back.  I saw my Dr. a week after the MUA and he was very pleased with the motion gained.  He showed me a video he took on his cell phone of him moving my arm all over after he did the MUA while I was still under.  He said he could hear the scar tissue really cracking in there when he was doing the MUA and was really able to get my motion free for me (proof in that video).  It is just up to me to keep it going and continue to build muscle now.  I am doing 3 sessions myself a day at home as much as I can in addition to going to PT 2 times a week through mid-March.  I will take all the PT my insurance will allow, as they really stretch my range of motion out for me at those sessions.  Something I can't do at home myself.  Sorry so long, but hopefully this info. helped a bit.  Best of luck to you.

       

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. It helps relieve some anxiety to hear others are doing okay/well after MUA. Thanks for the info on the day of the surgery. I am VERY sensitive to anesthesia and narcotics in the sense they make me feel very nauseous.So good to be aware of, I am going to do research on MUA amd I have a 2nd opinion scheduled in a few weeks.

      How long ago was your MUA?

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    • Posted

      I had the MUA done exactly 3 weeks ago today.  Great to get a 2nd opinion.  I hope it all goes well and you will be moving your arm freely soon!

       

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  • Posted

    Mine FS was many years ago. Will spare you all the details ( terribly complicated for everyone, I think). I opted for the "thaw" as other option was surgery (actually cutting all the cemented whatever in there) followed by intensive PT which seemed barbaric as I was already in such pain. The freezing, the frozen and the thaw took 3 years and still did not regain proper use of my arm. Threw my upper body totally out of whack trying to function for those 3 years.  Spent the next 12 years trying to get rid of muscle spasms in neck & back. Chiropractors, massage, PT, etc. Only thing that cured me was a series of acupuncture treatments. Full use of my arm and no more huge knots in my neck etc. Diagnosis "chi stuck". A second one began in my less dominant arm; went for acupuncture again which either nipped it in the bud or it just wasn't as severe to begin with.

    My sympathies for you & anyone going through it.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear of your suffering!  I had an arthroscopic capsular release for my frozen shoulder and it has turned out great-It is 8 weeks post op and I have almost normal range of motion-which is abnormally good-the surgeon said it usually takes months to get that much ROM.  If you didn't have the rotator cuff repaired or cleaned up arthroscopy may be a good option for you-a question for your surgeon.  I have heard many say the MUA helped them a lot, but I didn't like the idea of it,so I went with a surgeon who does the capsular release.

    I had the scalene nerve block-makes your whole arm numb for about 20 hours, very freaky, but pain free.  I was sore post op, but far less painful that frozen shoulder.  PT started the first day post op and I was told that is key in retained ROM.  I did stretching 5x/day and I believe that is what got me good results, that and rest-no lifting x 6 weeks.  Oh-and only one week off work : )

    It is 8 weeks post op and I feel 90% normal.  The greatest relief was sleeping a full night.  I had therapeutic laser treatments post op too, it may have been part of why I did so well, but hard to say.  It still gets stiff if I don't stretch and is sore post strengthening, but relatively pain free.

    Massage helped with the muscle cramping-with your neck issues I would think massage would help.

    Surgery was a breeze for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Some surgeons do MUA followed by arthroscopy to clean up joint/inspect it for damage, maybe that is an option?

    Good luck, I hope you find relief.

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  • Posted

    I too have heard horror stories about the MUA and decided to wait it out. The massage therapy really helped with the pain. I just stretch at home and now am on the last leg and getting better every day. It started last April and I got it in both shoulders I now have almost all mobility back and the pain is very minimal. If you can I suggest to just wait it out and stretch at home. If massage helped with the pain for you keep that up also. With less pain I was able to stretch more. Good luck
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