so many problems after rotator cuff repair :(

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hello everyone!

This is my 5 months post of rotator cuff repair and the recovery is way below expectation. My ROM is around 90to 100 degree but shoulder hikes up and doesn't look good at all. I have had injection as well but it didn't help as much. I visit PT once in a week and he thinks it is getting better but that's only I feeel when I do exercise, stretches and visit PT

after that it goes back to stiff again and pain in the join, also struggle to raise my hand up. MY scapula wings so much whenever I raise my hand. Sometimes I have very bad lower back pain after exercise and the joint in the shoulder feels numb as well. I have appointment with Surgeon after 2 weeks so with PT. so many problems have occurred and I am so frustrated. I am a full time Chef and sporty person. My life has been very much useless after the surgery. Since recovery has not gone as expected, I am in depression 😭

Any suggestions and shared experience would be much appreciated!!!! Thank you !

1 like, 22 replies

22 Replies

  • Posted

    I had cuff surgery back in November and have limited rom. I have no pain. Colleague of original surgeon wants to do reverse replacement. I now suffer from anxiety (trembling)

    since his diagnosis in April of bad cuff. I can't drive because it is hard to reach gearshift.

    You are the first one to post about poor recovery.

    • Posted

      Yeah, actually it is because I fell a slip in the bathroom after three months my surgery. However, I did MRI scan but nothing showed up. Surgeon and PT said not to worry since the repair is still intact with the bone. Surprisingly, my ROM decreased significantly with pain. I went to see another OS then he says frozen shoulder and asked me to get an injection which helped a bit but not as expected. i might need another MRI or i dunno .. Seems like I am having bad days

      Thanks for the responsesmile

  • Posted

    I don't think one PT a week is enough in the first 3 months and also needs to be a PT willing and trained in manual therapy. I got lucky that my second Kaiser PT was trained in manual therapy and I snapped him up fast and said I didn't want the other one who was not MT trained. then I have paid out of pocket to go to another PT I know who has good manual skills. They anchor my scapula while stretching and mobilizing my joint. Otherwise you are left with capsular restrictions that you just are not capable of stretching on your own no matter how diligent you are with your own stretching exercises. Then once you get the range, you need trained eyes on you when you start strengthening to make sure you do not make substitutions. I am a PT and it's hard to see what's going on in your own scapula when you are moving your arm. I used the mirror and put my other hand on the muscle so I can see/feel but there are just some things that you need some one elses eyes and hands for. I also go to a massage therapist specially trained in myofascial release at least once a month. You need all the help you can get in the first 6 months. Some "research" proves that every patient gets to the same place by 1 year with little intervention. I believe those research projects were funded by third party payers who want to save money and not provide therapy services. I would venture to say that most people would end up in the same bad place at 1 year with the type on intervention that most people are getting 1x a week for a few months...that is to say little and minimally trained intervention is as effective as nothing. Not to say that everyone is treated like that...but I would guess that most participants of HMO's unless they strongly advocate for themselves or get lucky. I was very vocal in stating that I did not want to be overlooked for PT and again vocal in choosing who I wanted and lucky I got what I wanted. I know not everyone can afford to pay for extra besides what insurance will pay for. But if  you can, it would probably be very worth it so you can regain improved functionality. I wish you the best outcome!


    • Posted

      Hi there, thank you for your words smile

      No this is my 5 months post op and before 3 months I used to see PT pretty much everyday because it is quite cheap over there and everything was going very goood until I fell, also the Surgery was called successful( at least by Surgeon) Thing have gone wrong after that, however MRI didn't show anything (as I mantioned ) my biggest problem now is scapula winging and pain in thje glenohumeral joint. When I raise my hand scapula raises very high(though I can raise my hand around 90 degrees )

      Well, as far as insurance is concerned, I don't have insurance of anything (I never thought this could happen as I thought i am still young ) but now here I am ..

  • Posted

    So sorry to hear you are having so many problems and so much pain. I know everyone is different and every OS and PT is different also, but I am a 71 year-old woman whose tendons were completely detached from the bone . During my outpatient surgery on March 28, I had 6 calcium screws implanted to attach the tendons to the bone. I was told to do some mild pendulum swings beginning the day after surgery.  PT started the week after surgery with a young (27) PT who has proved to be excellent. I went twice a week for 6 weeks and once a week for the next six weeks. I see the surgeon this Friday for the first time since the surgery to assess if all is progressing well. It seems fine and my ROM is at 145+. I attribute the success to a good surgeon, a thorough PT, doing the prescribed exercises twice a day on my own and a lot of luck.

    It seems as though you may need a different PT or another surgical opinion. Do you have confidence in your PT? Was your progress going well before your fall at 3 months?

    If you were not as lucky as I was with your surgeon and PT, you may need to be very proactive and assertive in finding an answer to your issues. Ask your PT and your surgeon and your surgeon's assistant for suggestions as to how you can treat your frozen shoulder. You mentioned that you feel better when doing your exercises but pain returns when you stop. Are you taking pain meds? I take 1,000 mg of Tylenol twice a day before my exercises and that helps. 

    I don't know how another MRI would be helpful, but it sounds as though your mental health is being affected and that is counterproductive. If I were you, I would make sure to have all of my questions and information written down at your next visit with the surgeon. Keep track of your pain from now until then and be specific as to whether it is an ache or numbness or tingling pain and exactly where it is. Keep track of the exercises you do and the frequency so you can share all of that with the doctor. Then don't leave unless he comes up with a plan to make things better for you. 

    Best of luck to you!

    • Posted

      Hi there, thank you for taking a time to hear me smile

      Yes, I believe everything was goING okay before I fall and this is a new PT because I did my surgery in overseas. The previous PT and Surgeon said there was nothing wrong. I was advised that I could return back and continue my PT here. But all of a sudden everything went bad. so, I saw new OS and he recommended me to get an injection so my new PT thought it might help. I am not taking any medicine though. I am seeing that new OS next week and yes I will make sure I explain him everything.

      Thanks once again !

    • Posted

      Hi.  Was wondering if you had lot if nerve tingling and pins n needles 1st few weeks after surgery.  3 weeks post op. Nerves still going crazy.  Thanks
    • Posted

      Yep - it lasted approximately a month and a half for me.  It was brutal and hindered my PT.  My Ortho finally told me to take a week off... because he said my nerves were irritated from both surgeries and all the PT.  After that week & further work with a therapeutic massage therapist, I was golden! It will pass... its just another hump you have to go thru for the healing process. 

  • Posted

    I had rotator cuff surgery on March 6th and though the doctor said it was successful, I was dealing with a LOT of stiffness in my shoulder.  In addition, some movements would cause sharp pains to shoot down my bicep, down into my hand and then cause numbness in my fingers.  My Ortho Surgeon also said he cleaned up tendonitis that was in my bicep.  He suggested I undergo MUA and told me I would feel much better afterwards.

    Fast forward to last Monday... I underwent the MUA and was on a nerve block for three days.  My ROM was PERFECT and I was extremely happy and excited! Then we took the nerve block out last Thursday.  It seems as though my body IMMEDIATELY froze up again and during my PT this past Monday, I was in sssssoooo much pain that I bawled the entire hour.  I constantly hike up my shoulders and have tried everything under the sun to control it.  When I see others who are at the same point as I am (meaning time frame), I get so FRUSTURATED because I am not where they are.  My threshold for pain is extremely low and I do not know how to push past that.  In addition to being a cake decorator (run my own business at night), I also work a full time job so I don't have he ability to dedicate 3-5 hours a day to stretching & exercising (though I stretch non-stop at my desk).  

    I envy those who can afford additional PT sessions or sessions with therapeutic massage therapists or who can dedicate hours to healing.  This is so freaking frusturating!

    • Posted

      Hello there, thank you for the reply. sounds like you are already back to work so quick. I am a full time chef and workin in the kitchen is pretty tough so I can't even imagine getting back to work in this situation. What frustrates even is; shoulder goes back to stiff so quick after exercise and pain in the joint when I move. I haven't seen any other therapist like massage or cairopractor I don't know if that helps either ..

    • Posted

      Yeah - I went back to work 2 weeks after the initial rotator cuff surgery and then two days after the MUA.  I know I should have taken off more days, but you know how it goes.... not enough PTO means taking your sick butt back to work.

      I followed the advice of some other posters and purchased magnesium pills once daily and also spraying my arm with magnesium oil.  They have taken some of the "edge" off my pain.  Yesterday during my follow-up visit, my doctor suggested a cortisone shot to help alleviate some of the "stress" my arm is enduring at this time.  He told me I will be sore for about a week and then once the pain subsides, we will ramp up PT again.  This journey has been hell so far.... I hope your health is improving daily.

    • Posted

      Ohh.. I saw my sport doctor today and he says not to do any exercise for a while as it is Frozen shoulder. He strongly believes that it will come out good after a while. So, basically I am not doing anything. Just let it relaxe. Because I have got only shoulder blade moving which has caused my back pain, neck pain as well as pain in back of my head. PT said it is post operative frozen shoulder so i can continue exercising but didn't help. Now i just stop doing everything and hoping it comes out good as Dr said. Seeing different OS in couple of weeks time as well. It's been hell of days since I had surgery. Not sure when will I be able to get back to Kitchen. Thanks smile

    • Posted

      I also had surgery in early March for full tear of rotator cuff and biceps tendonisis. So at 4 1/2 months my ROM is not what surgeon and PT think it should be - lots of shoulder stiffness also.  standing, I can only lift my arm up 110 degrees.  Dr. now wants to do MUA next week. Yours is first post I've found with MUA done at this point.  I feel like I'm not making progress anymore and should have the surgery.  But there is a possibility Dr. will have to do arthroscopic surgery again if MUA isn't possible.  So I'm curious how you're doing now and if yours was just a manipulation or actual arthroscopic surgery to clean out scar tissue.

    • Posted

      Surgery again ? This is my 6 months post op and my ROM is barely 90 degree. I got told that I have acromnio type2 which has tightened the joint. I got crotisone shot last month and it has helped to control the pain. Dr said not to do any exercises and stretching so I have stopped Physio as well. He didn't mention about MUA but was pretty confident that it will go away and I start my exercises. Basically, now I am sitting back at the chair and wishing, everything will turn out the best !!!

    • Posted

      Hi Peachy174 - I am now a month and 5 days since my MUA - I feel sssssooooooo much better, and I had just manipulation! The first 2 weeks were absolute HELL! I was in more pain than from my original surgery in March.  At this point my shoulder isn't giving me any issues or discomfort.  Now all of my discomfort is in my biceps, and is affecting my progress.  THAT being said, I got the best results from investing in thereupetic massage sessions.  To give you an example: I had a session two weeks ago.  She (the therapist) saw that my inner rotation was SHOT! She said regular PT's never treat the trauma, and my body is reacting to just that.  So, she started manipulating my forearm and elbow and she worked on me for about an hour & 15 minutes.  She told me to TRY placing my arm behind my back when I got home.  I said sure.... with sarcasm.  OK, so... I get home and I had to use the restroom.  When I was down, I decided to TRY using that arm to clean myself.

      I could do it!

      I LITERALLY started bawling!!! I broke down in TEARS! I called my guy and he thought something was seriously wrong because all he could hear was me crying! When he FINALLY heard me, he heard "I can FINALLY wipe myself with my right arm!!!!" biggrin I haven't been able to do that since the morning of March 6th! I know it sounds crazy... but it's the smallest accomplishments!

      The therapist said my arm will still be slightly swollen for a while and that I will feel discomfort for possibly a few months.  But, I am slowly regaining my strength and I can lift my arm, while standing, about 45 degrees.

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