Workers Comp Shoulder Injury for 1 year & 6 months

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I am desperate. I injured my shoulder at work on April 15th or so of 2015. I am a CNA and was moving a 400+ pound patient up in bed with a soaker pad with one other CNA  and I felt a very sharp pain shoot through my shoulder, so I had to quit and I couldn't finish the task because of the pain.

I just really want any advice or if anybody knows what may be going on...

A week or so after my inury, I got a doctors appt with a dr who just told me it was a pulled muscle and 6 weeks of rest would get me back to normal. I still had to go to work, but was not suppose to use my right arm to lift, move, or pull patients, and I don't know about you, but being a CNA requires you to HAVE to use BOTH arms. So, I tried not to use it as much as possible, but it didn't get better.

The doctor I was visiting had no clue what was wrong and just gave me medication that didn't help, so she sent me to a new doctor. I then got 2 x-rays: 1 of my neck, which ruled out any neck problems, and then an x-ray of my shoulder, which showed nothing wrong with my shoulders bone structure.

It took until Sept. of 1015 to actually get an MRI, which my dr told me that it showed small inflammation, which everyone has "immflamation in their shoulder,"  but the paper that I got that tells my diagnosis said "Myositis and rotator cuff disorder" and my doctor was trying to basically say that I had nothing wrong with it.

My doctor then said that he could give me a cortizone shot because I did physical therapy the entire time during all of this and it didn't do anything. I also was icing frequenty and taking 3 different anti flam/ muscle relaxers and it didn't help. So, I finally worked the courage up to get the shot, and it didn't do anything at all. It gave me no relief, actually it made my shoulder feel very painful and heavy for 3 days straight and then it went back to pain. I got the cortizone shot Oct of 2015.

I am now here in Oct 2016 with nothing else to do. I am going to get a second opinion from 1 more doctor and that's all that I can do. That's all that workers comp will cover for me. If this doctor I see says that nothing is wrong and agrees with my doctor, then I will be left and a check will be written for me 1 time and I will be deemed "partially disabled." I am just wanting to know if anyone else has had this experience and feelings.

My symptoms are:

-pain while sleeping on arm

-pain with rest

-pain on front portion of shoulder that leads all the way down my bicep 

-huge pain with taking off tight shirts and bras

-tingling when laying on arm

-tightness and discomfort and pain in armpit towards the front of the arm

 and there's a lot more but it's hard to describe it.

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    HI...sorry your in pain..I can relate..I hade rotar cuff surgery 12 days ago..I had fractured my back..spinal fusion..4 yrs ago...neck done last year...I lifted my dog into my car in July as he didn't want to leave the dog park..he is only 60 lbs..I felt the shoulder pain like you described..after a week my PCP gave me the taper down pregnizone..helped some...well my 2 year old grandson was having a bad day and yes I lifted him..boom again the pain..another round of pregnizone..nothing...right arm..same symptoms you have..PT...2 cortizone shots ..no relief...hand started to go numb and get ice cold....couldnt use arm hardly at all..x ray showed nothing..MRI ..like you...I fought to get it..showed a few small things..nothing he said that should have pain like I had...i also am on pain meds as needed for my spine issues...since I tried everything he scheduled out patient arthscopic surgery..he said to clean the arthritis and bursitus..so I go...get a nerve block in neck..that was the worst..twilight anestesia..I heard drills..but nothing more..I had all these rips..pinched nerves..3 bone spurs..just aton of stuff..he said I would have 2 little cuts in the upper shoulder...I have 6 ...2 up top...2 going more in the back of my shoulder..and 2 in the side above my bicept..the worst was the nerve block kept me numb 12 hours...awful feeling..since then a sling..anti inflamatories and pain meds..today at post op check..hebremoved stitches and said a few months longer if I waited.. possibly a shoulder replacement..I still hurt ..nothing like before...he said till Halloween no lifting still use the sling if needed but not always ...PT 6 weeks..follow up then.....you need to get it fixed...find some ortho to listen..I feel like once I heal which could be 6 mths for complete range maybe longer...but as I said the healing pain in nothing like before surgery...good luck..hope this helps you some

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    • Posted

      That's my biggest fear is that when and if I ever do need it surgically fixed, it'll be so bad because I've been forced to wait it out because doctors just don't believe me that I KNOW there's something wrong. I really want them to just go in with a small cam and take a look around, but since it's workers comp, I know they won't because they don't want to spend that kind of money sad I am going to see 1 more doctor to get my very last opinion (workers comp is allowing me to find my own doctor 1 time to see me but the doctor can only see me with costs up to $500 so they can't even do much) and I am hoping the doctor I chose will be able to say that there's for sure something going on since it's been a year and a half with no improvement.  I really hope your recovery works out for you. It sucks so bad not to be able to use my shoulder. I'm only 19 years old and do not want to have to worry about this as an adult. I can't even hold my familys babies without terrible pain within 10 minutes and my shoulder being completely tired... How do they expect me to take care of my own children when I have them? carry their car seat? Or even do daily activities... I can't even vacuum anymore without it hurting! It's so frustrating. I just hope I can find the right doctor.

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  • Posted

    Yes I have all these symptoms and more what did the last doctor say about you ?
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  • Posted

    I am so sorry for your pain. All I can tell you is that the pain you are describing really sounds like what I experienced with my torn rotator cuff. I hope this second doc is an orthopedic doc that has a lot of experience with shoulders. Take any and all records that you can, with you. Be very specific with the description of your pain and make sure he knows that the physical therapy hasn't helped nor the injection. (What did the therapist say? Mine knew that since therapy wasn't working that I had a bigger problem). Please take care. Keep us posted and best wishes for proper treatment and healing.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. I hope it gets better. The sad part is, the doctor i've been seeing is an orthopedic doctor, but I don't think he really cares. I had the office I was seeing fax over all paper work and notes the dr had on my shoulder over to this new office. They haven't called back yet to schedule an appt, so I am hoping that Monday morning I'll get a call! 

      My physical therapist did tell me that it should have been getting better and that she would send in a note to workers comp that physical therapy wasn't working, but she did warn me that they usually don't listen to workers comp.

      Did your rotator cuff tear show up on your MRI? I had my MRI a year and a month ago, but it didn't show anything. I want to get another one because the pain has gotten worse and is constant now. Did you have to get surgery?

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    • Posted

      My MRI showed a bunch of things, but not necessarily what the doc found. A torn labrum among other tendinosis, trnditis, etc., I did have surgery last April. The doc Did not find a torn labrum (or if he did it wasn't fixed, however, I did have a torn supraspinatis tendon. The doc said it was a good thing I didn't wait any longer getting the surgery. (Although they are the ones that dictate that generally). I also had spurs and an acromioplasty. (Due to arthritis in my shoulder which I wasn't aware of, I'm 58). My last PT appt was a week and a half ago, and that's because my insurance literally ran out of benefits for physical therapy. Or else I would have gone a bit longer as there is still some pain, but I am finally working on strengthening exercises. Shoulders can take up to a year to heal depending on the issues, did you know that? So, I'm sorry for what you are experiencing. Good luck with this next visit. Hope your doc will be proactive with your healing, whatever may happen. Keep me posted. God bless!

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    • Posted

      I am sorry that you had so much wrong with your shoulder! I injured mine April 2015 so it's been an entire year and 6 months with no improvement so it makes me extremely nervous. I wish that the doctor would take another MRI or do surgery and go in and check out what's wrong you know? I am praying that tomorrow I get a phone call from this new doctor and hope he'll see me. He's going to look over my paperwork and determine whether he wants to take me in as a patient or not, so I am hoping he'll want to. It sucks though because when he does see me/if he does see me, my workers comp will only cover up to $500 for my appointment so I won't be able to get any real tests done unless my doctor believes I need it, then they'll have to send it into workers comp and they'll have to look both doctors notes over and decide if I should get more testing. I just wish I hadn't ever injured my shoulder. It's terrible having pain like this.

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    • Posted

      Hey guys, update time. I know it's been a long time, but I'm back.

      Well, I got an MR with contrast, and nothing showed up on it at all, except for a little bit of inflammation. My doctor wanted me to do PT for 6 weeks because in the very beginning of my injury, it was helping, but I never got enough PT visits at once. I finished my last PT visit on July 25th and has done 17 more in the following weeks. It didn't help with the pain at all. It actually made me feel a little worse toward the end because they had me doing band exercises with 2 sets of 15 or 30 which made my bicep feel very aggravated and the ball of my shoulder too. They were doing it to strengthen my shoulder, but it definitely didn't help. I did improve on strength and some of my nerves got better, but no help with pain. 

      I just saw my doctor last week and he has decided that he wants to do a diagnostic scope. His newest guess is that I have something wrong with my bicep tendon because my bicep tendon at the top of my shoulder like where the ball is, is SO sore to the top. My PT said it felt like rope when she felt it and it shouldn't feel that way. Anyway, he also thinks it's my bicep because the pain radiates from my outer armpit area(that's where 90% of the pain is most of the time) all the way down my bicep to my elbow. 

      I'm PRAYING workers comp approves this surgery for me. My lawyer is on it, so fingers crossed. As of right now, I'm scheduled to go under the knife on August 24th unless workers comp don't approve it in time or delays or won't approve it and we will have to take em to court again. 

      I am just so tired of being in pain all day and no doctor having an answer as to why it's hurting. I genuinely feel crazy and like it is all in my head because no one knows why and the machines won't show why. I'm hoping this surgery will be the holy grail to my answers. 

      I'll update after my surgery !!

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  • Posted

    Hey I'm having the same problem , but I've been off work since Jan . I've had MRI and MRI arthrogram , 2 injections , PT 10 sessions and nothing showed up??

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  • Posted

    Hi. I'm so sorry for the pain you have been experiencing. I cannot imagine going that long with pain. I certainly hope your doc can find the problem. The surgery is not the problem. It's the recovery that's a bear, but if he can find the problem and repair it, you will be on your way to relief. Recovery takes a long time. Be patient. But, let's see if you have the surgery. Write before so we know. You need to prepare beforehand. Best wishes!

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  • Posted

    I have empathy. I hurt my shoulder 1 year ago at work. I'm now with top notch specialists we got comp insurance to approve after first surgeon did a minor arthroscopic on me in Nov 2016. I had my bicep tendon released, arthritis taken out, and he shaved out areas around my rotator cuff because I have a small tear on the supraspinatus tendon that "didn't need repaired". Fast forward to 10 months post surgery, I'm still not near full range of motion after 20+ total weeks of pt, 4 injections to shoulder joint, false diagnosis from 1st doc of frozen shoulder, more MRI's showing small tear still in rotator tendon, and now a 3rd ortho weighing in. I have the terrible bicep pain still, really bad as well in my rotator cuff. Now add my shoulder blade out of whack and swollen bursas in the back blade which causes pain into my waist and neck. Thsee shoulder problems can be really hard to crack. We just tried a 5th injection now in my shoulder blade on my back in effort to get swelling down and try to reassess. I believe they'll have to go back in and repair my rotator cuff at minimum. Your story sounds somewhat similar to mine, do update us as what your diagnostics arthroscopy turns up! I see my doc again Aug 31. Luckily I have a nurse case manager that was brought in to advise my comp company....she's been a God send getting things moving in my case. You may need that intervention too. Good luck

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  • Posted

    Hello i have had the same problem but i was lifting up a tv at work and i felt a shape pain when to the hospital they told me it was a strain. I got hurt in June of 2017 and it took them tell December to get an mir done. They still are telling me that they see nothing went to physical therapy for like 2 weeks at 3 times a week it made everything worse. Went to a Nero doc because that what we were told to do know we are going to another orthopedic doctor and he is putting me back into physical therapy. My symptoms are i cant move my arm above my head, cant sleep on that sid, my had gets swollen, my arm goes dead like when you get hit really hard in the arm an you cant feel it, my arm goes numb, having problems take my shirt of and evthing. They told me that they cant find anything. I have a shape pain in the front of my shoulder and the said and back of it. And in the back of my arm. They don’t want to do surgery bc they don’t think there is anything wrong.
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    • Posted

      Nicole I definitely feel for you. I finally had a 2nd shoulder surgery in Dec 17. He found no more tears but a bunch of scar tissue. It did nothing to help my continuing progressive pain. It seems I likely have a nerve injury coming out of my neck (maybe the long thoracic nerve). My symptoms are horrible pain from my neck, down through shoulder and into my hand. I have numbness into my last two fingers. I also have terrible pain that goes through my back shoulder blade and wraps into my ribs. I've had a combined 35 weeks of physical therapy, 2 arthroscopic surgeries and 7 injections in past 18 months. I'm now seeing an orthopedic physiatrist (they focus on musculoskeletal, shoulder and hip girdles and nerves). The next move for me will be an MRI of the neck/back. You def should push for further diagnostics. Since mine has been comp, they've tried fighting me but I refuse to back down until this is properly diagnosed. The nerve pain is getting so much worse in past 9 months, I even vomit often from the pain. It's frustrating to feel like you're not being heard. I really empathize. Do not let up, you know your body and something is wrong. Good luck to you

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