Rotator Cuff Question

  1. I think I may have torn my rotator cuff, or it is pretty inflamed, at the least. I have been having trouble with my right shoulder for a year or so, and attributed it to my job (mail delivery/sorting, repetitve action). I fell last night and now cannot lift my arm at all and am in some pretty good pain. I am going for x-rays in the morning.
    My problem is, everything I have read about this kind of injury is not encouraging. I am supposed to start nursing classes this Sept.
    Even for an injury, 6 weeks of treatment and physical therapy are suggested.
    Is it feasible to think this can be resolved/healed before classes start?
    I know, Sept. is a long way off, and I worry too much.
    Guess I am just looking for some kind of positive input.
    Thanks for any help, in advance.
    Last edit by DebsZoo on Mar 12, '03
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   kids
    I don't see why not, you have 5 months+...my best girl friend tore a rotator cuff with a patient...had it repaired by a good sports medicine ortho and was back to work, full duty before she ran out of FMLA (she may represent a best case situation tho).
  4. by   w8liftinglady
    I tore my rotator cuff about 4 years ago,and surgery to repair it.My best advice would be to do it and get i over with,before you lose any more function.Unfortnately muscles atrophy quickly with disuse.The rehab is rough,but if you grit your teeth,you will regain most ,if not all,of your prior function in 6 months.Keep one of those Ice-filled k-pad machines at home,and use it a lot for the first few weeks-it will greatly improve your mobility and ability to sleep.I was competing at my prior level 1 year post-op,so there is hope
  5. by   Chiaramonte
    Last year I dislocated my shoulder by falling forward while hurrying up stairs and holding onto a railing. Also the rotator cuff tore and a spur formed in the same area. The orthopedic MD suggested surgery and when I saw how involved it was going to be with PT and all I decided to go at it myself. I took Bextra for a week which helped with the inflammatory process. I asked for exercises I could perform at home . He showed me an exercise in which you bend at the waist and draw circles in the air with your hanging arm. After a few weeks I was able to do this without pain. 6 months later I have full painless range of motion.
    It's not for everyone but if you're like me and are stubborn enough to try and take of things on your own ...this might be an option.
  6. by   DebsZoo
    Thanks for the input. I suppose my first step has to be getting it checked. Heading to the Dr. now............wish me luck.





    On a side note (trying to find so humor here), I read so often that nurses aren't always so good at taking care of themselves..........do ya think this is a good omen for me
  7. by   future_guru
    I also tore my rotator cuff. I thought it was just a simple musle strain, but the pain got so bad over time I could not function. And I have a very high tolerence for pain -- but this pain felt like someone had ripped my arm off at the shoulder and put it back on. My problem was, then and now, lifting my son who at the time was 1 year old. I found a good ortho. surg. who insisted I first try PT. I went for eight weeks and I had a great physcial therapist (she tried everything in the book). Many of the exercises I now use at home.

    Although PT greatly helped my shoulder, it did not fix it. I'm on my way to the surgeon today to hopefully get a cortizone shot. The next step for me is surgery. But unfortunatly I can't have it anytime soon because I am currently in the LPN program.

    In your case you have enough time to get it repaired and be up and running before your program starts. Good luck.
  8. by   nurse-in-boots
    ouch! I torn my rotator cuff this past summer, (jumping on trampoline w/ kids and fell off... they thought it was funny). Anyway, went got x-rays, then a MRI w/contrast. Doctor wanted to do surgery, one week before I started nursing school.

    Needless to say, we discussed the pros and cons of the surgery. He told me that regardless of if I did it or not, I probley would never have full ROM again.

    I decided against surgery, partially because I didnt want to be in so much pain and meds during class, and secondly because I have small children, and cant see myself not picking them up for 6 weeks.
    My shoulder dont hurt as much now as it did when I first injured it. Took about 3 weeks before I could even lift my arm to wash my hair. I still cant reach behind me to my bra strap.

    Good luck to you. I really do know how much it hurts. keep us informed as to your DX.
  9. by   Heather333
    I had surgery last May on my shoulder secondary to an MVA. I had impingment sydrome where my AC joint was compressing my rotator cuff. Plus I had a bone-spur imbedded in my rotator cuff. I did not have full ROM and had significant weakness in my right arm even though I went through 7 months of PT and rehab. Surgery is a long process and I am still having trouble with my scar.

    Hope all goes well.

    Heather
  10. by   DebsZoo
    The hospital x-rays showed nothing, which I expected. I have been referred to an orthopedic specialist for further tests. My appointment is Friday afternoon. I will let you know what I find out then.
    Thank you all for the replies.
    I did some extensive reading about this before going for x-rays, and that is why I posted. With searching for information, you get just that, facts, not personal experience with a specific injury.
  11. by   moonchild20002000
    I had a torn rotator cuff,inpingement,and spur formation.

    I tried conservative tx for about six months,PT,steroid injections,
    meds.

    I had surgery and four months PT post op.

    I have full range of motion and no pain at all.

    The treatment really depends on the extent of your injury. My advice to you would be to address the problem now before you start school.

    Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
  12. by   DebsZoo
    I am waiting for an appointment for an MRI. The Dr. wants to check for a tear, with no pt right now, until he is sure if there is a tear, and how bad. There is also a spur, but he didn't address that yet. I will ask more once the MRI is done.
    I am SO thankful that my husband's insurance kicked in 2 months ago!
    I was so hoping that this was just a bruise and would be ok after a few days........but I kind of knew better, with the pain and lack of strength in my arm
    LOL, had to smile at the Dr. though, he had a good personality and decided I should try handstands after several requests for me to "do this" with my arm produced nothing
    I'll update as soon as I know anything more.
  13. by   DebsZoo
    MRI was done, and showed a tear. The Dr. said surgery would probably be the best solution, and since I have enough time before classes start in Sept. I will have it done. She said if I were older, she would recommend pt first, but in my situation, pt is not a definite and I could well wind up needing surgery anyway. After discussing it with my husband, we decided to go ahead with it. I am scheduled for April 11th.
    Now just the wait ...........................
  14. by   ratchit
    Originally posted by Heather333
    I had surgery last May on my shoulder secondary to an MVA. I had impingment sydrome where my AC joint was compressing my rotator cuff. Plus I had a bone-spur imbedded in my rotator cuff. I did not have full ROM and had significant weakness in my right arm even though I went through 7 months of PT and rehab. Surgery is a long process and I am still having trouble with my scar.

    Hope all goes well.

    Heather
    I'm very sympathetic!!! Had a lingering shoulder ache for some time, which I foolishly ignored. Then all heck broke loose. 8 months of NSAIDS, 6 months of PT, 4+ months of narcotics, 2 steroid injections, CSpine and shoulder xrays, frozen shoulder- couldn't even lift an empty glass or push a grocery cart. Had to fight to get MRIs done; they insisted on doing CSpine first since I had sensory problems. Major waste of everyones time and money.

    After about 5 months of daily pain, the MRI showed a small RTC tear, a large cyst, bone spurs, a completely inflammed joint capsule and AC joint impingement. I SO badly wanted to show that to the ortho who thought i was faking to get out of work, but I had fired him. <g>

    Finally, we found the right NSAID and the right PT. Amazing what happens when you treat the right problem! My shoulder is at about 80% strength and ROM. I still have to do daily PT exercises and take prescription NSAIDS about 30% of the time, and have been told I have about a 50% chance of reinjuring it.

    I moved into a different area of nursing because of this. People just don't realize how hard nursing is on our bodies.

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