Rotator Cuff

marie26February 25, 2005

I had been having pain in my shoulder and the doctor said it is the rotator cuff. She gave me a prescription for physical therapy. She did not take any x-rays, etc.

Does anyone know anything about rotator cuff problems? I have not yet gone for the physical therapy. My neck is now sore as well.

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How could she know this without x-rays? My DH just had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and 2 ligments. Nothing to fool around with. I would insist that they take x-rays so they know for sure what the problem is.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 1:11PM
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I have had two rotator cuff surgeries on the same arm in the past two years.

Generally a doctor can tell if there is damage by the Range of Motion and strength tests.

Physical therapy is always the first step in the treatment process. Because generally it works. Your rotator cuff is a muscle. The PT will strengthen that muscle.

However if you experience severe pain that ibuprofen and ice will not take away, let your doctor know.

An x-ray is not sufficient in diagnosing tears. An MRI is the best tool for the job.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 9:03AM
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Thank you for your replies. I need to find out if my insurance will cover the physical therapy. Hopefully it will because my shoulder is not getting better on its own.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 12:03AM
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Rotator cuff injuries can take a long time to heal on their own, so be patient. There's really nothing to see on an xray related to it.

Try the p.t. Motrin and hot showers also help to keep it loose.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 12:26PM
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I had a pain in my left arm, years ago, where I was unable to raise my arm above my head without pain. Doctor said I had problems with the rotator cuff, and his options were either surgical, or using Naproxen (similar to Aleve) as an anti-inflammatory. I was on the drug for a while, which did help to relieve most of the pain, so surgery never occured. During the time I had pain, I started some outside landscaping projects which required a lot of shovel work. Amazing as it sounds, this made my arm feel great for the time I was doing the digging, maybe for a couple of weeks. Once I got the job done and stopped being so active, the pain started to return, so I continued with the drugs for a while. The pain I had was never enough to keep me from using the arm, just annoying. After a year or two, the problem cleared up.

The strange thing with this pain, once the left arm cleared up, it appeared in the right arm for a while. It didn't make sense why this pain originally occured. I had read some things about Lyme disease causing joint pains, had the Doc run some tests which were negative.

I'm just glad that I never got desperate to try the surgery since I've heard some horror stories from a friend that had this procedure done. You know, once you have surgery, you can't be un-surgeried, so research your options well.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2005 at 11:34AM
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What molly_clover said. DD#1 a volleyball player has had two shoulder surgeries and lots of physical therapy before and after.. X-Rays were never taken straight to MRI


    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 7:52PM
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They will not get better on their own.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 9:00AM
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I had a rotator cuff injury. I never had X-rays - the doctor was able to tell by observing my range of motion.

I went to physical therapy for about four months, did my exercises several times a day and treated the area with heat and ice, and now it's gone. My doctor told me not to wait so long the next time - the quicker they treat it, the less time it takes to treat.

Most cases of rotator cuff injuries will actually heal on their own - within two years. So definitely try to get the physical therapy.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 11:18PM
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Tore my rotator cuff 1.2cm and my gleniod tissue in a racing accident and my doctor said I need surgery. It has been a month and I have pretty good range of motion and my pain is getting much better. What are the odd of full recovery on my own? I'm 39 years old

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 11:05PM
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My husband had a lot of pain and poor range of motion in his shoulder so he went to an orthopedic specialist, who initially assumed it was a problem with the rotator cuff. He was very surprised when the x-ray revealed virtually no cartilage, and bone spurs everywhere! This led to total shoulder replacement surgery. Three months later, he now has almost no pain and most of the normal range of motion. By the end of this year he should have NO pain and almost all normal range of motion. Physical therapy has been essential in his recovery (not to mention a top-notch surgeon who did a top-notch job).

The surgeon explained that a healthy rotator cuff is essential for the surgery to be a success. Fortunately, his rotator cuff and the surrounding muscles and supporting tissues were all in great shape. Otherwise, he may have been a poor candidate for the surgery, or the surgery would have only limited results. The rotator cuff is a very important muscle that holds the shoulder in place. The PT explained that for that reason, a rotator cuff injury is worse than a fracture of the shoulder.

In other words -- take care of that rotator cuff and get thyself to physical therapy! PT does a world of good, if done consistently and properly. But first, be sure that's actually the source of the pain.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 11:59PM
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hello. im 16 years old and on the wrestling team. about 6-7 weeks ago i starting feeling pain in deltoid muscle area. the pain was minor so i ignored it and thought it would heal on its own. it is still bothering me and it has actually gotten worse, my performance on the mat is 65% of my full potential because of it. on a scale from 1-10 the pain is a 6 and reaches to an 8 on a really bad day. it has gotten to the point where i cannot raise my arm at all without feeling pain. my shoulder cracks and pops when i do raise it and then the pain does not go away for at least 15 minutes. is it a torn rotator cuff or something else? i just competed in a wrestling tournament yesterday and today. and the pain is almost unbearable. i had to go to the pharmacy to get icyhot packs and ace bandages. ibuprofen does not work. what should i do and what do you think i have? any replies would be greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2007 at 11:26PM
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I had a problem with the rotator cuff until I started using a body pillow to lay my arm on when I sleep on my side. I hug the pillow instead of holding my arm close to my chest. I now sleep with a body pillow on both sides so I don't have to drag my pillow with me when I turn over. I still feel discomfort at times, but nothing like it once was. I truly believe I damaged the RC by playing cards for a couple of hours every day sitting at the dining room table. My shoulders were held in an abnormal position. If I had used a card table my arms would have been hanging down like they are supposed to. When I started sitting on a pillow the pain wasn't as severe. I know of one other lady who had the same problem and she played cards. I got a bonus using the pillows, I laid my leg on the pillow and my lower back pain went away. I only had it in the morning when I woke up. I would often have to get up because of the pain.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2007 at 10:29PM
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I had Frozen Shoulder a couple years ago after doing lots of repetitive type work for several weeks. Lost range of motion, severe pain when making short upward movements across the bicep and couldn't put my hand behind my back.
I didn't go to the doctor for several months, just didn't do much moving of the shoulder and it froze up. I ended up having several months of PT which only made it worse. I ended up having a manipulation where they put you to sleep and WRENCH the arm and shoulder to break the adhesions. It helped with vertical movement but not behind the back.

Now two years later the other shoulder is in the same postion and I think it is spreading back to the first. Except this time, I haven't done anything to bring on the problem that I know of. I guess I will be going back to the doctor soon as it seems to be getting worse daily.

My DH saw an article on MSNBC on the internet about frozen shoulder and that it may be hormonal related in women since it is primarly a woman's problem. However it is often diagnosed as Rotator Cuff damage and surgery is done when not necessary. A shot of Cortizone if caugth in the beginning prevents further damage but if it is too far gone, it doesn't help and in the long run the cortizone damages good tissue. I think you can google or do a search and find the article. I am going to take a copy to my doctor when I go.

Right now it hurts like _______ and the thought of doing my excerises hurts too!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 10:44AM
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Rudy, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible! You are having a lot of pain and are unable to perform your sport at your ususal level, so you need to find out what is wrong before you make the injury worse. Hasn't your wrestling coach told you to see a doctor?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 12:43PM
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i told my coach, but he doesnt care. all he cares is that i wrestle for him and the school. and i'm scared of telling him i dont want to wrestle to let my arm heal cause then im afraid ill look like a coward in front of him and the team, especially with only a month or 2 left in the season.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 6:02PM
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It's tough to stand up to grown-ups. Do you have parents who could help with this?

You won't look like a coward at all. The top athletes in the world get hurt and have to stay out of the game for a while, like David Beckham recently in soccer.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 7:35PM
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thanks socks :) my dad said he would help me talk with the coach. youve been such a big help! :D thank you thank you thank you!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 12:24AM
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Good for you!!! I hope you can see a doctor if it does not seem to be improving soon.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 4:02PM
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I had the MRI, the months and months of physical therapy. Nothing was working, so. . . I had cortisone injections. One in each shoulder (not at the same time however). Best thing that I have ever had done. I have absoutely no pain in either shoulder, and it's been maybe 1.5 yrs. I can actually reach behind my back and unhook my bra. That's something I had given up ever being able to do again.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 7:53PM
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What did they diagnose your problem as Zoewolf? I have tried to stay away from the shots as they say in the long run they do more damage than good but I know people get alot of relief from them.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 9:29PM
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I fell of my bicycle 2.5 yrs. ago and broke my elbow and tore my rotator cuff. Initially I was more concerned about my elbow (I had broken it before and the pain is probably an 8 on a scale of 1-10). However, when my elbow was healing I noticed that my shoulder was not.

The official diagnosis was torn rotator cuff/frozen shoulder syndrom. My Physical Therapist said "What - You don't show any signs of frozen shoulder syndrom" and yes, it did seem to transfer over to the other shoulder within probably 6 months.

In the 2.5 yrs., I have had two injections in my left shoulder and one injection in my right one. I have been pain free for 1.5 yrs. now., and have regained all of my mobility. It's truly amazing, as I had begun to think that I would have to live the rest of my life like that. Bummer, for sure.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 6:45PM
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Just saw the Orthopedic doctor yesterday and my left shoulder is frozen. I will have the Manipulation done on it March 4th. I had the right one done in '05 and have good movement with it. He said it occassionally happend to both shoulders in some people but not most. I have about 40% range of motion with the ball and socket. he says that is why my neck is bothering me that when I lift my arm upa above that I use my neck and back muscles instead of the shoulder muscles. I will be glad to have it done. PT hurts afterwards but you only have to have it a few times, just to make sure it doesn't adhere back together right after the procedure.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 3:18PM
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There is some good advice here, especially to young Rudy. If you have a rotator cuff injury it's very important to rest it and get medical advice before doing anything else. I had an injury for a long time and eventually it was exercises and stretching that helped alot but it's critical to make sure you're doing the right exercises in the correct manner as otherwise you can make things alot worse - especially if overuse was what helped cause the injury in the first place.

Those that found cortisone helpful were lucky - it did nothing for me and I've heard it can have some negative side effects too.

If anyone would like to find out more about which exercises can help and how to do them I've included a link. Just make sure you see your Doc before you start the exercises!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rotator Cuff Exercises

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:16AM
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Ive had pain in my right shoulder for about 2.5 years now. It started when i was at volleyball practice in eighth grade. I hit the ball wrong and heard a loud crack. It hurt to move so i went to the doctor for it. The doctor told me that i had sprained my rotator cuff. I was out for a week or two and then started playing again. Since then my shoulder has been on and off hurting. Its kept me from serving well and hitting hard. It was doing alot better this summer but as my highschool volleyball season starts, its hurting again. (it hurts to move it up and cracks when i give it full range of motion. Is it torn? Should i go to the doctor? Help please!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 2:39AM
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When I first started having pain in the RC area I thought about it a lot. It first came on after months of sitting at the dining room table playing cards a couple of hours every day with my husband. I realized that my arms were being continuously pushed upward and caused pressure on my RC. I started sitting on a pillow which made me higher and my arms were allowed to hang in a normal position. The pain went away. If we had played at a card table the problem would not have happened. All the chairs we have in our homes put our shoulders in that position. It may take years to bother us but it will eventually.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 3:13PM
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