My Life in a Sling! – Rotator Cuff Surgery

Update: See my note about personal journaling and how it’s been valuable to me. If you’re heading to surgery, think about how you’re going to capture your feelings afterwards!

Two weeks ago, I had surgery on the rotator cuff in my right shoulder. A few months ago, I took a nasty fall in the dark and managed to do some serious damage to a couple of tendons in my shoulder. Apparently, they were in rough shape to begin with and, according to the Doc, the fall just finished them off.

After learning more than I ever cared to about shoulder surgery (and surgeons), I finally went under the knife two weeks ago. It was an outpatient process – I showed up for the prep at 9:30 AM, the surgery began about noon, and I was waking up in recovery about 2:30 PM that afternoon – shortly to head home.

The worst pain of the whole experience was definitely in recovery – as I was learning to grapple with what hurt. After that, the pain abated – within a few days it was gone completely – replacing the dull ache pre-surgery. For the first 72 hours after the surgery, I used an ice machine while awake to help with the healing. It was a painless affair – not even feeling cold in the shoulder.

Scott Loftesness - Rotator Cuff Surgery SlingLearning to live my new life with my right arm in a sling is the rest of the story so far. I shed the sling 2-3 times each day to do the “elephant trunk” passive therapy exercise – designed to help ensure the joint remains flexible. I also am able to shower without the sling – but all of the rest of the day (and night!) are spent with my arm in the sling. No driving, rough sleeping – I’ve got a whole new appreciation for what arms are for! Fortunately, I’m able to use my right hand to type even when the arm is in the sling – so my computer work has not been impacted at all.

My sling needs to stay on for another four weeks – it’s scheduled to end on Dec. 7. Between now and then, learning how to best sleep (Tylenol PM seems to help a lot!) remains most challenging. I used to prefer sleeping on my right shoulder – the one that had the surgery – so I’ve had to learn to sleep on the other side. Sleeping on my back, the only other option, is just not comfortable for me.

By the way, my surgeon was Dr. Colin Eakin at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. As I learned and appreciated (!), he’s extremely skilled at this kind of arthroscopic surgery!

One more thing. It’s fascinating how when something like this happens to you that you learn just how many other people have been through the same experience! Have you had rotator cuff surgery?

1,102 thoughts on “My Life in a Sling! – Rotator Cuff Surgery

    1. Rick Beauchamp

      HAVE HAD 4 ROTOR CUFF PROCEDURES-3 ON RIGHT 2 SCOPE 1 OPEN- HAVE FULL MOTION-SLEEPING ON RECLINER- PILLOW UNDER AND ON SIDE OF SHOULDER ALSO KEEP SLING HIGH ! AT LEAST 90 DEGREE ANGLE YOUR HAND CLOSE OR ABOVE HEART RELIEVES STRESS- WHEN TRYING TO SLEEP -ALSO NO PAIN MEDS —-AFTER 7 PM— TRY PM OVER COUNTER OR NYQUIL- ALSO FOR MOTION BEST THING FOR ME —TRY A HEATED POOL OR JACUZZI WORKS WONDERS 55 YEAR OLD MALE- GOD BLESS

      Reply
  1. Janet A Zupko

    I am scheduled for surgery on March 29th. Just wondering if you were able to manage taking the sling off and on by yourself. Since I live alone, I am nervous about that aspect of the surgery/recovery. Do you think I will need assistance to bathe/get dressed/etc.? Good luck with your recovery.

    Reply
    1. Kelly

      I had mine done dec 20 and for the first week i would recommend help with bathing and dressing it after that its not to bad except for having 5 kids lol lots of luck to you! Kelly

      Reply
      1. Lynda

        I had mine on March 29th, so you and I must be at about the same place right now. I am back to work, though not by choice (I have no benefits).

        I’m pretty sore, and afraid to remove the sling because of resulting pain, but I do it. I talk myself through my shower and dressing every morning, and am very very careful.

        Oddly, I’m sleeping well, curled on my other side with sore shoulder and sling propped on top of me. The pendulum exercises and arm raises are trying, but I know themore I do, the stronger I will be, themore thepain will lessen.

        Good luck, and stay strong.

        L

        Reply
        1. Nalin W

          Hi, I had mine 5 days ago. Mine was a complete tear of rotator cuff and was displaced about a inch from where it should be connected to bone. I am surprisingly doing well. I have very little pain and my sutures have healed well and had a full shower today and washing the surgery site with soap. I am however leery of undoing the repair and trying to wear the sling all the time. I am sleeping well also. I am down to about one or two pain pills a day, and probably don’t need any, but taking some just because I have them. I could have gone to work yesterday if I had to, but am staying home because when I get back it will be back to the grind. I am feeling a little guilty staying at home and watching TV all the time, when I can go back to work :(

          I had my first PT and did the pendulum thing. I saw my doc today as well. She was surprised how little pain I have. She however wanted to me to take it easy and use the cast all the time. The sling is bulky and looks awkward :(. This is the one down side to the surgery :(. I wish I could get back to hiking and other activities.

          Anyway, I am a 45 years old male, and this surgery has been really a breeze given it was arthroscopic surgery. I have had 4 back surgeries (two L5-S1 fusions) and three knee surgeries (ACL reconstruction) and now the rotator cuff surgery. Pain-wise this surgery has been night and day compared to the back surgeries. I think my doc did an awesome job where the post surgery pain has been minimal. The PT person said most other patients experience a lot of pain like mentioned in some of the posts here. So I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I hope my recovery will be as good as the surgery experience.

          Good luck to all the folks having the same surgery. Don’t worry about the post surgery pain, just do the surgery and get your arm back to how it was.

          -Nalin

          Reply
          1. BK Jackson

            Glad it’s been smooth so far, Nalin. So your PT and doc are believers in the start PT early thing. As mine have been. So I’d be curious–if you happen to think of it at the time, I’d love to hear a report of how you’re doing between weeks 4-8, since that’s the time I found most difficult of the whole shebang (I’m 11 weeks post op today).

          2. Nalin W

            Hi BK,

            Thanks. Yes, I will let you know how I’m doing in 4-8 weeks time. That is when I get rid of the sling. Yes, the PT was on the 4th day after surgery. Given your comments I suspect I will also have harder times coming. The doc said that the pain will go back up in the coming weeks and then go back down finally. I guess the pain is related to the PT exercises. I am sure they will give PT exercises which will make it inflamed and painful in the coming days. In fact the doc said I will have to do refill of the pain meds. I was not sure this is needed. In any case we will find out in the coming weeks.

            -Nalin

          3. Demetra Dunlop

            Hooray for sleep! The hideous, never ending insomnia finally stopped at some point last week. I can also sleep lying on the operated side for a while (something I thought would NEVER happen, even before the surgery, due to the pain on that side). I am grateful for the healing power of the body!

          4. Demetra Dunlop

            Nalin – Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones! I honestly think that each surgery is different because each injury is different. So many factors to take into account, besides just age, gender, health level, etc. If you waited a year to get the surgery, like I did, the torn tendons may shrink to the point that they have to be stretched to the limit to be reattached to the bone. If you had a lot of old scar tissue and the surgeon decides to debride it all, you may be in a lot more pain than the person with relatively little scar tissue. I know my surgeon ended up removing even more scar tissue during my second surgery, and the internal workings of my shoulder were already inflamed and traumatized to begin with. My worst pain was during the 3rd and 4th week after my 2nd surgery (and I was still immobilized with no PT allowed due to complications with one of the screws getting pulled back out of the bone after the 1st surgery). After the 4th week and finally starting PT, I am actually in much LESS pain. I also think that it is a huge bonus that you are sleeping well so soon in the recovery process. I had wicked insomnia for about 7.5 weeks which was so debilitating and negatively affected every aspect of my life. If you have little pain and are sleeping well only 5 days out, I have a feeling you will do great during PT and recovery :D

          5. Nalin W

            Hi Demetra,

            Yes, you are probably right, The doc did tell me to do the surgery within 2 months of the injury or I will have complications, making surgery harder. I did my surgery within a month of the injury. You are right about each injury being unique. I guess pain is also relative. I can handle a lot of pain usually. In any case glad you are doing well yourself after the second surgery. I hope this is my first and the last surgery on my shoulder.

          6. Nalin W

            Ok, here’s my two week update. It was exactly two weeks ago I had my surgery. I am doing fine so far. I went for PT yesterday and got some good stretch exercises done. I am mostly pain free right now. I am back at work and typing away, given I’m on the computer all the time. I do get sharp pains in my shoulder occasionally, but is not a big deal.

            I am really stressed out about wearing this sling at work and walking around. I feel I am cheating all the folks with the sling on. People look at me like I’m really messed up, which I’m NOT. So to get around it I stay in my office as much as possible and try not to venture out. I even keep the door partially closed so folks don’t see me with my sling on.

            I don’t think I’ve recovered by any means. I do feel a lot of weakness in the hand. If anything, the only issue I have is my neck is very stiff and I have some neck pain. I do mess with my neck all the time, twisting/bending it till I hear a cracking sound. I am down to about one pain pill a day now. I am eager to get back to slowly working out. I did a hike last week of about 7 miles round trip (mostly flat terrain). Would have gone for a lot more if not for it getting dark. One guy joked saying “one hand hiking… eh?”. the upcoming weekend I can see myself going on a longer hike. I do all this with my sling on.

            Can’t wait to get back to normal, hopefully within a month or so.

            -Nalin

          7. BK Jackson

            Glad to hear it’s going so well. Interesting thing is, before I had the surgery or immediately after, I’d read lots of input from people who’d had problems with their neck with having to wear the sling. That’s the one problem I had very little of. Go figure.

          8. Jim

            I’ve had terrible trouble with my neck because of the damn sling and only now (9 weeks) is it slightly better!

          9. Nalin W

            Here’s my 5 week update. It was exactly 5 weeks ago I had my surgery. A week ago exactly I shed the sling. I have been careful with my hand since. But, want to get to a normal routine so that I will have less stiffness. I was doing really well, no pain, pretty good flexibility. But, around the 30th day after surgery I ended up sleeping on my operated shoulder overnight. In the morning I was really feeling sore and I felt I had regressed and might have undone the surgery. I was having pain down the hand and then also a lot of neck pain and shoulder pain (probably like a week after the surgery). I was so freaked out and just took it easy. It took about 2-3 days to slowly get back to the way I was before.

            I talked to my PT person and she said it definitely will do that if you sleep on your shoulder after 30 days of surgery and other patients can’t even sleep 5 minutes they wake up in pain and have to turn around. Anyway, I was kind of worried initially. I saw my doc also around 33 days after surgery and asked her if I had undone the surgery. She said absolutely NOT and it was doing fine. Phew.. big relief … Anyway, I’ve getting used to the life without a sling and it is good so far.

            I asked my doctor about going out hiking, camping, backpacking :). She said it is too early for that and if I fall I will undo the surgery. I’m actually going camping this weekend. A friend was supposed to come with me, but he chickened out with the weather turning cold. Anyway, will see how it goes and decide if I’m going or not later. Life has to go on and I also have to do what I have to do….

          10. Vanessa

            Almost 7 years ago, I fell on the ice and shattered my right elbow. Had surgery; radial head removed, screw placed into elbow joint (?) Went through 4 months of rehab. Regained full motion. Only went through one ” season change” where my elbow hurt. Then 6 years later, at the same time that I was dealing with a bulging disk, of which wasn’t diagnosed for 2 excruciating weeks. An xray of my right arm showed that the prosthesis had dislodged from the reconstructive site, whereby causing numbness/sharp/dull/throbbing pain. In October of 2012, I underwent surgery to remove the prosthesis. Surgery was a success and I never had one moment of pain :)

            In January of 2013, once again I fell on the ice, and again landing smack dab on my right elbow. I knew the moment I hit that I had fractured my elbow again. Immediately, I went to the ER and after xrays was told nothing was fractured but my elbow was very banged up; internal bleeding, swelling, fluid retention, and bruising. Actually, I was told I would have been better off had I fractured my elbow, that my injuries would take quite some time to heal. Went to my Orthopedic Surgeon the next day with the xrays and my surgeon confirmed what the ER diagnosed. He placed my in a splint and sling for good measure and to return for follow up in 30 days. Follow up xrays actually confirmed that I did in fact have a fracture…a Corinoid fracture. Was placed in a cast for 4 weeks. Follow up visit showed slight improvement and was put back in a splint for 30 days. Follow up visit xrays this time actually showed no improvement at all since the very beginning…placed in another cast for 6 weeks this time. This went on and on because the surgeon did not want to resort to surgery, which by the way is pretty much a given with a Corinoid fracture, no matter how big or small. Bottom line…surgeon concluded that the reason for no improvement was because I basically had no stability left in my elbow…surgery was eminent. Surgery lasted approximately 2.5 hours and the surgeon this type of surgery was a “bear” compared to when I shattered my elbow, plus I’ve ended up with possible permanent nerve damage in my pinky finger, entire side of hand, and elbow (I was warned of this risk before surgery). My occupation is a Cosmetologist and throughout this whole ordeal I have only missed work for 1 week for each surgery. I’m sure my type of work has not help this lack of healing.

            I’d love to say there is a happy ending to this…unfortunately not. For the past 4 weeks, I have had to work alone due to a serious injury to my manager. After the 1st week of working alone (double-duty) I woke up and not had extreme pain in my right arm, which to this day is still in a splint since surgery…now I am unable to move my left arm. I made it a point to do nothing by veg the entire weekend. Upon getting into the shower I saw a 4″ diameter black/blue bruise. Went back to my surgeon who ordered an MRI even though he thought I probably just sprained a ligament. Received a call from my surgeon last Wednesday stating that I had torn the rotator cuff and it was an inch away from the bone, so I assume that means a complete tear? I didn’t think to ask him…I guess because I was in shock. I guess by now you have concluded that this has not been a good year for me!

            Because of my job, I cannot have the surgery until December 23rd. I take advil and a muscle relaxer in the morning, which helps a little, but by 2:00 p.m. the pain becomes pretty intense and I’m not sleeping well at all because now I have BOTH arms not in such good working order. The surgeon has stated that after surgery, I should be able to return to work within 1-2 weeks, and I will be limited to manicures/pedicures only because I will not be able to raise my arm.

            I’m sorry this “comment” turned into a “novel”…just thought it would be helpful to give complete insight on what I am and have been dealing with. If anyone is still awake after reading this, I would appreciate any and all info regarding the surgery (it’s going to be outpatient) recoup time, rehab time, and any other suggestions how to survive this along with my other “bumb” arm.

            Thank you so much for reading my life story :)

          11. Nalin W

            Hi Vanessa,

            Sounds like you’ve been through it all. Sorry to hear that you are having such a bad year. But on the bright side the RC surgery is probably going to be a lot easier than your other surgeries. But, the full recovery time seems more with shoulder getting stiff. With a full RC tear the hand felt like it was hanging without any support. It felt like the hand was displaced about half inch. That feeling is not there anymore with the surgery. I feel great. So I think you will appreciate the surgery after it is done and you recover.

            Good luck. I’m sure you will be fine. Also, from your description of your earlier surgeries you sound like you are warrior and good at coping with surgery and the pain that comes with it. Good luck with your surgery and keep us updated on your progress.

            Regards,
            Nalin

          12. Duke

            I have a Massive Rotator Cuff Tear and I see some of you have had the same thing happen to You, my big problem is which Doctor to choose, anyone want to recommend theirs?? I live in the Red Bluff Area,
            Thanks,
            Duke

      2. Dudley Murphy

        Hi, you are a bit ahead of me in the recovery process so I’m interested in how the progress is going forward. I’m still sleeping in a chair and that has been fine as I’m at the 5 week mark. I’m doing PT 2-3 times per week and 3-4 times a day while at home. My issues is the more I do the PT drills the more pain I introduce. I’m not taking any pain killers of any kind and I’m confident this will all turn out well in the long run.

        How are you doing,any advice or guidance?

        Reply
  2. Scott Loftesness

    Janet,
    Yes, I was able to manage taking the sling on and off – although it’s tricky! Hard to describe – but you’ll figure it out. Hardest part is getting it back on.
    My recovery has been progressing just great – I couldn’t be happier. Good luck with your surgery and recover!
    Best,
    Scott

    Reply
    1. bette fredrickson

      i had my surgery 5 days ago and would love to straighten my elbow, use a wash cloth but cannot move out of the sling without great pain.
      i live alone and the sling fastens in the back? any ideas?

      Reply
      1. George R from Sag Harbor

        Dear Bette

        Don’t do anything alone, ask your doctor when you can do pendulum movements and have someone show you. Ask questions, write them down as you think of them. Take your pain meds. I am 22 days out and the first week was the worst, it gets better. It is important to follow directions and be patient, you don’t want ton do this twice! Get friends to come over.

        Praying for you!
        George

        Reply
  3. Mary

    Scott,
    I have been told I need rotator cuff surgery. I’m still trying to figure out if I want to go ahead or wait. Did the surgery work for you? Are you happy with the way things went? My doctor says not to wait more than 18 months. I’m trying to figure it out if it would be better to have it done in the summer or winter. I live in desert country. Temps this week above 100 degrees. I would appreciate any wisdom you could give me. Thanks, Mary

    Reply
    1. todd

      mary – i had shoulder surgery 12 days ago. do it, don’t put it off! i found this site three days before my surgery and almost postponed it because of how many people post with a negative experience. it was freaking me out. but time moves fast in life. i thought about how happy i’ll be this summer that i took care of it at the end of winter. yes, there is pain but if you use a mobilizer instead of a sling, it will hold your shoulder in the proper position. once you train yourself to keep it from moving there is a lot fewer bouts with pain.
      i had some fears about lack of sleep but i have averaged four to six hours straight before pain wakes me up. i take some over the counter meds, stay up for an hour or two, and go back to sleep for three or four more hours. i have always been good about creating a thought in mt mind of a peaceful place that i’d like to be sleeping in then think about it until i am at peace and go to sleep.
      i tend to always find the good in whatever my circumstance, so i think about people that are missing limbs yet live very full lives. this will pass. i should be able to find ways to take care of myself and make it through this temporary hardship.
      you can do this. prep your mind for it. think about the end result….and believe that regardless of the situation, find something good and positive to do with your time. this will take your mind off the negatives.

      Reply
      1. Dudley Murphy

        I’m at the six week mark and making solid progress. I had a couple of screws inserted and all of the stitches that go with it. I have not been taking any meds so I endure the constant dull pain.

        I’ve been in rehab constantly since surgery. 2-3 times per week and 3-4 times per day at home. The rehab adds lots of pain to the process so I’m constantly adding ice packs. I’m sleeping in recliner still as it provides the greatest relief and do get a reasonable nights sleep. Based on all of the reading on this process it sounds like a very long road.

        I have a motorized chair at home that stretches the arm as part of the process. This is a real blessing as I can mark and measure progress as I gain greater flexibility. However, these workouts create new bouts of pain to be dealt with. It does seem that every day it gets a wee bit better. I’m told by other golfers this can be a six month process.

        While I live in Ga where the weather has been very nice of late, today is cold and wet and my shoulder ache’s like crazy.

        I’m optimistic that all of this will pass and every day will be a better one……..just don’t screw up the recovery.

        My reward for showing progress is to allow myself to do some one handed putting.

        Good luck, Dudley Murphy

        Reply
      2. Colleen

        Hi Todd,

        Thanks for the positive outlook. How is your recovery to date?
        My surgery is scheduled for June 18th – moved up from January 2014. I couldn’t be happier.
        I live alone and new to my community so I’m reaching out for assistance and filling my freezer with great food.
        I will treat this as a vacation and look forward to some time off this summer.
        I look forward to resuming my passions – skiing, golf and yoga….all in time.
        All the best.
        Colleen

        Reply
      3. Colleen

        Good morning, Todd
        Not sure if my original email went through.
        Thank you for your words of encouragement. It truly is the power of positive thought that gets us through the most difficult situations.
        How is your recovery to date?
        I will have arthroscopic surgery on my right shoulder on June 18th. The surgery was moved up from January 2014 so I am thrilled to go through this during the summer months. I live in Central Ontario Canada.
        I live alone and I’m in a new city at a new job so I’m enlisting all the assistance I can. I’ve discovered how eager people are to help. The local minister has organized food etc for me and I don’t even attend her Church. This injury has opened up so many doors for me and I’ve met people I never would have had the pleasure to know.
        I’m busy getting my little cottage prepared for left handed use and I’ve walked around in a sling for the past two days to figure out my greatest needs. Recovering on the water surrounded by nature and sunshine will definitely keep my spirits high.
        I know the road will be tougher than I think but it isn’t forever and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be fixed and live life to its fullest.
        My goal is to spend my 50th birthday in January 2014 skiing in Italy – I have 7 months….
        Thanks again for seeing the goodness in life.

        Colleen

        Reply
  4. jorge

    I just had it done about 3 weeks back and its terrible.. The sleeping and not being able to move your arm for a full month is no joke..Be mentally prepared for it as i wasnt..

    Reply
  5. Steve

    I’m getting ready to have it done November 10, 2010. My MRI didn’t show a torn rotator cuff but you never know. It did show inflamed rotator cuff, frayed labrum, a bone spur causing an impingement and last but certainly not least, arthritis in my clavicle. I’m not worried about the surgery but I am very concerned about the recovery and rehab.

    Reply
  6. Kim

    I had my left rotator cuff repaired (it was completely torn) bursistis cleaned up & a bone spur removed April 8, 2011. I wore the sling for 5 weeks & now I’m into my 15th week of 3 times a week physical therapy & I’m hoping it will soon be coming to an end even though I still have pain its just a different kind of pain & let me tell you I slept in a recliner for 8 weeks – I’m in bed now but still can’t even lay on my left side because its to pain. I wouldn’t wish this surgery on my enemy!! Good luck to whoever has to have this done – That’s all I can say!!!

    Reply
  7. Phyliss

    I am schduled for rotator cuff surgery next week. After researching the surgery thoroughly, I am beginning to wonder if I should have it. MRI showed one tendon
    “hanging by a thread.” Have dull ache, lifting it certain ways cause sharp pain, but
    I think I can live with this. I am a 66 year old woman with diabetes. Any thoughts
    on whether the benefits warrant this surgery at my age?

    Reply
    1. brad cranshaw

      phyliss,

      2 weeks ago i had a complete tear in my right shoulder repaired (which was hanging by a thread), as well as re-attachment of the bicep tendon which was shredded. i will say this much.. being 35 years old, and having a job working in a warehouse and being a weightlifter for over 15 years (more than likely the reason for the bad shoulder to begin with) i felt having the surgery was the only option for me if i wanted to have some kind of a chance of resuming my life as it was. my job got nearly impossible to do, and i could no longer stay on a weight training routine. i knew what i was getting into and dreaded the recovery..

      so just saying that i would have done without surgery if i wasn’t so active, so how it effects your day to day is something to consider. for me, i could sleep with the injury just fine, but mowing the grass, working on my cars, home repairs, my job, and working out got impossible for me to do, so i did what i felt i had to do. now i’m 2 weeks post op, its been a nightmare, i start PT soon.. still can’t sleep more than 3 or 4 hours a night.. i can’t get comfortable yet. sling comes off in 4 weeks, PT is gonna be tough, doc already worked on ROM a few days ago so i got a taste of that, and it hurts. may return to work in 4 to 6 months, doc says it will take a year to get back to normal, and i still may never be the same again. still, i have no regrets (SO FAR..) , i’m looking to the light at the end of the tunnel, its pretty far out there right now tho.. :)

      Reply
      1. Deborah Shephard

        I just had rotater cuff surgery on February 14,2013.I had several bone spurs.a torn tendona large spur that was cutting into the tendon,a very bad artritis.and joints that needed work.
        I had a pain pump for about 72 hours and one pain Med. After the pump was done.

        I still needed more help with pain. So another pain Med was called in for me and I am alternating them every 3 hours. Should only need to do this for another 72 hours. Hopefully. I find it very hard to take care of personal needs by myself, coming my hair and putting it up in rubber band or clip is impossable. Etc opening things etc. I am glad I have family to help me.

        Reply
        1. Sharon

          Just had my surgery last Friday, feb 15. Pain pump ran out sat, not sun like it should. I have never been in such pain in my whole life. I am not sleeping thru the night, waking up a lot. Started therapy on mon, feb 18. Seems early compared to some on this site. Pt is happy with my reach so far, but after I really have to ice down. Anyone that starts pt, remember to take your pain meds before. I get my stitches out this fri, feb22. I hope to get a refill on pres, hope they don’t give me a problem. I hate this sling, so uncomfortable. Overall, just wish I could get thru this first week and hope to feel better soon! 49 and I really need my late mother and father. She went thru 2 shoulder replacements and 2 knee replacements. I didn’t realize what she went thru. I know she didn’t have rotator cuff surgery but I know she went thru a lot and I wish I could talk to her. Sorry, feeling sorry for myself. Please send me prayers as I sent out to all of you.

          Reply
          1. Suzanne Carlson

            praying sharon 2/18 i went in finally able to sit and update never felt pain like this before, was actually shaking uncontrolably and crying when block wore off after 8 hours. the doc ordered hydromorphone which only made me sick so now I am on oxycodone every 3 hours. ice. making this tolerable. Actually had a pain free hour yesterday morning after taking aspirin. Last night I slept for 2 hours at a shot. Great improvement over 20 minute naps. Wondering if there is such a thing as a comfortable position. Learning what it means to pray without ceasing

    2. Jeanne

      I see you posted this comment a year ago and I’m wondering what you decided and how you are. I am your age and alone and very concerned about the helplessness of being without use of arm during first weeks of recovery.

      Reply
      1. Pam

        I had my shoulder repair done 3 weeks ago for a torn tendon. I am 55 years old and injured mine on the job. I need to
        go back to work as a flight attendant so I didn’t have a choice on the surgery.
        It has been a long three weeks. Make sure you have help at home. My surgery was in my dominant hand so even now I can’t shower by myself. I don’t have the mobility or strength to pour shampoo from the container. Cooking is difficult but manageable and I can now dress myself. The first two weeks I needed help to dress myself. Sleeping is the worst with the sling. I sleep on the couch half the night, then the recliner the rest – usually 3 hrs at a time. I started physical therapy last week and, although it hurts like heck, my range of motion is really improving already. I see a light at the end of the tunnel and I am very glad I did the surgery and hope to be pain free and return to work by next spring. Good luck!

        Reply
          1. Fay

            I you tighten the strap that goes round your chest it takes the weight off the neck one. Just like a pack strap does. I am 8 weeks out now since the op and I am improving daily with movement and capabilities . Still on Panodeine 100mg and Tramidol 50mg (TML)(NZ) 4-6hrly and differs each day I am about to go back to work hopefully in 2 weeks. The pain is still worse at night, my surgeon said this is quite normal and can differ in all people no one is alike.

        1. Sarah crowley

          I have never posted Ina blog before so I’m unclear who this exactly goes out to. I had rotator cuff surgery 5 days ago and I’m writing this from a reclining chair (can’t sleep on my back yet ) … Off the pain meds , they were great for the first 48 hours but after that they made me sick, looking forward to being able to sleep through the night! It is very helpful to read other people’s experiences, thank you!

          Reply
          1. Sharon

            How are u now? I had my surgery last Friday, I am miserable. Hoping ever day is better. Started pt on Monday, went yesterday and have one scheduled tomorrow. That should be all this week. Stitches come out Friday, not looking forward to that. You are a couple days ahead of me, please tell me it gets better. Sharon

    3. Mike Mcloughlin

      Phyliss, i would be very afraid of dislocation or nerve problems if it’s only “hanging on by a thread”. I’m 65 and had surgery Dec. 5th. Mine was a “massive” tear. Not to scare you but this was 4x harder than I thought it would be. I had poor support from my kaiser Dr. and for about 3 weeks I was only sleeping 3 to 4 hours in 24. It hurt very badly all the time except during the 1st couple hours of oxycodone. For a while I was taking 12) 5 mg. in 24 hours. I got very crazy from the pain and sleep loss. I wasn’t going to hurt myself or anything like that but I couldn’t complete a suduko, read a paragraph or reply to e-mail. I had a wonderful wife at home in the evenings to help. I was just very dis-functional. Putting shoes and sock on before undies, working from 4 Christmas lists, tipping $72. on a $32. tab. Who knows what else. I strictly followed the Dr’s advice, he was worthless but the nurses helped a lot. I basically had to sit up on the couch all night as there wasn’t any position that didn’t really pulse and hurt after about 10 minutes. So why the horror story, I’m now having great progress, just a small ache sometimes and I actually like my therapy exercises. Now I’m glad I did this and believe I’ll be 100% soon. Most importantly, I have talked to and read about very many people who breezed through this. I hope your one of them. Get well!

      Reply
  8. Jodee

    Feeling your pain. 7 days post op left shoulder. Miss sleeping on that side. The recliner is my friend. Pain meds made me very sick I was glad to get off them. Still a headache and not feeling all there yet. My bandage was too thick and I could not get shoulder iced for first 48 :(. Better now with it off. I get my stitches out tomorrow, not sure if that is good or bad. Met lots who have survived this most say be sure to do PT as directed is important. Take care and feel free to email if you want to commiserate. Jodee.Rowe@yahoo.com

    Reply
  9. Joe McCagherty

    Scott/All,

    It’s 3:21 am, January 2, 2012 in NYC and have yet to get a wink of sleep tonight. I had rotator cuff surgery December 29th – the first night after surgery was horrendous. Before the pain block in my arm (left shoulder btw) subsided I was taking the suggested two Percocet every four hours – the pain won. The Percocet was no match for the pain I endured that evening/night. That morning I requested Vicodin – I preceded to take the one Vicodin every 6 hours with better results – after three pills and one trippy reaction I though at least during he day I could abstain from the the pain pills all together – and taking more infrequent 1/2 Vicoden at night. This is my fourth night and the pain I can somewhat live with without the aid of medication, but this sling/torture apparatus is going to kill me. I give it an average mark during the day, but at night it is a whole different story – my is designed in the front with this buckle the attaches one strap to another and digs right into the center of my chest, which again is some what bearable during the day (with a sock wrapped around it), but at night it’s like this blunt instrument digging into my chest all night. The back of the sling has this very large pad that is designed to just past your neck (where you really need it) to partway down your back – it should be removable, but it is not and it gouges in your back when you lie on it. Last night was my fourth night after surgery and I tried a Xanax to relax me before bedtime – a stick of gum would have done more. I might try Ambian tomorrow evening, because these sleepless nights are killing me. Thank god I live alone, because this would be a relationship killer. Any advice would be greatly appreciated…

    Joe

    Reply
    1. Mark Schaefer

      Hi Joe, I hope you are doing better. I have to tell you I was literally on the Gurney this morning with the anesthesiologist ready to go and the surgeon there by my side to do my rotator cuff repair when I said “I can’t go through with this” . I had been having second thoughts and the anxiety got the best of me at the very last second. I’m not sure if your post helped me or not because in a few months you might be saying I’m glad I went through with it and I’ll still be feeling my aches and pains. The truth is I really feared screwing it up again somewhere down the line because I have no patience and to be honest I really had no idea exactly what the recovery process would be until about three weeks ago although I knew it might be long. My other shoulder started bothering me not to long ago and I have a strong feeling putting the complete burden on my free arm would blow it out as well and then I’d be stuck with no arms .
      I just found this site and not sure it would have helped or not although reading yours would have definitely not helped matters much because I know I would going through exactly what you are and maybe worse because my back is a mess too not to mention my neck etc etc..
      anyway check in because it might help both of us seeing as I will be on a roller coaster on and off with regret or relief.

      Reply
    2. Mike Mcloughlin

      I was so discombobulated from the lack of sleep, drugs and pain that I went 2 weeks with a buckle right in the middle of my clavicle. It hurt even if I wasn’t lying on it. I finally got in the ball park enough to simply change some straps and buckles so they didn’t grind into me. One $.75 plastic buckle did it. I wish you the best. I hope the idiot who devised this has to wear one on each arm until hell freezes over.

      Reply
  10. KP

    I had rotator cuff surgery in May 2010 for a full-thickness u-shaped tear with retraction. I ended up with five anchors. The recovery is tough, for sure, and slower than I expected. I will say that what helped me most both with physical pain and mood was movement. Exercise. Get up and walk. Ride a spin bike. I found that getting the blood moving was the best medicine. Now 19 months out, I am very glad that I had the surgery.

    Reply
    1. Penny Wisser

      Surgery in three weeks. Really glad I scrolled through these posts long enough to read yours. Do you run? If so, when were you able to run post op? Briskly walk?

      Reply
      1. Scott Loftesness Post author

        Penny,

        Good luck with your surgery! You’ll get through it just fine, I’m sure.

        I’m no runner – but I do enjoy walking – and walking for me wasn’t a problem beginning a week or so after surgery. You certainly need to be careful – about tripping/falling and catching yourself.

        My doc drilled into my head that I just could not afford to fall. I just couldn’t let that happen – he said! So pick your walking courses carefully with that primary consideration in mind!

        Scott

        Reply
      2. Michele

        Hi Penny,

        I’m 54 years old and an avid cyclist, snow/water skier. In fact, it was a nasty bike crash that did my shoulder under. I had surgery 8 days ago and was excited to go for a 2 mile brisk walk today. Felt great! Hope to be on a stationary bike in a couple of months depending on how PT goes. Scott’s advice on being very careful is spot on.

        My experience after surgery:
        - Slept on recliner first 3 nights.
        - Ice machine is a must every 2 hours for 20 minutes as recommended by Doctor.
        - Set an alarm to keep up with pain meds. Make sure to eat snack with meds.
        - Was able to shower 3 days after surgery. Bought cheap sling to use in shower.
        - Bought hair dryer stand from Target online $12. Huge help!
        - I was off of pain meds by 4th day but keep in mind everyone is different.
        - Taking 3 Advil once a day now.
        - Will be in sling 4 weeks, which is a necessary evil.
        - I work from home that entails computer work and returned to work 6 days after surgery. Really should have waited one more day.

        I know it’s a long rode to recovery but looking forward to feeling much better and enjoying life pain free . Good luck with your surgery!

        Michele

        Reply
        1. tracye

          Had my surgery for a hole in my tendon and damaged rotator cuff on dec.18, 2012. Horrendous but had to be done. I sleep sitting up. A dull pain/ache after 3 weeks. Pain meds at night. Looking for light at end of tunnel. Can’t sleep with sling. I prop a pillow under my arm and sleep sitting up. Scared to start therapy. Feels like I will never be able to move my arm ever again. Like I said…looking for light at end of tunnel.

          Reply
          1. patti

            nobody has mentioned the cpm chair, when you have a repair (stiches), it is not recommended you start therapy for 3-4 weeks, i started the cpm therapy the next day, i went to a sports medicine dr. where there are about 15 ortho dr. this is what they use, its awesome! it takes the pressure off your muscles so you heal faster and gets you ready for therapy, my surgery was feb. 1 2013, had my other shoulder done 5 years ago, just know more this time, you need to take your arm out of the sling a few times a day right away, the less you move your arm the worst off you will be! by week 2 i only have it on to sleep, or if i leave the house.

        2. Dudley Murphy

          I’ve had the Xrays, shown a bone spur, had the MRI earler in the week. My pain is not terrible, an announce so I wondering if the surgery is worth it. I’m 69, a runner and golfer with no other maladies.

          I’m thinking the IBPropin or other over the counter drugs are a great alternative?

          The rehap soulds long and painful and I wont be able to do the normal stuff.

          I’m in Columbus Ga for what that counts

          Reply
          1. George R From Sag Harbor NY

            Dear Dudley
            We all have to make these choices, this is a great place to get some insight. I am 2 weeks post-op today, for superspiadus repair 1 x 2 cm and bone spur removal. The 2 nights before my surgery I had the most pain since my injury 11 months ago. I knew that night I had made the right choice to have the surgery. I have less pain today doing PT to regain flexability than before the surgery for sure!
            I believe my bone spur was part of the cause for the tear. Ask your Doctor about your tendon’s condition and if the bone spur may cause you more pain over time? You may be better off in the long run getting rid of the Spur now and you recovery will be easier than Spur and Tendon repair. I am 61 and hope to golf next year! Good Luck to you! God Bless Dr. Hubbell ! Ask 2 Doctors

          2. Suzanne Carlson

            Hey Dudley, all I can tell you is that I was living on Ibuprophen for the past few years when my shoulder would flare up. I chalked it up to getting older, but I should have had it looked at. The surgeon told me I only have a 40% success rate now because the Supraspinatus receded over all that time. If I had known 5 years ago, I could have a better outcome, I probably would have done it. Now I will never be able to pull the string to start my weed whacker, lawn mower, etc. Both the first and second opinions I got agreed :-( So I would recommend you talk to the surgeon, get a second opinion, and weigh if it’s worth it or not. Basically, mine will not get better without surgery, it will only get worse, and at this point I can’t even lift a text book without pain. Good luck :-)

          3. Dudley Murphy

            Well, I bit the bullet and had the surgery on 2/26 so I’m 10 days out of surgery and feeling very lucky. The first night was in the hospital where I learned the meds certainly killed the pain but also any sense of balance. I left looking like the town drunk and have not had a pill of any kind sense.

            Like many others I’m in a recliner which is working really well. 3 days after surgery the stitches were removed and I was off to rehab which will go on for an extended period. The exercises for the first 4 weeks are mostly passive with low impact stretching. I also have one of the motorized chairs that raises the arm as a stretching exercise 3-4 times daily. I’ts an awesome recovery tool that I would recommend. The rehab guy’s and gals at St. Francis here in Columbus have an amazing program and I’m fortunate to be a part of it.

            I’m using ice as often as possible and the surgeons really recommend this process. I’m feeling fortunate given the lack of pain in rehab but equally frustrated by the length of the recovery, Looking forward to 70 degrees and being able to get out over the weekend.

            Good luck to everyone, Dudley

        3. Sarah crowley

          Michele, Scott and many others,
          Thank you for the great ideas … Hair dryer Stan’s ? Who knew!!! And I’m feeling very housebound so getting out to walk is a great idea , I’m scared I’ll fall though and do not want to go through this ever again!!!
          Exercise bike sounds like a great idea!
          Thank you very much!

          Reply
        4. Penny

          Hi Michele.
          I found your post to someone named Penny. That is also my name. I am due to have surgery in 3 weeks and after reading most posts I was thinking of backing out. But your post is very encouraging to me. I am healthy, active, and love to walk. I feel much better after reading your post and hope my recovery experience will be as positive as yours. I have printed off your post to put on my wall for encouragement.

          Many blessings.
          Penny A

          Reply
  11. Mark Schaefer

    P.S. thanks Scott for your website . It was more helpful than all the second hand information I’ve been getting . Still not sure what to do though.

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Mark, thanks – and thanks for sharing your experience this morning.

      FYI, the first time I went in for my rotator cuff surgery, my anesthesiologist was concerned about my blood pressure that morning and decided to cancel the surgery. Not at all my choice – I just wanted to be done. Everything clicked the second time around (different surgeon, different anesthesiologist!).

      I’m so glad I did it as my shoulder is in great shape – yet now, looking back on it, I marvel that I got through it all – the post-surgery pain/meds, six weeks in the sling, not driving, etc. Somehow you adapt…

      Reply
      1. Mark Schaefer

        Your welcome Scott.
        Because I am a side sleeper I was in bed the last few nights trying to sleep on my back or in a more upright position and that alone gave me a stiff neck and back so the thought of all that extra shoulder pain scared the cr@# out of me . I have literally been unable to sleep that way since I am one of those people that use to spend a lot of time in my recliner and it ended up wrecking my back and neck which have never been the same since.
        I probably sound like a man child about it but after 47 years I know my body so well that the thought of having to sleep that way for several weeks alone was unbearable compiled with Joes description….Yikes!

        My big question is what now?. I am not in a great deal of pain and can function pretty well if I avoid doing something really stupid but a tear is a tear and probably will only get worse.

        If anyone out there has tried anything alternative that helped by all means let me know.

        If I end up having to do it I will definitely keep a video journal.

        Reply
        1. marty

          i “had ” greater than 50% tear in superspinatis and fixed myself after consuting w/ my chiroprator, using ice 20 min on 20 min off all day night (as posible) all good after maybe month or 2 ? happy

          Reply
        2. Mike Mcloughlin

          Mark, it maybe too late to help you but after suffering horribly for 3 weeks, lots of oxycodone, no real sleep, my son gave me a medical marijuana brownie. This was a huge help, it made my pain killers seem to totally handle everything, it was a savior, allowing me to sleep a couple of hours..
          Good luck.

          Reply
      2. Mark Schaefer

        Hi Scott, I noticed you said in your post “different surgeon, different anesthesiologist” . Were you uncomfortable with the first surgeon and is that why your blood pressure went up?

        Reply
        1. Scott Loftesness Post author

          Mark, as it turned out the first surgeon decided my case wasn’t his cup of tea after this incident.

          Frankly, this worked out for the best because I ended up with the best surgeon possible for my second (and very successful) surgery!

          Reply
          1. Mark Schaefer

            Your first surgeon sounds like he has no scrupples but glad you found someone better . I scheduled a follow up with my surgeon but he will probably feel the same way about me bailing on him . I have looked into getting a second opinion just in case .
            I was even reading about new technology that uses stem cells of your own and injects them back into your rotator cuff. We’ll see.

      3. Colleen

        Hi Scott,
        I hope you are feeling well again.
        Thank you for creating this forum. My surgery date is June 18th and I’m gathering as much information as possible. Living alone in a new city makes this a real interesting experience. I appreciate all the good advice and words of encouragement.
        A tough trip and fall has lead to a really rough year. I look forward to toughing it out and having a full recovery.
        All the best.

        Colleen

        Reply
        1. Rene

          Hi Colleen,
          My surgery date is June 17th, so it looks like we will be going through the same stages of recovery together. It sounds like you injured your shoulder in a fall? Not sure how I hurt mine; just wear and tear through the years, I think. What is the extent of your injuries (complete rotator cuff tear?). I will be lucky enough to have my Mom come to help me for the first couple of weeks, but other than that, I will be on my own as well. I’m trying to be creative in coming up with ways to deal with life while being able to use just one arm for at least 6 weeks. My right (dominant) arm is the one that needs repairing, of course!
          This has been a wonderfully helpful site for me in finding advice and tips on how to deal with the recovery! (Thanks, Scott!!)
          I check this site pretty regularly, so feel free to reply back – maybe we can help each other out a bit.
          Rene

          Reply
          1. Flo

            Hi Colleen and Rene

            July 24, 2013 was day of surgery for me, repairing full supraspinitus tear, tacking my bicep tendon, and shaving my acromion bone. This site helped me know what to expect post surgery and prepare better. Like you, I live alone, and needed caregivers. I patched together care for much of the first month, and now that I’m through the first three days, I’m glad. The ice cooling machine is a lifesaver. Sick of sleeping in a recliner, but I had a decent night’s rest my third night, so I can get used to that. I’m off strong pain meds fourth day; my head is clear. I feel like impatience is my strongest enemy, but getting transportation once my guest caregivers leave scares me the most. I applied for my community’s subsidized transit for handicapped folks. Luckily, my handicap is temporary, yet they approved me for the time I can’t drive. I start PT in a month, after everybody leaves, so thank God I lined something up. My question is, when do people start driving? I don’t want to have a reflex action while driving with one arm that could tear the repair. I’m being super cautious, figuring I may not drive for three months. What would you do?

  12. K. Webb

    At age 59, I am facing this surgery with a tear that is considered “severe” according to my MRI. I so dread this, but have suffered with this since last April. After going thru 2 rounds of PT for a diagnosis of frozen shoulder, my therapist said I was presenting more like it was a rotator tear….sure enough, the therapist was right. My husband went thru the same surgery 3 years ago and did great. Typical recovery, sling, etc. but according to everyone….a speedy recovery. My greatest fear is the after surgery pain. We read all the time about how doctors are reluctant to give pain meds now, but I have never abused drugs and I don’t want to experience ungodly pain. Thoughts? Is it seriously that horrible?

    Reply
    1. Mark Schaefer

      How long did your husband take before he was doing normal activity? . He’s probably your best advocate because I keep hearing about nightmare experiences aside from Scott who had a positive experience . I am still on the fence about getting it myself.

      Reply
      1. Linda

        Mark,
        I may have missed the specifics of your shoulder injury but as I have waited my rotator cuff injuries in both arms have only gotten worse. The tear in my left shoulder has gotten worse since my MRI because my ROM has decreased dramatically. My right shoulder is getting bad because it has been taking up the slack from the left arm. I wish I would have known about my problem a long time ago because the earlier you fix it the better the outcome. I plan to get the surgery because I have no choice because the pain is so bad. I am depressed because I think I will end up disabled because I do not believe the surgery will be successful for me for many reasons. I have done a lot of research and one thing is clear..get the surgery early. The main reason is because when the muscles are torn and lack blood supply they turn into fat. If the mucslce is fat then imagine trying to repair fatty tissue either back to the bone are connect fatty tissue in general. Healing will be a huge problem and it could fail again. One thing that helps with pain is a cold therapy system. I have read that it is a life saver for many who have used the system. I am looking at several. Your insurance may provide one but I plan to buy my own because I don’t know how long the insurance company will let me keep it and i will need it for both shoulders. I am also looking into vitamin packages etc that aid in healing..which i will discuss with a doctor. I also did a lot of research on doctors an if you goggle “67 shoulder Surgeons and Specialist to Know” you will get a list of some of the best ortho surgeons in the country. Just, if possible, find one that is closest to you and if one is not in your area, call or email and ask them if they know who to recommend in your area.

        Reply
    2. Alfredo Nunez

      Hello, I reccomend you to go ahead and have it done, I had a motorcycle accident and torn my rotator cuff, the MRI showed a large tear and I wasn’t able to lift my arm above my head, my doctor said it was imperative to have the surgery, and it took me 2 months to decide, mostly because I was afraid of the pain, because most of the people was telling me it was a paintfull surgery, am at my fifth week and the pain only lasted for about 3 days, all you have to do is to take your pain medicine as instructed, everything is going well, I wish you the best and hopefully if you decide to go for the surgery, everything comes right for a life in pain is a life of frustation, best of luck, and God bless you all.

      Reply
      1. Brandy Mc

        I am allerigic to all – codine, vicodine, you name it. I can take tramadol…like eating M&ms IMO. I would like to know more about an ICE MACHINE after surgury??? Never heard of this one. Ice and heat are always my go to’s for pain. My husband is 94 yrs old and I am 63 yrs old. I hate to think what this recovery is going to DO TO HIM! He is an awsome caregiver!! He will keep me comfortable and take care of him self…only thing he doesn’t do is COOK and Laundry. My surgery is scheduled for DEC 6th, 2012. Any advice is welcome. brandyme789@aol.com

        Reply
        1. Derrick

          Once they give you the nerve blocker.you won’t feel a thing until the day after the surgery.when the nerve blocker wears off. But once you start taking your painkillers you will be fine…..good luck

          Reply
        2. JAnne

          BrandyMC,

          I just had surgery last week. We rented the ice machine and what a lifesaver! We were so impressed that we just bought one since my husband and I are activ/middle age and sprains, strains and ice are part of life. Besides, this is a long slow process, I expect to be icing on and off for the next 6 months. The machine is basically a little ice chest with a water pump and a pad that fits your shoulder. It does a great job on pain and swelling without the dripping, hassle,and mess of ice bags. It was $50/week rental or 155. to buy. The first 4 days were very painful once the nerve block wore off but then its steadily improved since then. Icing has way cut down on the need for meds and i really think it helps healing. Here’s a couple tips if you use one- Have your husband around to hook you up and disconect until you are well enough to manage it yourself. Also, I froze 16 oz water bottles and put 2 of them in the cooler with water instead of ice cubes its much easier to manage. Best of luck, be commited to getting better, and you will. Here’s a link http://www.dme-direct.com/donjoy-iceman-ice-man-cold-therapy-cryotherapy-1100-don-joy/

          Reply
  13. George G

    5 Weeks out from repair of Labrum (SLAP repair) and rotator cuff as well as removal of calcium and a bone spur. The PT is great stuff, 3x per week (3 days after surgery start) to start and 2x per week now. I should do them at home more but I skip a day here and there. The hardest part is being dependent upon others for small chores like tying shoes or cinching sweat pants, etc. Bathing is also a challenge. Everything takes twice as long. I have a better respect and understanding of what disabled persons go through but for them it is permanent so I feel that I have just the smallest insight really. It has been humbling. I know that it will take 3 months to even be able to start lifting light objects, I must be careful, I DON’T want to go through this again. I had pain meds for 10 days then that was that. Advil and ice are great. I can type and probably have done more than I should with my right hand. Shoulder, triceps, bicep aches from time to time. Passive exercises for one more week then real easy beginning of “active” for a few weeks followed by strength. Have learned to sleep on back and left side only. A wash cloth under the waist strap helps at night. The one thing the PT and surgeon and staff did not do for me was prepare me for activities of daily living. They blew it there. Sit down to pull on your shirt, first over the weak arm. Buy a scrub brush for the shower. Buy a gell pack, large for icing, buy a few really comfy button up shirts and sweat pants. Buy slip on shoes. Share on blogs. It does get better and we had the surgery because we were miserable before and wanted the rest of our lives without that pain even if it does take a year to fully heal. Don’t wait too long, it get worse in the joint, I waited too long. The older you are the slower the heal especiall past 50, I am 52. I am also pretty sure I will never do heavy weights again, not worth the risk. Don’t do bar dips, or pull downs behind the head. Heavy stress on the joint is insane unless you are a trained athlete. Jui Jitsu and joint locks in martial arts cause these types of rips and tears as well. Using the bench press is risky, I prefer dumbells when I can get back to it in 10 months. Be patient with yourself and hang in there, it really does take time. Maybe 30 years from now there will be an easier way but at least we have arthroscopy and skilled surgeons and remarkable physical therapists. Thank you and wish me luck. George G.

    Reply
    1. Kirsten Miles

      George, What great advice! I am three weeks out and honestly I only had pain for a day or two after the nerve block wore off on the second day. What pain I have now, is just a reminder not to push myself too much initially.

      I heartily agree that the most challenging things are to not do too much, too soon, and to deal with daily living issues like dressing, showering, and as I am a mother of a daughter in a wheelchair, being a caregiver… I want to do all the things I did before for my family. It is indeed humbling, and my daughter smiles this knowing smile and points out that the frustrations I live with now, will go away one day while hers will not… that keeps it real for me!

      Best,
      Kirsten

      Reply
    2. wintersprite

      George, you’ve got it exactly right. I am 6 wks post supraspinatus repair + bone spur removal + frayed tendon cleanup. I’ve never felt like I experienced much more pain than the original problem caused me. I took oxycodone for a week, then stopped all pain meds. Since my surgery center gave me NO useful written information about how very much I should be respecting the repair, and not pushing too fast, I am sure I overdid it a little at first. I gradually got more conservative as I read more and more good sources of information online. Thank god for the internet – except for one thing. I read hundreds of horror stories from people that had rotator cuff surgery, and I was really concerned that I was going to be crippled by pain. I know everyone is different, but people, consider the possibility that it may not be that bad for you if you (1) don’t expect it to be completely painless; (2) follow the pain killer regimen; (3) follow advice about sleeping in a recliner; (4) do your pendulums (I always felt better afterward); (5) re-orient your thinking. Why should your life be pain free? It’s just another distraction to ignore; (5) do your PT – I chattered my way through my great PT guy doing the passive stretches, and it always felt better after every time. I’m now starting active assisted and the beginnings of active exercises, and I can feel the shoulder improving a little bit every day. I’m excited!

      Also, if you use your head, think through every move, you can do a lot more than you think you can while wearing a sling. You can still walk, for example, just don’t trip. I resumed sport after 3 weeks, but with my arm carefully protected in the sling, and each movement thought out(arm movement is useful but not crucial in my sport). I figured out ways to get my laundry and groceries where they needed to go, figured out how to continue most of my activities. PT guy tells me that most repair failures are not caused by small, well-considered motions that stop when pain begins, but rather through unguarded reflex actions, like if your spouse slams on the brakes while driving and you tense up in response.

      So after six weeks, I feel like things are going great. Consider the possibility that this is how it could be for you, too.

      Reply
      1. Dale

        Thank you for this article, it has given me hope….. I am having the same surgery basically and enjoyed reading your blog more than lots of other….. 15 days till my surgery, been very stressed and worried about depression also….. Pray all goes well
        Dale

        Reply
      2. Cindy N

        Thanks SO much for your positively helpful post!! I read it before my dominant-arm RC surgery and I’m happy to report that 5-weeks post op and I’m doing amazingly well. I followed your suggestions, did Iceman and good pain management and sailed through weeks 1-4. Started PT in week 5 and was thrilled to see good ROM, although I thought my shoulder was a bit frozen. Taking mild pain med for PT sessions to ensure good progress during first couple of weeks. Ice frequently and doing my exercises at home like a fanatic! Named ‘stations’ for my exercises. So far I have 1) shoulder shrugs and shoulder rolls on commode (don’t laugh—think about how often you’re there!?) 2) pendulums every time I open the frig (shoulder socket staying nicely loose here) 3) pulley exercises by the door where I take the puppy out to pee (and it conveniently faces to tv!). More later—so far so good. Keep the faith y’all!

        Reply
        1. Bettyyou

          Cindy I am so happy to read this. I am going to have my RC surgery on my dominant arm on May 13. I also have a torn bicep muscle in the shoulder area. I of course I’m not looking forward to it but am looking forward to getting it over with & starting my recovery. Keep up the good work Cindy.

          Reply
          1. Cindy Newell

            Best of luck to you Betty Lou! You’ll do great. Just focus on positive info that works for you. It’s quite a journey but will be worth it in the end. I was scared to have surgery (my first ever) so told the staff that. Boy, did I get great treatment! Ha ha. Ice therapy machine, good sleep positioning, and proper pain management have been my best support these first 5 weeks. I was SO leery of starting PT but found it helps me feel so much better.

          2. Bettyyou

            Cindy thanks so much for your positive comments. In the back of my mind I am scared but I keep trying to keep it way back there. I am already looking forward to PT because then I will know I’m getting better …. progress .. yes! I am looking forward to eventually not having the aching/pain all the time in my shoulder & bicep area. Thanks again.

          3. Ellie

            I have been reading for about an hour now and find myself torn between I can do this and how am I going to make it and when can I go back to work? I love my job! I need to get this done, because along with this torn tendon in my shoulder I have both torn and shredding tendons in my right ankle. Don’t know if I can get that brace on one handed. I can’t address my ankle with my arm messed up. I am hoping I can just ignore the references to age, I am turning 68 in a few months. I have been practicing doing things left handed and remember eating with chopsticks left handed two days after my wrist surgery a couple years ago. No knitting? No quilting? bothers me more than fear of pain cause I already have that. May 23, 2013.. three weeks to prepare. I don’t know if my hubby will be home for this, he might get called to work. If so.. worry about opening dog food cans. I am also remembering the lecture I gave my Grandma years ago. “remember how good it felt to help someone else through hard times? Now is your opportunity to let me have that great feeling.” What you say can come back to haunt you.

          4. Bettyyou

            Ellie I am 65 & will have RC & bicep tendon repair (dominant hand) on the 13th. I’ve known this for 5 or 6 weeks but I opted to go on vacation before I have it done. The pain has slowly gotten worse. Like you I have been practicing doing things with my left hand. Have found I’m a pretty sloppy eater with my left. :-) My husband is staying home four days after the surgery to help me. Good luck to you. I look forward to your posts after your surgery. I will post as soon as I can

        2. Flo

          Thanks Cindy for your uplifting post. I’m day 4 and I want to follow in your footsteps. So far so good. Please keep us posted how rehab is going!

          Reply
  14. alice

    had rotator repair six weeks tomorrow and it has been a rough road. do not feel i was well prepared and have questioned my decision many times but also know i could not live with the limitations. my injury was a result of falling over my shepard while racing to get to a spinning class. it blew out my dailing lap swimming and made it difficult to lift my grandson. with my love and daily need for swimming/exercise and the anticipation of our second grandchild, i reluctantly took the plunge after trying therapy/massage/accupuncture for 6months before deciding.
    it has not been pleasant. the first few weeks were truly terrible-couldn’t eat/sleep/get comfortable at all. started therapy at 5weeks and can’t wait to have more range of motion in my arm. i get to stop using the sling tomorrow-yahoo!!
    i am still taking vicodan and really feel that i need it especially during/after therapy. sleeping is very unpleasant. can’t wait to actually have a nite’s sleep. would like to go back to work now but my work is too demanding and i realize i will only make the recovery longer.
    with all the negativity said, i keep telling myself that this too shall pass and i will be back lapping at 6am very soon. i am a 58yr old woman so age is not really on my side but the fact that i have always been very active is truly in my favor. i have gone for postop acupuncture and intend to begin massage and hopefully a one on one for xigong/tai chi. i know they all make me feel that i am in more control.
    anyone hear anything good about myofaschia therapists for postop treatment. my accupuncturist swears by them.
    well, good luck to all who are anticipating or recovering

    Reply
  15. Stan

    I am 3 weeks out from having the tendon sewn back. Doc said it was a nasty tear. I was prepared for a lot of pain based on what a many people said. Really, it was a piece of cake…I think I could have got by with no percocet but was advised to keep ahead of the pain. The sling is a pain but I don’t mind sleeping in a lazy boy. I am 62 years old and injured the shoulder playing raquetball. I am a weatherman on a local news channel and the doc said it was ok to take the arm out of the sling and sort of let it hang as long as I used my good arm to point with. I did this starting a week after the procedure and my viewers have no clue that I am recovering fron surgery. My advice so far is don’t be afraid of it…the thought of enduring pain and not being able to use the arm was scarier than the thought of surgery.

    Reply
    1. Jeanne

      After reading all the scary stories, it was nice to hear from someone whose recovery wasn’t extremely rough. Personally, I’m very frightened and just don’t know how I can deal with the initial post-surgery pain and having to wear a sling for so long. Cannot imagine how I will take care of myself and just do the basic things a person does through the course of their day. Anyway, hearing your positive comments did help.

      Reply
      1. Kirsten Miles

        The post op pain only lasted a day and a half for me, and if you keep ahead of the pain meds, it was not bad for me at all. Afterwards sleep is a issue. I can sleep now, but not well and I stay tired. It does get better each day, but… it isn’t the kind of rest I am used to!

        You will learn how to do basic things to care for yourself, but it would be helpful if you had help for showering the first week, and meals, but if not, just make sure that you have vital things down where you don’t have to reach for them, and don’t plan on lifting much with your good hand (I mean very heavy pots that you normally use your other hand for).

        A slightly funny warning, don’t watch movies that are likely to make you “jump”, that isnt comfortable at all!!

        You can do it!!!

        Reply
  16. Ellen

    I had keyhole surgery for a three quarter tear of the rotator cuff tendon, a repair on my bicep tendon and to remove some abnormal bone growth on my shoulder blade. This was my right shoulder and I am 8 days post-op.
    I’m normally quite active and love running which I was still able to do right up until the op, despite the injury. I had the surgery because the pain was getting worse and I was suffering by not being able to sleep properly – I just felt fuzzy at work and not on top of things.
    Do I regret having it done? ….. At this right moment YES. I had a complete meltdown last night as i watched my husband changing the bedding – i couldn’t even help. this was after he’d done school lunches, the school run, cleaning, cooking, helped me dress, tied my shoes, helped me take my sling on/off what seemed like a million times, and the list goes on. I cant run! As a normally independent and impatient lady, I feel useless and out of control. I will have my sling on full time for at least 2 more weeks and I need to accept my limitations during this time.
    If my surgery is successful and in 6 or 9 months I have near to full range of motion in my shoulder back, if I can sleep pain free and use a keyboard/mouse for more than 5 minutes without having to rest my shoulder, and if I can look back at this inconvenience that I’m going through at this time and see it as just that, an inconvenience and a necessary step in the healing process, then I will absolutely NOT REGRET this operation.
    Ive read a lot about people’s experiences following this type of surgery, and other than the pain management and sling issues, they seem to differ greatly. This had led me to conclude that this is a very individual process – state of mind probably plays a massive part and I will be putting my energy now into adopting the right attitude to my recovery from now on. If I dont master this sling business then the physio stage won’t be as effective and so it goes on. I don’t want to have this surgery fail and that is going to be my reason for accepting where I am today in my recovery.
    The only other question is where is my husband? … I need him to help me with my sling :0)
    One very last thing – show your loved ones as soon as you can after your op how they can still hug you because they will be afraid they might hurt you.
    Good luck to anyone just about to start their mending journey x

    Reply
    1. Carolyn Hagymas

      I just had rotator cuff surgery 9 days ago and feel as you do — the limitations in my life are staggering and I do not like people doing things for me, but have found I have no choice. My husband and daughter are very helpful but the thing I feel the most is frustration. I love to play golf, work out, take power walks, garden and generally do whatever activity I want to — now I can do none of the above. Being dependent is not easy for me but I am so grateful for many things. I stopped taking percocet 3 days after the surgery, and have not had a pain killer since. I sleep at night, even with my sling on and am grateful to be back in bed, after sleeping on a lounge chair for two nights. My life has certainly changed but I know it will be worth it and maybe now I will find time to “smell the roses” — at least get caught up on some much needed reading.

      Good luck to you on the road of recovery and I know you will be better than before –

      Reply
  17. Lois

    I am facing this surgery soon (haven’t set a date yet). I see people saying they type okay in the sling. I am a computer programmer and can work from home. Is that type as in “work all day at a computer” or is that type as in “send a couple emails?” I know I need to ask these questions of my doctor, but I am just want some anecdotal evidence that I will be able to get back to work (from home) within a couple weeks.

    Reply
    1. andy

      I am able to type quite easily even in the sling as i still have full use of elbow ,wrist and hand after my rotator cuff surgery.
      I just have to be conscious to keep my elbow to shoulder tucked into my body and not move the whole arm to the front or side.
      In fact i often remove the sling when i am sitting at home and rest my arm on my lap. This is much more comfortable for me.
      I am 9 days out from surgery and very pleased with progress and pain free!

      Reply
      1. Janet

        I’m scheduled for rotator cuff surgery tomorrow. It’s a partial tear from a fall 8 months ago with the pain getting worse, so I have mixed emotions. I really want it fixed, but I’m scared of the recovery. I’m going to try to focus on the positives I’ve read on this site and will let you know my experience as soon as I can type again. Thanks, everyone, for sharing!

        Reply
  18. Marie

    Have left shoulder repair scheduled for August 14 and don’t know if it is helping or just terrifying me to read people’s experiences! Is there anyone who has had total knee replacement or total hip replacement that would care to compare that experience to
    the rotator cuff repair? I have had those replacements and while they were nothing to sneeze at, I handled them well and am glad I had them done. I’m due for this repair two weeks before I return to teaching high school and I’m wondering if I have lost my mind!

    Reply
    1. peter

      Hi , I’ve had a hip replacement , three years ago, and am almost three weeks post op . I had an 80% tear repaired as well as my shoulder blade shaved and ac joint cleared of arthritus. There is no comparison pain wise. The shoulder was much more difficult. For me getting through the first four days was the most difficult. Do your research and find a Dr that specializes in this surgery , use your meds as directed, make sure you get a cold therapy machine , not just ice packs a s they only last 30-45 min. you can slep in a recliner , or as I have done buy a wedge system for your bed. much more comfortable. and put pillows under your arms as well. Painful ? yes , but will be worth it soon.

      Reply
      1. andy

        Having had both the bone shaving for impingement and the rotator cuff done in 2 seperate surgeries this year, i would say the bone shaving was the more painful the first few days and took me 3/4 months until i was able to lie on that shoulder comfotably in bed, however i was back at work & driving within 6 days of the op (i forced myself back to work to aid my mental recovery).
        I also left the hospital without any sling after the bone shaving surgery (the surgeon made a point of removing it from me to encourage motion).
        The rotator cuff tear surgery which i am currently now 13 days out from has been far less painful but far more frustrating due to the 4 weeks of sling use and longer period off work required due to my inability to drive or use the arm.
        I feel better as every day passes and its a short period of inconvenience for what could be years of good health.
        Anyone facing these surgerys needs to perservere and try and maintain a positive outlook as there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.

        Reply
  19. Karen

    So glad I found this. I am 19 days now since my surgery. Torn rotator cuff, spur, and they lowered my bicept. Too many years of delivering mail. It is reassuring to read that my experiences are not unusual. Pain not bad in the day, miserable trying to sleep. Night time pain and also this annoying sling and pad strapped to you. My only hope of sleeping is on a couch with my back up against the back of the couch. I am very motivated on doing my part with therapy. I ice all the time but the back of my shoulder is still swollen. (Did yours stay swollen?) I never knew how useless you could be with your right arm in a sling. I mean the simple things like tying your own shoes, (ladies) even putting on your own bra! Try to do something so routine like blowdrying your hair or putting on makeup. Pitty partyies would be easy if it weren’t that I have read so many other peoples accounts and they are so similar to mine. I just want to end up with a good result. I think so much about our wounded soldiers and thing that they won’t be ready to go in a few months. Guess I am actually fortunate. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Christine

      Hi. I am a fellow mail carrier and looking towards rotator cuff repair no later than March. How are you doing now?

      Reply
  20. Kenneth

    Wow, after reading some of these comments I feel like I am doing the right
    thing for now anyway..a few months back I saw my doctor- complaining of
    shoulder pain. he gave me a cortisone shot,which helped for a month or
    so..next time I saw him he sent mr for an mri…which showed a large full
    thickness tear involving the posterior aspect of proximal supraspinatus tendon
    extending towards the anterior margin of infraspinatus tendon centered at
    12:00 position measuring 12 mm wide x 17 mm AP with greatest oblique dimension
    measuring 21 mm. The distal portion of the supraspinatus tendon is
    hyperintense and irregular consistent with tendinopathy. Small subcortical
    bony cystic degenerative changes are seen at the supraspinatus and and
    infraspinatus footplates. Mild effusion is present with free communication
    into the subacromial-subdeltoid bursa. there is small pointed anterior
    acromial enthesophyte, a potential source of impingement. there is slight
    lateral acromial downsloping without anterior downsloping. A C joint
    arthropathy is present with mild joint space widening, effusion ,with mild
    osteophytic changes and cystic distal clavicular changes… there is a mild
    fissuring of the distal subscapularis tendon. intra -articular biceps
    tendinopathy is present with hyperintensity and mild swelling as it passes
    anterior to the humeral head.there is mild blunting of the posterior
    labral….The doctor wanted me to get a medical clearance as I am 75 years
    old.. and they will not operate without one ..I asked if there were any
    options besides operating..and he said no..the only thing that would help is
    an operation…I asked about physical therapy and he said that would do no
    good…anyhow I am planning on living with the pain for now ..and maybe get a
    second opinion…hope all of you have a safe and not so painful
    adventure…and may God bless you all.

    Reply
  21. Tina

    I had my right rotator cuff repaired twice. Once in 1999 as an overnight patient in a hospital, and then again in 2009 (I fell on the same shoulder, but the doc told me it was already in bad shape). The second surgery was arthroscopically done, but unsucessful. So, I am still unable to lift very much weight during weight training classes- particularly for shoulder work. NOW I’m having an issue with my left shoulder! Just had an MRI yesterday and was told I should not workout until I get the results (three days) from my surgeon. Nothing makes you feel worse when something is taken away from you! Ugh, even aerobic exercises require arm movements (step aerobics, and Zumba, for example), and I’m miserable just sitting around! I already know that if I’m told it’s torn, and I’m given a choice between PT and surgery, I will immediately opt for the surgery. I would prefer not to waste weeks on PT and then have to have it. I hope this one’s fixable – it’s killing me!

    Reply
    1. Tina

      Well, I had my surgery July 2 – it’s called a massive tear, and now have four screws/anchors in my shoulder. I have hit the 7 week post surgery mark and last week, my physical therapy became more difficult as I am now doing much of the moving. ouch! I still am unable to do any exercise except for walking and using a recumbent bicycle. No treadmill or stationary bikes as I can not hold on to anything and of course, if I lose my balance and fall, that would not be a good thing. I go back to see my doc the day after Labor Day, and am anxious to see where I am in regards to my ability to return to the gym. I miss Zumba and step class. Of course, there’s no weight training for quite a while, but I’ll just be happy to get back to semi-normal activity. I’ve had to cut back on my calories just to keep from gaining weight. ugh.

      Reply
  22. Sue

    I had rotator cuff surgery for a massive u shaped tear (surgeons description) April,26 2012 as an overnight patient. I’m now at week 6 and the sling is due to come off at week 8. My pain and expectations and limitations were as described by most people :( but over the past 3-4 days after almost stopping 6hourly panadol, the pain has become worse than at any stage since the op. Has this happened to anyone else, or is this a sign that I’ve done somehow done some more damage :( I feel even more exhausted worrying about this. I should ring the surgeon but I’m frightened of his response. I’m 62 female with great family support but……. Any advice would be appreciated. :)

    Reply
    1. Jeanne

      I am sorry that I have no advice. I’m your age and my heart goes out to you. My best friend had knee surgery that isn’t healing as it should. She also has a great family that helps her, but they can’t stop the pain or worry. God bless you, and may He bring you comfort and healing and diminish your pain.

      Reply
    2. Karen

      Sue, I am 63 and am 8 weeks out. Just when I was due to come out of the sling,(6 weeks) boy I thought my arm was great. Then when they removed the sling my arm met gravity again. The pain got increasingly worse. I was sure something was terribly wrong because the pain was going the wrong way. The last two weeks have been painful and scary but I was given reassurance I was fine. Gravity, straightening your elbow, and movement again will flare you up. It will get better. Hang in there.

      Reply
      1. Paula

        This is exactly where I am, nearly 8 weeks out and the pain is getting worse since removing the sling at 6 weeks. Prior to surgery, I had frozen shoulder, so as a part of the surgery the surgeon did a MUA. Bone spurs were also removed. My ROM is very poor at the weekly PT sessions and I am doing the home exercises. Trying to keep the faith. Wondering if the intense pain is from frozen shoulder and/or unsuccessful surgery. Or is this semi-normal for this surgery? Neck, shoulder, scapula and arm seem to be in spasm. Will be seeing the doc next week. Any advice re: frozen shoulder or unsuccessful surgery? Thanks for this excellent blog, Scott.

        Reply
  23. Leann

    I had surgery 3 weeks, 4 days ago for a slap tear, tenodesis(for bicep tendon fraying..anchored to humorous), frozen shoulder(80% capsule scar tissue), debridement(shaved bone due to impingement and bone spurs and arthritis. I am in pt 2x’s wk, working on descensitizing area around incisions..I had arthoscopic..5 portals and 1 – 2 inch incision. Also therapists works on rom for me, I’m not allowed to use my arm for anything except pendulum exercises and stretching carefully. I sleep in bed, recliner, couch. Only able to sleep on back reclined, not side. Dismayed because I’m still on pain meds but time between taking them has increased. It’s difficult because everyone expects instant healing through surgery…everyone’s different…I’m fighting to be patient all the time with my recovery, trying to be as positive as I can be!

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Leann, this is one surgery recovery you can’t rush. Hang in there girl and little by little it will get better. This takes time. I am 8 weeks out and I am starting to think I will be okay. Good Luck

      Reply
  24. Ruth

    Just had a completely torn right rotator cuff repaired on June 1 (I’m 59). I feel lucky compared to some of the other stories I’m reading here. In additional to general anesthesia, it was also recommended to have a shoulder nerve block to basically deaden the entire upper right portion of my torso which I did have administered. Odd feeling to have absolutely no feeling/use in that area of my body for approximately 20 hours after surgery; my right hand just hung there like a dead fish. Of the 40 pain pills I started with, I still have 25; haven’t used any in the last 4 days or so. Also used the Cyro Cuff for about 4-5 days which is a vest like thing that you wear and replenish on occasion with ice water. I’m amazed at how many things I’m already able to do but it does give you an appreciation for having both arms & hands!! Dressing and not being able to drive are the biggest issues for me. Sleeping has been more somewhat more difficult because I sleep on my right side. I’ve set up camp in a spare room where I can prop myself up in the corner of a nice wide couch. However, I haven’t experience the pain overnight that many of you mentioned. You do develop your own techniques for getting tops off and on, putting the sling on, etc. Have been doing the “mini exercises” and will start p/t this week. My biggest issue is that I was working as a contractor and immediately lost my job when they knew I would be out of work (boggles my mind since I was released to go back to work tomorrow)!!

    Reply
    1. Kirsten Miles

      I have had some night pain, not terrible and getting better all the time. My worry was that the pain meant I was doing damage, but my doctor said night pain and most pain is due to position, and adjusting position helps! It has helped me, and I would take it to your doctor or PT to help learn how position can make a difference!

      Reply
  25. Ruth

    Also agree with Ellen’s comments on 4/20 about watching your husband having to pick up the slack for things that the patient can’t currently do, particularly since he works full times and has some health issues of his own.

    Reply
  26. Jeanne

    Reading all these comments has answered many of my questions that the medical websites haven’t. Due to lengthy HMO process, it has taken months since my injury to see one doctor, then MRI, and now I am waiting until July to see surgeon. I don’t want surgery, but I have to hear what surgeon says first (although surgeons perform surgery and doubt that they would advise anything else). My HMO’s slogan is ‘You’ll either get well or die; if not, then we’ll get to you eventually”. There are personal hygiene things one has to do with their right arm that probably out of delicacy have not been mentioned on this website. I cannot imagine living alone how I will manage even taking care of my cat. How will I wash & blow dry my hair! I cannot afford going to a hairdresser. Well, there are a thousand things I am wondering about. Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences!

    Reply
    1. Kirsten Miles

      I decided that I was going to practice life one-handed a few weeks before surgery, so it wouldn’t be additionally frustrating to learn after surgery. The delicate hygiene areas are the hardest, really, and I have a shower chair that helps, and a hose shower which I cannot imagine doing without! (I am only three weeks out and in a sling).

      I can blow dry my hair with my left hand, put my makeup on, and only have one burn from trying to curl my hair!! Everything takes me longer, but as a friend said, sometimes it is a good thing to slow life down… and it isn’t that I wanted them to, but my family is realizing just how much I do, even though they aren’t always happy that I cannot do it right now!!

      Being dependent isn’t easy, but sometimes it comes to us in life unexpectedly (accidents or illness). My family knows I am doing the things I can do, and they are proud of me, that makes it a little easier to bear….

      Reply
    2. Janelle Rickermann

      jeanne, hope your procedure went well and you found a way to cope with the everyday tasks. I am having the surgery 2/28, and I’ve decided to get my hair cut to 1″ all over. it won’t be flattering, but I guess it’ll grow out eventually! Pleae forward any tips you might have on how to cope. Thanks.

      Reply
  27. Diane

    Many thanks to all of you!
    Was glad to find this site as I’m due to schedule having this surgery.
    I note there isn’t any mention of antibiotics and I’m under the impression you have to be on them from here on for life. I’m 67 and prefer to remain drug free.
    Any comments??
    Wishing well being to all.

    Reply
  28. Angela

    Hello. I had arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery in my right shoulder. Tendon was 80% torn, I had a bone spur and cysts, and impingement. Before deciding on having the surgery, I would go online and read stories from people who’d had the surgery already. I freaked out. But after some quiet time and prayer, I realized that everyone’s experience won’t be the same. Plus, u knew the discomfort in my shoulder would only get worse. I’m 41 years old and a licensed massage therapist.
    I had the surgery at noon, was leaving the hospital around 3pm that day. I woke up with the sling already on me…and a bag containing some numbing medication around my neck. It was a small bottle attached to a catheter in my neck. Anytime I needed a boost of numbing meds, I just hit the little button. After the 3rd day, my husband took that off of me. That evening I started taking the Vicodin to get ahead of the pain, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
    I didn’t have a recliner, so I propped a few pillows up on a large chair and I sleep upright in it every night.
    The worst part has been the sling for me but…you get used to it.
    I bought a breakfast tray just to have some of my fave things accessible.
    (phone, nook tablet, snacks, vitamins, etc)
    I’ve cried twice….out of sheer frustration of not being comfortable and not being able to do anything. But I shook it off and remembered its gonna be over soon enough.
    Started physical therapy a day after surgery.
    Glad I did. It started off kinda rough but now, I look forward to going. I do it twice a week. My shoulder is much looser and it gets better each day.
    I’m gonna start myofascial release in a couple of weeks.
    I use a heating pad just before I do my exercises, ice after the exercises, and I take L-Glutamine to help with healing and recovery. I drink lots of water, and I watch lots of comedy. :)
    Don’t be discouraged. Yeah, it’s gonna be a few days where you’re gonna wonder if surgery was the right thing to do….but just follow your doctors instructions, rest, rest, and rest, and everything will be fine.
    God bless!

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      Hey guys had my op 11 days ago not in too much pain other than in my bicep but i am really struggling to sleep/get comfortable any where and am getting really frustrated which i guess isnt really helping either ha ha any suggestions ideas would be much appreciated.

      Ps i hav dislocated my right shoulder 13 times and have had to go to hospital to have it put back every time so have been really looking forward to my sugery and eecovery to go back to my sports!!!

      Ryan….

      Reply
      1. Bettyyou

        I think everyone here would agree with ice, ice, ice & pillows & take your pain medicine. I also had bicep tendon repair & that seemed to bother me the most also. I slept in a recliner for close to three months. Good luck to you Ryan.

        Reply
      2. Rene

        Hi Ryan,
        Not sure what your sleeping set-up is. I am at almost 8 weeks, and still in a recliner (since Day 1). Although I did not have any bicep repair done, I feel pain in the upper arm and the shoulder if I lay flat for very long. The pain is too much to ignore, and even pain meds don’t help. Other than this, I have little to no pain. If you aren’t using a recliner and have access to one, you might try it. I had to rent one, but at least I get some sleep. It seems that good sleep is the biggest issue for most of us. Good luck with this.

        Reply
        1. Jim

          Best night’s sleep I’ve had in months!
          Only woke up once, that almost a record for me, usually I wake up every 2 hours on the nose,

          Reply
      3. Lynne

        Hi Ryan,

        I didn’t have a recliner, so I was stuck in bed…. if it hadn’t been for the foam wedge I bought for under my legs I would have been really frustrated trying to arrange pillows so that I would be comfortable – it was bad enough arranging the pillows behind my back! If I had it to do over again, I probably would have purchased a foam wedge for my back too! I got my leg foam at the Foam Shop in Berkeley. But you can also shop on the net or see links to what I’m talking about.
        Leg wedge: http://tinyurl.com/kjozvz6 (I put another pillow on top of mine because I have very long legs
        back wedge: http://tinyurl.com/k9coqdx (I’d get a thicker one)

        Reply
  29. Stu

    Had full rotator cuff surgery with bone spur cleanup 3 days ago. First off, this is one of the best discussions I have seen on the web-real life without all that doctor mumble jumble. I’m 48 and pretty active. I fell hard playing hockey, almost completely tore a few tendons in my left shoulder. Surgery is a piece-o-cake, your in, your asleep, you wake up and you go home. My pain was the worst about 9 hours afterwards. Wow, most discomfort I think I have ever felt, even with the drugs. Since then, I agree with most, sling and sleep are a pain. I can use my left hand fine and drove for about 3 hours yesterday. Starting PT in three days. The beginning of hopefully not too long of a road. Hope to play hockey this winter and/or get a round of golf in by October. I strongly recommend surgery for bad tears. I can do everything by myself but it takes forever and hurts like sheep. My wife or kids help only when I ask them. I, like others, HATE being dependent on others. I couldn’t sleep well before surgery, hoping to remember what good sleep is like in the future as well as continue to be very active for my 50′s and on. Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Stu, hope you’re doing well now! Surprised you’re starting PT so quickly. For me, I had 6 weeks in the sling followed by 6 weeks without the sling but before starting my PT. My doc was very focused on making sure everything had set before I started exercise. Given how well everything has turned out for me, I think he was right! Hope you make great progress with your PT!

      Reply
  30. Karen

    Just an update. I read what I wrote when I was 19 days out. WOW. I needed to read that. I am now 8 weeks out and let me tell you , it has been a tough road. Many times I have questioned if maybe something was wrong because this much pain for so long just couldn’t be right. Well, the pain is finally getting so very much better. Sleeping at night is still a crap shoot. I have left the drugs and have gone to over the counter arthritis strength Tylenol. I still take a Tylenol 3 at bedtime. You simply can’t judge your progress day by day. You must look at week by week. You will have good days followed by bad days. Therapy! You simply MUST do your therapy. I am 63 and they didn’t expect me to have full range of motion at this point but I do. I am religious about my therapy. Don’t over do it either. I did a couple of times because I wanted to push myself and boy did I pay for it. Do your therapy just as you are told. I am told that the pain will be with me for 3 to 6 months but is less amount all the time and I am finding that to be true. Can’t wait for a good nights sleep. I questioned time and time again if I should have done it but fact is I had to. My tear was bad. So, Thank you so much for this website. I got good advice, and balanced information. I got confidence when I doubted. I got reassurance when I was scared. Thank you each and everyone for sharing your story. Now, Do your therapy!

    Reply
  31. Scott Loftesness Post author

    Karen, thanks for sharing your update. Indeed, it’s quite a journey! Good to see you’re dedicated to your PT – it’s so important to pay close attention and neither over or under do it!

    Reply
  32. Cathy

    I am 5 weeks post op from rotator cuff repair and elbow tendon repair, injured in a car accident. I chose to have both surgeries done together as the recovery is 6 months for each and I couldn’t see doing this twice. I really appreciate this blog as many of my family and friends can’t believe that I’m not ready to shed the sling (and elbow brace) and lift weights. I guess it’s hard to believe how slow this recovery is until you have the surgery or live with someone recovering from it. I have just returned to sleeping in bed although I still wake up during the night in pain. I do find the pendulum stretches help with stiffness. I find that 600 mg of Advil on a regular schedule is really important for managing pain. Thanks to all who have posted and helped during my first weeks!

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Cathy, thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like you’ve turned the corner – I remember how great it was to shed the sling after 6 weeks! Good luck with your physical therapy ahead!

      Reply
    2. peter

      check with your Dr. on the advil. Nsaid medications including advil inhibit tendon healing, tylonol (acetometaphin) is reccomended.

      Reply
      1. Kirsten Miles

        I was told ibuprofin was fine, will have to rethink it as I have used it to decrease inflammation after pt etc….

        Reply
  33. Bob Blocker

    This site has been the best thing in explaning what to look forward to. I plan to have “Right shoulder arthroscopy, sub acromial decompression, mini-open rotator cuff repair”. This is according to what my doc. wrote. I researched all of this and the short of it is, repair a torn rotator cuff, re-attach a tendon and clean-up a bone spur. I am 70 and took a stupid fall in April 2012. The surgery is scheduled for August 21, 2012. I have soreness and I have trouble sleeping at night. What’s crazy is I have full range of motion and have good strength in my shoulder. I considered not having the surgery but I was told it could get worse and it would not heal on it’s own. I’ll check back in with my post-op comments. Good luck to all, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. andy cummings

      Bob
      I have had the decompression and torn rotator cuff both done this year in 2 seperate arthroscopic surgerys 6 months apart.
      It was unfortunate that the surgeon was unaware of the tear whenthe decompression was done resulting in me having to go through two lots of recovery.
      Same as you apart from occasional irritation i had full use and movement of the arm with both problems.
      I continued to run 6 mile every day with the tear and did a half marathon (although the running did irritate it).
      I have got the surgery done so as i can remain active and be pain free for many years.
      i am 9 days in now from the surgery and pain free. Hoping to get onto PT soon and get rid of this annoying sling.

      Reply
  34. Rex Simpkins

    I am 11 days out from complete rotator repair and I can honestly say that except for the sling trouble with sleep, I have been almost pain free. I read all these horror stories on the internet and put the surgery off one time. Now I am glad I did it. I have started getting frustrated with the sling during the day, and to be honest I take it off if I am just sitting in the recliner. Its on the same angle as the sling and does not seem to hurt it.

    Reply
    1. Kirsten Miles

      My physical therapist actually recommended that I take the sling off and rest my arm on my leg, to allow slight opening of the elbow to reduce tendon and muscle stiffening down there. He massages my neck and elbow muscles weekly to make sure that I am not in additional discomfort there when I can begin more active PT later. These are not things every PT knows to do… but I think they make life more comfortable!!

      Reply
  35. andy cummings

    Hi
    I am a 38 year old male from UK & had arhroscopic rotator cuff surgery 9 days ago for a minor tear after already having surgery Jan 2012 for shoulder impingement.
    I was concerned about the possible pain and difficulty sleeping from reading other peoples experiences, however other than a mild pain the 2nd night after surgery i have felt none at all. I have also found sleeping in bed much better than expected with the sling. I sleep comfortably on the non operated side with the hand of my operated arm tucked under the armpit of the good arm and 2 pillows placed either side of me. The first 2/3 nights i woke regularly but now sleeping well. Took codeine, paracetoml & diclofenac regularly for 7 days and now off pain meds all together.
    Biggest nightmare for me is being unable to go running, to the gym and awkwardness of daily tasks with a sling on.
    I am back to the consulant for a check up and stictches removal in 3 days and hoping to start PT.
    I am pleased with my progress and already able to dress myself, do up shoelaces and hope to be out of the sling within the next 2 weeks.
    Hope my experiences help.

    Reply
  36. Karen

    Want to update again. Not that I am so important but I want to encourage you who are not at my 10 weeks out yet. Believe me I relied on this sight everytime I had a meltdown ( and I did) I had two major crying spells in the middle of the night. So sure my surgeon had messed up and something was wrong. Will never forget the two weeks off hand tremors. They would just say “Oh that is normal” I was sure I was different and they just weren’t listening to me. My therapist said that healing comes first with range of motion exercises while the healing happens. That when we could start to strengthen, the pain would leave. I was more than doubtful but I kept doing my therapy like it was a religion. I am 10 weeks out and we have been strengthening since week 6. VERY slowly. I am now using 2 lb weights, larger tubing, and even started wall push ups. Guess what? This is Saturday and I haven’t even had a Tylenol since Thursday. I am getting stronger and the pain is just an occasional discomfort now. I start at the gymn Tuesday after I see the doctor Monday. Want to follow his instructions to the letter. Last night I tried to sleep without the usual sleep aide ( also your pain med is a sleep aide) I was cold turkey. I woke up many times but went back to sleep. Pain didn’t wake me up. I think my mind has gotten use to a pill making me sleepy. I have started a 6 week sleeping coach online that I did one other time. Tylenol pm sponsers it with sleep disorder physicians. I am not a joiner and thought it was just babble but I did it and it worked. So I started it at week one today. Just want to tell you who are struggling with the early weeks that there is most likely nothing wrong. This is a tough surgery and it takes time. It is scary, full of doubt, and pain. It does heal. You do get over it. Do your therapy. Good luck. Karen

    Reply
  37. Carolyn

    6 weeks tomorrow I had rotator cuff surgery (tear too big for arthroscopic surgery). I am 77 years old. I slept in my bed on my back from the day of surgery. I am now able to drive. The pillow was removed from the sling last Monday and I will give up the sling entirely next Monday. The therapy was passive range of motion until today when I started the machines, pulleys, etc. My worst pain has been the stiffness in elbow and wrist. I have 7 more weeks of therapy but would do this surgery again if I had to. Elastic shoe laces for my sneakers were very helpful because I like to walk. Hoping to soon be playing the piano again and maybe but late Fall I’ll be able to mow.

    Reply
    1. Richard

      Glad to hear a positive. I’m in the process of doing this, Dr says small tear?
      left shoulder been getting cortisone shots for about 16 months.
      A shot every 4 months when the pain keeps me awake at night.
      He’s a Orthopaedic Dr but not sure about how many of these he has done.
      75 years old good blood pressure, not on any medications. Historically
      have a problem with any type of high powered pain killers, Afetr 3rd shot
      get a little panic attack slept in a recliner for 8 weeks when I broke 4
      vertebraes in my back..

      Reply
  38. Karyn

    Scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on Aug. 15- 2 tears (rotator cuff and slap tear) plus arthritis and tendinitis and cannot recall what else. Was advised by the surgeon that I can expect only 2 weeks in a sling- but from every account I’ve read, the time is much longer. Has anyone had 2 weeks or less then 3 in a sling? Is it possible that my surgery is less severe then others- that’s what I’m assuming or perhaps my surgeon is being too optimistic? I live alone and am rounding up friends to be available in the mornings (to help me dress and wash) and to drive to physical therapy and then to pop in at night to see how I’m doing and help with my cat (have been training myself to deal with the litter with my left hand but it’s not easy). Am terrified most of all (besides the pain which I know can be controlled with meds) of being dependent on friends- as someone who is a helper and not used to asking for or receiving help- this has me totally freaked out. Am assuming this is the lesson here for me- or one of them.
    Can someone share with me when they are able to manage getting dressed on their own? Cannot figure out how to dress with the sling. What about showering- can the sling come off for that? Happy that I should be able to type as I plan to be back at work from home within a week or so post surgery. So many questions – greatly appreciate finding this site.

    Reply
    1. andy

      Karyn
      I guess you need to follow very carefully the advice from your own surgeon.
      You will notice from the posts here that experiences seem to differ greatly dependant on age, fitness, type of surgery & mental state.
      I am now 15 days out from minor rotator cuff tear surgery and revisited the surgeon for post a op check 4 days ago when i was advised to keep the sling on for another 2 weeks (4 in total, which seems to be the average).
      Personally i feel very good now after 2 weeks and feel i could manage without the sling. I am able to dress, tie up shoelaces, work on a computer, drive an automatic and even mow the lawn whilst using the one arm. I am going to follow my surgeons advice and keep the sling for 2 more weeks. My arm does get tired when i take it out of the sling and i guess it needs to be there to rest it and prevent me making any silly motions with that arm and messing up full recovery.
      I was advised i could remove it during showering and dressing from day 1 and was able to do both these tasks although very slowly. Believe me all these tasks get alot easier as every day goes by.
      I live alone too and it is suprising how you quickly you adapt to using the one arm and i have required no help from anyone. Like alot of others on here i am reluctant to ask for assisstance but i know it is there if i really need it.
      I wish you the best of luck.

      Reply
    2. Bob Blocker

      There are several good videos on YouTube addressing rotator cuff recovery. One video series is from PremierPT Jax (Jacksonville Florida) was very interesting. One of the PT guys had surgery and explains his experience. He also explained the stages of recovery and the length of time for healing. I hope this helps. I have moved my surgery up to Thur. 7/27 and I am planning on 4 to 6 weeks in a sling, I would love for it to be shorter.

      Reply
    3. Kirsten Miles

      I am three weeks out and I can say that during the first week I could dress my lower half easily, but get pull up pants without fastenings to reduce frustration and the need for both hands to fasten.

      You can get a shirt on and off, and I have used some tank tops that can be stretched easily to get on and off, but front-fastening shirts are best, and snaps are easier than buttons if you can find them. I have been going sleeveless or wide sleeves, you don’t want anything that takes too much effort to adjust once you have it on! Since you cannot lift your arm, you have to work the sleeve on to the corrected arm and shoulder with your good arm, and then get the rest of the top on. I went to thrift stores and bought loose, front open blouses to get me through this time and a couple of nice ones for going out of the house.

      Your body will tell you what you can and cannot do, just don’t get in a hurry!

      Reply
  39. Daniel

    Hi all. Just had my 2nd rotator cuff repair first was key hole 2nd was open surgery. Was wondering if anyone has experienced bad taste in there mouth after their surgery? Thanks

    Reply
  40. LORI DEL CARLO

    I am two weeks today out of surgery, to put it simply my 1 1/2 surgery turned into 3 1/2 hours. Frozen Shoulder, Bone Spur, tendentious, plus a big tear on top and bottom with screws repairing the damage, to say the least they found things in my shoulder they did not except to find!!! I am in a sling for 4 weeks only allowed to come out a few times a day to do 3 very simple at home exercises. No physical therapy until some healing takes place. I can not remember the last time I have had a night sleep!
    I want to thank everyone on here for sharing their stories, as yesterday I was feeling very down and realize everything I was feeling is TOTALLY normal, including am I healing properly or are my aches and pain abnormal? All I can say is this is one of the most painful experience of my life, but I am not alone and that knowledge is a little bit comforting.
    I would like to share my motto with all of you as it is helping me get thru each day.
    “In my future I will be pain free” Good luck and again thank you for sharing your stories.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Lori, that’s the great part about this site. You get to see you are doing normal at those times when you think something must have gone wrong. You will do fine.

      Reply
  41. Marie

    Hi

    This is a wonderful site. Thanks all. I am 52 woman and very active, healthy etc. Injured my shoulder last April, possibly doing handstands in yoga along with continous vinyasa and also photographing with a heavy lens? Not sure. Suddenly it just hurt but I can’t point to what exactly caused it. Had been weak for years since a skiing accident.

    I’ve had MRI and four ultrasounds by different doctors bc I keep wanting to hear something different or at least definitive. :) What is unanimous is that I definitely have a level three impingement. One doc suspects a partial tear of the supraspinitus.

    Another said supraspinitus is “very thin and could be torn”. Another thought it was actually the biceps tendon but … the MRI shows its all rather intact. So my question is this: has anyone just had the op for the impingement, to shave off the bone so it is not stabbing into the tendon?

    The surgeon I’ve finally selected said he would do it arthroscopically and if, when he was in there he saw a tear, he would also fix that with an anchor, but that he may not have to at all, so only three weeks in a sling.

    My AC joint is very prominent but not painful so his view is because it is large but asymptomatic, just leave it as is and treat only the problem causing the pain which is– possibly — only the extreme impingement.

    So, brave kind folks, does anyone have any experience with “pain” but despite all the technology, no certainty? Four excellent surgeons in separate consultations all said they couldn’t quite see what was what except all advised it must be fixed. (They could observe my pain). Even with an MRI (without contrast) seems they don’t quite know.

    Except that the tendon is impinged, but possibly not even torn. (That would be great).

    The last question – one doc said he advised no typing at all for six weeks if the rotator is torn (I’m a writer). I had thought I could just sit and write whilst not being able to drive. Has anyone heard of a healing process this conservative? He said that when you type, nerve fibres fire, and that this is not good for healing.

    Sorry this is so long. Thank you everyone. Blessings to all.

    Reply
    1. Scott

      Scott
      I am so glad I found this site and thank you for creating it. I feel more “normal” in what I’m going through . I’m 5 weeks in and can’t seem to remember what more than 2 hrs of sleep is like. I ended up with 4 anchors to repair the frontal section and some more minor work in rear and a spur removed. As I sit here at 1:50am I’ve become so frustrated with the sling and sleep. I’ve tried sleeping sitting up, laying down, on my back, partially on the side but it just doesn’t matter. I still have not started rehab and in afraid I’m going to break something loose before this all over. I’m not very patient but do feel better now understanding this was a bigger deal than I expected. Someone had mentioned he wasn’t mentally prepared and I have to say that is me too. I was not prepared for this.
      I wonder if some can weigh in; after they are out of the sling how long do they feel it takes them to be getting back to normal activities? (Like I said I’m not very patient.) Good luck to everyone!!!

      Thanks for listening
      Scott

      Reply
      1. Dudley Murphy

        I’m only 10 day out and wear the sling sparingly while at home..the PT seems to work really well with the lift machine and home exercises……….only limited pain, no meds and sleeping in the recliner

        Good luck, Dudley

        Reply
    1. andy

      Marie
      I had the impingement surgery on its own in January this year after an x ray showed the hooked bone causing my impingement and pinching pain (no MRI was carried out pre op).
      The surgeon made a point of taking the sling off me before i left the hospital after the bone shave.
      As there was “no repair work” carried out (only bone spur shave) there was no requirement for a sling and he encouraged movement of the sholder as soon as possible. My shoulder was very stiff for about 4 days but having no sling made me get it moving as quick as possible meaning i returned to work on the 5th day although i was sore for a few more weeks and on painkillers still.
      It actually took me 3/4 months until i could lay on the operated shoulder in bed.
      Unfortunately i continued to have soreness particularly when i resumed my daily running and after an MRI scan 4 months later it turned out i also had a minor rotator cuff tear as a result of the initial impingment of the tendon.
      I am now 3 weeks out from the rotstor cuff repair during which he used one anchor.
      I am now just about out of the sling and starting to resume most activities gradually. I am unable to lift my arm more than 60 degrees to the front or side due to post op stiffness and weakness but i am due to start PT next week which i hope will address this. My surgeon thinks i will be able to get it going myself without too much assisstance.
      I would say the bone shaving for me was more painful/sore of the two surgeries but less of an inconvenience, however the rotator cuff surgery was just awkward with the use of the sling and the longer period of recovery required.
      I was typing the on the computer the same week as the surgery and the surgeon advised me this was fine.
      I am sure you would agree that it is important to follow your own surgeons advice as they are the professional and have more information about your circumstances. Everyone’s situation is going to be different.
      Hope this answers some of your questions.

      Reply
  42. betty

    i have found all comments very helpful…my husband goes into surgery July 30, 2012 day after his 71 birthday. Thank you all for answering a lot of questions for us. I was wondering if any comments on the helper. How much help should we give? I hope to post more after the surgery. He is very active with softball and work.

    Reply
  43. Karen

    I say we all say a big Thank You to Scott for making this site available to us. It’s easy to find sites with wild opinions , doom and gloom. This site is informational. We can learn from others who posted at our point in time. So! Thank you Scott. Hey how about an update from you Scott!

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Karen, thanks for your thank you – but it’s the sharing by the group that’s been so interesting! As for me, I’m coming up on 3 years since my rotator cuff surgery – and things have turned out very well for me. I have full range of motion in my right shoulder – and just a bit of weakness that really doesn’t interfere with my quality of life. I’m so fortunate to have had a great surgeon who did such a great surgery on me!

      Reply
  44. Chris

    I had my left shoulder repaired about 5 weeks ago no sling and I ve been in PT for about 4weeks. My pain level and all is excactally the same as it was befor surgery not to mention the nerve damage in my elbow (that they wont fix till my shoulder is better) has gotten worse and spread to my hand making it very difficult to grip anything after surgery did people notice a difference in the pain level and when
    Thanks

    Reply
  45. Karen

    Chris, I wanted to say that I had a problem with my elbow and hand too. Thought for sure that it was some sort of damage. It is the ulnar nerve and it is’t damaged, just inflamed and it is getting better. Your Dr. is ALWAYS your best source of information. Just didn’t want you to worry too much about it. Everything in the arm is all connected to the shoulder. Any trama inflames everything. I’ll bet it will be fine, given time.

    Reply
  46. andy

    I have found this site very useful both before and after my surgery and what makes it interesting is to have such a range of different experiences and timeframes for recovery . I was very concerned before my surgery that this was going to be a lot worse than it actually has been for me.
    I wanted to update on my 4 week progress from my rotator cuff surgery on 5th July.
    I had another visit to my surgeon 2 days ago and to my relief he advised me to finish with the sling ( i had started to use it less and less during week 3).
    He has also cleared me for resuming my daily running with caution and he has issued me some PT exercises to do myself at home (no visit to a physio required).
    I am able to now rotate my arm 90 degrees to front & side pain free and reach above shoulder height briefly. He advised me to leave the strengthening for another month.
    As i can now also drive without a problem i consider myself to be back to all normal daily activities.
    I understand i will be sore for some time and it will take many months until i am 100%.
    Throughout my recovery i have tried to let my own body and pain dictate what i can and cannot do. I ensured that although i needed to use the sling to protect the repair,i removed my arm regularly and tried to prevent stiffness.
    I believe my age (37) and good level of fitness has enabled me to get through this without too much trouble.

    Reply
  47. Bob Blocker

    This is just a follow up post. I am 17 days post op from my rotator cuff surgery. The doc said he used 6 anchors since the tear was pretty big. I had a mini-open arthroscopic repair (3 small holes and a 4 inch cut). For me the three days after surgery were the worst, since then things just keep getting better. I’m 70 years old and have been very active in the past. Sleeping is the hardest part or maybe I should say trying to sleep with the sling. I get 4 to 5 hours sleep a night with a lot of moving to find just the right spot. I am looking forward to week 5, that’s when my doc says I can get out of the sling. Only 19 days to go. I echo everyone who says it is worth it, I already feel much better. P.S. I take my sling off during the day while I am just sitting around and that has not seemed to hurt me, I did ask the doc about this and he said OK. Good luck everyone.

    Reply
  48. Sal

    This is an EXCELLENT blog. Thanks to everyone for it.

    It’s now been a week since my surgery and am still having a good bit of pain, especially at night. A few questions:

    Before the surgery sleeping always caused pain that I felt mostly when I work up in the morning and for a little while after……………..even if I slept on the “other” side. I am finding that I have the same issue now, only worse, no matter what position I sleep in, which, now is mostly on the recliner. How long did it take for the whole night-pain thing to pass for others of you?

    I take off the sling a few times a day to do the passive elbow and wrist bends and the pendulum exercise, but sometimes feel that my arm is cramping up when in the sling for too long. Taking the arm out of the sling for awhile and letting it rest on the seat next to me seems to help. (I sometimes am even able to passively move the arm, rest the heal of my palm on the laptop, and type.) Did others experience this sort of cramping? Also, how long did you wait before typing with both hands?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Sal
      I still feel the odd ache, pain, burning and particularly stiffness across the top of the shoulder going into week 7 but i know to expect this for some months.
      Nothing that wakes me though or gives me any real issues. Bad night pain passed within the first week.
      As far as typing goes i was using the laptop & mouse from week 2 but i had soreness in the bad arm using the mouse until week 5.
      It was not until i got rid of the sling week 4 and got moving that i started to rapidly improve.
      I too had arm cramps and like you dropped the arm out of the sling as much as poss particularly when sitting watching th tv and had to get up in the middle of the night to move the arm around.
      I think the worst thing would have been keeping it in the sling fcontinuously for 4/5 weeks and then suddenly expecting the arm to start moving.

      Reply
      1. Sal

        Andy,

        Thanks. I am now 5 days further out in my recovery……………two weeks tomorrow.

        I was off Vicodin for the first time yesterday and last night, but night it is still really rough. Finding a comfortable position anywhere is a challenge. It’s actually a comic exercise of musical chairs. I start on a recliner; move to the couch; then to the bed; then back to the recliner; and so on. Throughout this, I apply ice on and off. Each place I eventually drift away until I wake up from the pain; then I move again.

        The biggest challenge for me is feeling assured that everything is alright. I had to undergo two surgeries for repair of torn cartilidge in my knee years ago (doctor said, “Sorry, I didn’t take out enough the first time”), so that’s playing with my mind. What’s that old saying? “Just because I’m paradoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

        Like you mention, I have also taken off the sling to relieve the cramping feeling and to be sure that the shoulder doesn’t stiffen up too badly. I honestly don’t feel uncomfortable when doing it, and it has been a good judge of recovery. I am able to feel more mobility and ability to do smple things that I couldn’t do the day before. But is this wise? Is it impeding recovery? Don’t know, I guess. Just have to go with my gut.

        What’s also an issue is that I keep bumping the damn arm……….like there is some sort of gravitational pull between the shoulder and hard, stationary objects.

        My doctor is more of a let pain be your guide person (rather than rigidly keeping the arm in a sling), so I guess it’s okay. Only time will tell, I suppose.

        Again, thanks.

        Any other bits of wisdon you have would be welcomed.

        Reply
  49. Connie

    Thank goodness for this site! It will be two weeks tomorrow since my surgery. I haven’t read any other post with my particular issue. I have a large red hive rash on my shoulder and upper arm. The arm is hotter than the other one, and it is painful to touch. It’s also swollen. I saw my Dr. yesterday for my first post op appt. He thinks it’s from the ice machine. I used the one from Kodiac. I kept the ice on for 8 hours at a time, and then off for one hour. This was per my Dr.’s instructions. After he saw my arm, he suggested I not use the ice for three days, and see if it gets better. Anyone else have this problem? Thanks!

    Reply
  50. Sal

    Connie,

    I had my surgery a little over 2 weeks ago, and I didn’t experience this kind of thing. I’ve had a lot of pain, as I’ve noted in earlier posts, but no rash like you describe.

    Did you put the ice machine directly on the skin or did you have something in between? Unless it was right on, it is hard to imagine that it could be frostbite, since, as far as I know, it doesn’t produce a rash, per se. But I am not a physician, so can only speculate.

    As much as anything, I would worry for you about not being able to apply cold to the shoulder. I am still using my ice machine quite a bit so I know how much relief it can bring.

    In your situtation, I might call my general practitioner for advice. An internist or family physician lives more in the world of rashes and such and would also likely be more objective.

    Just a thought.

    Good luck on this and keep us posted.

    Sal

    Reply
    1. Connie

      Yep, frostbite. My skin is peeling now, but it’s feeling much better. I’m nervous to use the machine again, and the pain is manageable with advil. I bought a foam wedge for my bed…heaven! I’m almost sleeping through the night!

      Reply
      1. Karen

        Connie, my instruction were to never ice more than 20 minutes at a time. I had a wrap with ice packs and was also instructed to always have a thin layer of material under the packs. Hang in there lady and good luck.

        Reply
  51. Jeff Crumpler

    I’m glad I stumbled across this discussion. My MRI shows a large full-thickness tear of the supraspinatus, a 50% tear of the subscapularis, small SLAP lesion, and AC joint bone spurs. My surgery is scheduled for October 22 which should give me about 5 weeks to recover before having to go back to work. I don’t expect too much trouble working as I’m a technical writer and don’t have a strenuous job. The surgery will be to my right shoulder and I’m right-handed so I’m naturally concerned about how I’m going to manage everything with my left hand.

    I’m 54 and my first grandchild (a boy) is due mid-September. My goal is to be able to throw a pitch as soon as he’s big enough to catch one. There’s a saying, ‘misery loves company’, and it’s good to know that others have already been down this road… Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  52. RHONDA Klemple

    this is my second surgery the last one was 8 days ago for a tear in the rotator cuff .my doctor said use the sling only if I go out! It seems everything i READ ON HERE EVERYONE WEARING THIERS! I am in so much pain cant sleep /off all meds except for flexrall .i feel so much pain! I could just cut my arm off it hurts that much!

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Do you just let your arm hang down? I was told to not take mine off except to shower for 6 weeks. And you are off all pain meds in 8 days? Think you need to call you Dr. and have a talk. Good luck.

      Reply
  53. Jill

    Hi folks. Just stopped PT (helped with a bit of range of motion but pain is not tolerable) and got a cortisone shot in my left shoulder today. Hoping to put off the pain for a while. I’m fairly positive that I’ll be headed to surgery fix the tear, the fraying, the spur, etc. I’m just trying to see how long I can hold off. This is a 23 year old injury that I re-injured about 6 weeks ago. I didn’t have any treatment when it first happened, so this my first foray.

    Here’s some newbie questions:

    1. Why can’t anyone drive? Are you restricted from it? I have driven one handed several times due to injuries to one hand or the other. (I know that you can’t drive on the meds – lol!)

    2. If you have the arthroscopic (sp?) surgery, when do you see the surgeon afterwards? I live in the north where frigid temps and lots of snow anywhere from October to May would make it hard to go the 80 miles one-way for the surgery. Could I stay at a hotel overnight with a family member and see the surgeon the next day – then go home? I can get all of the rehab in my town, so travel is not a problem there.

    3. I sleep pretty badly now, so I’m used to that. I have a nest of pillows all around me in bed, so that’s covered. I CANNOT sleep on my back AT ALL. If I supported the sling with pillows and whatnot, could I sleep on the opposite side? This could be a deal-breaker.

    4. This will sound odd, but I’m very body conscious – not that I’m a super-fine specimen. (That deserves a snort-giggle!) I never wear tight clothes, shirts without sleeves, etc. It’s not a religious thing, but sort-of. Will the sling “snuggify” my shirts? I’m not one for sweat pants or the like, but could definitely wear them around the house and for sure right after surgery. I guess if I waited until the cold weather, I could wear my arm/sling under a shirt. It sounds silly, but it is important to me.

    5. Can I do my usual stuff with my good arm – walking the dogs (one at a time), doing art, etc. shortly after the first few days post-op?

    I appreciate your input from previous posts and your time in maybe replying to mine.

    Off to enjoy my cortisone – much less pain than before the shot. I won’t do anything stupid – maybe just get that book off of the top shelf that I couldn’t get before.

    Cheers and best wishes to all.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Jill

      1. I was driving within a few days of the surgery with one hand although this is not advised. There could be implications on your insurance as you are deemed to not be in control of the vehicle. I you need to take avasive action you could also damag your bad shoulder as well as other road users/pedestrians.
      2. Surgeon usually required revisit in 10 days to remove stiches followed by another couple of visits.
      3. you should be able to sleep on side or front as pain allows provided you utilise pilllows for support. I can’t sleep on my back either.
      4. You will need baggy clothes initially until you are able to dress yourself well and wear the sling over your clothes. This was about two weeks for me.
      5. You should be able to walk the dogs and do anything else you would normally do provided you wear the sling and protect the arm at all times. I was out walking daily from 3 days post surgery. This greatly helped with my recovery and maintaining some sort of normal life.

      The 2 cortisone shots i had were great relief for about 2/3 months until the pain returned I eventually had to give in and go for the surgery.

      Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Mary Ann

      Hi Jill,
      I had surgery to repair a 100% tear in my right shoulder on August 23, 2012. I went for my 5 week checkup today and am now able to get rid of my sling. Although this surgery wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…it is no picnic either. I had a pain pump for 1 week after surgery that released pain medication by itself. I had no control of how much or how little I got. The only problem I had with it was that it numbed not only my shoulder but my whole arm. The numbness was the worst experience ever, for me. My arm was completely dead and for a week and I thought something went wrong with my surgery. My husband talked to the hospital quite a few times about it. They had him turn the pump down for an hour to see if I had tingling in my fingers. When I told them I did, they said everything is fine…turn it back up. We removed the pain pump after 5 days and all feeling was back within one hour. I was given permission to drive, from my doctor, once the pump was removed. I also had a chair with a robotic arm and an ice machine that I used religiously for two weeks. I’m pretty sure those two pieces of equipment are the reasons that I am recovering so well. I guess the things that I didn’t know about are what bothered me the most. No lifting over 1 lb for the first 5 weeks and after my appointment today..no lifting over 1-2 lbs. That is going a little slower than I thought it would. He said it could take 6 months to a year to get back to my normal routine even though I am ahead of schedule now. I can reach above my head but can’t reach behind me yet. By that, I can’t scratch my back above my waist. I am overall very pleased with my decision to have the surgery because I was in more pain before than I am now.
      To answer some of your questions:
      1. My doctor said I could drive after the pain pump was removed.

      2. I did have the arthroscopic surgery as an outpatient. I had to see my doctor 1 week after surgery, 5 weeks and my next appointment is in 6 weeks.

      3. I slept in bed with pillows all around me. They suggest sleeping in a recliner.

      4. I stayed in my pj’s the first week and was able to put my jeans on after that. It’s a little rough getting dressed but not impossible. I also wear loose fitting pull over tops. You just have to put your sore arm in first. You will figure out the best way for you.

      5. I’m not sure walking a dog would be a good idea but you should ask your doctor (I don’t own a dog). You can do a lot of other stuff as long as it can be done with your other arm. My friends couldn’t believe that I was on the computer so soon after my surgery.

      I also tried the PT and cortisone shots thinking I would get out of having the surgery. It really only postponed what I knew had to be done. The pain was unbearable.

      Hope this helps you in making your decision. Having a good doctor is the key to it all. I am extremely happy with the one I chose.

      Good luck!!

      Reply
      1. Mary Ann

        I forgot to mention the stitches. Mine will dissolve by themselves. I didn’t need another appointment to have them removed.

        Reply
  54. Sal

    Rhonda,

    My heart goes out to you in a “been there” kind of way.

    One thing I’ve found is that you can find many, many opinions from doctors about use of the sling because of the balancing act between allowing the shoulder to heal and not have it freeze up. I tapered on use of the sling in my first 3 weeks because I thought that was I was supposed to do and, if I had to do it all over again, I would wear it consistently to allow the healing process to take place and avoid overuse………………except for when you do the passive exercises — pendulum swing and chair slide, which are intended to help with flexibility.

    For me, a part of the reason I reach this conclusion is that my shoulder was VERY inflamed at the time of the surgery, so it had to get over that plus the surgery. Others may have had a different level of inflammation beforehand, which could allow some flexibility on use of the sling. But, that said, the conservative approach is the wear it.

    On the pain, I FEEL your pain. I went through the same thing. In my case, Percocet didn’t work and the doctor changed me to Vicodin, which did. The good news is that the pain subside after a few days if you allow the arm to stay still (translation: use the sling), avoid using it, and use ice. I was issued an ice machine that pumps cold water over and around the shoulder. It helps with the swelling and pain. Did you receive one of these?

    Hang in,

    Sal

    Reply
  55. Kaye

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you for this great blog! I had my rotator cuff surgery on June 12, 12 – I am a 53 yr old female – I had a small 80% thickness supraspinatus tear on my right side – of course I am right handed. I tore the tendon 3 years ago and finally had the surgery this summer. The surgery was not bad – but I did have a difficult time coming out of the anaesthesia. I didn’t take any post surgery pain meds – I felt pain post surgery – but it was manageable – lot of ice packs. I know a lot of other people here posted that sleeping was very difficult for them — but for the first 4 weeks, I slept like a log. I just propped myself up on pillows. I work in an office – so went back to work 6 days post surgery. Looking back now – I should have stayed home a few more days. I type a lot with my job – and that was a challenge — I could not lift my hand/arm from keyboard to mouse. It tooks weeks before I could move back and forth between keyboard and mouse with some ease. I kept the sling on the first 4 weeks and only removed it for bathing. Week 5 and 6 were difficult for me — I was taking my arm out of the sling — and it was painful. Lot’s of Ibuprofen and lots more ice. I started physical therapy at week four — passive motion and arm swings. Weeks 5-10 – lots of physical therapy – lots of stretching exercises and lite weights – and it still hurt. I really turned a corner at week 10 – I don’t know what happened — woke up one day — and most of my pain was gone. I still have a long way to go — I still can’t get my arm behind my back – but I know I will get there – I have some pain — but it’s mostly from working out or PT. I’m slowing regaining strength and most of my ROM. Reading everyone’s experiences have been so helpful to me — it shows that everyones healing is so different. Best of luck to everyone here!!

    Reply
    1. Jeff Crumpler

      Hi Kaye,

      Like you, my tears are on my right side and I’m also right handed. Being a technical writer, I use the keyboard and mouse alot with my work. I’m hoping to be able to do some light work from home after two weeks. Does that sound reasonable?

      Thanks,
      Jeff

      Reply
  56. Kay

    Thank you Scott for this website. There are many degrees of shoulder surgery, some simpler than others. Hence, individuals recover/feel pain more or less than others. I am 67 years old, had major surgery 6 weeks ago, surgeon described it as ‘hamburger with the lot!’ Found it very painful and debilitating ,with my husband having to help me shower, dress, put sling on and off etc, not to mention the sleepless nights with the sling on .Am in my second week without sling, and having PT twice a week. My hand and fingers on the bad side are quite swollen? Anyone else have this happen?

    Reply
  57. Kaye

    Hi Jeff,

    I could type on my computer a couple of days after surgery, it was just an effort. You will figure out ways to make it easier by using support under your arm or resting your arm on the desk — hopefully you will not have any problems.

    Reply
  58. Sal

    Jeff,

    I had the same situation, and my experience parallels Kaye’s. However, I found that moving the mouse irritated the shoulder; so went without it. I just carefully rested the heal of my palm on either side of the built-in mouse pad and moved the cursor with my thumbs. Not my preference, but it works.

    To reinforce, when I had my 3-week follow-up with the surgeon last week, he said this is the way he wants me to go. Operating the mouse requires a tiny tug on the shoulder right where the repair took place, hence the discomfort.

    Sal

    Reply
    1. Mary Ann

      I was back on my computer after 2 weeks but I just had to learn to do everything with my left hand. It took a little more time and a lot of patience but at least I got my work done.

      Reply
  59. Max

    Had rotator cuff repair in feb 2012, had a complete tear, bone spur removed, and subacromial decompression. I had to wear brace continually for 6 weeks, took a while to get used to it, I already had sleeping difficulty, wearing brace made it worse, I am a stomach sleeper, sitting up to sleep was a nightmare. I started my physical therapy 2 weeks after surgery, very very painful, the stretching was the worst thing I have ever been through, never want to experience that kind of pain again, therapy was for 3 months, 3 times a week, with continued therapy on my own afterwards. I still continued to have pain. My doctor gave me a steroid injection which helped with the pain for about 3 weeks, felt like a normal person, then the pain and stiffness came back, had terrible burning pain that radiated from my axillary to my elbow, pain got worse with activity and lying flat, went back to doctor, was given another injection in my bicep tendon, it helped for about 2 weeks, pain returned, went back to doctor because burning pain is not getting better, option for tenodesis has been recommended but I have not made the decision to go ahead with it, I have range of motion but it is becoming painful especially with lifting objects, some objects small as a cup or glass of water. What should I do, has anyone experienced what I been through had success with the tendons is procedure?

    Reply
  60. Jim

    Hi Scott! Thanks for the writings about your experience! I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one suffering my head off with this surgery! It will be 4 weeks tomorrow post surgery for me. I think they are going to tell me to take off the sling tomorrow. Kinda scared, because I’ve heard of people re-tearing their muscles accidently reaching for something. The PT has been unbelievably painful. How are you doing now? Any tips? :-) Sincerely, Jim

    Reply
  61. Susie

    I am a 56 year old female and am 4 weeks post surgery today for a small rotator cuff repair on right arm (dominant arm), removal of bone spur, and repair of frayed bicep tendon due to bone spur. I am still in my sling, but my doctor’s nurse and PA told me early on that I could remove it if just hanging around the house. So I have taken mine off and on several times a day and feel it has helped with not getting too stiff. Like many others, sleeping has been difficult for more than 3-4 hours a stretch. I have found sleeping on the couch easier than propping up in bed as pillows tend to slide down in bed. After first week I’ve only used one pain med a day just before bedtime. I’ve been doing pendulum swings and some assisted external rotation exercises (using a long wooden spoon) since day after surgery, and used ice every 2 hours for 20 min. for first week. Still ice if I feel achy. Some days I’m stiffer than others, but feel the pain has dropped off substantially over the past week. I look forward to starting PT at week six and will also return to work as a legal secretary at week six. I’ve actually had more pain in bicep muscle than shoulder and that is why releasing from the sling some during the day helps and I find that if I very gently massage the muscle it relaxes. Have not driven since surgery and because I have a long commute from suburbs to busy metro midtown, I plan on driving backroads for a while to avoid all the crazies on the interstate :-) October is a beautiful month to be off of work so I’ve taken advantage of the mild days by getting out and taking walks; it helps with the mood for sure and I think even helps with the pain management. This is one of the most helpful blogs I’ve found so far and is a reminder that everyone heals at different levels, and your mental attitude will play a big role in that healing. It is a long slow recovery, but use the time to enjoy some downtime and get outdoors if weather permits, if only sitting outside in a lounge chair. Good luck to you all in your recovery processes.

    Reply
  62. Karen

    OK, I am still interested in reading here and updating. If I can help encourage anyone, I sure want to. I wrote at 19 days out and then again I think at 8 weeks. Jim, you are so right. It is really painful and it doesn’t get over with quickly. The sling is about the worst part and trying to sleep. It will feel so good to get it off but don’t be suprised (or scared) when you get it off if it seems like the pain starts getting worse for a little while. I was afraid something was wrong because the progress went backwards for a little. Well, your arm hasn’t met with gravity in a while. When you get the sling off it will. At that point my fingers even started getting numb. Seems there is an ulnar nerve that got inflamed too , happens frequently but I wasn’t very informed. My doctor wasn’t very good at talking to me. But let me assure you it all get’s better. I am at 5 months out now and it really is like it never happened. I know I need to be a little careful for the first year. I am so free of pain that I have to remind myself not to pull, or pick something heavy up. All in all, it was one of the worst experiences ever but in the end I had a good result. So just hang in there everyone. So many times I thought something must be wrong and I would never be the same again , but here I am. The most important thing I can say to you is “Do your therapy” Full range of motion is what you are aiming for. Good luck.

    Reply
    1. Paula

      Thank you for your encouragement, Karen. How long did it take before the pain subsided? So glad to know it was worth it in the end for you.

      Reply
      1. Karen

        Paula, don’t judge your progress day by day. You will have good days followed by bad days. Expect uncomfortable pain for a while, maybe even 2 or 3 months. Ice is your best friend. No more than 20 minutes at a time and be sure to put something between the ice pack and skin. I love this sight because I was not properly prepared for what to expect and thought so many times something must be wrong. It’s a slow process and like the nurse told me “You can’t make it faster, I can’t make it faster, Your doctor can’t make it faster. It’s a slow process” God bless and good luck. Do your therapy exactly as you are instructed. No more and no less.

        Reply
  63. Jeff Crumpler

    Had my pre-op appointment yesterday and surgery is scheduled for Monday morning. I’ll share my experience as soon as I’m able.

    Reply
  64. Michael Bridge

    Hi, everyone! I am a 42 yr old male and just had my outpatient (arthroscopic) surgery yesterday to repair a completely torn rotator (the supra). Although I have played many sports, and I am quite active, this was my first surgery, and first time going under anesthesia. I did lots and lots of research prior to my surgery and found this blog to be a good place to share my experience thus far, and offer whatever suggestions I can to help anyone else having to go through with a similar procedure. I am a relatively big guy (only sharing so that you understand some of our unique differences and how your experience might differ or compare) 6’4, 242 pounds. I believe I have a relatively high tolerance for pain, but I was certainly nervous prior to surgery. Surgery was actually very simple, about 2 hours in surgery (anchors and bone spur removal, 3 incisions although they told me it could be up to 5). 30 mins in phase 1 recovery room (to wake up), and then 1 hour in phase 2 ( my wife was able to join me at this point for crackers/ginger ale/powerade). Some questions that might help you:

    Scalene block? Should you have one?:
    This nerve block might be offered by the anesthesiologist. It is basically a shot into a bundle of nerves close to your collar bone (rather large needle) that, “kills the arm” for up to 24-48 hours. You will have no feeling in your arm post op during this 24 hour period. My surgeon highly recommended it, but I actually declined it. My reasons: Additional risk of permanent nerve damage, drooping face, infection where injected (all VERY low risks, but as I mentioned earlier, I handle pain relatively well). If I am going to have high pain that slowly decreases with care, I want to start at the height of that pain to understand improvement. The alternative is waiting 24 hours and then perhaps being hit with a lightning bolt of pain (take your meds well in advance!!). The choice is yours and I am happy I decided against it, but most people seem just as happy with the block. Do your homework.

    I will post additional questions/answers as I am doing this from my CPM machine, 6-8 hours a day, so I have some spare time! :) More to follow…please feel free to ask any questions.

    Reply
  65. Michael Bridge

    To sleep or not to sleep?:

    As I mentioned, I have only had one night of this thus far, but as everyone seems to agree, it’s a bit challenging. I tried keeping the ice cuff on as I slept but it just seemed to add 5 more things poking and pulling that kept me awake. Simple ice packs serve just as well…just don’t put them directly on skin. Your chair of choice is absolutely critical. I had moved a recliner into our bedroom a few days before surgery. I quickly learned after several hours of squiggling with pain that my chair was not ideal. Here is why:

    Make certain that your repaired arm can hang 100% on the sling! NOT the arm of the chair or pillows or anything else. The sling (while annoying) is to protect and take the weight off of the repaired shoulder.) Even the slightest of pressure upwards on the sling will soon cause some serious discomfort.

    I found the ideal solution at 4:30am and slept just fine after that.

    We have a leather love seat that reclines on both sides. If you have something similar, use it! Sit on whatever side is opposite your repaired arm. My surgery was on the right shoulder, so I sat with my good arm on the left arm rest, and my recovering arm hanging 100% by the sling. Within 10 mins the pain subsided, and I slept relatively pain free. Some recliners are deep and you sink into them. If you do not have a love seat or reclining couch, add some pillows/blankets to the seat to get your arm into the sling and NOT on the arm rest. I think you will find this much more comfortable.

    Reply
  66. Michael Bridge

    Scalene block revisited:

    One more additional note on the scalene block and whether or not to have it? Since I opted not to have the block, I was given some morphine in my phase 2 recovery room which lasted nearly 6 hours after we left the Hospital. Note: the scalene block may only last 10 hours, but it can last beyond 24 hours. My point is, if you are in post op pain and still in the recovery room, tell the nurse your pain level is 7 or higher, and you will most likely get a friendly little bump of pain relief without the additional risks associated with a nerve block. I was very comfortable on the drive home. So much so, I asked my wife to stop at Starbucks for a frappucino. (Your throat will be a little sore from the anesthesia/breathing tube for a few days. Just treat it like any other sore throat. It’s not too bad.)

    Reply
  67. Andy C

    Still checking back here now and then to have a read of everyones comments.
    Great to see everyone updating on progress from several months ago.
    I had my surgery back in early Jan & again in early July.
    Nearly 4 months ago now. Feeling good and recovered quickly. Completed my half marathon today since the surgery.
    Still get the odd ache and pain from the shoulder and of course it is worse when running.
    I have however been running since about week 4 after surgery (at doctors instruction) so i don’t consider it to be that bad.
    Still hope that given a few more months the aches and pains will completely disappear.

    Reply
  68. Robert

    Wow! is all I can say at this point.. Having my left shoulder repaired tomorrow morning. I am a Military Recruiter under a ton of ‘new boss’ pressure and worried how this is going to impact my job. Ive had abdominal and hernia surgeries and those went well, but this sling thing has me worried. I am not very patient with healing and tend to push the envelope. If I had read this before tonight, I probably wouldnt have the surgery. Thanks to all that have posted their sufferings! I will update as I can on my procedure and progress.

    Reply
  69. Katy

    Wow! This site is wonderful. Found it by googling about driving post-surgery (just scheduled for November 27th). But all of the additional information is overwhelmingly helpful. I am also a writer who has deadlines, so was very interested in reading what other writers’ experiences were (especially since I have to talk to my boss tomorrow about the surgery). I’d rather exceed his expectations of my full return to productivity, so I am going to be very conservative in my timeline. Does the following sound reasonable?

    - two weeks at home, followed by another 4-6 weeks in offive with sling and twice/thrice weekly physical therapy for an additional couple of months?

    I will work hard in pre-surgery weeks to get ahead of deadlines, etc. But it sounds like the beginning of the year before I get close to my normal productivity. Will also start working now w mouse on left side of keyboard so I get used to it!

    Reply
  70. Jeff Crumpler

    My surgery on 10/22 went well. I opted for the block and had no negative issues. I agree with an earlier post that you want your arm fully supported by the sling. The arm of the recliner can elevate your shoulder and cause additional discomfort. I spent much of the first night proped up on the sofa so my arm could hang free. A friend loaned me an Iceman cold therapy machine that has been my greatest blessing. I was instructed to keep my shoulder iced continuously for the first 48 hrs. and it helped to not have to continuously switch out ice packs.

    I removed the bandage yesterday and was able to shower for the first time. I have 3 incisions and a lot of bruising.

    I go for my follow-up on 10/30 and begin PT on 11/1. In the meantime, I’m removing the sling and doing gentle pendulum swings several times a day.

    I’ll provide another update after my first PT session.

    Take care, everyone.

    Reply
  71. Cindy

    I am able to try life without the sling in a few days. How do I sleep in the bed like a regular human? I sleep on my side but since surgery I have only slept in the recliner on my back. My back is not an option in a bed so I need to know how to lay on my side and not feel like my arm weighs a hundred pounds. I swear this sling has almost been the death of me…looking so forward to life without it!

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Hi Cindy. I hear ya. The sling added as much discomfort as the pain. They call it a little “pillow” between your body and arm. It feels more like a block of wood during the day and a brick at night. I just want to encourage you. It gets lots better once you are rid of the sling. I am 5 months out and it’s like it never happened. There were times I was sure the surgery had ruined me for life! But my surgeon did a good job, I just wasn’t properly prepared as to what to expect (thank God for this website). My best advice is to follow all your instructions and be faithful with your therapy. God Bless and good healing.

      Reply
  72. Karen

    Something you may or may not be interested in. I found out that the slings cost $150.00. Our orthopedic department will take any donated ones, clean them up, and give them to people who don’t have insurance. Might be something you would like to check into. I just mentioned that I couldn’t wait to throw mine away when they told me they would welcome them back for people with no insurance. Just a thought.

    Reply
  73. Jeff Crumpler

    I’ll be two weeks post-op this coming Monday. Had my first PT session this past Thursday and it actually felt good. I was really dreading it, but they were very gentle and it felt good to work some of the stiffness out. I know it will get tougher and more difficult as I progress through the various phases. The sling is a beast… I’m getting about five hours sleep and waking about three times during the night. The pain has not been bad, I’m just uncomfortable.

    Reply
  74. graham laight

    Hi There,
    Had my rotator cuff tear repair on 25th Oct 2012 ,by prof Levy at the Reading
    shoulder unit in UK , op went fine and also had the injection of my own blood into
    the tendon area during the op which aids the healing process . They take your blood
    wiz it around a centrifuge and extract the parts of the blood which do this .Its a new
    thing iam told not yet ratified by our NHS so my health insurance didn’t pay for this part. Since the day after the op when i had a bit of pain ,so took a couple of pain killers
    mild ones ,I’ve been pain free ,hope my sling will be off in 3 weeks as my tear was a small one . Sleeping no probs so far , hope to be back on the tennis court soon as pos
    Graham Birmingham UK

    Reply
  75. Robert

    I will be 2 weeks post op tomorow. I had my first PT session Nov 1, and I agree, it felt good to get a little of the stiffness worked out for awhile. Looking forward to more progress there. My wife bought me a shoulder Ice pouch holder thing and it works great, almost too cold at times. I have begun working out, stationary bike, very light weights (probably too soon, but I cant help it). Work is a pain, as the majority of my work (interviews, etc) take place in the early evening and thats when the pain is really kicking in. ugh! It really is a day by day process. Having to continually remind your boss that your in a limited condition get old as well.
    Some more info-ended up with five holes in shoulder, used the nerve block and am very glad I did, no problems other than whats listed on this site. Seems to me the pain meds never really hit the pain, more that they allowed me to sleep.

    Good luck everyone! One day at a time!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I am lucky to have the time to recover at home. It has been 5 weeks and going back in a week. Give you credit for sucking it up :)

      Reply
  76. Ron Iverson

    Hello – 9 October I had arthro surgery to correct left shoulder injury. Involved removal of a bone spur and repair of a frayed and torn supraspinatus tendon. My surgeon commented “90%” of the rotator cuff injuries he sees are of this type.
    My first phys therapy appt is later today…I understand it will be passive range of motion only, for awhile.
    Have had very little pain and able to sleep. Judging from other comments here, I have been fortunate.
    I was advised against surgery by some folks saying, at 71 you are too old to benefit. My surgeon said, not so.

    Reply
  77. Barry Stumm

    Scott, Awesome site I’m 71 also, I agree the sling is the most troubling part of the process. Learning to live with it makes it better.
    Barry

    Reply
  78. Erin Allen

    I’m a 27 year old single mother of two sons. One of which is Toddler. He’s not even 3 years old yet. I’m supposed to have surgery on my shoulder in the next week our so because of frequent dislocations over the past fifteen years. How am I going to be able to adequately care for my toddler without the use of both arms? My bad shoulder is on my dominant side! I’m left handed, and in a sling right now and have been ordered to wear this sling unless bathing or dressing. My ten year old can’t help much because he simply refuses to. I have little help, what do I do?

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      For the first few weeks you WILL need help. I had two bad arms, only one operated on and without my husband, I would have been in bad shape. I strongly advise you find someone to stay with you for a while

      Reply
      1. Erin Allen

        Exactly! You are absolutely right. Here’s another doozy…..when I said my ten year old son refuses to help, it’s because he has oppositional defiant disorder and so most of the time he doesn’t do anything he is told to do. He is very hostile and gets physically violent on a daily basis and although we have in home therapy for him, his therapists cannot be with us every waking moment. Now that I need surgery, I can only do half of what I would normally be able to do as far as discipline goes and things will be a million times worse, I just know it! Ugh. My family used to give me their help, but now they don’t because my son is too much for them to handle for more than an hour. YES, HIS BEHAVIOR IS THAT BAAAD! This is why i’m pretty much freaking out about it. Nobody will stay with me either because they can’t or they simply just refuse. Wtf? ! They also will not agree to let my son stay with them. I’m not a bad parent and everyone knows that, it’s just how God made him. Anyway, i’m getting very sick of literally begging my friends and family to help me. I do everything on my own. I’m worried my son will do further damage to my shoulder during recovery. I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE! And soon!

        Reply
        1. Mary

          Hello Erin,
          I dislocated my arm 5 months ago, and since I am still in pain will do surgery in 2 months since I can’t take time off before that. I was reading the blog and your story touched me. How did you do with the surgery, and your son? It takes a lot of patience to be a parent! I have 2 daughter over 20 but the older one was not very obedient. A challenge! I have a friend whose some is 11 and very hostile! Would be interested in your progress! Mary

          Reply
  79. RotaterJoe

    Hey all. Great site. Went back for 1st post op visit with Doc 3 days ago. Can’t start PT for another 8 days which makes 17 total days between operation and start of PT. Told to still wear sling and limit motion, but the best news was he told me that I could get in my HOT TUB and let my arm hang free. Oh! if you have access to a Heated Tub this is a wonderful way to gain pain relief for a little while anyway. I get in at before showering in the morning and after I get home from work and again before going to bed.

    Reply
  80. Judy

    I was hurt at work Jan 18-2012 and still fighting with workmens comp 10 months later. Because I had a stint put in in May now they are going to make me wait another 6 months before I can have it done. I was told I have to go back to work the very next day. I was reading all the remarks but not once did I see any thing about how much time people have off. I am a manager of a dollar store and we are stocking and lifting all day long. As most said I have been in a recliner sence this happen I cant sleep on my left side any more. Any thing will help Thank you

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Everyone is different and depending on what you do and where you work will determine that. I do desk work and the doctor said 4-6 weeks. I will be going back just shy of 7 but they had to do a large cut in front so it was a bit more complicated. If I had a lifting job, this would not be enough time. I am on short term disability but I know not everyone has that. Hope that helps you

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Judy,
        Diffrent states have different laws, here in CA I went through employment development and was given temporary disability for 5 months. There is also FMLA (family leave).
        right shoulder was done november of 2011 and left shoulder is being done in 4 days on the 27th.
        Hope the information helps.

        Reply
  81. Karen

    Hi, I had a bony spur removed, and a minor rotator cuff repair carried out 5 days ago on my right (dominant shoulder). My surgeon hadn’t really planned to do the repair but it was bigger than he thought so did do it. I have a sling but it doesn’t sound as restrictive as people describe which is a bit worrying. I have a bit of pain but not too bad and I am able to sleep in bed no trouble. My biggest problem is that I have a disability. I usually use 2 sticks to walk in my house and a wheelchair outdoors. I am not steady enough to walk with one stick and can’t use my stick in my right hand. So I have had to bring my wheelchair into the house and try to push it around with one arm, so I have one useable limb now!!! I can push my wheelchair by pushing with one stick on the floor like paddling a boat, and can carefully move from my chair to bed, toilet, comfy chair if I have my wheelchair very close. I have a wet floor shower but it isn’t safe for me to shower alone. Ive had my husband or daughter home but tomorrow will be on my own during the day. All a bit of a nightmare, wish me luck !!!

    Reply
  82. Peter from Scotland

    Ihad my op three weeks and two day,s ago for a tear and bone spur impingement.Ihad played sqosh for 35 years,which may have caused the problem to my right shoulder,after trying physio and three cortisone shots,that done me no good, Iwas having lots of pain and many sleepless nights,my doctor referred me to a surgeon.He said that I could keep taking the pain killers,or have the operation.I had read about the operation,and new what was involved. For the first week Idid find it difficult to sleep,Irelied on pain killers,I do my pendulum exercises,and find these help. By the end of my second week Iwas managing to get a better sleep,and cut down on my painkillers.The sling can be annoying,but its there for a reason.I start my physio in six days and Ithink thats when the hard work will start.Before this operation Iwas in constant pain with my shoulder,Ifeel this has eased a great deal.I am glad that I found this site,and have enjoyed reading some of your comments.

    Reply
  83. RotaterJoe

    Different people need different amounts of time to recover. I am a 53 year old Physical Education teacher. I had surgery on a Monday and went back to work on Friday. However, I can let my students set up the needed equipment for my classes. If I had a job that required lifting, I feel that I would have to miss at least 3-4 weeks. I go for my 1st therapy tomorrow. Can’t wait to get this thing moving again and out of the sling. It’s been 17 days and I have very little pain now. Pain will probably start again with therapy. As I said in another post, the HOT TUB has really helped with pain. The water is 104 degrees and I stay in it about 10 minutes. There is almost no pain by the time I get out of the Tub. It does slowly stiffen back up.

    Reply
  84. Jeff Crumpler

    Monday will be four weeks since my surgery and I had my follow-up with the surgeon today. He said I could come out of the sling. Hallelujah!!! He said it would still be a good idea to wear it when I’m in large crowds or doing anything that might cause me to over-reach. He said that there’s still a whole lot of healing that needs to happen on the inside and that I really need to baby it for the next month at least. I’ve had four therapy sessions that have not been too bad. The last one was the worst… I think the physical therapist has now become the physical terrorist.

    Reply
    1. Peter, from Scotland

      Hi Jeff, looks like we are both at the same stage,of the healing process.Ihad my first physio yesterday morning,one of the movements that he gave me, involved while lying on the couch I supported my operated shoulder arm with my good shoulder arm and tried to move it over my head, I felt very uncomfortable, and was worried that it was going to tear again,Iwas more worried about this ,than the pain Iwas going through,ive read stories about anchors coming loose. Ihave been given a set programme to work with in the house,and this exercise still worries me at such an early stage of the healing process.How is your range of movement coming along,is driving not a problem.Iam a singer musician, and thankfully got back to playing guitar after the first three weeks after the operation,but I will have to cancel quite a lot my gigs with my band,as we have to drive far out of town and the equipment being very heavy to carry.I liked your remark about the physio terrorrist.Istill dont regret having the op,as I said before, I was in lots of pain before it. Regards, Peter

      Reply
  85. Robert

    Its been 4 1/2 weeks since surgery, and man oh man, the pain never goes away. In my case, if I had it to do over again, I wouldnt. At least pre op I could sleep with a few advil and perform at near 100%. Phys. Therapy hurts and flares up the pain even worse. The inability to do normal stuff is the most frustrating thing. Thank goodness its been a mild start to snow season cuz, I wouldnt be able to shovel it at all. Almost out of pain meds and not sure doc will prescribe more.

    Good lluck to all.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Robert, I was like that at 4 weeks. I am starting week 8 and yes, there still is a lot of discomfort now and I can finally feel and see a little improvement. I have the added pain of the other arm being totally useless and probably needing the same and cannot take aleave, advil or anything like that due to stomach issues. I have been lucky to have had the pain refills, mostly because of the above reason but also I was cut quite a bit. Not the simple operation we thoughht I would have. Hoping you too will find it getting better as the weeks progress

      Reply
  86. Debbie

    Hi everyone.Surgery on Nov 7,12.Iam not in so much patn as trying to do normal things such as going to bathroom and pulling pants up and down and wiping by myself.im right handed.im no good with left hand but i struggle to try and use it for everything.workmans comp wants me back to work now what do i do @ work.ask someone to help. this is difficult enough without being harresed by workmans comp.also my dr told me pt would start in 6 weeks but because of work comp i started a week ago. this is very painful.also i cant drive.the law in Virginia is if you are involved in a car accident whether its your fault or not and your arm is in a sling and someone dies i could be charged with reckless driving and could face 15 years in prison for manslaughter.i asked work comp to provide transpotation and they are really being rude and obnoxious.with all that im going thru i have to deal with all this emotional stress to..any sugestions from anyone would help.i hope no one has to deal with work comp.i was working 2 jobs when i got hurt @ my full time job.i was hurt on Sept 13 so 4 days later i had to quit my part time job,so im being ruined finnacially on top of all this.any sugestions.

    Reply
  87. David

    I am a 68 year old male five weeks post op from arthroscopic Bicep Tenodesis and doing well. The first several weeks I had great difficulty sleeping even in a recliner. Had a shoulder block(would recommend) that wore off 8-10 hours after the surgery, and was on Percocet for about 80 hours post op. Have not take anything other than an occasional 400 to 600 mg. of ibuprofen. I started with a wonderful physical therapist three days after my surgery. It was the best decision I made other that my Surgeon. I have been driving(without the sling) since week four. However, I still wear the sling most of the time. I am still wearing the sling to sleep, and have returned to my bed. I do need a sleep aid or it would be difficult. I will be starting the active phase of my rehab in a few more days. I fully expect to be back on the golf course in a few months. The three most important decisions you will make are:
    1. 1. To have the surgery
    2. 2. Pick a surgeon who does this as an outpatient arthroscopic procedure
    and does many of them every week.
    3. 3. Spend a little time before your procedure to interview and choose your physical therapist. They are your most important tool on your road to recovery after the surgery…..

    Do your homework….and good luck….

    Reply
  88. Karen

    Hi, I am 7 months out and if you read my other posts you will see that I was just like most of you guys. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life as far as pain. Sling was awful, therapy hard, and my doctor didn’t tell me much about what to expect. I was sure I had nerve damage because nothing could hurt that much for so long. Elbow hurt and fingers were numb ( ulnar nerve) Sleeping was impossible. Well, like I said it’s 7 months out and it’s like nothing happened. Pain is gone, and all is back to normal. Hang in there guys. If you do your therapy all will be well, if you don’t then you won’t have full range of motion. Good luck. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
    1. Deborah

      Hi. Didn’t quite know where to chime in. Ten years ago had shoulder manipulation surgery for frozen shoulder and rotator cuff and labrum repair. Recovery went well. Had pain pump, great therapist, although was in therapy six months post op. full rom restored no pain. Two months ago fell and fractured left arm, impacted fracture at proximal surgical neck. Wore sling or five weeks. Ladies, don’t wear bras while I. Sling, get some camisole with built in support. Worked well and cu down on changes. Wore loose pullovers and sweat pants or pajama pants. Not too stylish but able to navigate! Now am I. Third week of PT, doc wants eight weeks, then MRI, then possible cuff repair and/or partial shoulder replacement. Anyone had this. This shoulder thing cutting into travel plans!

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        I’ll chime in here about the bra….

        I was rather worried about it because I’m large chested – and I’m job hunting – so it was an important issue for me as a camisole with support would not work for a job interview! At any rate, for the first week when I needed to go out in public, I used a strapless bra, not the greatest support – but definitely better than none!

        But the secret here is baby powder! The trick is to put the powder on your hand and then your torso before you try to put on your bra (I know, hard with only one hand – ask for help, use your mouth to hold the container or figure it out!) then, once you snap the bra in front of you and twist it around – it will slide better with the talc!

        The second week I actually had a job interview! And I managed to get into my regular bra all by myself! You’ll have to try to stretch the strap down as much as possible to get your bad arm in, then the other, and then scoot it up on to your breasts. So it helps to have straps that stretch or get a bra that the straps unhook in the front… However, depending on what was done to your arm, It might be hard to snap it in front so you may need help. I did not have someone that I felt comfortable putting me into a bra… so one of the times, I managed to place myself into the strapless (I actually faced the wall and had the wall hold one side while I worked the other and then I asked my friend to hook me in back).

        It really went much easier than I thought… but I was very ready to get out of it when I got home because my back muscles really tightened up.

        Hope that helps some of you.

        Reply
  89. Nicole

    Hello ,

    Thank you to all of you for the great information, but I want to back things up and hear about how some of you were diagnosed, On August 30th I had a ATV accident and injured my right shoulder, I knew something went wrong the moment it happend, I went to the hospital in tremendous pain and they did xrays and found no tears, I went home and for the next week my pain was exactally the same, I went back the hospital and they did more xrays and ultrasound, again they found no tears but alot of inflamation, and was told it was a second degree muscle sprain, it has been almost 3months and the pain is still very strong and I can only lift my arm to my chest, I am very very active person, I work out every day as my past career was a personal trainer, and now I work in law enforcement, I have been unable to work due to this problem as the pain is uncontrolable and my mobility has become so limited with lack of strength. I have went to a physiotherapist and she told me it sounded like a labrum tear?, I am scheduled for a anthrogram on December 10th to see the true reason for the problem, I am very scared that the amount of time that its taking to diagnosis has done more damage to this problem. Can any of you tell me if you had the same type of injury and symptoms and if so what did they find ? and what did they do for you? Thanks

    Reply
  90. Rob

    Hi all,

    5 weeks post op for me. Was just wanting to know how easy it was to reinjure the repairs that were done inside? I.e. was putting on shorts and lost balance so I jumped to regain balance..this hurt the shoulder..can this shock to the shoulder from the jump reinjure it?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. David

      I was told by my P/T person that the repair is like tissue paper for several months….and you have to be very careful. I would imagine if you actually tore the repair you would know it. More than likely, you strained it causing some increased inflamation. Be very careful until you have moved into the weight training phase of your rehab…..Good Luck….

      Reply
    2. Andy

      Will be very easy to irritate and flare up the repair site for several months after.
      You would certainly be aware if you had a retair.
      I had good weeks and bad weeks with mine dependent on my activity levels and lifting carried out and i am still sore at 5 months out.
      I am working on strengthening the area as it is still too weak to cope with the arm actions of my daily running.
      I am noticing improvements but this is by far the longest rehab i have had from any injury.

      Reply
      1. Mary Ann

        I had my surgery July 23, 2012 for a 100% tear and still am recovering. I am 61 years old and this was my first surgery so I didn’t know what to expect. Everything went so fast in the beginning that I thought it was going to be a quick recovery. Now that I am done with therapy I feel that I am going backwards. I started having more pain than I have felt in a long time. My doctor says that I am just using muscles that haven’t been used in a long time and that everything is fine. Everything I do seems to bother me but I do it anyway because I need to get my strength back. Has anyone else had this long of a recovery with this pain?

        Reply
        1. Mary Ann

          Well…I guess my problems were more than I originally thought. I had another MRI on Dec 28th and found out that my shoulder is torn again. Looks like I will be scheduling another surgery in a few months. I asked if I could wait 6 months to see if it could heal by itself since it is a partial thickness tear but my doctor said that wouldn’t be a good idea to wait that long. At this point I am not sure what my plans are. Has this happened to anyone else??

          Reply
        2. Determined and patient God on my side

          I had an injury to shoulder in march 2012. Partial tear to supraspinatus.Refused surgery. lost 90 % of motion/ pain and more pain. 5 cortisone shots, three helped. Two caused bad side effects didn’t work. Hi- powered pain meds, put my blood pressure at stroke levels 180/110. Had to come off them immediately. Still rehabbing, using all types of natural remedies for inflammation and pain.( Deer Velvet,) check this out really helps, brolmaine, vitamins and minerals. Juicing diet, tachyon products, inferno wrap from mend me shop, ice bags golore. Use moltrin 800mg if pain level gets to bad. So far I have achieved 50% of range of motion back.
          still in pain in rehab. I would be doin the same rehab if I had surgery. Maybe it takes longer to rehab I don’t know. But I am determined to get my shoulder back to as normal as possible(without surgery)
          For everyone who chooses surgery God bless you. I know God is going to give me the help and patience to heal.
          WC held back on rehab to start.
          because doc wanted surgery. Finally approved rehab after 3 months
          When I kept refusing surgery. In rehab 7 months still progressing ,
          With great rehab therapist and moral support. By the grace of God I
          Will be well again.

          Reply
          1. Demetra Dunlop

            I hear you! I just had the surgery twice in a two week period (screw came out of bone first time). the meds (celebrex) raised blood pressure and I got very sick. stopped all precsription painkillers (had to for my own sanity, cant handle opiates), now just using ice and ibuprofen and much prayer. Glad to hear of your determination and patience. I am learning to let go which is very hard and painful lesson for me.

  91. RotaterJoe

    Next Monday the 10th of Dec. will start my first day of strengthening PT. I have learned a lot over the last 6 weeks since surgery and am improving daily. I used HOT TUB many times during the first 6 weeks just to get pain relief. Also, ice has been my best friend since starting Range of Motion PT. It is a lot easier to pop a pill in your mouth for pain than it is to spend the time to get in the TUB or ice your shoulder and elbow for 15 mins after stretching. Believe me, it is worth it to take the time. I get in the TUB in the morning for 10 mins and stretch my arm out while in the TUB. Then I get out and ice it for 15 mins while watching morning news before taking a shower. This gets you started on a good note for the day and really helps to keep down inflammation. I do the same thing again when I get home from work except I do a complete stretch of all PT Range of Motion exercises that the therapist has given me after 10 mins in the TUB. Then ice for 15 mins. while watching TV. I do mild stretching in the TUB again before going to bed and ice for 15 min. I have had very little trouble with pain and have avoided taking Meds. My biggest problem has been waking up at times during the night in pain from holding my arm in one position for too long. I found that simply sliding my arm across the covers similar to sliding it out across the table when you do your range of motion stretches relieves the pain after a few minutes and I am able to go back to sleep. I just have to STRETCH IT OUT! I have found that being lazy gets you nowhere fast with this rehab. If you are in pain you need to stretch and if there is to much inflammation to get a good stretch you need to ICE and get the inflammation down so you can stretch. Good luck and I will post again after my first round of strengthening.

    Reply
  92. Deb

    I just found I have a supraspinatous tear 4-9mm with good quality of torn edge. It s left shoulder and I am right and, thank God. I am 60 but a very active 60. I just finished my first triathlon season so I run, cycle, swim and weight train. I am also a nurse and watched my husband as recovered from rotator cuff surgery on each shoulder so I know the pain, limitation, pt and all from that perspective. My concern is I am training for my first half marathon and I see a loss of the entire 2013 season. I am worried about hw soon I can training in all sports again without fear of causing damage to repaired shoulder. I am setting my bike up on a trainer indoors and I have a treadmill. That will help. I do personal twice a week and he work on my legs as I recover but I need to get there and how soon enforce I can. I worry I will feel like a cranky caged animal until I can be active again. Anyone else have a similar experience? My surgery won’t be scheduled until early January. I also worry hw soon I can wield a curling iron and raise both arms to do my hair? What about a bra? I am a 40 D so I need to tether the girls up but how do I even get it on? Input from the ladies is appreciated. Also, what specific shirts work best post op? Stretchy cami? Would workout capris be doable? Thanks for you advice!

    Reply
    1. andy

      Deb
      Restarted running 5-6 mile a day from week 3/4 after anchor and suture rotator cuff surgery at surgeons direction.
      It was very sore and uncomfortable and it did burn initially which has got better very slowly as the months have passsed.
      Still soreness during and after every single run at 5 months this week.
      I completed my first half marthon after surgery at approx 3 months although after 10-13 miles the shoulder began to become quite uncomfortable.
      Surgeon and physio state that the lack of strength in the cuff is what causes the irritation and strengthing is the key to the recovery. Still pleased with my progress so far.

      Reply
    2. Kaye

      Hi Deb,

      I can’t comment on the training for the triatholon — but I give you my experience on the grooming and clothing challenges! It took about 8 weeks before I could get my arm up enough to brush my hair — I had a “handband” style for the first 2-3 months. As for the bra — I wore bandeau bras (no straps) for about 10 weeks — if your are 40D — that’s probably not the best option for you! I also wore a lot of lose tops — and anything that buttoned up the front worked better. You figure out things that work for you — and most people understand that challenges this surgery brings and are very understanding.

      Reply
  93. Cindy

    9 weeks yesterday. Doctor said wants therapy to push harder. Just starting to sleep in the bed but so uncomfortable and restless that my husband is in another room for the short time. Now setting up MRI for the other arm. Who has had both arms done and what is the time frame between them. It has been extra difficult when both arms hurt but I have been back to work for three weeks. Just wish I had NO pain…what was that again??

    Reply
  94. Jan

    I am having rotator cuff surgery next Tuesday December 18. After reading these posts I realize I am not as informed as I should be about post op activities and expected pain. Yikes!!
    I live alone and now I am wondering if I should get someone to stay for a couples of days??
    Has anyone done this post op part alone?
    And the pain! Sounds like the docs aren’t giving strong enough meds.
    Any feedback will be appreciated.
    Worried
    Jan

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I don’t know how I would have done it alone. I highly recommend someone stay with you for at least a week or two if you are able

      Reply
  95. RotaterJoe

    Had my first session of strengthtening exercises this past Monday at the PT. Everything went great. There is pain when you do the motions, but it feels better after a few minutes and movements get easier. I felt really good when I left. However, I will have to admit that the next morning was a different story. Woke up with a lot of inflammation and pain throughout the night. I got up 3-4 times and did some ROM stretches before being able to go back to sleep. Iced my arm as soon as I got up and 2 times while at work. Did the strengthening exercises after work, but didn’t push myself like I did at PT. Have been icing today and arm feels much better. Can’t wait to get home and push myself again tonight. The PT said after 6 weeks that I could challenge my muscles while doing the exercises that she gave me as much as I could stand. Again, ice and ROM stretches are your best friend. My arm always feels better after stretching it out.

    Reply
  96. Peter from Scoland

    eight weeks tomorrow since my operation,phsio has been going well,Ifind that the stretch bands are helping me to gain some strength back to my shoulder.Ive got myself into a workout routine in the house with them.Ifeel that somedays are much better than others, your shoulder does let you know if you are doing too much,however Iam sleeping quite well at night,Ihad to come of pain meds after two weeks as they were giving me stomache problems.Istarted driving two weeks ago,and Iam starting back work on monday,Iam a support worker,and have to drive a lot.My main worry at the moment,is the weather we get it bad in Scotland at this time of the year,snow and ice,worried in case I lose my ballance and have a fall,that may involve my shoulder.I feel the same as others in this very good forum, is that you have got to keep up your strenghtening phsio in the house,as I think this is the key to success,as this is a surgery that will that requires hard work and patience. Best of luck with your operation Jan and be positive.Regards,Peter.

    Reply
  97. RotaterJoe

    You are right about your shoulder letting you know if you are overdoing it. It will let you know with inflamation. Ice the shoulder when you feel that it is tight and swollen. It is really easy to tell. Stretch the shoulder as much as possible and as soon as the inflamation goes away, get back on those exercises. Good luck to all.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      At the 5 month stage now and just managing to get the soreness under control by doing daily stretches with the band that i should have been doing alot sooner.
      As i have been running almost daily i got it into my head that this was enough of a workout of the arm to mean i could avoid the physio stretching.
      I have suffered with soreness and inflammation during and after running and even walking for long periods of time.
      Interesting that i am gaining relief now from the stretching and strengthening exercises that i had ignored up to now.
      This proves how important the strengthing part is in the recovery process.

      Reply
  98. Cindy

    Healing from Oct 3rd surgery, yesterday was told full tear in other shoulder…not sure knowing what is next is good or bad but a few prayers cannot hurt….

    Reply
    1. jim winter

      1 week out of surgery for 3 tears on my right shoulder (dominate arm)… I wish I would have found this site before surgery. I would have been more prepared.

      Reply
  99. Peter from Scotland

    Jim, its been ten weeks and two days since my shoulder op repaired tendon and decompression.I found in the early stages walking was a great help,and took my mind of the pain.The pain always seemed worse when I went to my bed, most everyone in this forum felt the same,this may continue for a few more weeks,but it will get better,just think of the sleepless nights you had befor your operation,Icertainly did.I have no problem sleeping now at my ten weeks stage,Iam still in some pain,and get worried sometimes if I overstrech.You are in your earliest stages be careful,and take care.

    Reply
  100. Dennis

    Sorry I sent the wrong email address on my last post so I am sending it again

    To All,
    I have been reading all your posts and found them very helpful. I an scheduled for Rotator Cuff surgery January 9th. I have a complete tear of 2 of the 4 rotator cuffs and a possibly torn labrum. Also, there may be a problem with the Bicep tendon. Prior to my injury I played competitive tennis about 4 times a week. I currently have trouble lifting my arm above my chest without having severe pain so playing tennis is completely out the picture. My concern is whether or not I will be able to play tennis at a competitive level after recovering from surgery. , Do any of you who have had rotator cuff surgery play tennis? If so, how is your shoulder after surgery while playing tennis? Do you recommend having the surgery? thanks

    Reply
    1. David

      yes to the surgery…..it will not get better without it….make sure you have chosen a Doctor who has done many shoulder surgeries…does them arthroscopic as an out-patient…..before you have the surgery interview several Physical Therapist’s and find one you like and has experience in rehab of this type of surgery…..I am almost 10 weeks and progressing..but it is very slow….I am not currently a tennis player, but I can guarantee that you will never play again without the procedure…

      Reply
  101. Gary

    Hi all, I’ve been reading your posts for a few months now. They have been most helpful. I’m 54 years old and took a fall in September 2012 and ended up with a 26mm tear of the supraspinatus tendon. I’ve been in Physio since October and I am scheduled for surgery Jan 10th 2013….approaching fast! I have to admit.. I’m a little scared of going for the surgery but I’m pretty much unable to do anything as it is. My surgeon tells me I definitely need to have the surgery, if I want to do the simple things like throwing a baseball, climbing a ladder or even getting a coffee cup from the cupboard… can’t lift my arm above my shoulder without a lot of pain. I’m self employed in manufacturing and as much as it’s already affected my work, I can’t really afford to take too much time for my recovery.. hoping to be back to light duties and computer work after a couple of weeks.. is that realistic?

    Reply
    1. David

      you should still be in a sling and sleeping in chair for at least four our five weeks….remember the repair is very fragile for at least the first six weeks…be careful…..

      Reply
      1. Cindy

        I slept in the recliner for 8 weeks but went back to work after 6.5. I do office work and that is going fine but driving is sometimes tough. I am scheduled for the other arm early April.

        Reply
  102. Linda

    Retired teacher. Am 60 years old. Turned and tripped over a backpack, directly behind me (was not there,initially). Happened on Oct 8, Just had surgery yesterday, Jan 3rd, almost three months. Am very glad to be on other side, though I know it is on me to protect the good work my doctor has done!
    Damage was: Large rotator cuff tear involving the supraspinatus,
    infrasspinatus, as well as a tear along the biceps tendon. MRI had shown that I had a partial tear prior to fall, however I did not have ANY limited mobility, as stated in the MRI. (a rather conclusory/inappropriate statement)
    Was told by doctor that he was able to repair completely, but I have to keep it immobile so that it does not re- tear.
    In any case, Iam happy to see others ‘ posts and will post how my healing is going from time to time. It requires a high level of patience, at this time!

    Take Care,all. Linda

    Reply
  103. J

    I injured my right (dominant) shoulder at work October 2011 at work, I had massive tear of supraspinatus with muscle retraction. torn superior labrum, completely ruptured bicep, and torn subscapularis. I had outpatient arthroscopic surgery November 2011. My arm did not function at all prior to surgery and the pain was unbearable, although I was not taking anything for it. I was also doing PT to try to keep range of motion going into surgery. The surgery took 4 1/2 hours. Surgery was listed as extensive debridment, extensive bursectomy, repair of massive rotator cuff tears and bicep tenodesis where they reattach the bicep to the humorous. My surgeon said if we had waited a week longer the tears would have been irrepairable. The worst part immediately post op for me was nausea and vomiting from anesthesia…pain was under control…had scalene block and the whole arm numbness was a little disturbing but pain was OK. I took that out at home 36 hours post op as I was having the facial droop, hoarse voice and shortness of breath due to it. Still glad I had it though. I was then on oral pain meds for about a week. I started home passive PT exercises the very next day, painful but to be expected. I started PT appointments 1 1/2 weeks after surgery…again very painful but worth it. My biggest problem is I am stubborn and stopped taking pain meds and also pushed too hard at PT as I wanted to be the one that got range of motion and strength back the quickest…learned the hard way that my body will do what it is going to do…can’t rush it…I had such severe inflammation prior to surgery and then surgery of course caused inflammation and then pushing it too hard at PT and trying to do too much too soon caused continued inflammation that got out of control…my surgeon told me due to my tears it would be a very long recovery…6 months to get back to everyday living and 9 months to year to fully function and up to 2 years for complete healing…I guess he was right (even though I wanted to prove him wrong by getting better quicker…lol)…my pain actually was pretty good all through December…it was mid January that I hit my lowest point…I live by myself, it was winter, I was not allowed to drive and felt trapped in my house…I missed work…I looked forward to PT because I got to have human interactions…I was not allowed to walk my dog for 12 weeks, full time sling and no driving for 8 weeks, part time sling (at night and when leaving house) for an additional 6 weeks….no treadmill for 16 weeks…I was allowed to walk of course just not hold my dogs leash or do it on a treadmill…sleeping was horrible for me as I am a stomach sleeper…I used a recliner and can now say I very rarely sit in it…I don’t think I slept more than an 1 or 2 hours at a time for over 4 months. In PT my range of motion came back rather quickly, but strength building seemed to have the slowest progress despite doing all my exercises assigned to me to do at home. I went to PT appointments twice a week for 7 months before being released to home exercise program…I was off work for 4 months and worked part time for 8 weeks after returning to work before returning full time…I was still in a lot of pain when going back to work but I begged to go back because I needed the distractions. I know this all sounds horrible but it really was not as bad as it sounds…don’t get me wrong, it still sucked and I had my moments but I have a normal life now (I am just over a year out)…sure there are still times when I reach a certain way that it pulls or if I use it a lot it is achy and sore for a few days when it otherwise would not have been but considering I was facing permanent disability without surgery, I can say it is all worth it…I am now having problems with my left shoulder due to overuse during my right shoulder recovery and am hoping it does not progress to needing surgery as I would rather not repeat this but I will if I have too…my surgeon said hopefully it would not be as long as a recovery since the tears do not seem to be as bad. Just remember that everyone is different. That was very hard for me when I felt my recovery was slow and someone would say to me that I must be a wimp because their mother who was 20 years older than me (I am 40) had shoulder surgery and was fine and back working at 6 weeks (came to find out that their mother only had debridment surgery for small tears)…when I would hear those things I would feel judged and push it even harder at PT…don’t get me wrong, PT is hard work and do not expect it to be pain free but allow your body to direct you in your recovery…both my surgeon and Physical therapist encouraged to back off a little and not push so hard to let the inflammation calm down but I kept going full steam ahead which probably ultimately slowed recovering a little…but, the PT did pay off as I have better range of motion and function than my surgeon thought I would have…when pain got bad in January my surgeon ordered deep tissue massage and myofacial release and a TENS unit. The massage hurt really bad at the time but really helped in the long run and the TENS unit became my best friend…I do not like pain meds because they make me sick to my stomach so being able to get pain relief without taking drugs was great…The TENS unit is the best thing ever…it was my saving grace during the rough patches…my surgeon still shakes his head when I tell him the first 6 weeks post op were a piece of cake and then I had my struggles…he said usually it is other way around…I am very thankful that my surgeon was very honest with me and prepared me well for what to expect…he was always very encouraging and would remind me not to judge my recovery based on other’s experiences…every one is different and he would remind me how bad my tears were…he said my bursa was so thick from inflammation he had never seen one that bad and had a horrible time getting it out…to anyone going through this, good luck and be patient…it is a long and frustrating recovery but worth to have a normal life again.

    Reply
    1. jim

      Saw my doc for my first post opt appoint(15 days since surgery).I was hoping I could start re-hab….too soon, I will have to wait until the end of Jan.Things are better…been off meds for 10 days and I can’t wait to loose this” strait jacket” I have to wear!Walking 10 miles a week and can pretty much take care of my self…Thank God my wife works out of the house…those first 6-7 days were rough…Looking to go back to work(semi-desk job) in 3 weeks…I HOPE!!!

      Reply
    2. Debbie

      you are right about all you said. I was so glad to read your story because it sounded just like me to a tee.i had surgery the first time nov 7 2012 and a major revision surgery july 25 2013. I have been like this since I got hurt on sept 2012.i haven’t had any freedom , haven’t drove in over a year. I have no muscles in my arm yet.went back to work last week. I can only lift 2 lbs.its been really frustrating.

      Reply
  104. Gwen in TN

    I have a ‘moderate’ tear in my rotator cuff and no pain during the day or night at this point unless I’m lifting or twisting my arm in a weird way. I also have a bursa sac, impingement and a bone spur. Is it possible that I could put this surgery off for a while or would it be better to go ahead and bite the bullet and have it taken care of? I am able to work from home as soon as I can type. Unfortunately this is my right shoulder and my dominant side. Am very concerned about personal daily living skills and the inability to care for myself. I have two trips scheduled – one in March (late) and one in early June. Thoughts?

    Reply
  105. Cindy

    I am no doctor but here is what I think. I have a complete tear on my right arm and HAVE to wait until at least April as I had surgery on the left in October. If they insist I wait until my left is better healed and I hurt a lot, I suspect you too can wait a while. How long, I have no idea. Only you know. Did you ask the doctor what they thought? I wish you luck in whatever you do

    Reply
  106. Peter from Scotland

    13 weeks tomorrow since my surgery, had an appointment with my surgeon on monday,he said that he was happy with my. r o m,and the strength that I have regained back in my shoulder.I told him that things had been going well, but over the last three weeks I have been having bad neck pain,he said that this is common with shoulder surgery,and should calm down.Just wondering if anyone else in the forum have experienced the same.He told me that I wont have to see him again,and to carry on with my excercises as they seem to be working.He said that carrying anything not too heavy below waistline should be okay,but to avoid lifting anything heavy overhead.He also said that to get my full strength back to my shoulder could take another year or more.Ifind that by the end of my working day my shoulder starts to feel weak with some pain but not too bad.I think it may be the driving, and opening and closing the drivers door from inside that could be the problem,when I get home, I do my excercises with my stretch bands and small weights and this seems to help.Best of luck to everyone.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Peter
      You seem to be doing well at 13 weeks.
      I am at 6 and half months now and only just starting to feel a bit more normal. Indeed i am prepared and expect to wait at least a year to see if this shoulder feels fully healed.
      The stretching and bands daily is key to regaining strength. I am reminded daily that i had surgery on that shoulder when doing simple tasks and motions. Good days and bad days.
      At your stage i would notice pain when dropping my arm from the steering wheel to my lap when driving altough this has now gone away.
      Hang in there as it does indeed get better as each month passes by.
      Remember how bad the pain and sleepless nights were before the surgery compared to now!

      Reply
  107. Suzanne Carlson

    Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences! I am a total coward :-) After getting a second opinion, I am scheduled for surgery next month. Apparently I have anterior acromial spur formation, a 3 cm supraspinatus tear extending into the infraspinatus. Right now I take Mobic 7.5 mg in the AM, and Ultram 50 mg before bed, so the pain is bearable. The surgeons say normalcy is not possible. Can’t pull the string to start weed whacker, lawn mower, type things. Gardening is my therapy and escape, I have been homeschooling for 18 yrs, 6 kids, have 2, 100 lbs dogs, and drive a lot. I’m only 29 with almost 19 years of experience :-) So the thought of being taken care of by others is a challenge. Teenagers are not usually the most helpful people I know ;-) Hubby works 6 days a week and will have to deal with me on top of that. At this point, I am feeling like chickening out of the surgery! If it’s not going to return me to normal, what’s the advantage?! Especially when the paper work says there is a possibility of infection, stiffness, and neurovascular injury. Forgive me please for going on so, but I have read everything I could find and this seems to be the one place where you all understand. I want to learn all I can from you! Got the recliner, frozen peas, sweats, haircut, all so I can hopefully function without my dominant right arm. Can you tell I’m also a bit of a control freak and only mildly impatient!? God bless you all in your (not so speedy recoveries!

    Reply
  108. Jim

    Did all of you have General Anesthesia for the surgery? Does anyone know if there is another option other than General Anesthesia. I have a real phobia about being intibated and put to sleep. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Heather

      Hi Jim,

      I hope you see this note…I just had my second rotator cuff repair in December 2011. I can tell you, that I had my surgery under light anesthesia, where I did not have to be intubated. They do give you medication in your IV, so you are asleep and are not aware of anything being done to you. Your surgery will be done with you sitting straight up.

      I was also given a “nerve block” near the shoulder, to keep me from feeling anything. The nerve block numbs the whole arm. This was given after I was “asleep.”

      Jim, I too am afraid of general anesthesia. I’ve had surgery many times, Jim, so I was super surprised to now see how the whole process of good anesthetic’s has changed. I did not suffer any nausea post-op, like I usually did and I did not feel groggy after the surgery. They give you medications when the surgery is done, to reverse any anesthesia that was given during surgery. I felt absolutely amazing at how quickly my mind felt clear and how ready I was to go home.

      I wish you the very, very best, Jim. I will be having my 3rd and hopefully my last shoulder operation, in about 4 weeks. If the rotator cuff is too far gone this time, I will be having what they call a “reverse total shoulder replacement.” (I also have alot of arthritis in that shoulder) I have been fighting this shoulder problem, since 1980, when I tore my rotator cuff in a car accident. It’s been a long hard road, but I am anxiety free now, with the current anesthesia they now use. Not to worry Jim. Tell your doc about your anxiety and they will give you the medication where you don’t care about anything. Trust me, please.

      God Bless you, Jim and I hope for your rapid healing…

      Heather

      Reply
  109. jean loew

    I couldn’t have the operation in December as we run a business in Mexico, so the surgeon said I could wait until April when we return. He sent me to a P.T. person who gave me exercises to do every other day for the five months I was away to keep range of motion…only restriction was not to lift my arm overhead at all. I have read all the comments from people and am making a list of what may happen each week after the surgery so I’ll know what to expect. What you all have said has been very helpful to me. Will get back to you in April.

    Reply
  110. Dennis

    Suzanne,
    I read your post and I am curious when you actually tore your supraspinatus tendon. Like you, I have a full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon, a possibly torn labrum and bicep tendon. I to, am a control freak and dont like relying on other people for help. I injured mine back in July 2012 and still havent had the surgery. I was scheduled for surgery the first week of this month (January) but cancelled last minute due to anxiety of having surgery. How far out is your surgery scheduled?

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      I honestly don’t know when or how I did the tear. It only really started bothering me in November, but the Dr. said the MRI shows it to be older than 5 years?! I am scheduled for Feb 18th. He wanted to do it sooner, but I had family commitments already planned. The longer I wait the less likely the success :-( Hubby won’t let me chicken out, so I’m working on deep breathing to relax my anxiety :-) I do have more peace about it since I found a 2nd doctor :-) But still, it’s terrifying! If I can do it, you can too :-) Good luck!

      Reply
      1. Dennis

        Suzanne, thanks for the info and encourging words. One last question! What do you mean by, you found a 2nd doctor? Take Care and Good Luck to you!

        Reply
  111. George R from Sag Harbor

    Dear Scott Thank you for creating this valuable sharing of experience. I found it 2 days before my surgery on 1/22/2013. It was a big help to read other’s stories, I felt more confident and informed after a half hour of reading. My surgeon Dr. Hubbell was great, he called me at home the day after surgery when the fog of anestesia had lifted and gave me great detail of the surgery answering all my questions. The more knowledge we have the better. I had the nerve block and it lasted almost 30 hours.
    The only thing I have to add so far is that while the nerve block is still working be very careful to have help changing or adjusting your sling. Your arm will drop like a stone if you don’t have a good hold of it! Make sure you have help that first few days until you know what you can and can’t do alone. I will be back with anything else that may be of help to others on this journey. Mahalo

    i

    Reply
  112. Lynda

    Had rotator cuff repair and bone spurs shaved 12 days ago and was questioning if I made the right decision until I found this web site. I thought that I was the only one not getting any sleep, an hour or two here and there. I too had a nerve block but it only lasted 12 hours and when it wore off OMG the pain was the worse thing I have ever experienced. I called my Dr. the following day and was reassured that the pain would subside a littlt everyday, which it has. The biggest pain I have now is the sling! I have some discomfort but no actual pain. Haven’t started pt yet, just some shoulder shrugs and pendulum excercises 3x a day. Getting stitches out tomorrow and we’ll see what the next step will be Thanks for the blog, it has lifted my spirits knowing that everything I’m experiencing is “normal”.

    Reply
  113. Patrick

    I had surgery on 10/02/12 after Surgeon tryed all other avenues to ease pain in Left Shoulder, MRI showed a tear in the Left Shoulder only option per Dr. was sugery to repair the tear.As with most of all the people who undergo this surgery the first month or so is VERY DIFFICULT…Sleeping,Pain,Meds,Showering,Dressing,etc.etc. In my 14th weekof P/T which is once a week for an hour and VERY IMPORTANT to do the exercises given to you by the therpist at home(Dont’t neglect DO THEM ). I have been a advid golfer for over fifty-two years and this was a sure cause of the rotator injury due to the stress the swing places onthe rotator muscle. My range of motion is improving slowly each week and hope to get backto golf soon with more therapy and strength exercises. Again as other people have stated Do what your Dr. and Therapist tell you to do and it will work out for you…..Good Luck and hang in there…….

    Reply
  114. Mark W

    My turn to join the club! I must admit reading all your stories is both frightening and encouraging seeing what you all are/have experienced with this procedure. We will help each other to get through this.

    BACKGROUND: I’m 54 and play mostly tennis and swim now though I was a weekend warrior my entire life. The tear started a year ago and progressively got worse to the point that I did an MRI and had a cortisone shot in Sep 2012. The doctor I was referred to for my shoulder had a 5 week wait (does that mean he is good and is in high demand??) so I went to my old knee doctor Sharks orthopedic) since he could get me in right away and would give me the cortisone shot which I needed because we were doing a group trip to AZ for five days of tennis and fun. The MRI showed a small tear and bone spur. Five minutes after the shot I could raise my arm over my head pain free. I’ve had cortisone before twice for my elbow and it worked everytime. In Oct I was lifting weigts at the gym and I could feel my rotator tear while doing bench press. I tend to do lighter weights with more reps so the weight was not that much. I think because of the cortisone the pain was not too bad but I could feel the rip and my shoulder went numb. I think it was hanging by a thread there. I could still swim though every stroke hurt and I could tell that I changed my stroke to elleviate the pain. The final straw was early December we did a group hike and ended up on the beach and played some volleyball. Stupid me after having a beer or two I got out there. Anything low I could get but honestly it all hurt. Then a ball quickly went to my right side and I instictavely went to get it and that was the end and I immediately fell to my knees. The next day I made an appt with my shoulder guy (49er orthopedic) and again it was a five week wait. I asked them to put me on the waiting list in case of a cancellation and that I would even go sit in the waiting room in case someone didn’t show that day if I had to. Sad to say five weeks later I finally had my appt.

    DIAGNOSIS: It was decided that another MRI was not required and that after his tests and viewing the old MRI that surgery was needed. He would remove bone spur, shave off the bone, clean up the area a explore what exactly is wrong and fix it which I was fine with and consented.

    SURGERY: Performed Jan 23, 2013 at Stanford Hospital. Arrived at 7:30AM, surgery at 9AM and was hoping to be released around 1PM but I was in pretty bad pain so they gave me a nerve block (epiderral??) which gave me the first pain free time in many months. During recovery I experienced my first pain free deep sleep (though only 1 hour or two) in a long time. But because of the cocktail of pain meds I was unable to keep my breathing going so they put me on oxygen. I also could not pee so they were not going to release me until that happened. Three knee surgeries and three successfull pees so I was confident that the event would happen. By 7PM I was released to go home with this massive arm brace with a rock of a so-called pillow by my side.

    RESULT: Complete supraspinatus tear with labrum tear with general cleanup and bone spur removal. Bicep was good, no arthritis, but severe inflamation.

    TODAY: One week in and pretty much experiencing every range of emotion that all of you (my new friends) have had and are having. Last night was the worst after reading many of the posts here for the first time and realizing more and more what is in store for me. Today is and has to be a good day because it is my beautiful and incredible wife’s birthday. I hope she still likes me after all this is over. One day at a time and each day gets us all closere and closer to the finish line. Hang in there everybody!

    Mark

    Reply
  115. Pete

    Had surgery on Monday the 28th. Full thickness tear of the supraspinatus, bicep pulling labrum so they cut it and reattached to the bone, cleaned out some other stuff….3 1/2 hour surgery with 6 holes. They used a nerve block that we removed today, Wednesday the 30th. Little to no pain, started therapy on the 29th and doing it three times a day. Icing often all day long. I have taken only two pain pills and sleeping in the recliner. Biggest problem is being out of work for the next four months….custodian. Not sure what I will do, it is my dominant hand. I have help for now but when my wife goes back to work I hope I will be able to do what I need to on my own.

    Reply
  116. jim

    6 weeks since surgery (2 full and 1 partial tear).I finally got the ok)to start rehab..IM SO READY! 2 to 3 days a week with multiple exercises to do at home everyday.I HOPE I get the ok from my doctor and workers comp to go back to work in 2 weeks(supervisor 75% desk work). This site has been a great source of info…please keep up with the updates …Im 52 and feel optimistic for a full recovery(I fully understand I still have a long way to go)

    Reply
  117. Andy

    coming up 8 months now since my tear repair with sutures and anchors and finally managed to say goodbye to the stretching bands and regained enough strength to get back to the gym and restart bench pressing, pull ups, press ups etc although with much lighter weights than before.
    Still minor soreness which only seems to flare after intense periods of running. Seems comfortable though both during and after weights sessions.

    Reply
  118. Bob

    About six weeks out from surgery on dominant shoulder. First two weeks are the worst. Started passive rehab the day after surgery and still doing it. See Dr next week for second post op review. Probably will stay in sling two more weeks (total eight) based on what my PT Doc tells me is standard practice. Started working out in gym about a month ago doing leg work, core, and aerobics to keep from gaining weight and losing strength and staying sane! Sleep in bed mostly on my non involved side. Go to PT three times per week and do required shoulder exercises (passive) three times a day. The only difference between the work i do at home and at PT is arm manipulation, stimulation and ROM measurements by PT Doctor.
    Shoulder is much improved now. Can pretty much perform all necessities without much pain. But obviously can’t lift arm yet and have been told NOT to try!
    I’m 69 and have had shoulder problem for probably ten years. Finally had to have surgery when I could no longer swing a golf club! Haha! Left shoulder has similar but lesser problem; but I won’t have surgery unless I can’t play golf.
    This surgery in my opinion should not be undertaken unless your lifestyle is materially effected. It’s too invasive and takes too long to recover!
    Good luck and hang in there!

    Reply
  119. mitch

    I tore three of four of my rotator cuff tendons in my left arm 15 years ago (age 35 ) in a fall.they did the surgery but said my injury was severe and I would not get full usage back. disapointing since I liked working out plus other activities but I surprised them by getting back almost 100%. then in 2003 I had to have my right bicept tendon reattacted.I recovered and went back to the gym (doing pretty good at this point). then in 2010 I fell and reinjured my left shoulder requiring another rotator repair which was worse than they thought and I was in surgery for 5 plus hours also had to reattach the bicept tendon.(This is getting old) during therapy I could tell that I tore it back off, back into surgery which was unsuccessful and told unrepairable now so I can’t lift that arm over 90 degrees(I;m tring to get back to positive but difficult). so 4 weeks ago because of a bone spur and doing everything with my right arm I had to have rotator cuff surgery on my right arm I’m so depressed

    Reply
    1. mitch

      And worried that I’m goin to tear this one off also but hear are some things Iv’e learned. 1.get the nerve block. 2.find a surgeon who specializes in shoulder surgery. 3.have help the first week. 4 keep up with the pain meds. 5. realize there’s gonna be pain and it’s a long recovery but you most likely will have a good outcome. God be with you!

      Reply
      1. Suzanne Carlson

        Wow Mitch! Thanks for your excellent advice :-) In 2 weeks I’m getting the right shoulder done, so I’ll be thinkin of you. I just want to encourage you if I can. I’ve heard what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…in which case I think you should change your name to Hercules! You have been through the ringer and you’re still going :-) Remind yourself how God has seen you through all the previous stuff, and know He won’t let you go now :-) Hang in there! I think you are amazing! You have encouraged me greatly :-)

        Reply
        1. mitch

          Good luck in two weeks, a couple other things that helped was if your in a pillow sling which I think is more comfortable buy a mylar ballon to shove under your arm in the shower. also a wash brush.

          Reply
      2. Bob

        Mitch
        I agree with your five points. You’ve been thru the ringer; it’s easy to get depressed when your lifestyle is put on hold for months. Hang in there!

        Reply
  120. Phil

    Hi everyone,
    I am scheduled for surgery on the right shoulder next Thursday 1/7/13, then first PT on the 11th. Biceps Trenton repair, labrum repair, and bone spur removal, I am 61 and very active. Mine was damaged in a wrok related event, but I own my own company so I guess that is a good thing. This site has been great to see the different experiences and recovery times. My surgery is being done by my doctor that I have known for years, he is at an Ortho Sports group that specializes in shoulders and knees. I have researched all I can find and watched all the you tube videos, I think this helped me get ready. I will repost next week. Wish me luck!

    Reply
  121. Peter from Scotland

    Andy,Glad to hear that youre doing so well at your eight month stage,I will be four month on Friday,I am still getting some neck pain after doing my regular home exercises,but the ice seems to help.Have you ever experienced any neck pain in your recovery.Not only is my shoulder slackening off quite well, so are all the door handles in my house with using the stretch bands,but I find im getting there.enjoy the gym,go easy on the pressups,and best of luck to everyone in ths excellent forum

    Reply
    1. Andy - Bristol

      Peter
      The neck pain seems to be quite normal. I have experienced exactly the same.
      Everything across the shoulders, neck etc seems to be linked and i have found not only neck pain but the other good should flares up, but only when the bad one does.
      I am now starting to feel reasonably comfortable at 8 months even after a good gym session.
      I feel i am firly fit but the long recovery time from this shoulder episode has even suprised me.
      If i was not fully normal after a year i would be looking to revisit the consultant but i seem on track now to be 100% when i reach
      the anniversary of the surgery.
      Good luck with yours. 4 months was still quite sore for me.

      Reply
  122. GRU

    I joined the club now 7 weeks ago. Noticed left shoulder pain, while putting on shirts, or tucking in back area, had been very active weight lifting, running, swimming, hunting, fishing, etc. Finally when the pain kept me up at night I had it checked out and my left rotator cuff had been complety torn U shaped, along with spurs from arthritis. I had no option but to get it fixed to resume my lifestyle. I tried to prepare myself which is difficult to understand until your in these shoes. Very miserable 2-3 weeks, not much sleep, and you WILL need a recliner at least a month (I rented one). Rehab now days begins very early usually the same week you have surgery. CLose to 8 weeks My range of motion is not great and my Doc says I have another 2 month window to get it back. Starting on a steriod dose pack in the morning to try to help, will continue Rehab effors three time a week and three time a day myself. Ice machine and lortab! You do not get much sleep the first few weeks, and a little better going into the second month. I had no choice preferred the winter time having to wear the sling for 6 weeks. My PT reminded me that this is not a surgery for anyone impatient, (which I am). Hope for full recover in 8 months!

    Reply
  123. Bob

    Saw Doc after 6 weeks post op and he removed sling 2 weeks early due to my excellent ROM progress. What a relief getting rid of sling! I start active PT in 2 weeks. This is quite a journey. I hope to be playing golf after 4 months….

    Reply
    1. David

      Bob….Sixteen weeks Monday….Just was given permission to hit a few wedges for the next week or so. Then work up to a full swing with the driver after 20 weeks. Be patient don’t push…listen to your doctor and your P/T person….

      Reply
  124. J

    Well…it will be round 2 for me…I now have to have rotator cuff repair surgery for my left shoulder. MRI showed medium to large full thickness tears in my left shoulder. My surgeon is attributing this to all the wear and tear it went through while carrying the burden while I was recovering from my right shoulder surgery. He said it is very common when one shoulder is severe, it is likely that the other shoulder will need repaired within a year or two. My right shoulder was so bad due to an injury…story was posted on Jan 6. I am now 15 months out from that surgery and am dreading my left shoulder surgery but I know it is a necessity for me to still have a normal life. My right shoulder recovery was extremely difficult as the damage in my right shoulder was quite severe so we are hoping this time with less tears and smaller tears the recover will not be quite as bad but my surgeon told me size of tear does not dictate recovery time it only means greater chance of successful repair…as he put it…it is still a full rotator cuff repair surgery you are having…much different than other shoulder surgeries that do not include official repair. It is such a long and frustrating recovery but so worth it to have a normal life. Hang in there everyone…it does get better…I will have to remind myself of that here in a couple of weeks…
    J

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Round two for me as well but the left was just done in October and even before it was done, my right began to hurt. It will be scheduled for sometime near the end of March, early April…I have not really had the time to “forget”

      Reply
  125. Dixie Lee MacDonald

    I dislocation my shoulder from a bad fall while on holiday. The arm was put back in but the doctors in cuba missed a eedge shaped fracture of the greater tuberosity plus a full rotator cuff tear. When I returned home I had open surgery ( 16 days from the original injury) . The idea was to put pin the fracture back but the bone dissolved and the surgeon ended up filling in the wedge shaped hole with the tendon which he then secured with anchors and sutures. My pain has been manageable and in two weeks, I will be going to see him again for my six week follow-up and I am hoping to get the sling off but he has not let me know one way or the other. The surgeon does not like to answer any questions and can make me feel quite stupid when I do ask him any. My bigest worry is that I will never again be able to move my upper arm away from the side of my body. I have an older relative who had this surgery and his upper arm is still essentially glued to his body. I am doing pendulum exercises and seem to have good rom with minimal discomfort and I can bend my arm at my elbow and hold it up which I could not do right after the exercise. I am not supposed to try to move my arm away from my body and although I have been tempted to try, I will not until I have the ok. My sense is that I can’t move it away or won’t be able to move it away….this obesses me almost. Can anyone tell me if they were able to move their arm away from their body upward or to the side right after being allowed to take the sling off and try? Sorry for the long post but my surgeon just brushes off my questions and my family is reassuring but don’t understand how real this fear is to me.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      You won’t be able to do much for a while. And please don’t do anything unless given the ok…this recovery takes a lot of patience but you will get there

      Reply
  126. Evie

    Yikes I’m very fearful of getting surgery bc if the pain involved. Sometimes I read that the pain is managed quite well with meds and others hv horrible experiences where the meds did nothing to help??? I am scheduled for april2013 and just need to know a couple of things. 1.does the nerve block keep the arm numb so that after surgery and in the recovery room you can b relatively pain free? 2. How long before u need to dope up after getting home? 3. Does the sling cause most of the post-op pain ? Was has been the best pain drug that helps with the surgery or is it a combination of opium narcotics coupled with Ambian coupled with 800mg Ibuprophen coupled with ice? Where do I get an ice machine? Help ? Scared to death! Evie

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      Evie, thank you for saying you’re scared to death :-) I go in tomorrow and I have been terrified myself :-( I have only ever been to the hospital 3 times with my first 3 kids, after that it was midwives. So I just see a white coat and can’t breathe :-P For the past 4 months I have been on Mobic and then Tramadol. I’m allergic to tylenol, so I don’t know what they will give me. I actually wrote my will last night :-) Just in case I don’t wake up! I am a total coward! I am so not looking forward to pain, I’m going to sleep as much as I can :-) Hybernation season, right? My pharmacist said frozen peas are the best because they are so maleable, and we don’t have room or money for an ice machine. Anyway, good luck and I’ll try to type left handed and let you know what they give me :-)

      Reply
      1. bette fredrickson

        no capitals as i am 9 days post surgery and type with one finger. it has been a challenge especially as i live alone.
        i have been on oxycodone for pain. do not take so many medications that you are dizzy or sick. i found that some pain kept me from falling asleep and putting pressure on shoulder by mistake. a really bad mistake!
        it is easier that i finally can use of my hand to help hold things.
        if my surgery had been done on my dominant hand i would not be able to take care of myself. i wear swear pants and large warm shirts that i can put one arm in and wrap around me. took a trip to salvation army and walmart so i did not have to spend a lot of money.
        i did have a nerve block to help after surgery. very strange to have no feeling or ability to move the fingers. one thing i have to remember to do is relax. i tend to make a hard fist and tense against the pain …. that just makes so much worse. muscle spams etc.
        thinking about physical therapy and moving my shoulder is ….well awful. i do not know when i have to start to go.

        Reply
      2. Cindy

        The ice machine was not covered by my insurance and was expensive do I did not have it. Just good ole ice packs. I was on Norco, it helped just fine as long as I took it when I should. The nerve block lasted all day and I don’t think I took the Norco until bed. I slept in the recliner for 8 weeks. I think the first two weeks were the worst I ever had and tomorrow I go to schedule the other arm, just short of 6 months from the first. I did however live through it and the PT was fine, still going as a matter of fact. No lie, it will be rough at times but it is worth getting rid of the pain..you will be just fine

        Reply
    2. mitch

      the nerve block last about 12 hours. I would try to start taking pain meds before it wears off(if you’re not sick, ask for the Z medicine before surgery to help with this) It’s not really the sling making it sore but I did find that taking it out once in a while and resting it in a different position would help sometimes. I was on vicodine in my early surgeries percocet now which I think worked better. …good luck to suzanne monday.

      Reply
    3. George R from Sag Harbor

      Dear Evie

      I had my surgery 4 weeks ago and it was way better than I feared it would be.
      1. The nerve block lasted 28 hours and there was no pain in recovery at all. Until it wears off keep it in the sling and follow instructions to the letter!! You will not be able to feel, move or control it in any way make sure you have help to adjust the sling at first.

      2. Take the pain meds before you go to sleep that first night after surgery just in case the nerve block wears off while you are sleeping in the recliner.

      3. The sling prevents movement and pain. Not moving is key to healing and a cause of stiffness of joints.

      4. Vicodin 7/750. Worked for me but take stool softener with it or you will wish you had!

      5. Insurance may pay for ice machine. Mine did but it needs to be there before you go for surgery. Mine came a week late and I sent it back I used a large blue gel pack That I kept in the freezer the swelling should be gone in a week. Get the ice machine if your insurance will pay

      6. Don’t worry it will get better only with the surgery and you will be fine. I am so glad I did it. Sleeping better now and no pain just stiff and weak pt next.

      Good luck
      George

      Reply
  127. Suzanne Carlson

    Anybody have big rowdy dogs? Can they really sense you are in pain and not jump up into your lap? My rescue mutt is really attached and has separation anxiety issues if I go out for any length of time. I’m terrified he will hop in the recliner with me. He’s my sunshine and I don’t want to mess him up psychologically by keeping him out of my room if I don’t have to. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Rick

      I have five dogs, 3 Border Collies, 1 Golden and a small mix. I’m 2.5 weeks post surgery and will be in my recliner until I’m out of this sling. I put 2 x-pens around my chair. That keeps them from joining me when I’m not prepared. The first week I didn’t allow them near me. That was hard. Now things are better and I only keep it completely closed at night.

      Hope this Helps!

      Reply
  128. Cindy

    I have a shepherd that likes to put his nose under my arm and push it up so I did indeed keep him away but my little dog was just fine

    Reply
  129. Rick

    Thank you for this blog. I am 2.5 weeks post right rotator cuff (supraspinatus full tear) and I have to say that it was a whole lot easier than I expected. I was taking Vicodin for the first 6 days then to Naproxen and that is what I use now when I need it. I started PT the day after surgery and I have already gained some better ROM.

    Yesterday I woke up and didn’t need any thing. I had a great day and thought I had turned a healing corner of some sort, then around 5PM I started hurting quite a bit. I have been really concerned that I did something wrong. PT was normal today and my therapist said my therapy is on track as I’m only a couple of weeks post-op. Have any of you experienced these types of setbacks or maybe rollercoaster days? Are there more of these coming? I’m thinking it’s all good as I’m following all instructions to a tee and just blowing it out of perspective. Am I just expecting too much too soon? I haven’t had a ton of pain with this and the pain I have tonight is no worse than after a tough PT session but still more than the lasts several days.

    I really think the sling is the worst part. I have another 23 days in this thing. I sleep ok in my recliner and I tried to transition to bed but that didn’t work. I think I’m in this chair til the sling comes off. I’ve been driving since day 7 and I’m headed back to work next Monday. Gonna be a long road but I want my arm back so “whatever it takes”.

    Reply
  130. amy

    I had my rotator cuff repair and SLAP tear surgery in Sept 2011. This surgery is much harder than anyone can prepare you for. You need to prepare yourself mentally for the long haul. It is very depressing thinking you will never be able to move your arm again. My therapist said she hears that a lot from shoulder surgery patients. I was told you will be happy after two weeks you had this surgery, by the surgeon. No, I was not happy at all after two weeks. It takes a very long time to heal and lots of therapy. Maybe it was a longer process for me because I was in a car accident one week post op? No high speed collision but I took most impact to my side of the vehicle. It has been about 18months and my arm feels mostly normal now. I recommend keeping up with the therapy program at home long after you are finished with organized PT. Don’t get discouraged, keep you head up it does get better eventually.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      A gripe here! Why do I keep reading that patients are not properly prepared! It happened to me too and it is just so unnecessary and it would be so simple to give us more written instructions – yet when I suggested things to the nurse practitioner, she got all defensive.

      I was told it would be painful, but I assumed that would be managed with pain pills… If they had told me that it might be so painful I’d really be in some severe pain, I could have at least tried to prepare myself – but they didn’t and it blindsided me because when my block wore off, the opiates didn’t touch the pain – even though I’d taken them when I’d gone to sleep at 11pm and again when I awoke at 4:30.

      By 6am the nerve block was going away and the pain was increasing and I could tell I’d be in trouble so I called the doctor – he seemed irritated and told me to take Aleve!!! I did and in half an hours time I was much worse: crying and shaking and hyperventilating! I was waiting for 8:30 to take the next percocet… but when I called my brother in tears, he told me to just take it – so I did. By 9 I was okay, but I was in very bad pain for a good 2 hours.

      I was also shocked that I didn’t see the surgeon before surgery, after surgery and at the 2 week visit!! Every other surgery I’ve had, I did… so I don’t think it was an ignorant assumption. What are other’s experiences? I do remember one post above that said the doctor called him at home when he was still foggy to give him all the details of the surgery! I only wish! This Dr. came highly recommended….all he does is shoulders… but bedside is clearly lacking – maybe it’s become too rote for him… maybe he should take in some knees for variety – or he should injure his shoulder so he can experience the pain first hand!

      For my 5 week appointment (coming up) I realized I shouldn’t assume I’d finally see the surgeon and I called the office to say I wanted to see the surgeon – not the nurse or physician’s assistant – so they changed the appointment. Hopefully at that time I’ll get to find out exactly what he found inside and exactly what repairs were done. The nurse gave me conflicting info… In addition, he doesn’t have us start PT for 6 weeks, so I have no other input on my shoulder to know if it looks like things are going well.

      Well… enough for now! I suppose the take-away is not to assume you will see the doctor – so ask for specifics. I would also ask ahead of time, what you should do if the pain pills they give you don’t work. I’m not saying this to scare away anyone from surgery – I’m still glad I did it – I have been able to handle the pain since then just fine – but I think the pain after surgery could have been prevented.

      Reply
  131. Phil

    Hi everyone,

    Fourteen day post op update. I had arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. Repairs included: Supraspinatus tear, Anterior Labrum tear, Slap tear, Bicepts Tendon partial tear which included relocation, and Mumford procedure, also known as distal clavicle resection. Post op check up was eight days out, stitches were removed from the four wounds.

    Surgery was about an hour and a half, I elected to have the nerve block which I would recommend, it lasted almost eighteen hours, I know some have reported less but I guess everyone is different. Pain meds were oxycodone used for the following three days, then only a half as needed once or twice, no pain pump. Ice packs were used a few times. Sleep was not much of a problem, I have an adjustable frame on my Sleep Number bed which helped, I did find that the reclining love seat sometimes makes for good rest, I set on the left side and let the sling support the right arm.

    Physical Therapy started four days post op and has not been that bad, I go three times a week and to do some at home as described. As the range of motion increases so does the discomfort but I have been advised don’t push beyond the pain level just to be tough, it is a long road don’t make the journey more painful than need be. My doctor advised to take pain meds an hour pre therapy can make things go easier to tolerate in the early stages.

    Good luck to everyone that is getting ready, and those of us that have had it done. Just understand if you have a tear no amount of therapy will repair it, surgery has to be done to get better, just talk to people, you will be surprised how many people that you know have had it or know someone that has. Find a orthopedic surgeon that specializes in ortho sports work, they seam to have a edge on those that do not.

    Last but not least.

    Thanks for Scott for starting this site, I know it has helped me and others.

    Phil

    Reply
  132. Suzanne Carlson

    Day 5 : Good Morning People! I feel like we ought to have an awesome nickname, something victorious and heroic, like the one arm wonders :-) Yes, the pain meds are working! So they gave me 5 exercises to do, and I can do 2 of them! Counting every little victory. Hubby actually had to wake me for a pill last night, instead of me squirming and slow breathing until it was time. I feel like someone came in and beat me with a baseball bat, bruised and achy, but no sharp shooting pains from collar bone, to bicep, to forearm, out thumb. I kinda wish they would have shown me how to not use my shoulder muscles and do the exercises before surgery, because I am still catching myself tensing up and I’m not sure I’m doing them right. I also would have built up my left arm more and done more to make it flexible because I am determined not to over do it compensating. I never want to go through this again. I am quickly getting over not wanting to ask for help, like the doc said, “It’s my turn now.” Honestly, the kids are more than happy to help, especially when I ask, “who wants to dress me funny today?” I used to feel guilty watching tv during the day, but now it’s fun catching up. Don’t laugh or judge me, but I have found Scrubs to be an entertaining diversion. Though it’s really hard to laugh without engaging the muscles. As I look at all the stuff that needs to be done, that I can no longer do, I try to keep in mind the things I can do. It’s the little things that matter right? Listening to and encouraging my kids, holding my hubby’s hand, petting the dogs and cat, waving and smiling. This is just another season, it’ll pass, and all the big projects will wait. Hang in there folks! We can do this:-) It’ll be worth the pain if I can garden again and rumble with my loved ones someday. If the pain is keeping you from going through with this…don’t let it. It sucks, yes. Don’t be afraid to call the pharmacy, surgeon, until they give you what works! Being allergic to Tylenol made this a challenge, but they came up with Oxycodone and baby aspirin with ice, rest, and pillows. I may have a few moments or a few hours of comfort, I treasure every second and breathe slowly to the next. I may only be able to type for a few minutes at a shot, but I will try to update as I am able. Bless you all with peace, patience, healing, and strength!

    Reply
  133. Evelyn Bienias

    I am going for the surgery on March 12th. Yes , I am scared. I had orthiscopic surgery on my right knee Dec. 27 (torn meniscus) and I have been going to therapy since Jan 8th. They are working on my shoulder also. My family is so helpless, I just don’t know. They will figure it out I guess. I told the pt that I will be coming here for the next 6 months. They laughed. I am sure I will go though with this but wont like it. Glad you seem to be doing ok. Also glad you said the pain wasnt too bad. So will let you know, stay strong, blessings to you too.

    Reply
    1. Fred K

      What a coincidence, I have been lurking on this site trying to find out what to expect, and i am having left shoulder done on the 12th as well. ! Lot of good information here!

      Reply
      1. Fred K

        Had my operation as scheduled,2 days ago. Arthroscopic on left shoulder for full tear, and removal of 1 spur. Sent me home with a pump that had a crack in the coupling where the tube connects to the tiny catheter,so after the initial block wore off, no medication, it all ran down my neck. I had a script for hydrocodone,but the stuff made me sick, so I went the the first days with nothing but some over-the -counter Ibuprophen. Yesterday pain was as bad as anything I have ever experienced, and I have had a couple of compound leg fractures in an accident. Today is better. This is about the limit of my typing ability, as the pain is taking over.

        Reply
  134. Sammy

    Three weeks post op and so far, I’m more stir crazy than anything. Still trying to figure out why doctor gave so much pain medicine. #80. I took 10. Tylenol works just fine (aided by ice).

    Most of my problems have come from the biceps repair which keeps me from bending at the elbow. I wasn’t prepared for that restriction.

    Sure wish someone told me
    1. My coat doesn’t fit over the sling (and I walk a couple of miles daily) Solution—A poncho. Could have used it earlier
    2. Bruising from the sling. My arm looks like someone is beating me.
    3. The pillow on the sling rubs against the waistband of my pants and they keep falling down when I walk. I claim to be “in style” as I walk with one hand holding them up.
    4. Ice machine. Although ice is great, I hated the machine. I could not lift it to drain it (Have tears opposite arm too). Preferred a regular set of large ice packs which I rotated.
    5. Can’t get a seat belt on. The pillow keeps me from finding the buckle.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Thanks for the link, I did my first in 9 minutes. Can you read or make phone calls or nap? I watched a lot of movies and it was a couple weeks before I tried to do the computer. I am having my dominant arm done in 5 weeks and I will be looking for stuff to do as well with one arm in a sling and one still recovering from the first surgery. I have two big puzzles which I may attempt but I like your link…hope you can find something interesting to do. And you probably don’t want to do what I did the first time, I ate carmel sundees…now I am paying for that :)

      Reply
      1. Suzanne Carlson

        LOL! Peanut butter brownies will be my downfall! I admire you’re bravery at getting this surgery again!!! Will the other one be 100%? I gave up napping during the day, so I can sleep deeper at night. It has enabled me to skip 1 pain pill around midnight. I should probably dig up my glasses so I can read, but for now I read mostly stuff on the pc. I can putter around on here for about 1/2 hr because I can fidget around trying to get comfortable. Were you nervous about your 1st check up, post op? I am hoping he says it worked and find out exactly what he did and why it still hurts. Did it feel like your collar bone was throbbing? And the pain moves! Sometimes it’s the shoulder, or the bicep, or the forearm… I had to do the pt exercises before they even discharged me. Since I had the nerve block that wasn’t a problem. They want me to do 5 exercises 3 times a day at home. I’m lucky to do 4 1/2 exercises 2 times a day. And my family has to help me with some of them. If I try to lay flat it feels like my shoulder is ripping off. I can’t imagine being alone through something like this?! Thank God for all of you guys, my friends, my family, my precious dog who has been so good at not jumping up on me and following me everywhere, and chocolate ;-)

        Reply
        1. bette fredrickson

          I am almost 3 weeks post surgery. I started PT yesterday and I can say it was not pleasant. I know that it is necessary if I am not to have a frozen shoulder. I have a TENS unit that does mask the pain when I am at rest. The cost of the unit and electrodes were covered by medicare and private insurance.

          Reply
        2. bette fredrickson

          I am almost 3 weeks post surgery. I started PT yesterday and I can say it was not pleasant. I know that it is necessary if I am not to have a frozen shoulder. I have a TENS unit that does mask the pain when I am at rest. The cost of the unit and electrodes were covered by medicare and private insurance. Earlier I did let pain control how long I cat-napped all day and night. Now, I found that I need to get some sleep! I had my left shoulder done so I sleep on my right side with my back against the back of the couch and a soft pillow in front of me to keep my painful shoulder on my upper side. Sleeping on my back is intolerable. How does one get out of a recliner with only one arm?
          Also…I am so tired of microwavable meals and finger foods. I do live alone so meals are up to me. Any suggestions?

          Reply
          1. Phil

            Hi
            I am three weeks post op and have been through nine sessions of PT, I started 4 days post OP. I know each case is different but I can’t imagine going that lone before starting. Good luck do the PT at home it will help I have almost all my ROM back. Each day is better. Try a pillow under your arm when attempting to sleep on your back. Getting out of a recliner is about balance now more than arm strength. I had my right done and found that a left side love seat worked for me.

        3. Cindy

          I just finished physcial therapy on my left tonight. I am not at 100% but in decent shape. The dr said 9-12 months to be at 100. I was not nervous about the follow up and not nervous about the next one. But knowing what I know, I hope I handle it better next time. My collarbone never hurt but my elbow was a big issue for me. The first operation, they had to make a big incesision so I hope the next one is a little easier on me…I know the relief I got on the first will make the next one well worth it

          Reply
          1. Suzanne Carlson

            True, I think if I have to get the left one done down the road, I’ll definitely be the wiser from this experience :-) First I’ll get in better shape so I don’t have to build abs just putting the recliner down :-) Second I will know what drugs to take and take the maximum for the first two days. Third I’ll have more peace knowing the pains are normal, and I’m not doing anything wrong. Day 11: 1st post op was great! I only need my sling when gardening, the steristrips were removed and he’s pleased with the progress so far. I feel like I could fly without my sling on, but I’ll behave. I even tried sleeping in my bed, but it was right after pt and I figured I would try to cut back on the oxycodone/aspirin because he said it’s addictive. Just as I was entering the land of nod the pain started and got ahead of me so it took about an hour sitting up in the recliner again to relax. He told me not to worry about the random moving pain, just keep pushing. Everything is normal :-) I am typing two handed again and I tried writing, it’s stiff, but legible :-) Okay, time for round 2 of pt. Thanks for all your wisdom, it’s been so great seeing how different everyones experiences are. I’m sure your next surgery will be better and you’ll do great! Be blessed!

  135. Glenn Outhouse

    in japan rotator cuff surgery is a 10 day hospital stay. very difficult to sleep; due to pain & snoring roommates. i had a severe tear, chronic (from work & sports) followed by acute worsening from a fall on icy street. labrum tear, too. surgeon used 7 titanium suture anchors. passive rehab was begun day after surgery. had to wear the sling with the thick pad the first week. then the sling without the pad for a 2nd week. going on my 3rd week post-op. wear the sling when commuting to hosp. 3 x per wk. for rehab, but no sling when at home. still have to sleep on my back with a fluffy pillow on abdomen and arm upraised on pillow. a bag of frozen veges placed on shoulder works wonders during the night. only pain med is loxonin (similar to ibuprofen). adverse effect has been constipation. can`t `zactly go out walking for exercise cause sapporo city is buried under ice/snow thru out winter season. regards, gaijin in japan

    Reply
  136. Andy

    Now at the 8 month stage post surgery for my minor tear.
    Still not 100% and i am reminded daily i had surgery to that shoulder.
    Able to carry out any activity including running and weight lifitng although still get soreness and flare ups after these activities.
    Alot of people say 9 – 12 months is normal to expect some sort of normality in the shoulder.
    Definate slow improvements as the months go past. Very slow.
    I hope to be able to post back and say i am 100% one day

    Reply
  137. Rick

    Six weeks post surgery, I have come to the conclusion that having shoulder surgery must be similar to competing in an IronMan. I just got done with the swim, I don’t have to wear the sling anymore and have started on moving my arm under my own power, next is the bike ride (uphill of course) for the next 2 1/2 months and THEN I can start the marathon. I am really surprised at the loss of strength in my shoulder. I can’t even get to the buttons on my dashboard to change the channel on the radio. It really is a humbling experience and in the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty minor thing.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Yep, Been there and done that . Lifting the arm to the steering wheel was even aneffort for about 4 months.
      It’s good though to look back and realise how far i have come over the months.

      Reply
  138. Suzanne Carlson

    Day 26 Hello all! Checking back in I see there are alot of new additions. Hope everyone is healing nicely and dealing with their pain ;-) I’m doing the best I can, but some days are more painful than others. Apparently little things like writing out bills, scrubbing, the bathroom, etc…are still going to make me wish I hadn’t done them. I was doing pretty well with the PT but had to reduce range of motion after cleaning :-( What really bugs me is that it doesn’t hurt when I am doing something…an hour later though I want to cry! Surgeon wanted me to cut back from 8 Oxycodone a day because it is addictive. So now I’m down to 4 a day from 8. I take them at 8AM, 2PM, and (2) at 8PM. I do the (5) PT exercises about 15 minutes after I take the meds. Finally sleeping in bed at least 5-8 hrs a night, had to work up to it at 20-40 minute increments, starting on day 11. It takes (3) pillows horizontal, (2) vertical, and a lumbar to get me at the right angle :-) I long for when I can sleep on my side like I used to! And I used to think hubby had too many pillows! Showering is still hard and I have to take my time and rest afterwards since day 12. The left shoulder is starting to hurt now, ugh! Hoping it holds out till my dominant right heals. I have been praying for you all, especially those who don’t have help! Honestly I don’t think I would survive without hubby taking over all my driving of kids to work and bathing me in the beginning, the kids taking turns doing my laundry and cooking. Wish we had AFLAK to cover a cleaning lady, poop scooper, dog walker, etc :-) Okay, starting to hurt…that’s my signal. May you all heal quickly and rest comfortably!

    Reply
    1. Fred K

      Had my surgery on the 12th. Today is the 18th. Had a full tear repaired and a bone spur removed. Arthroscopic, I feel like I could take my sling off today,But i know I need to restrict the upper shoulder so it will heal without a re-tear. No pain meds for 2days now! I use my arm just like I did before the surgery, within the movement restrictions of the sling. I had almost no swelling or bruising post op. Dr. says he can begin to “wean” me off the sling in as little as 2 weeks if I use care what I try to do. I was afraid of the surgery, too, as I am 62 and I was afraid I might not heal as fast as I used to. I got a full night’s sleep last night without waking, and I hadn’t done that since November when I tore it.

      Reply
      1. Suzanne Carlson

        That’s awesome Fred! Were you sleeping in bed or a recliner? Are you doing pt? May your healing continue to go so well!

        Reply
        1. Fred K

          I have been sleeping in a recliner since the surgery,because the sling is uncomfortable(for me) to sleep in the bed. I am doing my own PT, I was given a page by my Dr. outlining what I should and shouldn’t do. And I am using my arm and hand, within the limitations of the sling. The instruction was to not move the shoulder any more than necessary, especially not up. After reading many of the posts here, I was afraid of the surgery. Iwas afraid mostly of the long recovery. Unless I have some kind of setback,that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.
          I only have the slightest yellow bruise around the 7 incisions that were made, No blue, and almost no swelling. I used an ice pack a little the first night, to hopefully help deter swelling, and maybe help with pain. I did have pain that first night because my pump didn’t work and I was reluctant to take hydrocodone. It makes me a little sick. I let the pain get way ahead of me that first night, but that was partly my own fault.
          Hydrocodone has the side effect on many people of severe constipation, and it has a history of that on me, too. And I am talking severe. Laxatives and softeners don’t always do the trick either. People have had to go back to the hospital with impacted bowels because of it. Like eating cement.

          Reply
          1. Suzanne Carlson

            I’m so glad you posted! Folks need to see positive outcomes. My recliner was my best friend until I could get into bed. It still is for watching tv. I found one of those little travel neck pillows made the recliner even better, but it has to be the ones filled with little beads vs a hard memory foam one. I hear ya on the meds! I’m eating lots and lots of fiber, drinking 6 bottles of water, walking up and down the stairs and around the block a lot, and still need the softener. My Mom was hospitalized 2 weeks ago from being impacted, so that’s the last thing I need. Unfortunately, my surgery was open and the healing is much slower, so I still need the meds, but it is getting better and I will be glad I did this eventually. Yesterday was 1 month since op and I finally slept the whole night through in bed! Was really hoping to do the same last night, but once again I was pacing at 4 AM until the 8AM med. I was so afraid of weight gain, but all the pacing has worn off 5 pounds of the 10 I gain before the surgery :-) Always celebrating the little things, no matter how small! Continued speedy recovery to ya!

          2. Angela H

            Thanks Suzanne for encouraging words. Day 1 after my surgery. Nerve block has weared off. Started taking pain meds way beforehand and have continuously been using the ice machine. In most part, I’m feeling better than I expected. Slept in a recliner most of the night, except waking up for meds, Looking forward to progress. I start exercises in today….we will see how that goes later.

          3. Suzanne Carlson

            Hang in there girl! Enjoy the good days, and hopefully there won’t be many bad ones. Had a rough morning, but feeling pretty good now. Free Rita’s water ice took me on a 2 hour hike. At least I ad good tunes, and got to enjoy every daffodil and crocus on the way because I went so slow :-)

          4. DEBBIE

            pain meds make you constipated so what I did I took cherry milk of magnesia and 2 Colace stool softners at night. that really helped.

  139. peter.from scotland

    Five months and 5 days since shoulder op still having good days and bad days. I agree with what Andy said in an earlier blog about how long it is taking for this op to heal. I had an operation to my knee years ago, torn cartilage football injury the recovery time was much quicker, My own doctor told me this week that what you achieve at 12 months is as good as it is going to get I hope to see some improvement over the next two months Best of luck to everybody on this excellent site.

    Reply
    1. jim in Jersey

      Coming up on 3 months from my 3 severe tears on my dominate arm …..it is getting better but I still have a mountain to climb.Im back to work wish helps.Surprisingly shoulder hurts the most at nite and not after rehab….looking forward to the nicer weather coming in on the east coast…Spring!… hopefully.Good luck to all!!

      Reply
  140. Angela

    Having surgery on March 19th. I’m very anxious because of the negative posts. As well my other shouder is hurting more than the one that will be having surgery! Not good! I think I may have over compensated.

    My doctor thinks I will recovery well because I had a lot of PT for months before the MRI revealed a full thickness tear and didn’t complain like others who ad the same thing. I’m wanting so bad to think positive because this is my daughters senior year and we have a cruise plan for June!!!!

    Good luck to all the others who is recovering or preparing for the same! I’ve brought a recliner, electric toothbrush, large button down shirts, cleaning like crazy, preparing meals……expecting the worst, but hoping for the best!

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      Good Luck Angela! Don’t be afraid, because everyone’s experience is different it seems. Day 27 here and it can be frustrating having to ask people to help you all the time, but look forward to the cruise! Focus on all the fun you’re going to have, it’ll help on the rough days :-) I swore I wasn’t going to overwork my good arm and I did it anyway, ugh. It’s a long uncomfortable healing process, but I’m focusing on the day when I can run and rumble with my kids and dogs, and play in the garden again. I hope you are a patient person. If not and you’re a fidget like me, it’ll be a challenge. Praying for smooth sailing for you!

      Reply
    2. Mary

      Hello Angela
      My name is Mary. Have impingement and. A partial tear on my dominant hand. Did PT for 5 weeks still in pain will be doing surgery. My other arm hurts a lot too since I wore the sling for 3-4 weeks and have tired my other arm. How did you do? How is your good arm doing? And what was your arm problem? Hope all went well for you. Take care !

      Reply
  141. Suzanne Carlson

    Would anyone be interested in helping me with a competition I’m having with my daughter who has to write a 10,000 word research paper to graduate? I’m going to write mine on shoulder surgery. Here’s a questionaire and if you would like to participate, you can email me at theroyalscribe@verizon.net. Just put surgery in the subject post. I figure it’ll light a fire under her butt and keeping me busy will distracting me from the pain :-) Thanks!

    Recovering from Shoulder Surgery Questions

    All answers are optional.

    Please describe your experience:

    How did you know you needed surgery?

    How did you choose a surgeon?

    What state was your surgery done in?

    Are you male or female?

    What is your age?

    How did you prepare for surgery?

    What were your fears before surgery?

    Was it arthroscopic surgery?

    Open?

    Partial or Full tear?

    Spurs removed?

    Did you receive a nerve block?

    What type of PT did you do? And how soon did it begin?

    At home?

    Another facility?

    How often?

    What medications were helpful?

    Did you use ice or heat for relief?

    Anything else that helped make you more comfortable?

    Did you sleep in a recliner? For how long?

    When you were able to sleep in bed, what aids did you need?

    What were the hardest things for you to do?

    What did you need assistance with?

    How bad was your pain?

    Before surgery: After surgery:

    How long ago was your surgery?

    When did you feel 100%?

    What was the worst part?

    What stressed you out the most?

    What stresses did it put upon those around you?

    Was it was worth it?

    What kept you going in the tough times?

    What were your goals?

    How did you pass the time when you couldn’t participate in your usual activities?

    What were your favorite snacks?

    When were you allowed to resume driving?

    What wisdom can you pass along to the next person considering this procedure?

    Are there any other questions or comments you would like to share?

    Would you like to see the answers posted online or prefer not?

    Please feel free to add anything else you think might be helpful. Thanks so much for your participation!

    Reply
  142. Daryl Hoefs

    will be having surgery aprl 9th . anything i shoudl for a fast recovery without to much pain. please help with answers thank you

    Reply
    1. Angela

      Daryl….it’s not as bad as some states. I’m on Day 2 post-op and doing great! Take your pain meds as you leave the hospital and on the clock! Do not wait until block wears off! Also I used the ice pack and tens unit around the clock. Recliner is the best for sleeping. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Suzanne Carlson

      Good luck Daryl! Praying for a quick, painless recovery for ya! Train your opposite hand to do all it can, and don’t over use it. Flexibility is a real blessing :-)

      Reply
  143. John

    I am scheduled for surgery next week. Were most of you under General Anesthesia for your surgery? Also, did any of you have a nerve block? How long does the actual surgery take?

    Reply
    1. George from Sag Harbor NY

      Dear John

      I am 9 weeks post op today! I had general plus nerve block. I arrived a hospital 6:00 am and was home pain free with nerve block lasting into that night. Take the pain meds they prescibe before you try sleeping in a recliner for the first 2weeks. Follow doctprs orders and while the block is still working do not take your arm out of the sling without help!!! You will have no control and it will drop like a stone if not suppprted!!! I can tell you it does get better but you have to do the work. PT is the key.

      Good luck
      George

      Reply
      1. Angela

        I’m day 2 post-op and had nerve block and twilight sedation; not general. I do take my pain meds and use a ice pack machine. My block lasted for about 18 hrs. But I’m doing pretty well and it was not as expected. Already started doing my at home PT exercises! My surgery took about a hour and half.

        Reply
  144. John

    Thanks George for the advice on taking your arm out of the sling while the nerve block is still working. I wouldnt have thought of that!

    Angela, did you have a choice of twilight sedation instead of General Anesthesia or was it your doctors decision? It seems most people have the surgery under General.

    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
    1. Angela

      John,
      It was both my doctor and I to not do general and I was actually just fine. I didn’t feel a thing and was pretty much out if it the entire time during surgery. The nerve block was given beforehand. I will most definitely chose this sedation again over general.
      John, this surgery is not as bad as I read. I was totally afraid going into this surgery! Like I said, take the pain meds immediately after surgery and around the clock. Use the ice pack the entire time too! I was amazed by how I felt after the block worn off! I’m now day 3 and doing great! I even slept in my bed last night with a pillow wedge! Taking the bandage off today and getting a much needed shower! John I will pray that you will have the same experience I had!

      Reply
    2. Suzanne Carlson

      Might be too much info, or it might help. Good luck!
      Recovering from Shoulder Surgery Questions
      How did you know you needed surgery?
      Persistent pain, MRI, Arthrogram
      How did you choose a surgeon?
      Online search of Top 100 Doctors and Life in a Sling sites recommendation of top 76 Surgeons
      What state was your surgery done in? Pennsylvania
      Are you male or female? Female
      What is your age? 48
      How did you prepare for surgery? Followed the suggestions of those who had gone before me. Yoga and light weight lifting to help with all the over use the good arm was going to need to do. Researched to know all I could about what to expect. Deep breathing exercises to relax when in pain. Hair cut.
      What were your fears before surgery? This was 1st surgery, so fear of dying on the table. Loss of ability to ever garden or play with my family and dogs.
      Was it arthroscopic surgery? No
      Open? Yes
      Partial or Full tear? Full Supraspinatus
      Spurs removed? Yes
      Did you receive a nerve block? Yes, it lasted 8 hours. General Anasthesia
      What type of PT did you do? 1. Pendulum 2. Towel 3. Broomstick 4.Overhead 5. Pulley Exercises 10 reps each
      And how soon did it begin? Before they released me from Methodist Hospital they had me run through it. Then I was to work up to 3 times a day.
      At home? Yes Another facility? No How often? 3 times a day
      What medications were helpful? Oxycodone 5mg, Aspirin 325mg for 1st two weeks, then 81mg 1 daily for next 4 weeks Stool Softener 1 a day
      Did you use ice or heat for relief? Continuously used ice for 1st 2 weeks, then as needed thereafter.
      Anything else that helped make you more comfortable? Lots and lots of pillows of all sizes. A cloudz http://www.cloudz.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=CTP100-BLK neck travel pillow for reclining and sleeping. TJ Maxx had them for $8.
      A light weight super soft fuzzy blanket in king size to wrap all around me http://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Royal-Plush-Blanket/21596953
      Frozen peas in quart sized Ziploc freezer bags, kept in place with a pillowcase which easily draped around my other side.
      2 in 1 shampoo, so I wouldn’t have to wear out good arm. Oversized tank tops, flannels, zip up hoodies, sweat, and yoga pants. Anklet socks, lambskin slippers. A polyester type down filled hunting vest, (slides on more easily than duck), lots of pockets. I like to be outdoors no matter the temperature.
      The family arranged the lawn furniture so I always had a sun spot to sit in.
      A small thin strapped purse worn across the shoulder so it doubled as a sling when my arm tired while walking.
      Pacing, walking, and slow dancing helped me when the pain got bad, but I still had a few hours till I could take a pill.
      Did you sleep in a recliner? Yes For how long? First 2 weeks
      When you were able to sleep in bed, what aids did you need? Had to work up to it gradually after day 12, increasing it 20 minutes at a time for the first week. On my back until 1 month, then gradually increasing time on my side. Neck and assorted pillows.
      What were the hardest things for you to do? Bathing was assisted until day 12. Opening pill bottles, water bottles, anything that requires 2 hands. Dressing, especially putting on a jacket, and pulling up pants. Finding a comfortable position.
      What did you need assistance with? All of the above, plus I needed people to carry stuff up and down stairs, so I could use good hand to hold onto railing, until I got my balance back. Cutting up steak.
      How bad was your pain? 1st two days were unbearable. After that I could go between 4-6 hours without medication. Bending over and typing really hurts, still.
      Before surgery: I thought it was pretty bad at the time, but in comparison, maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought. After surgery: Still feels as painful, with less flexibility.
      How long ago was your surgery? February 18, 2013 32 days ago
      When did you feel 100%? Guessing it’ll take a while J
      What was the worst part? Not being able to do all the things I used to. Feelings of useslessness. Boredom. Feeling pretty good, then setting myself back from over doing it.
      What stressed you out the most? Pain killers only working for a few hours, pacing in between. Inability to find comfortable position. Not being able to snuggle with hubby! Bills. Having everyone do my job.
      What stresses did it put upon those around you? They hate seeing me in pain. They have to do my job.
      Was it was worth it? Sure hope so!!!
      What kept you going in the tough times? Fervent prayer, pacing, walking dog, dancing like a 90 yod, MP3 player, photography, Facebook, My Life in a Sling, online puzzles, online banking, making my bed, folding laundry, friends, family, neighbors, and comedy shows.
      What were your goals? Not to gain more than the 10 lbs I put on before surgery. Be faithful to PT as directed. Return to normal!
      How did you pass the time when you couldn’t participate in your usual activities?
      See above
      What were your favorite snacks? Rainbow Peppers, Kefir and Blue Gooness smoothies, 6 pack of water a day, Sun Chips, Wrigley’s spearmint gum, life savers, Fiber and Slimfast bars.
      When were you allowed to resume driving? To be determined, hopefully at 6 weeks.
      What wisdom can you pass along to the next person considering this procedure? Listen to your gut, your doctor, and anyone who has had this done.
      Are there any other questions or comments you would like to share?
      I wish surgeon had better informed me. Physical therapy exercises should be taught before surgery, not when you are going home after.

      Reply
  145. Anh

    Im going to have surgery on 3/27/13 and just found this site today, thanks for all comments, help a lot, I really need to hear real experiences……Please keep posting.

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      Good luck Anh! It is great there are so many different experiences here. We can all learn so much from one another. It really helped prepare me for my surgery last month. Be sure to tell us how you make out. Praying for smooth healing for ya!

      Reply
      1. Anh

        Thanks Suzanne for your prayer and words of encouragement. I’m so nervous just think about it. It was long overdue, should done this 6 years ago but I am here now. I guess everyone has a reason and a lesson to learn from this. As Scott put it: “My life in a sling”. He is soooo right.

        Reply
    2. Fred K

      Will be 2 weeks Tuesday, Go back to Dr. on Monday. Says if I am doing well he will start to “wean” me off the sling. No pain unless I move the shoulder wrong. Never lost any motion in my hand, wrist, or elbow. Will have to work on the shoulder, though. Have been sleeping in recliner since surgery, just too awkward to lay in the bed with this sling. I have already got several good nights of sleep, even though the recliner took a little getting used to. Rough time the first day after the surgery, I have a hard time with Hydrocodone making me sick, so a pain pump was installed at the time of the surgery. It turned out to be defective and leaked all the medication out all over me until I took it out, so I went without pain control the first day and a half. Finally got some Codiene, pain had began to subside a little by then. Surgery with no pain control isn’t much fun.. Still, if the end result is life back to normal, it will be worth it. Hardly no pain by the third day.

      Reply
      1. Scott Loftesness Post author

        Fred, wow – you’d be fortunate to start coming off the sling so quickly! My surgeon kept me in it for a full six weeks – followed by six weeks of limited movement, etc. before starting physical therapy. Hope yours goes much quicker!

        Best, Scott

        Reply
        1. Suzanne Carlson

          Hey Peter! I’m only about 6 weeks out, but I find that simple stretching is helping with my neck pain. Slowly roll your head around 5 times in each direction. Then tilt head to each shoulder to the count of 5/ 1 thousand. Also, I recline and sleep with a neck travel pillow. Good luck. Hope it helps. Out of curiosity, do you have more pain when the weather is damp by you? If so, has it decreased over time?

          Reply
          1. Peter from Scotland

            Hi Suzanne, Thanks for your reply, perhaps I have been concentrating to much on my shoulder excercises, and forgetting doing to do some of the neck stretching you have suggested, yes and it does feel worse when the weather is damp which we get plenty of in Scotland, also wishing you a fast recovery, regards , Peter

        2. Fred K

          Surgery 12th of March, today is the 4th of April. Don’t wear the sling at all anymore, Hand and forearm work as good as ever, shoulder still somewhat stiff. Getting better every day. Still have to sleep in recliner, though. Laying down in the bed makes it ache. Sometimes it still aches for no apparent reason, but not bad enough to take pain meds. I don’t like taking them unless I really have a lot of pain, because of the side effects. I think i had an excellent surgeon, and the hospital was great too, just that defective pain pump caused me lots of misery.

          Reply
        3. Lynne

          Hi Scott! (this has been great! I wish I’d seen it before surgery!)
          I’m also supposed to wait till week 6 to do any thing at all with my arm (though I have to admit, I’m out of the sling quite a bit and using it carefully….) I’m across the Bay from you… I wonder if they like 6 weeks around here! I keep hearing 6 weeks from others in the area, so when I read about people starting PT right away or soon after it’s sort of shocking – even if I think I could do some! But then not all surgeries are the same… so we really can’t compare them unless we know what was done. I had a supraspinatus rotator cuff tear, bone spur and one or 2 labral tears…(I think! )

          Reply
          1. Mary

            I usually make someone place the baby into my left arm. It’s so crazy that I can’t even pick up a newborn. Besides the baby, I am trying to avoid picking up anything more than a few pounds. It’s hard to know what is too heavy so I am just avoiding using the right arm. My biggest problem is using my right arm by habit. I need to start enjoy not being able to do the dishes or carry things instead of getting frustrated.

            I agree that this is a good time of year b/c I can’t imagine a coat on. I might be able to use a cape. Though when I take the percocet, it makes me very hot — I just radiate heat.

            I saw my surgeon but he didn’t have the surgical report or pictures yet so I don’t specific numbers of anchors just that he did use some to “clean up” my labrum.

    3. Debbie Harris

      Based on time zones I believe you are now finished with your surgery and hope you are back to reading here within a few days. I do hope and pray that everything goes well for you. My husband has his surgery tomorrow – March 28th at noon.

      Reply
  146. Ang2

    I had rotator cuff and labrum tears and damage to bicep after rolling head over heels down Mt Killimanjaro whilst fooling around on holiday at beginning of January (i’m 45 and should know better – at least i made it to the top though!).

    Lived with minimum pain but loss of movement until surgery 2 months later. Then it took a 2.5hr arthroscopic operation and 5 pins to fix up, which was on March 6th. Also had the bone shaving thing and bicep relocated to help with future movement.

    I was in hospital overnight. Don’t know what nerve block is but guessing that’s what gave me the tingly fingers and no shoulder pain when i came out of anesthetic. if so that lasted around 24hr.

    Was on oxycodone for about 4 days (to take when/if needed) together with another slow release pain killer that also contained oxycodone (7 days proscribed) and some anti-inflamatories (5 days). Since then it’s just been the occasional regular panadol when needed (wanted to minimise the oxycodone use).

    I had high hopes of limping in to work last week to run a training course which was important for my job – but in the end i just wasn’t up to it yet, and was only able to do a few conference call meetings and keep up with email (via phone text or left hand typing which is what i’m doing now) .

    I spent the first week just sleeping and resting in short repeating intervals. Didn’t feel like watching tv or doing anything. The second week was a bit the same but awake for longer periods and read books/browsed internet etc.

    The pain isn’t awful, but i’m getting fed up of being uncomfortable all the time. Last night was my longest bit of sleep so far at 2.5hr. And i’m awake for a few hrs between sleeps too so only just in the last couple of nights that i’m really differentiating between night and day

    I pace around a bit to relieve discomfort but wasn’t able to go more than a few steps without it feeling to jar my shoulder for around 10 days. Now i’m ok to walk slowly for 15min and not tried much longer but hope to extend that out this week coming.

    I’ve had passive PT to do at home 3 times a day at home since day 1 (to try to prevent frozen shoulder). Yesterday was the first time i went socialising – dinner party at friends over 5hrs, and that was fine (maybe the wine selection helped!)

    Thanks to all previous posters for all the experiences you’ve shared, it’s been great to read and makes me think i’m doing alright really.

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      Doing alright? Sounds like you’re doing great! I hear ya about short sleep and not being able to find a comfortable position. I put my MP3 player on and slow(like a 90 year old) dance often at 3AM! Thank God no one can see me or it would be on America’s funniest videos. I’ve only had 3 good nights in over a month, but they were wonderful! Isn’t it amazing how much better you feel day by day, though? Aside from the occasional awful day, probably weather related for me in PA. Glad you are healing so well! I’m able to walk about 2 miles a day now and that does help a lot, granted it is a snails pace, but I always wanted to take time to smell the roses. If they would just start bloomin already! Did it feel like your shoulder was slipping out of place? Mine feels like that sometimes. I just have to stop and ever so slowly almost roll it to where it’s comfortable. Sometimes I just have to lay in the recliner and take all pressure off it for about 10 minutes. Congrats on the climb! May you never be old enough to know better! That’s what keeps us young at heart, and surgeons in business ;-)

      Reply
      1. Ang2

        I like your dancing idea! Funny. Think that would help me too. And i know what you mean about the shoulder slipping – i tend to heave mine back across me using the other arm a bit.

        Luckily for me it’s beautiful weather here in Sydney, Australia and about 30C today (approx 80F??) and went with hubby and dog to dog beach. lovely. Had to have a 2hr nap to recover when i came back though. At least summer’s on its way for you – we’re heading the other way.

        My main worry is that i’m going to end up with this frozen shoulder thing as there was the beginnings of it there when the surgeon did the op and my PT movement definitely hasn’t improved for a week. If i have, tough luck apparently as surgeon won’t do anything more til after the sling is off after which i may get a cortizone shot (whatever that does)

        Anyone else had frozen shoulder?

        Reply
        1. Scott Loftesness Post author

          I didn’t have frozen shoulder, fortunately! I did have a superb PT who watched me carefully and encouraged me to do my home exercises in between sessions, That was important for me!

          Best, Scott

          Reply
        2. Suzanne Carlson

          Oh you lucky dog! We got another wintry mix of rain, sleet, snow. As soon as it melted though puppy and I walked 2 miles and both slept for an hour :-) I’m seeing surgeon on Friday and want to ask him about the frozen shoulder. I can’t seem to make any progress with the Broomstick and the Pulley exercises. On the one hand I’m hoping he says I can drive, because hubby won’t be able to take son to work anymore. On the other, I’m not crazy about being unable to take pain pills. I tried to go 13 1/2 hours yesterday and by then the pain drove me almost to tears. When it gets to that point I have to recline almost to lying flat to make it stop. I’m a real fidget and staring at the ceiling just isn’t my cup of tea. My daughter was teasing me, and said she’d make me a mobile out of our ceiling fan! I’m going to ask him if I can take 12 Aspirin a day, because I am allergic to tylenol. Wish me luck. Enjoy the beach!!!

          Reply
          1. Ang2

            wow, you poor thing to be in so much pain still. Guess that’s the difference between your open surgery and my arthroscopic? I’ve not had any more than 2 paracetamol a day since the 2 week mark. Its uncomfortable quite a bit but then i just recline or change position to improve it – or do my pt.

            Hope the surgeon is pleased with your progress and you’re going ok. Report back. (He’s working on Easter Friday?! Don’t think mine would be that dedicated!)

  147. Peter from Scotland

    Hi Scott ,I know that it has been quite some time since your operation, at what stage in months did you find that you were finally getting better, and did you experience neck pain, this seems to be my biggest problem at the moment, looking right and left while driving, I am five months and two weeks since op. Thanks, Peter.

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Peter, I felt fine after my six weeks in the sling. My surgeon then recommended I take it easy on that arm for another six weeks before beginning physical therapy. My PT was initially about range of motion and them about regaining strength. I did not have neck pain anywhere along the process – hope yours fades soon!

      Best, Scott

      Reply
  148. Fred K

    I went to Dr. for first followup since surgery on the 12th. He says to keep wearing the sling when I go out in public, or any outdoor activity where i might fall. Otherwise, he said to take it off and use my arm and hand,but not to the point of being painful, and no overhead lifting with it yet.(I don’t think I have enough strength in it to lift anything anyway.) Gave me a rope pulley to exercise the arm with and a page of PT exercises to do.
    Very little pain, but I still cannot sleep in my bed Lying flat in the bed does bring on pain. He said I could drive,BUT, if I were in a collision, he warned me that I could have legal problems, because he couldn’t testify that I was 100% capable. So, he advised against it,unless it was an emergency. I will be glad when I can, because I am used to getting out and doing things, and have new vehicle to enjoy, too
    And have to be carefull playing with the dogs, too. I live in the country and have 4!☺ One is a Rottweiler puppy who loves to come running up and crash into me:) He is only 13 weeks old, but weighs 45lbs already, so I’m having to teach him he can’t do that anymore☺

    Reply
  149. Anh

    Wow, how come you are up so early 3am? Im going for my surgery at 7am. Wish me luck and many thanks to all of your posting.

    Reply
  150. Debbie Harris

    My husband is having rotator cuff surgery tomorrow afternoon. Two months ago he was simply reaching to turn on a lamp, felt a pop and terrible pain and has not gotten any better in all this time – doing the exercises etc. An MRI finally showed that he has complete tears on two tendons – superspinatus and infraspinatus, also a partial tear to the biceps tendon. Seems rather dramatic for not having any injury but so it is. He is very, very nervous as he is also a bluegrass musician and hunter – so most of enjoyment comes from the use of that arm – it is his dominant right arm.
    I have read all through this journal and find it so informative! From all of the ideas presented I have purchased him a shoulder ice brace – not really an ice machine but a comforatble brace to wear that has two long ice bags that I keep in the freezer and then put in the pockets. It encourages him to use the ice more often for pain control. Since the event, he has had pretty much continual pain and weakness and ice is what helps most along with acetominophen every 4-6 hours.
    I also read here – do not recall who – but that they loved having a bed wedge for sleeping! I found one at Amazon for $35 and it should arrive tomorrow, so in time to use it for sleep tomorrow night! It seems like a great idea since so many of you site sleeping in the sling as one of the major problems post operatively. If it is not helpful, I am sure our grandchildren will enjoy having it for reclining and watching the TV :)
    He is 62 years old and completely retired now so we are both home and thankfully, he will not have to worry about having the help he needs. I am home all of the time and plan to be nar for whatever he may need. I really feel for those who live alone and those who struggle with having to ask for help when they are used to coping with everything on their own.
    The surgery scheduled is for arthroscopic repair but may require a mini opening or open repair – though the surgeon feels confident that he can repair the damage through the smaller openings. He is treating it as a presumed sudden tear even though there was no injury that we know of. One day his shoulder was healthy and the next minute he could not use it. The surgeon felt that the surgery should happen as quickly as possible to avoid damage to the joint. Apparently the MRI shows that his arm bone is too high in the socket, and not centered. What all I read is rather frightening and I worry that the surgeon will find degenrative changes in the shoulkder – but even those he says can be improved by trimming, scraping, reattaching etc. He says he will be using some anchors and some sort of mesh tape applied in an “x” stitch to reinforce the tendon where it attaches to the bone.
    Agan thanks to everyone for all of the ideas and information about this surgery, I think it will help us know what to expect in the months to come!
    Debbie

    Reply
    1. Scott Loftesness Post author

      Debbie, I’m sure your husband’s surgery will go fine – just be prepared for him to be extra cranky and groggy for the first couple of days afterward! I know I wasn’t much fun to be around – slouched in the recliner and drifting in and out! He should be looking forward beyond that and getting back to his music!

      Best, Scott

      Reply
  151. Peter from Scotland

    Hi Debbie, I am also a singer musician and play part time in a band I am right handed, and it was my right shoulder that was operated on. after six weeks I could play the electric guitar as it had a much thinner body, but with some pain, the acoustic guitar took me much longer. I had to cancel engagements, we use lots of equipment and it was the risk of damaging my shoulder carrying this equipment that I was worried about. I don’,t know what instrument your husband plays, but it will take some time and patience, you cant keep a good musician down, give him my regards, Peter.

    Reply
    1. Debbie Harris

      Hi Peter :) Oh my …. right dominant arm for you too! Since hurting his shoulder my husband has had lots of pain trying to keep up his playing and found that the slimmer banjo and banjo guitar were easier for him to play. He also plays acoustic guitar, dobro and electric bass. We also went to the hardware store and for about $30 we found a dolly/truck for him to use when moving his equipment and he also found a much smaller and lighter practice box amp. The hand dolly/truck is wonderful and we wonder why he did not have this sooner – bet it would be terrific for you! It folds up nicely for storage – it has a handle, two fairly large wheels and the platform to push under heavy boxes, equipment etc and then he can pull it easily. He plays with several bluegrass and gospel groups at our local coffee shops and at nursing homes. Since he is now retired – this is all for pleasure and enjoyment :) I know that he will be happy to get into this once the pain is lessened. Hope you are once again able to do more and more!

      Reply
      1. Peter from Scotland

        Debbie, I play a USA strat, and a Gibson les Paul, but find the les Paul a bit too heavy, and cant play it for too long as it hurts my shoulder, we used to have a roadie, but he got fed up with all the late nights. I was worried at first after my operation that I may have to quit my music which I love, as each month goes by you get your strength and confidence back ,I am back playing with my band but cutting down on my gigs, until my shoulder is 100 per cent better. I hope this is some encouragement to you husband. all the best keep playing.

        Reply
        1. Debbie Harris

          My prayers offered for Cindy and welcome to Bettyyou :) I am trying to figure out the best mehtod to “reply” to correct poster but can’t seem to figure it out oh well…My husband had his right dominant rc suregry this past Thursday so he is just on day 3 after the surgery. It turned out to be more complicated than the surgeon thought and he ended up having his shoulder opened – he has told us this may be needed. So the surgery was also very long – it took 3 1/2 hours and he used five anchors to put him back together. I brought him home that first night with an ice machine nd what they caled a “Q-Ball” which is a clear ball about the size of a tennis ball that is filled with numbing medication that goes through a tiny catheter and enters on his neck near the surgery. It is supposed to last about three days and then I will revove it. Mostly he has been sitting in his recliner, dozing off and on. He tried the foam wedge I bought to use in the bed but he prefers the recliner for now. I am giving him the Percoset every 6 hours and the shoulder starts throbbing about an hour before he can have more. Considering all they ended up doing I think the pain medicine is probably justified.
          That ice machine – he LOVES it! It is called an “Iceman” and looks like a regular cooler with a pump attached that fills the shoulder cuff with ice cold water. Our ice freezer cannot keep up so I have bought a bunch of bagged ice from the grocery store.
          His biggest complaint is that the thumb and index finger of his operated side are swollen and numb. We called the anesthesia department but they have not returned our call yet. I suspect it has something to do with the nerve block (Interscalene) or maybe a bit of nerve irritation from the position his arm was in during the surgery. His hand is warm and pink and he can move everything but that numbness he is worried about. Did anyone else experiience this?
          Take care all of you and keep posting your experiences – this blog has been so helpful – wish it was now a “forum” with topics to search and the ability to follow threads. I don’t think Scott had any idea just how popular this would be!!

          Reply
          1. Scott Loftesness Post author

            Cindy, you’re right – a couple of years ago when I wrote this post about my rotator cuff surgery (and recovery), I had no idea how popular it would be! It’s the great sharing by everyone participating that’s made it so interesting!

          2. Suzanne Carlson

            Hubby sure is lucky to have you!!! I had the exact surgery he had 33 days ago. For the swelling in his hand I squeezed a soft squishy ball, and gently rolled my wrist around a lot. I found the meds wore off way before they were supposed to. Since they told me I could take 8 oxycodone a day, I ended up taken 1 every 3 hours, that helped. Sure praying your hubby heals faster and better than I!!! Bless you for taking such good care of him :-)

  152. Bettyyou

    I am facing right shoulder surgery soon. I see the surgeon on Wednesday & am anxious to get it over with. This site is great. I will write my log as I go along.

    Reply
  153. Cindy Aldrich

    Getting a bit nervous. Had left shoulder done on 10/3 and having right shoulder done on Wednesday. I know what to expect, which is a double edged sword. But being right handed I will have even more trouble doing stuff and with my left only being about half way there, I have some legit fears…bathroom stuff is probably my biggest…Prayers and good wishes will be accepted

    Reply
    1. Anh

      Cindy, many best wishes to you. So brave to have both shoulders done not so far apart. My left shoulder was acting real bad before my right sd surgery but the pain killers I am taking now take care both sides so that a relief. At night, they are so stiff and as sleep just like myself so that not so fun. Im going to PT on Monday and intent to follow any comments he wants me to do. I was treading and fearful before surgery but it went thru very smoothly. I did not have the nerve block cause I do not like the feeling being numb for 15 to 30 hrs, and it turned out pain free as normal. I guess my pain tolerance is pretty high for being put up with this for more than ten years. But as they say: no pain no gain. Life is a challenge…Happy Easter!

      Reply
  154. Anh

    Good morning. I’m back and have joined the “sling” club. It’s on my right dominant shoulder. Only day 4 so cannot write much with one left finger. Some get used to this new life. See doc on Tuesday and will take off the bandage. Live like a baby, hubby has to bath and wash hair….Have a good weekend.

    Reply
    1. Debbie Harris

      Hi Anh – you are one day ahead of my husband – his also on right dominant arm – like you, pretty much helpless :) He can take a shower without the sling tomorrow and needs to dangle his arm and he dreads this – he really does not even want to move much. Monday I will take him for his first PT – as I understand it will be passive motions for the first few weeks. I hope they can get him used to moving a bit more as I fear he will become even more sore and stiff from holding so still. I don’t know if it is the pain or mostly the fear of pain as he is 62 and has never been cut into before. Take care and have a blessed Easter!

      Reply
      1. Ang2

        Hi Debbie, why does your husband have to dangle his arm in the shower. Doesn’t sound good. I was told to use a basic triangular bandage in the shower as a sling. It’s knotted to tie at shoulder but also knotted at elbow and wrist to give a good fit (maybe all those extra knots because i’m small?). Works well and i keep the knots in, so all i have to do is put it over my head and move it in to position each time. It pretty much dries out over the course of the day.

        Reply
        1. Debbie Harris

          Hi Ahn – I think the arm dangle is pretty much the same as the passive pendulum that helps maintain some flexibility in the shoulder without using the muscles/tendons yet. The doctor even demonstrated it for him and showed how he could lean forward and let the arm dangle away enough to wash and rinse under the arm. Hubby did all of this 3am this morning and felt so much better afterwards – went back to sleep until 8am :) I think we were both very anxious about getting totally out of the immobilizer. I saw an inexpensive lightweight mesh sling that I may order for him to wear in the shower after he dos his pendulums. I think that would make him feel more secure and able to enjoy his shower! Tomorrow morning he goes to PT for the first passive session – no idea what they will do. I also removed the “On-Q” pain ball this morning and he is very glad not to have that taped to his neck anymore. It had a tiny catheter that went into his neck near the clavicle and delivered a local pain medication. I just had to remove all of the tape, grab it near the entrance and gently pull it out – there was maybe 2 inches inserted. He was able to wash the shoulder area and pat dry – then I applied a few bandages. He has 3 arthroscope holes and the mini open which is about 3 inches long – everything looked very clean and dry. No stitches to remove – everything is closed with a surgical glue and dissolving sutures underneath.
          He is taking the 2 Percocet every 6 hours and sometimes one every 3 hours as (I think) Suzanne suggested. The hospital has called each day to check on him and answer questions. They said the Percocet one tablet every 3 hours was fine and that he may need something stronger – will talk about that tomorrow. This is certainly a very painful surgery for some people anyway – he had so much repair work done in there. The doctor explained that the mini open is more painful in the beginning but long term about the same. I wish they had been able to do it all with arthroscope only but it was more involved than he hoped though he did warn us the open may be needed. Apparently he had some trouble getting the anchors to dig in because of a bone cyst and ended up using 5 anchors.
          I hope everyone is doing well and getting better day by day! ~Debbie

          Reply
  155. Sammy

    Sounds like I am the oldest one on this blog. At 73, had torn, retracted and deteriorated infra-spinatus, supra-spinatus and biceps tendon from history of falls and years of swimming. I had long standing severely restricted motion in the shoulder. Had surgery 8 weeks ago. Off oxycodone by day 4 and even Tylenol by day 10. Sling and no movement but pendulums for 4 weeks, then passive pt. All went well and back in my own bed by 4 weeks. THEN, the sling came off and more active assisted ROM. Things definitely changed. Once the sling came off, I started using the arm-a lot. I didn’t taper off the use, essentially quit cold turkey. Big mistake. I am back sleeping in a recliner because it aches so bad at night I keep hubby awake with my tossing and turning. (Can’t sleep anyway.) Exercises don’t make it feel any worse. Using lots of ice. Tylenol doesn’t touch it, and I will not take anything stronger. I am told that as my shoulder regains strength, things will get better. I hope! Am I alone?

    Reply
  156. Sheri

    Hi,

    I had Rotator Cuff surgery for a tear in my superspinatus 2cm 80 percent last July. Then had PT for weeks and was told it was a successful op. Two weeks ago just pulling my top off over my head I tore it again. I need another surgery. Would you please share your story if anyone else has had to have a second operation on the same shoulder. I am quite scared it will not work.

    Reply
  157. Suzanne Carlson

    Day 43 Well, I went for check up Friday and won’t be driving for another 4 weeks. At first I was really disappointed, but then he recommended I go to pt. I’ve been doing it at home since day 1, but I hit a plateau. I’m finally able to take Mobic 15 mg 1/day. What a difference the anti-inflammatory is making! Literally increased my range of motion at least an inch a day. Plus, since I can’t drive I am taking more pain meds which is nice not to be trying to keep a stiff upper lip, while inwardly screaming. I had been down to 2 oxycodone 5mg a day, but it was really miserable. Now I am back up to 4, but I feel so much better. I’m still stuck doing the same exercises, but instead of 10 reps, I can do each for 3 minutes. Instead of 3 times a day, I can do as often as I like. If I have to get the left shoulder done, I will go to pt as soon as the sling comes off. I can only get a ride 2 times a week and they want me to go 3. But hopefully 2 will be enough to get me loose enough to drive. Another thing that seems to help is putting the ice directly over the incision. Before I was putting it on my bicep and collar bone which turns out was aggravating it, but that is where it hurt so I assumed that was where it was needed. This whole ordeal has been a real learning experience for me. My dog has been the best medicine. He has me out walking everyday and insists on one more block each time. Today was 2.4 miles. I am so thankful for my family as well. They have pretty much taken over all my chores. They are even turning into better cooks than I am :-) They have even been helping me with the gardening. Yesterday, we must have planted 100 seeds! And the Daffodils are blooming which always brings a smile to my face. Anyway, just wanted to let you all know I’m praying for your speedy recoveries. I read all the posts, but it hurts too much to type and can’t always respond. Good luck Sheri! I can’t imagine going through this twice. I hope the second time is more successful for you.

    Reply
  158. Cindy Aldrich

    Surgery twois 7:30 AM tomorrow. I am not allowed to take Aleve or anything like it. Just Tylenol and pain meds due to a bleeding stomach issue I have. So they callled in the pain pills tonight along with Naproxen. Good thing I have educated myself. That is Aleve..hope they pay better attention tomorrow….

    Reply
  159. Anh

    Today is exactly 1 week since I have my surgery. Saw doc yesterday and every thing looks good. Only wear sling as I need. Things are better than I was expecting, that’s a good sign. Go to Pt 3 times a week, mostly he does all the works, thanks to him. Sleeping at night is a challenge, I take 600mg Motrin but still stiff and wake up 3 -4 times at night. Any suggestions might help? Well, just get by each day is a challenge. Suzanne blog very cheerful and help a lot. Cannot do much cooking but reading Scott’s kitchen blog is so much fun. He is a man of many talents. Good day and take care.

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      (((Anh))), I’m so glad to hear you are doing so well so quickly! Been praying for you wondering how you were making out. I’m amazed they let you take off the sling already! Isn’t it great having the pt do the work for ya? I finally got to go the other day and I wish I could have brought her home with me :-) I wonder why my surgeon made me wait 6 weeks to take any Motrin? I am feeling so much better with it! Sleep is still a challenge. I get up anywhere from 3-7:30 AM. Some days are better than others. I’m finally down to one pillow under my head, what a blessing. This is from facebook the yesterday, I’ve been up since 3, and was feeling kinda low. Thank you once again for reminding me that life is getting better all the time. So, here we go 1) I can type, though it still hurts. 2) I made it through pt yesterday and again last night and only had to take 1 pain pill, which allowed me to sleep in my bed, not the recliner, from 11-3. 3) Remember the baby sparrow I nursed last year? He’s back! He actually talks to me almost every morning! Though I have no clue what he’s saying, I know it is Jack Sparrow!!! 4) I can still make my bed with one hand. 5) I’ve already paid the bills and it isn’t even noon! 6) I’ve already done 1 round of pt today. 7) I know my dog Cooper is going to make me walk another 2 miles this morning I’ve lost 5lbs, instead of putting on another 10 since surgery. 9) Maybe I’m biased, but I do believe I have the best family ever 10) I have good friends to remind me how good life is!!! So, even when it’s bad life is still good :-) Praying you get a good night’s sleep!

      Reply
      1. Anh

        Thanks Suzanne for good tips. I slept better last nite, only got up once. I guest just take 1 day at a time and things will get better. You must have a beautiful garden..with lot of daffodils… I’m thinking positive is certainly help for this long journey of recovery. I’m in California so thinking of walking slow on the beach to enjoy the sun ray and forget all the stiffness ..ha..ha.. Have a good weekend.

        Reply
    2. Suzanne Carlson

      Good morning Anh! Hope you got a good night’s sleep! I slept from 10PM to 5AM, so I’m actually feeling almost human today :-) Anyway, I was thinking about what helps me sleep so here ya go…mind you this is day 44. About an hour and a half before bed, I take a pain pill. I start watching a murder mystery, because I need some closure after a day of not really being able to do anything productive. If I can figure out who done it, it helps me. Crazy, I know, but it works for me. Some of my favorites are Midsomer Murders, Sherlock Holmes, anything Agatha Christie, nothing with gore, that just gives me nightmares! Or an online puzzle like http://thejigsawpuzzles.com/ has. Now it’s an hour later, I set up a cup of Sleepy Time Tea to simmer while I do my pt. 20 minutes later I’m finished my pt and enjoy my tea. Get into jammies and use as many pillows as it takes to get comfy. If my neck is sore and stiff, even after sitting or standing up straight and trying to lie it on my shoulders side to side to the count of 5/1000 and gently rolling it around 5 times in each direction, I use one of those travel pillows that looks like a horse shoe and is filled with those little beads. It helps take the pressure off my shoulders. I put on a CD of the Ocean, turn out the light and tell my body it is relaxed, one spot at a time. I start from the top of my toes, to the top of my feet, to ankles, shins, knees, quadriceps, hips, pelvis, stomach, chest, shoulders, biceps, elbows, forearms, wrists, palms, thumbs, fingers, back of my hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, triceps, shoulders, collar bones, neck, throat, chin, cheeks, eyeballs, eyelids, eyebrows, forehead, scalp, spine, down through my neck, between collar bones, between shoulder blades, under my ribs, lower back to tip of tailbone, hips, buttocks, hamstrings, behind my knees, calves, ankles, heels, arches, balls of feet, and toes. Hopefully you are not as tense as I am and may not need this, but years ago I learned it in a yoga class and I’m usually out cold before I can finish :-) While you’re mentally telling the body to relax take long slow breaths. Hope this helps. Have a great day ;-)

      Reply
  160. Cindy Newell

    I am 61 and retired. Two weeks post surgery for right dominant arm. Rotator cuff surgery for full tear required anchors and clean up. This blog saved me an immensely by offering good info and tips beforehand. I followed advice found here and searched out a specialist for the work needed. I’m happy with the whole experience so far and will rely on this blog for more good tips! Four weeks in sling, so start PT in two more weeks.

    Combined many suggestions here and thrilled to report I’ve slept like a baby every night post surgery—in the recliner. Put it in the bedroom for best chance to rest well.

    So far the Iceman cold therapy machine is the best help for me, using it several times a day. Thanks to everyone here. Your encouragement is so helpful!!!

    Cindy Newell

    Reply
    1. Anh

      Hi Cindy, so we are same age, 60 is the new 40:) the young at heart:). Good to hear that you sleep well. I sleep more soundly at night and try not to take any pain bills. I listen to CD with bird sounds and waterfall, so far it help. I learn to use left hand a lot so at night, they both hurt, I use ice pack for both. Enjoy your retirement, I will follow your footstep next year, so take good care of your shoulder and we can both enjoy smelling the roses along our new paths:).

      Reply
      1. Cindy

        Hi Ahn! So nice to hear from you. I’m three weeks post surgery now, drug free and sleeping well on a pillow-designed wedge in bed. Taking sling off frequently to swing my arm. I’ve had to learn to sit and relax these weeks more than I want. Trying to eat clean, but darn those carbs…. Hope you are doing well. Sunshine is my best therapy for now.

        Cindy

        Reply
    2. Cindy Newell

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone! New at blogs so wasn’t sure where to post again. (And no, it’s not drug induced confusion! Lol). I’m three weeks out for similar repair and find that thoughtful motion and planning enable me to do a lot. Have learned to do what my body is ready for at the moment, from walking to resting, from ditching the sling for exercise/stretching to full immobilizer sling use. I’m sleeping well every night—two weeks in my bedroom recliner, a week in pillow-raised bed, and sometimes both if my shoulder ‘says so!’

      Start PT in a week but somewhat leery of it. Any tips would greatly help me! I hear taking pain med before pt session helps–what kind? Been drug free after week two…. Thanks all—LOVE this blog and hugs to Scott for doing it!

      Reply
  161. Bettyyou

    I saw the surgeon last Wednesday & said I have a small tear in my rotator cuff but also my bicep (I can’t remember whether he said muscel or tendon) that goes through a notch is inflamed & very thick & also has a tear & that is what is causing the severe pain in my bicep with certain movements. (like turning the key in the lock) Unfortunately I have to wait for surgery until May 13 because we have rented a cottage at the beach & can’t get out of it. The doctor said I could do it now & still go to the beach & I thought no at least this way I do still have guarded use of my right arm. Anyway I will be reading the blog right up until May 13 & then will write when I can after.

    Reply
    1. Angela

      Betty,
      I’m 3 weeks post-op on my right dominant arm. I also had plans for the beach 2 weeks after my surgery that couldn’t be cancelled, I just got back and it was the best thing I could of done for my recovery. Yes, you will depend on others to do some things, but I had no problems. I took a pillow wedge to sleep on because our condo didn’t have a recliner. However, if you need it now, go ahead….you will be fine to take your trip.

      To everyone else, thanks to this post, I’m doing well. I start PT tomorrow and looking forward to moving forward. My next goal is a cruise in June, and the ability to sleep on my back. Good luck to everyone success. We can do it! Live for the good days and reward yourself for all you accomplish!

      Reply
  162. Ang2

    i’m 5 weeks post op now and i suppose i’m doing alright, but have a lot of pain (which i don’t really take anything for as i feel that either its only going to be effective for a few hours so what’s the point, or id be taking stuff all the time which i don’t like the idea of). Saw surgeon again today and looks like i am developing the frozen shoulder too (going backwards with my range of movement even though i’ve done the exercises 3x daily without fail). Joy.

    Some things are getting better as i can sleep semi on the injured side now and i’m working full days now (just one-handed computer stuff). I live in Australia but off on 2 week business trip to Arizona on Monday, but i think i’ll be ok with that. And the surgeon said i can take my sling off next week for general activities!! That sounds unachievable to me though as any movement is painful, so will be interesting to see how i go.

    Fed up that i’ve put loads of weight on during this time. i’ve changed about 2 sizes and nothing fits. This has been because i’ve been eating more carbs and sugar (but not more volume). I used to eat 3/4 of any plate as salad or veggies, and not usually bread, pasta etc, but can’t chop any more and can’t drive to shops so being relying on hubbies choice of menu! i also used to do at least an hour strenuous exercise a day which has also gone out of the window and no doubt my metabolism has slowed as a result. Ah well, after this US trpi i need to get back to some more discipline !

    Great to hear everyone elses updates.

    Reply
  163. Fred K

    Tomorrow is the month mark for me. Still doing my home PT, still getting better. I’d say my recovery is at least at 75% now. For some reason I am still having to sleep in my recliner. If I lay down in the bed I start getting a dull aching pain in the shoulder. I could do OK if i took pain meds, but I prefer not to take them, so I just sleep in my recliner. Have a little trouble tucking in my shirt, but overall my ROM is good. No pain at all as long as I sleep in the recliner. A little stiffness during the day.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Fred, I slept in the recliner for 8 weeks before the bed was comfortable enough. You will know when it is time to switch

      Reply
  164. Cindy

    Day 9 after surgery on right shoulder, my dominant arm. It was excately 6 months since surgery on left I wish I could have waited longer as my left was babied so long that now both arms hurt This time they repaired the tear and removed a biceps tendon, it was too far gone to save :( Mentally, sleeping in the chair is easier but wearing the sling is about to make me lose my mind.. I am trying my best to do as I am told. I go back in three weeks and start PT on Wednesday. I need to be useful and sitting around doing next to nothing is not for me. And I must be use to the pain as this time around it is a lot more tolerable. Am not sleeping well, but then I never do. Took pain meds every 4 hours the first two days and now I take 2 in the AM, one midday and 2 at bed. I will probaby stay on them till the sling is off as they help me a lot and I tolerate them well. Looking at going back to work around mid May. So all in all, having it done once has made the second one not so bad

    Reply
    1. Anh

      Take care Cindy, I feel for you. It must be hard to take care both shoulders. Mine is the dominant right shoulder and this is the second week post-op. While baby the right, my left start to feel pain so I have to slow down and icing both sides. I think that I will need to make appt. for doc to check on my left to make sure it does not get worse. I wonder if anyone experience the same, surgery on one side and it affects the other as well? I sleep better at night, just lot of pillow and sleep with the sling but during daytime, I go sling free but keep the arm close to the body, and keep icing about 2, 3 times a day. PT 3 times a week and I do passive excercise both arms so they will be equally happy:)

      Reply
      1. Cindy Newell

        Hi Ahn! Hope you are doing well this week. I went for the four-week follow up and get to ditch the sling completely. Funny but I have started to feel a lot safer with the silly thing on!. Sounds like you are doing your PT at home. I start my first PT next Monday. Any tips on getting through it? My shoulder is more stiff than I anticipated, so a bit apprehensive of beginning therapy. Do you take pain meds to help with PT? I’m ready to get going on this. A walk on the beach sounds wonderful! I live in Oklahoma so my scenery is flat and grand. Lol

        Take care and best of luck on your progress!
        Cindy

        Reply
  165. Sammy

    Three things should be pretty obvious 1. Everyone has a different degree of injury and 2, everyone has slightly different procedures, doctors and restrictions after surgery. 3. Everyone has a different degree of pain tolerance. There is no comparing yourself with one another.
    I do well for a few days then back slide a few. The biggest issue is regaining strength, which in turn leaves me quite “lame.”
    Just when I started feeling sorry for myself, we learned my husband’s cancer was becoming more aggressive. Guess what? I feel much better because I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself any more.
    I know it will take me another couple of months at least before things return to “normal” But so what. I am already better than before, and the pain is only different.

    Reply
    1. Rick Housley

      This is so true! I see people around me that are two weeks post surgery earlier that are way ahead of me. It seems I turn a corner on pain or ROM and then I wonder what I did to re-hurt myself. The other day I thought my PT tore something because he pushed me further than before. I heard this terrible sound come from my shoulder that sounded like my repair tearing. Pain? Oh yes pain. evidently it was scar tissue separating, ok tearing, and lots of pain. Well, three days later I’m fine and making more progress. I’m just under three months post with what I can see as another three months more of PT three days a week. So tired of this!
      Good luck all!

      Reply
  166. andy

    So, I will be at the 10 month post op stage early next month and feel like i have turned a real corner this last few weeks.
    I am now able to pass several days at a time forgetting that i ever had surgery or an injury. I have just been able to complete my second half marathon since the surgery with much less soreness than the last one. I am finally off the ibuprofen that i have been using on and off for the last 18 months.
    I keep thinking back to the 4 – 6 month post op stage which seems so long ago now when i suffered from bad weakness and soreness in the shoulder and thought i would never recover from this.
    I still find myself checking back here regularly to see how everyone is getting on as i remember well sitting on the sofa with my arm in that sling for 4 weeks last july.
    I really do believe that at that magical 12 months i will now be fully recovered and back to normal pre tear condition.
    From the initial tear it has now been 2 years 4 months.

    Reply
  167. Angela

    I’m actually one month post-op today!!!! Started PT last week, with already doing PT at home the day after surgery! I have to say that recovery is going well. I’m already back in my bed, but with a wedge. I found heating the shoulder before home PT works well. I starting to get a small amount of range of motions back and hope to start my strengthening exercises within a few weeks. I have to say that I had a lot of anxiety before having this surgery. I know that we all handle things differently and that each surgery may vary as well. I had a very large tear and had to have a bone spur shaved down. I was given a nerve block and underwent twilight sedation instead if general at the time of sirgery. Afterward, I took my pain medication religiously for the next two days and by the third, I was only taking one a night to sleep. As well, I kept the ice cooler device on my shoulder for two days around the clock to keep the swelling down. After, the bandage was removed, I took a much needed shower, which was on day 3.

    By week 2, I went to the beach with lots of pillows. I didn’t swim or any activities except enjoyed the sights.

    By week 3, I dropped the sling. My elbow was getting sore and stiff.

    I have to say again, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Working toward range of motion is my goal now and working hard at it.

    Please know that it is true that being committed to your PT is the answer! If I don’t exercise regularly….I can feel a stiffness starting to build again.

    Good luck to all that are recovering and to all that are looking forward to this. Just remember….you can do it and you will get through it.

    Reply
  168. Peter from Scotland

    Andy, nice to hear from you again looks like your almost there. It will be seven months since my op in two weeks time. Three weeks ago I thought that I was going back the way with my recovery, but I think that I was just overdoing it with my shoulder workouts, I cut back and things seemed to calm down again. I am starting to get more confident, before the op, trying to putt a golf ball was so painful, now I can almost do the full swing, I am still in some pain but feel as each month goes by its getting better, as I said earlier before I had this op I had many sleepless nights, that problem has well gone. Best of luck to everybody in this excellent forum.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Pete
      I found significant improvements around the 9 month mark so hopefully you too will be in the same position soon.
      I tried lifting the heavy weights again at about 7 months but eased off this for a bit as things were still sore and agravated. I am maintaining the daiIy runs though.
      I must admit i have not had one sleepless night since about a week after the surgery so i must be very lucky. This certainly was not the case prior to the surgery.
      I never believed anything could take a year to get over but this certainly has been proven and experienced by me.
      Good luck with your recovery as you are nearly there. It is all worthwhile as we all know.

      Reply
  169. Ginny

    Thank you so much for this wonderful site. I had rotator cuff surgery three months ago. Very little pain and discomfort and I thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones that got off easy. But trying to regain my range of motion has been incredibly hard and painful. I’ve had to fight for every degree of improvement (I’m only at 100 degrees overhead after two months of PT). My therapist was concerned that my progress was too slow and he told me to push harder. The result was that I inflamed my shoulder so badly that the doctor put me on an oral steroid to calm it down and I can do any exercise for at least a week. I’m so frustrated…I’d be very interested in knowing if regaining ROM has been as slow for others and if there was anything in particular that helped accelerate your progress.

    Reply
    1. Rick Housley

      Ginny,
      I’m three months this week and am a little further in ROM but on Monday we were fighting my measurement. I was around 145 -150 and it’s been two weeks like this. My PT is great and I have had several while he was out having a baby. Last week we had a release of scar tissue and thought we were going to get significant movement, but we just couldn’t get beyond this point. He asked another PT to work with me for some stretching to see if we could get more. She started working and then she started doing some deep tissue massage. That hurt like hell but when she was done, I hit 163. roughly a 15 degree improvement just by having another PT work me. I will do this in the future. More eyes on the problem sometimes bring added benefit. My advise is to have more than one PT work with you. You can keep your main person but they all have different techniques. some are good, some are better, and some are awesome. I feel like it’s going to take forever for this to be over but I try to keep positive. Most days are good now but I still go back to periods that make me feel like I just started.

      Reply
  170. Ang2

    I’m 8 weeks post rotator cuff and labrum tear repairs (5 pin) and the sling came off last week. The first couple of days after the sling felt weird. It hurt for my arm to hang down and it took a couple of days for it to straighten out too. Since then i’ve had heaps of movement back (by my moderate standards!) and i can almost put my arm above my head, and the sideways movement has increased another 40 degrees. Its still hurting quite a bit but then i’m doing a lot more with it so not surprising.
    I went to the physio for the first time today (i’ve been working overseas for the last couple of weeks so couldn’t go earlier) and he increased the range some more and gave me some new exercises. So i’m still at the extend-range-but-don’t-make-it-painful stage for the next 4 weeks until the more painful stage starts!
    I can drive now, although reaching the steering wheel is painful so i do it one-handed where possible, and reversing round corners (lots of wheel turning) isn’t easy. I can work in the office all day. I can walk easily for say 40min with the dog, although haven’t really pushed that to see if i could do more. I still can’t blow-dry my hair or put eye make-up on with my right hand, Also i’ve put on about 10lb (and had gained a bit before i did my injury too) and my clothes don’t fit any more, so i’m fed up about that, but the diet started this week so hopefully i can turn the corner on that one.
    Good luck to everyone with their recoveries – slowly but surely!

    Reply
  171. Dennis

    2 weeks since surgery to repair 2 massive tears, labrum tear and bicep tendon fraying. Doing passive ROM exercises. Using only OTC meds.
    Sling to stay on for another 4 weeks. Doing quite well considering the MRI showed 2 non-repairable tears…so the 1 hour surgery to just cleanup the shoulder turned into 2 1/2 hours to repair it. See PT again in 2 weeks. Working at home with rope and pulley. Thank God for my “caretaker wife.”
    Sleeping on the recliner for the 5th month. Almost 61 years old and diabetic so good blood sugar level was needed for correct healing. On we go….

    Reply
  172. Nora Alyea

    I am having rotator cuff surgery in one week and am terrified . To make matters worse I am a nurse and have taken care of these people many times . I will Not have any help after . How do you get dressed, pull up pants , wash your hair, brush your hair ( mine is long) how go you drive it function. Due to the nature of my sick time I have to be able to be back to work in 3-4 weeks . I don’t work I don’t get paid . I’m just sick about what might be ahead

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Carlson

      (Nora), I’m praying for you! Is it open or arthroscopic? Dominant arm? I’ve always had long hair too, but opted to get it cut just above my shoulders, like Jodie Foster. It was an adjustment, but now I like it even better :-) My surgery was open and I needed to be able to work with one hand and a wide tooth comb. VO5 makes a good 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner. From what I’ve read, a second sling for the shower would be good. Lots of prepared foods in easy open containers. Putting all your fiber, protein snacks in ziplock bags. I wasn’t even allowed to grip lids, jars, etc. Maybe cracking the seals on the water bottles ahead of time. Elastic was my best friend. Everything had to be loose to get over the bad shoulder, head, then good shoulder. I loved tank tops with built in support and wide straps, yoga pants, sweats, zip up hoodies, and big light blankets, lots of extra pillows, a recliner, a neck pillow, and ice. I used frozen peas in quart sized bags, slipped in a pillowcase I could wrap around my neck. I put the ice where it hurt, should have put it directly over incision :-) PT has really helped, even though it was not fun. I do feel better afterwards. If you’re in PA, feel free to email me. theroyalscribe@verizon.net I am limited to only lifting 1 pound still, but at least I can drive now, and would be happy to help any way I can. 12 weeks out now and I am glad I went through with this! You’ll be twice as strong when you’re all healed up :-) I know exactly how you feel, I was probably the biggest coward here before surgery, couldn’t eat, sleep, terrified! May you be flooded with peace and rest and sail smoothly through this storm!

      Reply
    2. ang2

      I washed my hair using 2 hands for the first time this year today!!!! 9 weeks after surgery. Very excited. However it is possible to wash your hair (and do makeup and all those other things) using one hand

      Reply
  173. Margaret

    Had my surgery on Friday. Made it to today…rah! All of your posts have been great. This is hard, but I see you all working your way through it and that gives me strength. The sling is annoying. Need to find something yo ease the pressure on my neck. I alternate from chair to sofa and bed. I am trying to get off all pills because I hate how I feel when taking them. Today is day four and I am pain free this morning. I will make the switch to Tylenol today. :)

    Reply
    1. Rene

      Congratulations on getting through the first few days – hopefully, the roughest ones! What did you have done in your surgery, and was it arthroscopic?
      I am scheduled to have surgery next month, and am trying to get an idea of what to expect. I am pretty nervous about it. From reading the posts here, it seems there is a wide range of recovery times/rates, depending on the person and the surgery.
      I am most worried about sleeping at night – do you have a recliner, Margaret? It seems that most people seem to find that the only option for sleeping, but you mention being able to use a bed at times. I will have to rent one, as I don’t currently have one and it seems like lying down is difficult soon after surgery for most people.
      Thanks for your post, and your information. I hope you continue to recover quickly!

      Reply
  174. Rene

    I’m getting ready for surgery in a few weeks, and am unsure of how soon I will be able to put my arm into the sleeve of a shirt in order to wear something somewhat presentable in public. I’m hoping no longer than a week or so? Not being able to use any muscles actively in the arm sounds a bit challenging with regards to putting on a shirt. Can anyone comment on what their experience was regarding the ability to dress after surgery? Just for perspective, I have 2 tears (one full, one partial), calcium deposits to remove, and some bone spurs to be removed.
    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Reply
    1. Ginny

      Hi Rene,

      When it comes to dressing (as with almost everything related to this surgery), everyone is different. However, for me (also had one full thickness and one partial thickness tear and a bone spur) it was about 5-6 weeks before I could comfortably put on a shirt that fit me. I strongly suggest that you buy a couple of button-up shirts that are a couple of sizes too large for you. I actually bought a couple of inexpensive men’s shirts at Target, and I was extremely glad I did because they were roomy and comfortable, looked fine paired with nice lounge pants, and made my life SO much easier. I don’t think you’ll want to even attempt putting clothing over your head for five or six weeks or to wear jeans (hard to pull up). The other things that really helped me were comfortable slip-on shoes (couldn’t tie my shoes for about five weeks and even then it wasn’t easy) and a stand for my hair dryer.

      I’m sure all of that sounds like a pain in the neck, but it’s not that bad and the time goes quickly. Before you know it you’ll be back in your regular clothes!

      Reply
      1. Rene

        Hi Ginny,
        I had figured on the slip-on shoes and pants with elastic waists, but just wasn’t sure about the shirts. Were you able to put your bad arm into the sleeve of the large button-up shirts and then put the sling back on, or did you have to keep your arm and sling inside the shirt for the 5-6 weeks?

        Thanks for your input, and I hope you’re doing better now with your PT (I’ve read all of the posts here, and recognized your name).

        Reply
        1. Ginny

          Yes, you will be able to take your arm out of the sling to put your shirt on provided it’s a loose shirt and you do it gently. I wore only mens size large short sleeve shirts (easier to get on and off than long sleeves) with snaps (easier when you have one hand) the first few weeks — slept in one of them too!

          Reply
    2. Bettyyou

      A week ago today I had my bicep tendon which was partially torn & a rotator cuff tendon that was thought to be partially torn but was found to be toally torn reparired. It is my right arm which is my predominent. I have done pretty well. The block wore off at 1 am Tuesday morning & I went from one percoset to two every four hours & that kept the pain down fairly well. Three days after surgery I had a great day & was so encouraged. The fourth daybrought me back to reality. As far as pain medicine I usually take one after my shower in the morning & one before I go to sleep. I am still sleeping in the recliner. I tried the bed one night but woke up sore all over with a stiff neck & a headache. I have been getting stretchy soft knit tank tops over my head without problems. I can’t stree enough that along with the pain medicine you need to take some kind of stool softener every day. The meds are narcotics & you are certainly not as active as you were therefore everything SLOWS up.

      Reply
  175. Tony

    Like many others here, I really want to thank Scott for starting this thread, and all of the posters who have shared their experiences. I had a Rotator Cuff repair on 21 March. Everything suggested it was a partial tear, but once the doc got in there he found a full tear with severe rescission and tendon adhesion. I was an avid weightlifter and had very developed shoulder muscles that totally masked the tear: I could raise 25lb weights to the side with no issue. The only pain I had was when sleeping on my side and when doing bench presses. Needless to say, the severity of the injury was a big shock.
    Life in the sling was tolerable, once I found the “Shoulder Immobilizer & Sling w/ Abduction Pillow & Strap” on Amazon. The crappy little sling from the doc was terrible. I added a micro-suede Seat Belt Shoulder Pad and it never bothered my neck. I also bought an ice machine; I never really had any pain (although I did take a Vicodin at bedtime for the first 2 weeks), but I used it three times a day for 30 minutes to help with inflammation. I was used to taking body building supplements, so to help with healing I took double doses of Hammer Nutrition Tissue Rejuvenator, USP Labs Super Cissus Rx and Beverly International Quadracarn. Can’t say for sure they helped, but I have been way, way ahead of the curve on my recovery.
    Being very independent, it was really hard for me to be so helpless. The worst was showering: I needed help washing my back and “good” arm and drying off.
    I started driving after the first week; I installed an Allison Heavy Duty Steering Wheel Spinner and was easily able to steer on-handed. Fastening the seat belt is a whole other story. The best day by far has been the first morning of week 7 when I was able to take off the sling… and throw it across the room. That night I slept in my bed and got the first full night’s sleep since the ordeal started. Hadn’t realized just how sleep-deprived I had been. Within days people were commenting how much better I looked.
    I had a quite a few emotional breakdowns over the six weeks in a sling: I felt so trapped and helpless and I had a lot of regret over having the surgery (because I was doing so well with a full tear) and I still do, actually. My shoulder muscles are gone, and the doc says because of the severity of the damage I will never be able to lift the kind of weight needed to get me back to where I was. So I’m fixed, but worse off.

    I start strength training next week (week 9); wish me luck!

    Reply
    1. Doreen

      Thanks for the suggestion for the shoulder immoblizer. Just ordered one from Amazon. I am 10 days after surgery. My doctor said I could lift my arm up slowly, but it won’t go. Do I just keep trying and it gets better? I am in the sling for 6 weeks and the pt. It sure is a pain not doing what I did before. I feel like I am in slow motion.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        Hi Doreen,

        I’m at week 3.5 and my doc doesn’t start me on PT until 5 weeks… I can move a lot, but I know I don’t dare lift my arm or it would hurt too much. Are you sure your doctor meant you could lift is slowly now, or that in time, you would slowly get better and better?

        You are probably just fine! Read the other posts, this takes a while to heal from – try to accept that and don’t be in too much of a hurry…. 10 days in the big picture is not very much and you don’t want to further injure yourself or rip out the work that was done. I was very impatient at first and I wasn’t even letting myself sleep more than usual even though it would be good for me and I had a perfectly good excuse to do so! I finally accepted what it is.

        What does the PT say about your progress or lack of it?

        Take care!

        Reply
        1. Doreen

          Hi Lynne, thanks for the note. My doctor said I could lift my arm up, if I felt I could. Well, I can’t, so will wait. I don’t start pt until get sling off. It is amazing what we do with 2 arms. Had daughters, son in-laws and grandkids for dinner today. Let the girls do alot and didn’t even feel guilty. Husband did the meat. Had a beautiful day in Michigan today. I do sleep ok, so thankful for that. Thanks again for the help,Doreen

          Reply
  176. Elle B.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. I will join the club June 13. Dreading it but so tired of the pain, and inspired by you all. I now have a better idea what to expect. Thank you! Blessings and healing to you!

    Reply
  177. Cindy Newell

    Greetings to all! I’ve been reading the posts of post and presurgery comments and it all makes sense at this point. I’m 11 weeks post-rotator cuff repair on dominant arm, with 7 weeks of therapy completed and seeing some strong results!

    I’ve learned that we are all quite different in our surgeries, but we all need the same kind of patience and endurance to walk through the process. This blog continues to be a supportive place to learn and share. I took hydocodone after nerve block/drip wore off, two every four hours for a few days, then weaned to once at night fairly quickly. After week two, switched to nothing. At week four was allowed to use Aleve. I’ve do take a pain pill every time before physical therapy, and the sessions have been good with little pain. My surgeon encouraged me to speak up anytime I needed to during stretching/manipulation if I had pinching or unusual pain. Been doing my homework routine religiously, and it shows back at PT.

    Sleeping in bed on my back since week four but still inclined with several pillows, with one under each arm. I look like I’m in an infant seat with a “boppy pillow” for my arms. Night regimen has been two 12-hour Aleve at bedtime, and I’ve slept every single night like this since surgery. Can’t say enough about good nights rest—-I’d be a basket case without it.

    Clothes were crazy the first week, but was able to switch to two-sizes larger-than-normal cute tops without a problem. (I’m just not into men’s clothing). Did you know that most salons will let you come in with a wet head and just style your hair for ya? What a treat!!

    For those who are getting ready for surgery–take heart and know that you can do it. Just listen to your body, sleep when you need to, and use patience. My surgeon’s best advise—take your time, nobody said it was a race.

    Best of health!
    Cindy

    Reply
    1. Colleen

      Hi Cindy,
      Thank you for your positive comments and congratulations on your amazing results. I believe attitude is half the battle.
      I undergo rotator cuff surgery to my dominant arm on June 18th. I live alone and was very concerned about so many different things especially preparing healthy meals. I am blessed to receive an outpouring of support. Along with full use of my arm, sleep is what I hope for most, as it hasn’t come easy since my accident last summer.
      Best wishes for a complete recovery.

      Colleen

      Reply
      1. George Ryan

        Dear Colleen

        You will need a little help at first plan for a neighbor, relative or friend to visit once or twice a day for at least the first week.
        I am 18 weeks post non dominant arm and doing better than I had hoped!

        I am a chef and my food advise is do some cooking now and freeze individual portions of your favorite foods. Many grocery stores have delivery services you can shop online.
        Use the simple nylon sling the hospital gives you after surgery for showering and buy the adduction pillow sling for sleeping and daytime.
        Plan ahead for everything you can think of you have two weeks. Read this wonderful blog ask questions it helped me so much!
        Follow doctor’s instructions buy a recliner if you don’t have one it will be your best friend. Good luck George

        Reply
  178. Cindy

    Hi Colleen,
    Sounds like youll be ready for your surgery with pre planning and help from friends. I practiced everything with the non-dominant arm before surgery. That helped me place necessary items where I’d need them. Insulated drinking cups with straws for any place I would sit, flushable wipes, tissues, mouse pads to create non-slide areas for items…..also tied a plastic basket atop a smal table next to recliner to hold my On-Q medicine drip ball I wore home (it was localized pain management directly to surgery site). Homemade ice bags in freezer. Iceman cold therapy system (a lifesaver) Also loaded up on drinking water, fresh fruit and nuts to counteract the comfort food I received. Converted my recliner close to my bed into a giant ‘infant seat’ with thick comforter covered with favorite sheet. Best of luck to you and keep the faith—-you’ll do great!

    Reply
  179. Ellie Naill

    12 day recovery from rotator cuff surgery report. I think my biggest issue has been about 3 days of foggy brain from anesthesia in the beginning. My pain was very minor from the beginning. My doctor said it was a “significant tear” what ever that means in relationship to the experience of the others here. I only took Hydorcodon-acetaminophen for a few days, Tylenol PM to sleep. Seriously, mine does not hurt at all. I have been a very good girl though. Getting to sleep on my back has not been good, EVER. I have issues with blocked nasal passages and asthma so I have trouble there still. at this point- I can type with two hands, for a little while. I can knit!( I am right handed, but I knit as if I were left handed because that is the way I was taught about 60 years ago) I can wash dishes , I can pick peas, and water the garden. I can use a knife to chop things if they aren’t too tough, but I still can’t get a fork to my mouth right handed. I am glad I took the time to prepare myself for things. You ladies will appreciate this, I bought two bras, they have front hook & eye closure as well as the straps connect with hook and eyes too. I would not have had the strength to pull velcro apart, these are working out very well. I went through my clothes and picked out button front loose fitting blouses and wear super long tank tops under them. I found pants that I can put on with one hand, yes I actually mastered this BEFORE surgery. They are not all elastic waist either, if you can pull up the zipper it is easier to button the top. I could not get my contact lenses on for about a week. My makeup has been less than perfect, but at my age … not too worried about that anyway. My husband has been opening cans and jars for me in advance, like the dog food, soup etc so I can take care of that stuff when he is not home. Thank God I am well on my way to being ambidextrous. This process makes me really appreciate the challenges of truly handicapped people. It also makes me appreciate the family and friends that have been blessed with, especially my husband and daughter. She took me for my first hair washing.. it was heaven! They have been awesome. Praying for patience, 4+ weeks more in this darn sling! I have lost the ball to rest my hand on AGAIN! Bummer.

    Reply
  180. Lee

    I’m having surgery in July-two tears and tenodesis, have no room for, nor can afford a recliner, worried most about sleep issues, since it’s been months of bad sleep since the injury and wake up several times during the night to severe pain. My bed is a temperpedic, (sp?) – but wonder if I should plan to seep on my couch or on bed – should I buy more pillows? I live alone (68 yrs.) my daughter can come by occasionally, but I have no other outside help – any suggestions on prepping for this ordeal?

    Reply
    1. Debbie Harris

      Hi Lee – my husband had his surgery three months ago. While he did have a recliner and used it the first week – the next best thing was a foam wedge used in bed. I would think several extra pillows would do the same thing. He also suffered so much lost sleep but some positive news was that he found that pain to be less even right after the surgery. Sleep is probably the biggest issue and I hope that you find that sleep becomes easier even soon after your surgery.
      In fact I would gladly mail you the foam wedge as he does not use it any more.
      Could the forum writer give Lee my email? I don’t want to post it here but I do give Scott permission to give you my email if he is able.

      Reply
    2. Lynne

      Hi Lee,
      I’m just past the 3 week mark. I have a small house and no room for a recliner so I got a wedge to put under my knees and had a lot of pillows -once I was settled in, it was a very comfortable way to sleep! The only problem with this, was that getting in and out of bed without jostling the shoulder was very hard and it might have been made harder by the wedge in retrospect (but the one Debbie is offering to send you is probably for behind you – so it won’t be the same issue.)

      I’ve learned a few things since then. In retrospect I wish I had tested out the different sleeping places before surgery. I started sleeping on the right side of the bed, but it turns out it is easier to get out on the left side. I also discovered that I could just as easily fallen asleep sitting upright on my sofa with my legs on the coffee table (with a pillow and pulled up to the sofa) I do wish I’d realized this earlier because I worry that i was moving my shoulder too much.

      Where ever you decide to sleep, see if you can get small soft pillows – they help me a lot! I already had some small japanese pillows filled with buckwheat and I like them a lot because it is easy to mold them into the shape you want… but I especially like another pillow that has very small styrofoam balls inside and the outside is a shiny slippery sort of fabric and it is wonderful to rest my arm on when it is out of the sling (I think the neck pillows that Colleen has been talking about also have the little balls) I actually have been sleeping without the sling and I just put these pillows under and around my arm and I manage to leave it there until I wake up. If you don’t have small pillows, try rolling some towels, you can make them fat or thin depending on what you need.

      I think it would be very important for someone to be with you the first 24 hours at the least, if not the first 48! It was hard to get in and out of bed, it was hard to get comfortable once I was in bed and my daughter was wonderful in helping me to figure out what made me the most comfortable – which was good, because then I wiggled less and slept more! Once when I got up to go to the bathroom I almost fainted – so that’s one reason it’s good to have someone around. Also, since I was on medication and not thinking very well, I’d often forget something until I was already comfortably in bed – so it was wonderful to have someone I could call for help – a glass of water, my pills, my glasses, my phone, etc. Put a tray by your sleeping place to keep all these things.

      In the first 2 days, I found I sometimes forgot if I’d taken my pills since I was sort of groggy – so I learned to take them out and put them on top of the bottle. That way I knew if they were still there and I was in pain I hadn’t taken them.

      I made a very large pot of chicken soup with lots of vegetables and fresh ginger (good for healing) I would ask my daughter to poor it into coffee cups which she left covered in the fridge – that way it was very easy for me to microwave a cup of yummy comforting soup. I also found that I really like Amy’s frozen burritos (I don’t think they sell these everywhere) they are easy to heat up and eat with one hand. I asked my daughter to cut up a pineapple (she’d doing another one for me tomorrow!) they have bromeliad – a natural anti-inflamatory. I also had her open and then lightly tighten the screw top lids on the bottle of coconut juice that i like so much.

      Make sure you drink a lot of water and take something for the constipation you will get from the pain killers – it can get really bad.

      I also used a raised toilet seat that I use when my 88 yr old mom visits – it really helped me to get up and down from the toilet.

      If they give you an ice machine with a big wrap that goes around your shoulder – here’s my experience: it was great to have, but every time I had to get up to go to the bathroom, I had to turn off the machine and un-attatch three little hoses. By one weeks time, my fingers were practically raw because they were very difficult to do with only one hand – I was so frustrated! Then I had an idea! I took the cold pack out of the wrap – (it is velcroed in) and I just used it as if I were using a frozen ice pack! no more hooking and unhooking! I just put one of my little pillows on it or a towel around it to weigh it down on my shoulder. That made a huge difference for me!!

      Well, that’s all I can think of for now!
      Good luck!

      Reply
  181. Bettyyou

    I would think more pillows would probably do the trick Lee. I used ice bags at night especially. Every time I took a pain pill I got a fresh ice bag. Good luck!

    Reply
  182. Bettyyou

    I haven’t seen anyone complain of knots in the back, neck & shoulder. I am experiencing this & when they work the knots out oh dear it hurts!! If anyone has had any experience & has any hints I would really appreciate it. Forgot to mention I am four weeks post rotator cuff & bicep tendon repair.

    Reply
    1. Ginny

      I had rotator cuff surgery four months ago. I’ve had may knots in my bicep tendon and shoulder and yes, it is painful. I suggest liberal icing after PT and patience…it gets better over time. Too slowly for my taste, but at least it does get better. :) Hang in there!

      Reply
    2. Lynne

      I had some old muscle relaxant (Flexeril) in my medicine cabinet and it did wonders….. at my 2 week I asked for a prescription and the nurse practitioner didn’t blink an eye. (The funny thing, when I’d used it for the original ailment, it didn’t do a thing for me! )

      Reply
  183. Debbie Harris

    Hi Betty – my husband had his surgery three months ago and YES his biggest complaint is knots in his neck, shoulder and biceps. His surgeon gave him a prescription for muscle relaxers and he uses these even more than the pain pills. I can even look at his arm and shoulder and see lumps and bumps in the muscle. At PT they tell him they are from scar tissue. Maybe you can ask about this? Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Bettyyou

      Ginny & Debbie thanks so much for your replies. I glad to know that these are not abnormal. I do have to agree that the pain from these is worse than the surgical pain. After PT yesterday I pretty much slept the rest of the day .. of course the pain medicine does that to me. I will ask the doctor when I see him in a week & a half. Thanks again for your replies.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        Glad to see someone else said the same thing – but why wait a week and a half? Call up and have them call your pharmacy!

        Reply
  184. Mary

    Thanks for all the information and ideas from this blog.
    I had arthroscopic surgery on my right/dominant shoulder on 6/5/13. It was supposed to be a torn ligament but probably a torn labrum also. I will find out at my doctor appointment on 6/13. I am looking forward to getting this giant dressing off my shoulder. I think someone just decided to see how many gauze pads he could stick to my shoulder. It’s an inch thick! I am also thoroughly sick of the sling.

    I have had very little pain which actually worries me since its so different than when my father had a similar surgery a few years ago so. He could barely wiggle his fingers without pain and I can do just about anything. So this has convinced my family that I am going to overuse it. I am hoping they are wrong and it will be fine on Thursday. I haven’t taken any Percocet in over a day and the pain is still minimal. I have been really tired but not sure if that’s because I just can’t sleep sitting up. I wake up every two hours. As I type, I am propped up in my nieces bed (b/c mine is a waterbed) but I keep sliding down so soon my arm will be over my head —ugh! You should see me get out of this bed.. I have to walk on my knees to the steps so can push up n my left arm. This is the only bed in the house not a waterbed or loft though this a mattress on the floor. Did I mention we are mid rennovation? I think my biggest wish is to be able to put my hair Ina ponytail…it’s just driving me crazy…pixie doo here we come.

    Has anyone else had tired watery eyes or even tend towards weepiness? I was wondering if this could be reaction to meds?
    Thanks and good luck to all

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hi Mary,

      My surgery was on 5/21, so 3.5 weeks… and I’m not exactly sure what was done, because I fell again after my MRI! And, since my doctor talk to me after surgery and didn’t even do the follow up visit I have to wait until the next visit! So I’m making sure my 5 week visit is with him! What I do know, is that I had a near full-thickness supraspinatus tear and at least one anterior labrum tear.

      I also feel that I can do a lot more than I’m supposed to! Which means that I have spent an increasing amount of the day with out my sling… because it feels okay to do so… that said, I have recently started wearing it more as I learn more. So I am definitely not advocating spending too much time outside of your sling or using your hand even if it is in the sling.

      I do wish I’d been more prepared by my surgeon and want to understand exactly what he did, how it’s supposed to work and specifically what movements I need to avoid at all costs. One thing I was told is that most injuries to the repairs take place between weeks 2-3. I suspect this is because people are feeling less pain and getting sick of their slings so they get careless do more than they should. Finally what it really comes down to is: if you rip the work that was done, do you really want to go through this surgery again? And I do think I over did it the other day ’cause my shoulder is hurting more… hopefully I didn’t do more damage. You sound a lot younger, but I also read that more repairs fail in those over 60…. and I’m 58… But I sure hate my sling.

      But to answer your question, the first week was pretty trying and I definitely cried when my meds didn’t work when the nerve block wore off… so anything after that was no where as bad! So after that I may have cried once in the middle of the night when I couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t sleep. But mostly, I got incredibly frustrated at times, especially when I finally got myself all comfortable in bed and hooked up to my ice machine… only to remember I forgot to bring something with me or I had to get up to pee (this was about 3 days after I didn’t have anyone helping me).

      But I will share what I think is a strange outcome of the surgery – though maybe a little too much info! 6 days after the surgery I literally had to pee about every 15 minutes…it felt like all day long!! And, as I’d weighed myself in the morning, I did it again at night and I’d lost 5 lbs!! I think all the liquid they put in my shoulder for surgery was finally getting processed out of my system! It was really bizarre – and annoying!

      Hang in there!

      Reply
      1. Mary

        Thanks for the encouragement and I am glad that you are recovering well.
        Thursday, 6/13, I finally ing got to see the doctor and forgot most of my questions :). I was excited to get the giant gauze bandage off my shoulder. My surgical wounds are healing great and just glued so no stitches. Today they hardly even hurt when I push on them. The nurses, docs, PTs were all impressed at how little bruising I have.
        My surgeon said I don’t have to wear the sling anymore since “it will start driving you crazy” which my parents assured him that I had already driven them crazy complaining about it. The PTs want me to wear it when my arm hurts and to protect it. I wear it to remind myself not to use it. I am allowed to have my arm only in the box in the middle of my chest and lift nothing more than 5 pounds. I have cheated used it to help lift my nine pound nephew b/c I can’t resist.

        I fully expect more pain this week b/c I will be PT everyday an it kind of aches after that. I am excited that I am cleared to pe and knit, crochet just have a hard time not leaning on it. I never realized how much I leaned or pushed off. It’s good for me to use my abs more!

        And maybe in two weeks I can put my hair Ina pony tale myself…..or I am getting a hair cut;)

        Reply
  185. Lynne

    Hi Mary, glad things are going well! Yeah, I removed the big pad so that I could ice it better! And I was also glued and my arm only yellowed a little.

    I’m definitely getting a hair cut – I had one already actually – but it needs to be shorter. However I’d much rather be too hot than too cold. I’m really glad I had it now instead of the winter… it was chilly today and just going out in the wind made my shoulder hurt…plus it would mean putting more clothes on over this shoulder.

    I finally got my doctor’s report! I’m trying to understand it all, but it looks like the labrum had healed in the wrong place so he moved it and put in an anchor, then he removed my “very prominent” acroial spur (I’ll be that’s one reason I hurt!) and then fixed the rotator cuff with 5 anchors!

    So a total of 6 anchors… seems like a lot to me… I’m curious how many others got? But since I got all this damage from several falls over the years, with that arm outstretched, maybe it will be harder to damage if I fall again.

    Last night I tried sleeping on my side – with the repaired shoulder on the top – I didn’t last long because it hurt – and reluctantly went back to sleeping sitting up. But I am so tired of doing so! Unfortunately, all day my shoulder has been hurting me and I guess I blame trying to sleep on my side…. even though I wasn’t like that for more than 5 minutes!

    Be really careful about that weight…. 9lbs sounds like a lot! My doc said no heavier than a coffee cup!

    Reply
  186. Bernadine

    Hi all! Looks like my fiancee will be undergoing surgery for a torn rotator cuff. Any tips on how I can make things easier for him? Best wishes to all of you in your recoveries.

    Reply
    1. Doreen

      I am 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. Read the emails from all the ones that have had the surgery. It sure helped me. It sure is a slow process to get back to normal. I guess I am wanting to do more, but don’t let myself. I think icing is very important. Don’t know why there hasn’t been much activity online the last week?

      Reply
      1. Bettyyou

        I haven’t had much to say these days. I will be six weeks post rotator cuff & bicep tendon repair. I see the doctor on Wednesday & hope to get rid of the sling. To be honest I haven’t worn it much for them last week. I started PT a week after surgery … Some simple exercises like a pulley, flexion of the elbow, nodding head side to side, up & down & ear to shoulder. Now I am using a cane or stick to gently push my arm out to the side & raising it up in front of me trying to get it over my head. My recovery seems to be a little slower because of the bicep tendon repair. I still can’t pick up anything with any weight to it at all. Hoping that the doctor will let start next week lifting a little weight. Still using a half of a pain pill now & then. The muscle knots that I was experiencing have gone now thankfully. Think this all on me. Oh still not driving & REALLY hope doc will allow that this week. I feel like a prisoner. Good luck to everyone.

        Reply
        1. Lynne

          Tuesday will be 5 weeks for me…. seems like forever!

          I’ve made the mistake ( a couple of times now) of thinking I can sleep on my side (bad side up) for even just a little bit – I am so tired of being on my back! But if it do try it I really pay the price! It hurts all day and I feel like I’ve slipped back 2 or 3 days. And this morning I finally just got out of bed – though I could have used a couple more hours -because my shoulder was hurting and I just couldn’t get comfortable. I’ve also had some tingling down to my little finger…. something I’d really hoped this surgery would get rid of…

          I too, have been going long periods at home without the sling, but definitely wear it when I go out. And I’ve also driven a couple of times – but only locally and on surface streets. Really, the hardest part is buckling my seat belt and reaching over with my left hand to turn the key.

          What perturbs me – is that I still hear a lot of noises in my shoulder, but they almost seem to be coming from behind my scapula… and it has me wondering if that area was part of the MRI and maybe something is wrong in there! I also have a muscle that seems to run over my scapula towards my spine, that just seems like a thick chord… and that hurts. Now that I’m no longer on the opiates I seem to have to remind myself that I can take ibuprofen or aleve and that I also have muscle relaxant pills… I think I’ll go do that right now!

          Sorry for all the griping this morning! (Colleen, where are you? I miss your positive outlook!)

          Reply
          1. Bettyyou

            Lynne I have tried to sleep bad side up & like you regret it the next day. Reaching the key & the seat belt would get me too but I’m ready to try it.

            I haven’t heard any noises in that shoulder but plenty in my supposedly good one. Hope that’s not an omen. LOL You should write down your concerns for your next doctor appointment. I know one day we will look back at this & say well I made it.
            Have a good day

  187. Lynne

    Oops, I meant to say Suzanne! But Colleen, you just had surgery on the 18th! Let us know how you are when you are up for it!

    Reply
    1. Colleen Dinan

      Hi Suzanne,

      4 weeks post op ( 2 tears) and I feel quite good, aside from the usual discomfort. I have great respect for my surgeon and his team.
      My family provided me with excellent care and attention. Now I’m back living on my own again so the meals aren’t quite as impressive. :)

      I returned to work (sales office) after 10 days and was driving after 2 weeks. Started passive pt last week. He is very happy with my progress. I will see my surgeon again on July 31st.

      Like everyone, sleeping is the toughest part – next to patience.

      Grateful to have the summer months to recover – easy on and off clothing and shoes!

      Overall, I’m very pleased with my progress and anticipate a full recovery. I have plans to ski in Italy in February!

      All the best to everyone and thank you Lynne for checking in.

      Colleen

      Reply
  188. Trent

    Hello all,

    What a great forum for all things rotator cuff. Thanks, Scott, for providing this service. After scheduling and canceling surgery twice, finally decided to proceed, and will be going in on July 16th for repair of a partially-torn rotator cuff and bursitis. Not too concerned with the actual surgery, recovery, and therapy, as I’m extremely patient and by reading many of these previous posts, I can see the benefits of this. I’m mostly concerned about how this will impact my work, as I am a salesman, and drive approx 1000 miles per week to visit customers. Probably a question for my doctor, but what is the general consensus regarding driving? Thanks in advance–Trent

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hi Trent, I notice that no one really answered your question…. but you might want to read more below and also look at the link to the article on not using the shoulder for 6 weeks…. I’m in my 5th week and have driven a little bit.. and each time I notice it in my shoulder. Whether that is impeding healing who knows… As you said, that’s something you’ll have to ask your doctor. It may have a lot to do with the location of the tear and whether or not it is in one of the rotator cuff muscles that you use a lot when you drive. And, do you have an automatic transmission? I hope so!
      Best!

      Reply
  189. Mary

    Has anyone else had a SLAP repair or is everyone rotator cuff repair? Tomorrow is week three from day of surgery so I might start some new stuff at rehab. Fingers crossed

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hi Mary,

      I had rotator cuff and labral tears, although my labral tear was anterior only (on the MRI it looked like a SLAP tear…) Today marks week 5, but I have yet to start any PT. I do think there are other labral tears among us….

      Reply
  190. rene futrell

    My surgery was June 12, full thickness tear supraspinatious and bone spur removed done arthroscopic.not sure how I did it wasn’t having much pain at all just couldn’t raise my arm.I’m 52 yr old.I had heard so many bad stories about this surgery. And I have to say my experience has not been too bad at all. Woke up in recovery no pain had nerve block. My anesthesiology told me in a few hours start pain meds demorol 50 mg one every 3 hrs whether you need them or not and if needed take two and ice packs so I did that and also I had the cater her in neck with the ball of numbing meds. I managed my pain well never had bad pain. After 11/2 days the line came out of my neck suppose to stay in three days then I felt a little more pain but still not horrible,they said the numbing meds take away about 50-80% of pain so I highly recommended it!so surgery on wed by sat I took only two pain pills and I’m unloading dishwasher,put clothes in washer and dryer up and about the house had lots of company everyone’s amazed with how well I’m doing and me too! My mom said I must have high tolerance to pain idk but doing extremely well.five days after surgery my husband took me to red lobster and went to Walmart to buy me a lot of fruit.been eating all the great foods people had bought over gotta watch out don’t want to gain alot of weight! And no problem sleeping we had bought a month before a sealy posterpedic hybrid cooling gel memory foam adjustable bed! OMG best bed ever I have slept in bed every night I would adjust bed at zero gravity and pillows on bad arm and I would have to say I have really been sleeping good!! I had been taking advil then I may take a flexiril.I have been to dinner and store serval times in first ten days! Do my exercises 3-5x a day do chores around the house get bored staying home! Started rehab on day 10 and did pulley was able to get my arm all the way up he said my ROM was very good said I’m going to do well!! No pain after rehab. Drove to pt just took off my sling .take off sling at home a lot when sitting even when walking around the house hope I’m not hurting anything I did use my hand . even though I doing so well I know its still a long recovery! Just hope things keep going so well!!today second day for rehab hope it goes well.I’m so thankful to be doing so well and I feel so bad for the ones suffering so much! God bless talk to ya later!

    Reply
  191. Bettyyou

    Just came home from my six week post op check. Doc says I’m doing fine. Go back in six weeks & he stressed not using that arm to pick up anything heavy. The next six weeks is totally working on my range of motion. He said this is most important so that I don’t develops frozen shoulder. I am doing some exercises at home plus have PT twice a week. And best of all I can drive …
    Hugz

    Reply
  192. rene futrell

    Hello we all have something in common!! Went to PT today for second times I’m two weeks post op and my ROM is really good he said its OK to take off sling a lot at home and I’m able to do a lot with my right hand I’m really surprised things are going so well for me no pain meds since 3rd day of surgery I may take advil and maybe a flexiril I also drive since day 10 take off sling and drive just a little sore from PT not bad! Good luck you all!

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      You’ve been doing great! It’s interesting to see the range of results here! And good to see some positive results so that everyone isn’t scared away from the surgery!

      Reply
  193. jerrell

    Scott,
    Thank you! I am 60 years old, male and 5 weeks out from right shoulder rotator cuff and bicep surgery. I found this forum 3 days ago and all of you have helped me so much. My experience is not exceptional. The one thing I have noticed is a person’s attitude and patience is very important. My physical therapy is progressing, pain level is manageable, obstacles can be overcome and my appreciation for the simple things in life has greatly increased. One of life’s rules is to check for paper before sitting down. Attack the situation of being in one place for an extended period of time. Plan ahead and have: telephone , remote control, drinks, snacks, paper towels, waste basket, blanket, books, ice packs, wet wipes, and any other items needed. I made a nest in the living room on the love seat and large footstool. Fortunately I am now sleeping in my bed, but it took a couple of weeks to get there. Prayers for all of you and your caretakers.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      I’m wondering if anyone hears noises from the shoulder that has been fixed? Sometimes my arm seems to click out of place and then I lean forward and let it hang and wiggle a little until it clicks back into place. It’s not real painful, but it’s uncomfortable and I just don’t think it should be doing this! And I’ve heard this from the first day after surgery when I was trying to shift myself into place on my bed.

      Also, I know we’ve all heard that we are supposed to wear the sling forever, not lift things, not lift the arm etc. but I haven’t heard exactly what happens if one doesn’t wear the sling all the time or one lifts something heavier than a coffee cup, etc. The surgery fails? but just what does that mean? I imagine the rotator cuff doesn’t heal well, or is ripped again and there is too much scar tissue the labrum doesn’t attach because it gets moved too much? I also wonder if the anchors can come out in extreme cases? Anyone know? I guess I’m just wondering what’s with these noises? Did my surgeon miss something? Did some bone stay in my arm instead of getting vacuumed up?

      Thoughts anyone? Did your surgeon give you any gory details of what can happen? I’m also puzzled that some doctors don’t do any PT for 6 weeks, yet others seem to start almost immediately – I know often that has to do with the surgery specifics, but I have seen people who seem to have had similar procedures and yet they start early.

      Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Jerrell

        Lynne,
        The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York did a study about waiting six weeks before starting PT. Their website has an excellent article on this subject. Search their website for rotator cuff surgery recovery.

        Reply
        1. Mary

          Driving??!?! I haven’t driven since surgery but my doctor said I could try. Though I cannot use my right/dominant arm since the wheel would be higher than I am allowed to lift my arm. Anyone driving with their left/non-dominant arm? I have enough trouble getting dressed with my left arm so I am a bit worried about driving with my left arm only. Any experiences driving with your non-dominant arm? Advice?

          Reply
          1. Lynne

            I tried driving with my left (non-dominant) arm – but you don’t mention how far along you are! I wouldn’t do it if you are still on opiates and I also would never try it if I had a manual transmission!
            I’m at 5 weeks and the hardest part is putting on the seatbelt and putting the key in. I have kept trips as short as possible, and avoided the freeway too. I avoid sharp turns as well, since it involves more turning. I often keep the hand of my “bad” arm on the lower part of the steering wheel just in case.
            But in general, given what I just read about keeping the arm immobilized, I would say don’t drive for even 6 weeks unless you absolutely have to… even if you don’t actively use your arm – 6 weeks is relatively short in the scheme of things and you want to heal!
            Even if you don’t use the arm that’s healing, it moves when you make a wide turn, when you lean over to buckle & unbuckle, or lean forward to put the key in and out. Also, if you have bumpy roads like I do, by the time I get home, I’m definitely feeling the stress on my shoulder.

          2. Debbie Harris

            Hubby is 14 weeks post op. He started driving at 6 weeks using only his left non dominant arm and he says that went very well. The hardest part was reaching over to engage Drive, Reverse and Park and to turn the key. Also, he practiced everything using his left arm before the surgery. :)
            His PT is getting much more aggressive and his newest exercise is using rubber bands and trying to lift them up over his head.

          3. Mary

            Thanks for the tips. I have driven a few times this week which has gone pretty smoothly. I find I need to wear my sling to ensure I don’t use my right arm. I have only gone on short trips and am not sure that a long trip would be a good idea b/c it’s near impossible to reach anything on the passenger seat. I am excited that I could reach the radio:)

        2. Lynne

          Jerrell, thanks so much for the tip! They have great info there – I sure wish I’d done this research prior to my surgery! And I wish I’d been wearing my sling more…. I don’t know why doctors don’t give us more info!

          BTW, for anyone reading this, here is the link to at least one article on the subject : http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_changes-rotator-cuff-surgery-rehabilitation.asp

          and a good general PDF from the Hospital for Special Surgery to prepare one for surgery:
          http://www.hss.edu/files/PE-pathway-Shoulder-surgery.pdf

          Reply
      2. Doreen

        Lynne, I have wondered about lifting more than a coffee cup. I know I have, but don’t know if I did anything wrong or not. Would it hurt if you did damage? I wish someone would give us an answer. I find it hard not to lift something with both hands. I don’t have any noises in my arm, so I can’t help you with that question. I don’ start PT until 6 weeks. I am now 3 1/2 weeks. I am 72 and this is my first surgery ever. So I guess I have been lucky so far. I fell on the ice this winter. Hope all are healing well!!! Doreen

        Reply
        1. Bettyyou

          Doreen I just had my six week check up & the doctor told me to use the arm more but don’t lift anything heavy. After the next six weeks weight will be added. Betty

          Reply
          1. Jerrell

            Lynne,
            You are right, we should behave ourselves… to a point. My wife of 34 years has been telling me to behave myself … for 34 years! She may disagree, but I try most of the time, well, some of the time, maybe every now and then, but this is for all the people who are contemplating surgery, have had surgery or is a caretaker. Stand up, sit down or whatever, take a deep breath , stretch and relax. We are in this for the long haul. Life is so short. Enjoy the ride. Patience, meds, ice, patience, meds, ice, etc., etc. etc. Today tell the ones you love, that you really do love them. Prayers and peace to all.

      3. Rene

        Hi Lynne,
        I am only at the Day 9 mark, so haven’t been able to do much yet. As such, I haven’t heard any noises from my shoulder. It would definitely be a good thing to ask your surgeon and/or therapist about when you see them next. Hopefully it is just something like scar tissue from the surgery site that will break down over time.
        As far as failure of the repair, I was told that the tendon is attached to the anchors by sutures only during the surgery. Over the following 6 weeks, in a successful repair, the tendon will gradually reattach itself to the bone. Even at the 6 week mark, this reattachment is still quite fragile – hence, no active lifting for most people. Most failures involve the sutures being torn before the tendon has a chance to reattach itself to the bone. My PT told me it is rare to have a failure if you keep the sling on for the full 6 weeks (or whatever time frame your surgeon has given you), except for doing any prescribed exercises and for showering.
        It is interesting to hear about the different protocols that people are following, even with the same types of repairs. My surgeon seems to be very conservative. He is adamant about the shoulder being abducted out away from the body at all times for 6 weeks, even when doing the simple exercises or when showering. For these activities, I have to keep a rolled-up towel under my upper arm to take the place of the big pillow attached to my sling. He said this position keeps the repaired tendon relaxed and free of strain. Also, my exercises for the first 6 weeks are very simple, designed only to help prevent getting a frozen shoulder, elbow or wrist.

        Reply
        1. Lynne

          Yes, it’s very confusing… I have yet to see a PT and the only exercises I’m supposed to do are with the ball that came with the sling moving my wrist and elbow and letting my arm hang free sometimes, but now pendulum swinging like I’ve seen some people do.

          I made some comment to my surgeon about not liking the abductor pillow (or what ever it’s called) when I had a chance to briefly speak to him about week 2 – and he said I didn’t have to wear it. Then when I had my first appointment with the nurse practitioner, she didn’t seem to approve of that! Go figure.

          I have to admit, that knowing what I know now, I would have been a lot more careful and probably would have put up with the pillow. I just hope I haven’t damaged anything to the point of having a failed operation….

          Reply
          1. Mary

            You shouldn’t worry that you have undone the surgery. I doubt it is so easy to ruin all the good…at least I hope so.

          2. Ginny

            I thought I’d screwed up my surgery a few times. What I learned from my surgeon is that it’s pretty hard to screw it up — they sew us up tight! So try not to worry because it’s unlikely. If you are experiencing a lot of pain or discomfort, they can do another MRI to make sure all is well. Recovery is a slow and frustrating process for many of us but it will get easier for you as the weeks pass and you start to heal. Best wishes — hang in there!

          3. Lynne

            Thanks Mary & Ginny – ! I’ll be seeing my doc at 3:15 today! I’m making my list of questions. What I read in the article I mentioned somewhere, is that the rats in the study had less scar tissue and the repair was stronger, more successful than the rats whose “arms” were not immobilized… so I don’t see that I would be pulling out all those anchors, but that maybe it would loosen the repair somehow… as I mentioned somewhere, I’m also concerned about the cracking and crunching I hear in my shoulder… well, hopefully I’ll know more by tomorrow afternoon!

          4. Bettyyou

            At about week 3 I confessed to leaving the sling off a lot & my therapist said don’t do that because those tendons need to heal out like that so they aren’t contracted. It really was a pain in the butt. Now at week 7 they increased my exercises to include light ones for the bicep. Oh dear that has hurt. The exercise didn’t hurt but was difficult but for two days after I had bicep pain & took pain med for it. Be sure to let us know what your doc says about your shoulder noises.
            Betty

          5. Lynne

            Mary, I asked my doctor about the noises in my shoulder and he said it’s perfectly normal (?!) Makes me wonder why my other shoulder doesn’t speak to me! Before I met with him his assistant said that the scapula can move against one’s ribs…
            Overall, I’m fairly frustrated by my visit… I think his assistant warned him that I had a long list of questions because when I started to ask the first, about the MRI report vs what he actually did, he responded by discounting the MRI report, saying I was fine and then suavely moving me along by saying he was wanted to introduce me to the physical therapy unit… It wasn’t until I was in my car that it hit me that I left without getting all my questions answered… ultimately it’s my fault … but boy he sure was skillful at diverting me from my mission!

  194. Lynne

    A few tips:
    Since the surgery I found that the right pillows have made a huge difference in my comfort level.

    I have a lot of shapes, sizes, and types and use them for different purposes.
    - I have a huge one that was my grandmothers “french” pillow and that is what I sleep on to keep me propped up in bed.
    - I have an inflatable pillow that I use to sit on my desk chair because I have lower back/ sacro-illiac pain…. early on I realized that sleeping in the same position with more weight on my rear than usual would probably cause back problems so I stuck a pillow case on this “pillow” and it has been sooo comfortable and I haven’t had any pain – which is very unusual.
    - I bought a foam wedge for my legs – so that I’m not trying to adjust a pillow to keep my knees bent… I’m sure that has also helped my back from going out.
    - I have some small pillows that are filled with buckwheat husk – they mold really well and I use one under my good arm or my arm would be hanging…and a small one right behind my neck….
    - Finally, and why I’m writing this… I have a favorite pillow for putting under my arm since I had surgery – whether when I’m sleeping or I’m sitting on the couch watching TV. It’s a blue stretchy fabric cylinder filled with very small little balls (styrofoam?) and it molds really well. When it really hurt to move my arm at all, I could easily grab some of the fabric and pull it under my arm with out having to lift my arm it because it could stretch and flatten down. Since I like it so much I wanted another one and I finally found it at the discount store: “Tuesday Morning” for only $4.50. It is distributed by the company Homedics and it has a label “Sqüsh” I was also told you can get it at Bed & Bath. It normally runs about $10. (I must sound like the Princess and the Pea…but who knew a pillow could make me so happy!)

    Reply
  195. Andy

    So here i am a year on from my rotator cuff tear surgery which i had done on 5th July 2012.
    I still check back here regularly to see how everyones experiences are and i have been through most of it over the last year.
    I am pleased to say i am 95% recovered now. Although i recovered very quickly and got back to work, regained very good motion and even managed to go running (with pain) within 6 weeks i suffered for 6 months with very bad soreness and then gradually during the 6 – 12 month period i started to recover up to being within the last few weeks almost completely normal again.
    I never believed it when people told me it would take a year to recover from this but have found that is certainly the case.
    Good luck to everyone on their recovery and keep patient. It does get better!

    Reply
    1. Betttyyou

      Thanks Andy. Several people have told me that recovery would take six months to a year & I wondered if that was true. This experience is teaching me patience for sure. Thanks again.

      Reply
      1. Andy

        Hi Bettyyou
        I would say yes definitely need to give 6 -12 months for good recovery.
        It has taken me the full year from surgery to get to 95% of pre surgery condition.
        it is nearly 3 years since the day I initially tore the tendon in the gym.

        Reply
        1. Lynne

          Andy,
          Did you really mean to say your condition before surgery rather than before your injury? If before surgery, why do you think that is? Is it scar tissue, the cutting to go in for the repairs?
          Thanks!

          Reply
          1. Andy

            Lynne
            Yes, sorry I am 95% recovered from where I was before the initial injury. I put up with the tear for about 18 months prior to to having the surgery to re attach the tendon. Had the bone shaving surgery done first at about 12 months after injury.

          2. Lynne

            Andy,
            i’m curious, how come you did the bone shaving first? I had bone shaving, rotator cuff and labrum all together! Unfortunately I waited 9 years to get mine done!

            While I’m at it, can you (or others reading this) tell me how long it was before you could sleep on your side? I’ve been sleeping siting up now for 6+ weeks and I’m getting very tired of that! I’ve recently started moving into another bed without all the pillows and I’ve been managing to sleep a couple of hours on my back before I start to feel a bit uncomfortable. A few times I’ve made the mistake of thinking I can roll over onto the good arm… (usually when I’m really sleepy!) – only to quickly find that I’m not ready… and although I do it for 5 or 10 minutes at most, it seems to set me back a couple of days :( I let another week go by before I try again… but it’s still a problem…. so I’m really wondering what others have found.

            Thanks!

          3. Andy

            Lynne
            In reply to your question I had the bone shaving done initially as the initial diagnosis was impingement from the X RAY and not a torn rotator cuff.
            I only had an MRI scan after the bone shaving surgery as I was still complaining from pain. It was only at this point they found the tear that had been there all along. This meant a second surgery six months after the first!
            I found I was unable to sleep on my side for about 3/4 months after the bone shaving and this was certainly more painful post surgery than the rotator cuff surgery.
            I was able to sleep on my side about 4 weeks after the cuff surgery.

  196. Peter

    Andy, nice to hear from you again, and glad youre almost 100%. I am nine month since my op, I felt that I was recovering well, but over the last four weeks I feel that I have went back the way a bit both with pain and weakness. I have went private to a very good local physiotherapist, he dose,nt think that I have re- torn the tendon, but thinks that my problem may be imflammation, and may try me with a steroid injection, I cant remember doing anything different that may have caused this set back, but I am not giving up, and certainly wont play sqosh again, but we have both said in earlier blogs, about the length of the recovery time from this op takes. Best of luck to everyone in this excellent forum.

    Reply
    1. Andy

      Peter
      Good to hear you are progressing but sorry to hear you are suffering some discomfort still.
      I actually didn’t bother with any physio after surgery as I re started my running instead and foolishly thought this was enough of a workout of the arm and shoulder, however it only inflamed it for 5-6 months.
      I only begin using the stretching band at this point every day to regain the strength. This seemed to fix the soreness and tightness.
      I then actually started using the band again every day at about 10 months to get rid of the last bit of soreness. Again I noticed significant improvements at this point. I have come to the conclusion that this stretching and strengthening is very beneficial if experiencing continued niggling pains.
      I would say that my 100% recovery goal is only a matter of weeks away now for me. Keep us posted on your progress over the next few months.

      Reply
  197. Dixie Lee MacDonald

    Hi All, I am six months post op from a dislocated shoulder, displaced fracture of the greater tuberosity and complete tear of the rotator cuff and although I am still far from “normal”, I am much improved. However, I still hike my injured shoulder when lifting my arm. Has anyone else experienced “hiking” after such a long period? And, does anyone have advice on how to work on improving this? Thanks! Dixie Lee

    Reply
        1. jim in Jersey

          Im coming up on 7 months out of surgery from 2 full tears.I have pretty good flexiablity but still working on the strength ….it is aLONG process!! I still have soreness. I wholeheartly agree that it will take a full year to recover!! Hang in there…it will get better!

          Reply
          1. Dixie Macdonald

            Thanks so much for the reassurance : ). Some days it is hard not to feel defeated but your comments help a lot.

      1. Lynne

        Dixie-
        Darn! I keep forgetting to ask my therapist!! It will have to wait until Monday! Are you still hiking it up?

        Reply
        1. Dixie lee Macdonald

          Still hiking it Lynn but getting better! I have a new pt who gave me some good ideas. Hope you are doing well?

          Reply
          1. Lynne

            So so…. I’ve been to 2-3 PT sessions of very passive stretching…. only just a little painful. But I’ve been trying to sleep on my good side since my therapist said it would be okay… but it is still quite uncomfortable. Just last night I woke up and my thumb and index finger were completely numb! I’ve had my pinky do that for years, but never my thumb. It also hurts when I do certain things – like when I try to get into parking spaces a- nd there are still a lot of things I don’t dare do with it. I just hope that 9 months or so from now it is all healed and that I have no lingering pain. Aside from hiking your arm up, how is your pain doing?

          2. Dixie Lee MacDonald

            Lynn, I had the same tingling and numbness in my thumb and index finger that you are experiencing. It has resolved over time , with only a faint sense of strain or slight numbness at the last joint if my index finger. I found the pain started decreasing noticeably from 5 months post op onward and now at 6 months plus , my pain is very slight and tied to exercise and sleeping “funny”. If really does get better just not fast enough for most if us impatient types I expect : )

    1. Ron Iverson

      Lifting my arm whilst watching in a mirror, I see quite a difference in movement between repaired and un-injured shoulders. If I understood the therapist correctly, the hiking up on the injured side is caused by enlisting some bigger muscles…maybe the trapezius…to complete the movement when rotator cuff muscles are too weak.

      Reply
      1. Dixie Lee MacDonald

        Hi Ron, that is my understanding too but I was hoping someone make have hints on how to get those small muscles going again? Thanks : ) Dixie

        Reply
  198. Karen

    Hi guys. I just wanted to check in here with you. It has been a year since I had my surgery. I have to say as I read back that I will always remember what a trying and in many ways frightening time it was. I doubted so many times that I would be my normal self again. The pain and Oh my gosh, the trying to sleep with that sling! Geesh! Well, hang in there and absolutely do your therapy no matter how much it hurts. I am back to doing everything I did before, good flexability, and no pain. I was 63 when I had my surgery . So if I healed so will you. This next week we are headed with our church group to Moore Oklahoma to help with the tornado clean up. I don’t expect any problem with my arm or shoulder. So those of you are are in the middle of this, in a sling, in therapy, and in a lot of pain. Hang in there. If you do what you are told and do your therapy, it will be a distant memory some day. Hugs to all! Karen

    Reply
    1. Doreen

      Glad to hear you are doing so well. I just got my sling off on Mon and started PT this week. It is hard, but I know it is what we have to do to get better. I sure got tired of the sling!!! I had to wear it for 6 weeks. I am 72 and fell on the ice last March. Looking forward to being stronger each day with the therapy. My gardens look awful this year, but I finally said oh well. Have exercises to do at home and I will do them. Now that I look back, the time seemed to go slow, but it really didn’t. Hoping for the best for all. Doreen

      Reply
      1. Karen

        Let the gardens wait Doreen. This is a time to take care of yourself. That’s hard for us women. We are use to taking care of everyone else in our lives. I wore my sling for 6 weeks too. Take good care of yourself and next year your gardens will be beautiful again.
        Hugs.

        Reply
        1. doreen

          have had 2 weeks of PT and can even do some weeding. It is getting better each day. Finally!!! There is still a long ways to go. Can’t lift my arm up very far, yet. Dressing is so much easier and driving, too. I am doing exercises at home, too. I guess I thought I would be able to do more sooner, but at PT they say be patient. Trying to, Doreen

          Reply
  199. marie d walter

    I had rotator cuff and bicep repair 4 1/2 weeks ago,,,,, shouldn’t i being doing more therphy besides the dangle???,,, i still have lots and lots of pain,,mornings are worse, i guess it’s the way i sleep,, ( my back was killing me, so I moved to bed), a reply would be appreciated),,,

    Reply
    1. Bettyyou

      Marie how you progress in your physical therapy is entirely up to your doctor. At 41/2 weeks I was having little to no pain. I assume you are still in the sling. In PT I was doing the dangle, bending my arm at the elbow & not much more. I was still sleeping in the recliner because it hurt to sleep in the bed. I still don’t get a good night . I start in the bed & wake up a few times before getting in the chair. I’m 10 wks post rotator cuff & bicep tendon repair. In PT they have just started me with a three pound dumb bell. They say I have excellent range of motion & now we will work on strength. Good luck to you & just do what they say.

      Reply
    2. Lynne

      Hi Marie,

      Don’t rush it and be careful. I thought I should be able to do more too and then found that surgeons have changed their protocol in general to wait until 6 weeks or so before doing anything – because they discovered people did a lot better in the long run. I mentioned above that I’ve had 3 sessions of therapy (I’m almost 8 weeks in) and the therapist is starting very gentle and all he has me do at home is sit up straight (in general), squeeze my shoulder blades together periodically and the dangle. I still have pain, but it’s less and less all the time. What position have you been sleeping in? I’m back in bed but sleep with a wedge under my knees and I was sleeping with soft pillows under my arm… but I can’t wait to sleep on my side all night long…Are you keeping the sling on most of the time?

      Reply
    3. Rene Smith

      Hi Marie,
      We are within a few days of each other with regards to our surgery dates – mine was on 6/21, so I am at Day 30 today. Although I started PT within a few days of the surgery, I also am only doing some simple exercises: wrist stretches, squeezing the shoulder blades, pendulums, table slides, and using a dowel to rotate my forearm outwards while reclining on a bed. I am not allowed to use my shoulder muscles at all during any of this, which sounds pretty much in line with other people’s protocols here. I am wearing the sling with the abduction pillow at all times except when exercising 4 X a day, and when showering (and then I wear a shower sling with a towel under my upper arm to keep the arm abducted out).
      I actually have a lot of pain in my shoulder if I lay flat in a bed, so I am sleeping in a recliner (which I’ve had to rent, so I can’t wait to stop using it!). This bothers my back a lot too, and I am very stiff and sore when I get up in the morning. Even with the recliner, I have some pain in the shoulder at night, but thankfully it gets better when I get up in the morning.
      Your repair may have been more involved than mine, as I did not need a bicep repair. My PT said the therapy at first is more conservative if your bicep tendon is involved, so maybe that is why your exercises seem minimal right now? I know it is important to follow our directions from the surgeon and the PT, and not to rush things. I was told I can do my exercises as often as I want (but at least 4 X a day) – if you want to do more, check with your PT and see if this holds for you as well.
      I’m not sure why you are having lots of pain – are you wearing the abduction sling most of the time? Are you able to take Aleve, or any pain meds? My PT said many people are still taking pain meds at our stage, especially at night. Maybe this would help your pain?
      Hang in there – everyone here says it does get better!

      Reply
  200. Demetra Dunlop

    Hi All! I’m in the middle of this, typing with my left hand. Had what was supposed to be simple bone spur and frayed tendon clean up. It ended up being much more damaged than the MRI showed. Had almost total tear on one tendon, which was sutured and anchored to humerus with 4 titanium screws. Started passive PT 3 days after surgery. Unfortunately X-ray showed a screw had come loose from the bone and is floating around inside the shoulder. I was devestated because I got very sick from the anesthesia and painkillers and the pain and not being able to use my dominant arm. I also have to miss our family reunion at the beach next week which I had been looking forward to all year – I only get to see my mom once a year at this reunion, so I’m feeling really sad. Anyway, I see surgeon in 2 days to discuss surgery which should take place next week. I need to be back at work in 6 weeks or I will lose my job. I’m having a hard time with this. Thanks for this blog.
    Demetra

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Demetra! I’m so very sorry! How did that happen, and why did they decide to x-ray it? It sounds like that is probably very unusual! Although I have to say that I’ve feared the same since I have 6 anchors!

      It is hard enough a procedure as it is, but to go through it again – ouch! Make sure you discuss using different anesthesia and pain killers!

      Is there anyway you can go to the reunion anyway and have surgery right afterwards? Or are you in too much pain? Anyway your mom can visit you? I wish my mom could visit me, but then I wouldn’t be able to help her get up because she is 89 and can’t get up by herself! What kind of work do you do? Can you do it with your arm still healing?
      Lynne
      Good luck with all of this!

      Reply
      1. Demetra Dunlop

        Thanks Lynne – I think they need to get the screw out asap because it’s floating around inside the shoulder and could hurt other tendons and they want to reattach tendon asap so it can continue to heal. I don’t know how it happened, maybe jerking my shoulder in my sleep. I can’t put off surgery right now. I’m a pre-K teacher, which is pretty hands on. The good thing is that my oldest son and girlfriend just drove up to see my mom, so that will be nice. She is not able to travel. Also, my in-laws and dad came to visit us last month for our middle son’s high school graduation. My inlaws have not traveled to our house in many years,so that was like a mini reunion. Right now, shoulder healing comes first.

        Reply
        1. Lynne

          Demetra – wow – it’s scary to think that it could happen without your knowing! I hope you don’t mind my asking so many questions – but how long after the surgery did that happen to you, and how did you know something was wrong? I’m asking because it’s something I worry about – but I never imagined it could happen while one slept! I wonder if it was loose and made it’s way out when you slept . Do you feel you were wearing your sling and generally being careful about not using your arm? (I admit I was having a lot of trouble doing so since I live alone).
          Thanks,
          Lynne

          Reply
          1. Demetra Dunlop

            The x-ray was taken one week after surgery. I was really not aware of any extra pain involved. The dr thinks the screw was either defective or too small. this is only the second time this has happened to him and he’s been doing this procedure sine 1997. He’s going to use a larger screw this time. I have to be at the surgical center tomorrow at 5:15am. oh joy! only thing I’m scared of is my reaction to anesthesia. Always makes me feel sick and groggy for days. And the nerve block is very creepy to me. My fingers felt like pins and needles and my arm felt like a slab of meat.

          2. Lynne

            Demetra, I hope it all went well and that you didn’t have as much nausea! Drink a lot of water to get the anesthesia out of your system and don’t forget how important it is to ice that shoulder!
            (I mentioned your story to my physical therapist and he said they wouldn’t normally x-ray unless there was a problem… I wonder if your physical therapist noticed something…. very odd… but hopefully you’ve been patched up correctly this time!)
            Keep us posted!

          3. Demetra Dunlop

            The surgery went well. They used lighter anesthesia and a scopamine patch for nausea. I was not sick at all and felt much more alert after getting back home. The only problem is that the nerve block wore off within 6 hours and the dr didn’t want me to take the extra anti-inflammatory/painkiller I had last time because studies show it may impare tendon to bone healing in some people. So I am in a lot more pain than last time.

  201. Ron Iverson

    Here’s a report from 9+ months post-surgery for suture of a full-thickness supraspinatus tear, and removal of bone spur, followed by about 9 weeks in a sling. Use of my left arm/shoulder is still a long way from normal. Certain movements, like hair-brushing, are very difficult. I had a long spell of pt and continue the rehab exercises on my own. Improvement is extremely slow, altho my orthopedist says it is normal progress for this kind of bad tear, and age 72. My sport is rowing, but no indication when I can get back on the water…probably 1 year + from surgery.

    The lesson, I guess is: be patient, you can’t hurry this.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hi Ron! It’s good to hear from those of you who are farther along…. I need to remind myself that it’ll still be a while… I read one account where the person suddenly hit a critical threshold and almost overnight was almost completely well – right about the 10th month I think. I wish you the best – and that you’re back on the water soon! Thanks again!

      Reply
  202. dixie lee macdonald

    Hi Lynn, I can sleep for longer and longer periods on my repaired shoulder. I notice it a bit in the morning but my goodness it feels good not to have to sleep sitting up and on my back! You will get there too : )

    Reply
  203. Demetra Dunlop

    I took a unisom last night and had the best sleep ever since before the surgery. Unfortunately I have revision surgery tomorrow morning and have to arrivr at5:15 am. I am not a morning person :)

    Reply
  204. steve jacobson

    i started reading this page 3 days prior to my surgery, frankly it put the fear of god into me, this was my first surgery, so i was not looking forward to it. i had a very similar procedure done to most people here, full tear of the superspinatus, bone spurs, lots of arthritis, tendonitis and most concerning a frozen shoulder. The surgery went well, the nerve block was fine except for the tingling and pain in my fingers, it was very uncomfortable. I took the oxycodone twice a day for 4 days, naturally got constipated, decided to take stool softeners, it made a difference, after a week i was no longer o any pain meds, all i take is a anti inflammatory.

    Because of frozen shoulder, i started physical therapy two days after surgery, i am now 28 days post surgery, out of sling after 2 weeks, physical therapy 3 times a week, very aggressive work on range of motion exercises, make sure you do your exercises no matter the pain.

    While i know the road back is a long one, it does get easier, setting small goals like shaving, putting on a golf shirt, washing your hair, become great successes.

    I am a professional athlete in 2 sports and my goal is to return to competition, even though your arm is injured, one of the best therapies is taking long walks, it really helps.

    i know everyone is different, younger and older, but i think even though i am only one month (almost) post surgery, i did the right thing.

    Good luck to all, it is no fun, but hopefully the payoff is large

    Reply
    1. Mary

      Hello Steve,
      I dislocated my arm 5months ago am doing PT, have partial tear and impingement on both arms but my right one is far worse. After being on a sling for 3 weeks, my ROM was very limited, was progressing slowly but last week was diagnosed with frozen shoulder. So even if I would choose to do surgery can’t do it now. The doctor said no we will worry about the frozen shoulder,gave me a cortisone shot and told me to move the arm a lot with exercises. Anyone had the same experience? You said you had frozen shoulder, he said it’s very painful to treat surgically. What did you do? Thanks Mary

      Reply
      1. Bettyyou

        I had my rotator cuff surgery May 2013. By January my surgeon said I had progressed so well that I didn’t have to come back for the twelve month check. Two weeks later I was back in his office with frozen shoulder .. had a cortisone injection & told me to continue with my trainer in a few days. My trainer only didmrom for a few weeks on that arm plus he iced my shoulder after each session (2/wk). Then gradually we have increased the exercises. I’m doing more than when I developed the frozen shoulder BUT I can not raise my arm straight above my head. It just won’t go. So I have had frozen shoulder for four months now. The pain is gone except if I try to reach up farther than it wants to go. So here I am a year post op with a successful surgery but the unfortunate occurrence of frozen shoulder. Oh well .. It is, what it is.

        Reply
  205. Bettyyou

    Hi all .. I am almost at eleven weeks post rotator cuff & bicep tendon repair of my right arm (dominant arm). Today I “graduated” from physical therapy. I am 80-85% back to normal. I can lift five pound dumbbells easily. They gave me eight exercises to continue at home which I will do since I have been in therapy since January except for a month. I went to PT before surgery to see if that would take care of the problem (not an MRI first). I improved nicely until I tried to catch something heavy without thinking & that was it. I said no more let’s fix what’s broke. I joined this blog before my surgery & was scared to death by what I read but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. Bad yes but not awful. I have been sleeping back in my bed for two weeks now & the last couple of days I have been sleeping on my right side for a few hours at a time. So I still have a little way to go but I have come a long way. This blog helped me to know what I might experience. Thanks to all here.
    Betty

    Reply
  206. BK Jackson

    I’m almost 3 weeks status post full tear repair & bone spur removal.

    For all: How long before your arm had recovered sufficient mobility & strength to drive?

    For ladies: how long before you could wear a real bra?

    Reply
    1. Iris JaKay

      I am not planning on underwear at all unless going to an appt or out for any other reason the first 2-3 weeks. I have read where underpants and pants can be difficult to pull up also. I have enough nightgowns and roomy dresses to handle the first bit. Then will reass when I get there (no surgery yet).

      Reply
    2. Bettyyou

      BK forgot to answer question about wearing a bra. I still can’t get my arm around & up far enough to hook a bra. From the beginning I bought some bras from Walmart that hook in the front & they have been life savers. I think they were about $10.00.

      Reply
    3. Lynne

      Driving – I drove a little bit before i was supposed to not sure, but I think around week 3 – but only short distances and no freeways….. I think technically it was supposed to be 5 or 6 weeks. I definitely would not have driven a manual transmission.

      Bra – I really worried about this because I’m job hunting! I used a strapless several times after the first week when I went to the store… not great but good enough with a baggy men’s shirt. When I had an interview at 2.5 weeks I managed one of my real bras with just a little help hooking it (after I used the wall to hold it in place while I used my good arm to adjust it! )… the key is to bend over as you put it on so that your arm hangs away from your body and there is room to pull the strap onto your arm. But I found that a week later I was able to completely do it on my own – by hooking it in front of me and then moving the hooks to the back.

      According to my doctor, the strap sitting on the arm is not a problem and since some of my bras have straps that are cushioned at the top of the shoulders it was fine. But there was one bra that did bother me – until I found some silicone pads that go under the straps (I think at Lane Bryant) So that part wasn’t really an issue (and I’m not small) – the hard part is getting the strap up there and getting it hooked – because even if I hooked it in front of me and then moved the hooks to the back – it’s hard on the arm – so I made sure I used baby powder on my torso so that I could pull it around more easily and pull it up carefully – all with a lot more pulls than I usually need to use – to make it easier on my arm . All in all tricky… I’m 9 weeks now and it hasn’t been an issue for some time. Oh! one more think…. some bras have straps that stretch and others don’t. Most of mine don’t – so I was glad I had some that did stretch.

      Reply
  207. Iris JaKay

    WOW!!! Am I glad to see this site. My s date is Aug 7. I have help for the first 48 hrs, and possibly a bit more as friends see if I can be put into their schedule.

    What I am doing to prepare:
    Making several Alcholol Water Ice Packs…I will not have the ice machine.
    Cutting hair….it will make managing my whispy bed hair more presentable.
    Getting toes and nails done…something I do not do. But is something to make me happy—-small butterflies on the bigger nails.
    Getting lots of frozen meals. Juice, etc.
    Have already rearranged my living room and bedroom to accomodate my using a bed or couch recliner for sleeping, and entertainment.
    Housekeeper coming in tomorrow to do thorough clean, and again the day before surgery….presentable to guests.
    Have list of allergic pain meds in purse.
    Have someone to take care of parakeet for first week? or two. (He likes to sleep on the injured left shoulder…after surgery…I don’t think SO)
    Purchasing a “grabber”….for arranging sheet or blanket or?
    Have 3 baby cloth diapers—-to put around arm in sling——I am a total no rough edges against skin person. Also, and car seat belt soft seat belt thingy for the strap that will go across neck.
    A fanny pack for caring cell phone with me. On some opiates, I can get off balanced.

    Thank you for some great suggestions to this 56 yo lady who lives alone…partial tear left (nondom) arm with at least one known spur.

    Reply
    1. Lynne

      Hi Iris
      A few things…
      Did you see my post of June 12? I wrote a lot of my suggestions there….
      I also did one on June 27 that focused on pillows!
      – the diapers & rough edges – I couldn’t believe how much they bugged me even when my arm was still numb!! Diapers sound like they will slip and bunch up… If you have a medical supply place, see if you can buy two arm-lengths of the stretchy sock-like woven sleeves they put on arms before they put on casts. If you can’t find that – try going to a physical therapist or hospital cast person and ask if they’ll give you some :) Alternately, get an old, soft, long sleeve shirt you don’t care about and cut off the whole sleeve and use that.
      A few responses to other’s comments.
      - i basically had no problems at all with a button down shot sleeved shirt – as long as I bent forward and put the sleeve of the bad arm on first. There is no way I could have used tube tops – it depends on your build I guess!
      - Aleve – was okay with me and I’m still on it now…
      - I don’t know what gel deoderant is…but I cold never lift my arm enough to use anything but a rub on cream deodorant – rolling or spray would be out of the question!
      - about washing your hands – it helps to bend forward as much as possible, but yeah, at the beginning it was one -handed.
      - packaging – some as mentioned is very hard one handed…. those “zippers” on frozen food boxes, “film” to pull off, etc. Rather than a lot of frozen foods I really liked soups.
      Well enough for now!
      The good thing is, that all feels so far away now!
      Good luck!

      Reply
  208. BK Jackson

    To that list I would add:
    - Unless you have someone to do dishes for you, lay in a supply of disposable plates, bowls and plastic ware.
    - Make sure for the first 4-5 days after surgery your foods are easy to open–easy open Tupperware type bowls are best. For the first few days I couldn’t even open a Ziploc bag. You find out just how hard food packaging is to open when you’re down to one hand. Keep a pair of scissors handy for opening these items.
    - When you rearrange your room make sure to leave room for a side table on the side of your good arm so you can easily reach water, pills, phone or food that you eat before taking pain med. I’m going to arrange my room better next time–because I was cramped for space I couldn’t pull my side table far enough forward, & learned that reaching somewhat backward w/your good arm pulls on your operative shoulder. Avoid that if you can.
    - If they don’t do it automatically as part of your post surgical care, ask ahead if they can line your operative armpit w/a piece of dry gauze when surgery is done. Your armpit is going to be closed up for several days & you will get a rash w/o protection. When I was finally able to move my arm enough several days later, I kept a dry washcloth tucked in the operative armpit but it took nearly 2 weeks for the rash/discomfort to resolve. Avoid that scenario if u can. Shoulder surgery has enough discomfort already. 8-)
    - If you have a big dog that doesn’t mind on a leash (like my dog) you will need to make arrangements for someone to take the dog out for potty breaks. You can’t risk ruining your surgery b/c of a non-behaved dog.
    - Make sure the pharmacist puts an easy off cap on your prescribed meds. I didn’t ask and ended up w/pain meds w/a cap that was Impossible one-handed. Fortunately I was able to get someone to open it for me & I put them in a pill sorter for easy access.
    - Your recliner is your friend. I’ve read varying accounts of how quickly people can begin to sleep in their bed, but for me it’s been almost 3 weeks & I don’t see myself being able to sleep in a bed for AT LEAST another 3 weeks. Thankfully I have a comfortable recliner but I have not managed more than 4-5 hours sleep a night since surgery.
    - Someone else mentioned pants–elastic waist athletic shorts or scrub pants are easy to get on & off. For ladies, I’ve been using tube tops which you can pull up 1-handed but they are a bear to hike up in the back w/o help. http://www.shouldershirts.com makes shirts for women, men & children that Velcro at the shoulder. They’re not easy to get on 1 handed, but easier than other shirt options. And they make it easy for the physical therapist to access your shoulder while still allowing you to retain a little dignity (speaking from a woman’s point of view.) I couldn’t work myself into an oversized button down shirt till 2 weeks post surgery.
    - Aleve sucks as a pain reliever. At least that has been my finding.
    - Well my one hand is tired of typing. If I think of more tips I’ll post them.

    Reply
  209. BK Jackson

    Forgot three things–
    1. Maybe not everybody has the same experience, but my operative hand/wrist dried & chafed horribly. If you have someone you are comfortable asking, get them to apply lotion to the operative hand regularly. You won’t be able to do it yourself for several days.
    2. I couldn’t extend my operative hand to wash both hands together until after 2 weeks. That drove me bonkers!!!! One-handed hand washing is annoying.
    3. Gel deodorant is your friend. Ordinarily I hate gel deodorant but for now, it’s the only kind I can manage to apply to either arm and you have to be a contortionist even to apply it to your good arm.

    Reply
  210. Iris JaKay

    Forgot– Friend said to get 2 cheap kids walkie talkies. One for main outside door. That way you know who is outside the door, and why before going through the hassle of getting up. I will have the remote to the gargage door for people to enter.

    Reply
  211. BK Jackson

    Anybody w/rotator cuff issues both shoulders? As mentioned above, I’m 3 weeks status post full tear repair left shoulder. Problem is, I have the same symptoms in right shoulder though not yet as severe.

    If you had to have surgery on both shoulders, how far apart were the surgeries? I’m assuming it’s a minimum of a year given the lengthy recovery process.

    Likewise, what restrictions did you abide by to keep your non-operative shoulder functioning until the ope