Still In Pain - 7 Months Post-op

I had rotator cuff repair surgery and removal of bone spurs on right shoulder 7 months ago - 4/11/11.  I did all of my PT and continued exercises at home and am still in pain . . . all the time.  I don't feel any better than before I had the surgery. Everyone said I would be so glad I had the surgery . . . so far, I am not.  I can't wipe down a counter or do any simple cleaning, cooking, etc.  Yesterday, I was determined to make dressing for Thanksgiving and just the stirring of the dressing while it was cooking did me in.  I am still taking paid meds as I would not be able to function otherwise.  My surgeon has poo-pooed me ever since I had the surgery.  One visit he would say the pain was normal, the next time he would say I shouldn't be in that much pain.  I quit going to him as he just wasn't helpful and did nothing.  I think it's time to get a second opinion.  Bottom line . . . is there anyone out there that has had this surgery and still been in pain this long after surgery???  I keep telling myself I need to be patient, but my patience is wearing thin.  It just seems that I should be much better than I am after 7 months.  Thoughts, experiences???
vwobrock vwobrock 51-55 31 Responses Nov 25, 2011

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I had my surgery 1/3/14 w hich is the 2nd ( first was 18 yrs ago), had a full tear in cuff, a labruim tear, bicep tendon tear and bone spur and right now I'm sorry I had the surgery. Can't take any pain meds so I'm living on tylenol & Aleve. Still in PT & I too do it at home. Lifting a 1 lb. weight is absolutely awful...feels like a thousand pounds.

Had rotator cuff surgery on 2/7/14 on my right shoulder (my dominate side) the pain was bad especially the first night after the procedure once the nerve block wore off..... Had full tear repaired, bone spurs removed and decompression. Was in the sling for 4wks after surgery. Currently doing P.Therapy 2-3 times per week and do it at home as well. Do believe this is going to be a challenging process to over come and recover but I was in quite a bit of neck and shoulder pain so I needed to do the surgery. Trying to work at my job while in pain is tough.. and can be depressing as well...
I am glad that I came across this website believe I needed to communicate with people that are going through the same issues and can relate. Went back to work on reduced work schedule 4hrs per day 3/12/14 and this is definitely enough work while still trying to recovery & go to P. therapy 3 days per wk. My neck is still very tight on the right side & upper back near my shoulder and on down my back have muscle spasms daily use heat or ice, tens unit, pain medications and I pray.

I had surgery on my shoulder six weeks ago, and I now wish i never got it done, the pain is terrible at times, I've got to get up during the night for painkillers, I go to physio once a week, I just feel depressed and angry when I'm in pain, I wish I read this site before op, I would have cancelled it. I now need to keep going and hope I do have full use of my left shoulder and arm one day,I am due to see my surgeon next week, I will certainly raise concerns to him, I don't like taking painkillers but I have to, I'm just glad I'm not only one going through this, I wonder if surgeons and doctors look at this forum, and think again. I hope each and everyone of you get full recovery one day, but I'm telling people don't go for the op, I know I could have lived with it as I had it for three years.

Still in pain! I'm so grateful I found this site! I just had surgery and they found 1 tear and then a complete tear in half inside my shoulder socket and then they had to literally cut my bone. Had surgery on February 3rd and it is March 6th today. I'm still on paid meds which I can not stand, not a pill taker. BUT if I didn't I probably would be crying. Mornings are the worst due to I can not sleep with the sling any longer. Sleeping comfortably is very very hard. I wake up exhausted. I have 4 kids, 2 under the age of 6! This is so hard and painful, however, I'm grateful I found this site because I was already starting to think I did something to my shoulder after surgery! Seeing all of your posts I now know it is what it is, PAINFUL and LONG RECOVERY....Thank you all for posting and let's all get better soon! :)

Hi Maria, thought I would check in and update on my recovery, had mine nov 20 2013. Sutures anchor, bone shave, bursa etc...I thought I would never feel better, but, here I am, tho not nearly 100 percent, it's now march 9th, I FEEL so much better, it was only the last three weeks I really felt like I was starting to feel like I was moving forward, the bicep pain and stiffness which was a major problem finally subsided, for the past 5 pt sessions I have been working with weights, bands etc for strengthening, since my arm is still weak, there is still a stiffness and some pain there that I have to stretch out in the mornings, but it does take the pain away, it never used to, just cause me more pain, but the stretch helps now, It will be a while before I'm good to go with it, but since my last post, I have turned that corner, I make sure to stretch I use very light weights at home, do my stretching and then work hard at pt 3 times a week, it's not a fairy tale recovery, but it's mine and to all of you thinking it will never end, like I myself thought, the depression, the pain and the tears, I just wanted to maybe give a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, I feel better, my movement is for me, really good, I still pop Motrin and I still ice my arm because it does work..but that pain, that horrible soul killing pain is gone, I see the doctor on Tuesday and I'll be going back to work next Monday, my job can be very physical, I'm a bit nervous, wish my arm was stronger, but alas that workmans comp for ya, but I'm up and over that hump and rolling downhill and it feels good right now......Maria, it will get better, It is a long painful road, but you will get through it, I wish you all the best, I think my email is on the site if you have any questions, I'll check back and see how you all are doing, your stories really helped me through this, the good and the bad ones, so I just wanted to let know I am doing great and that you all will too, take care all, I'll check in again.

Hi Sparrow65, thank you for your comment and telling me your story, appreciate knowing you've made it to the other side! I went off the pain medicine yesterday. That aching, horrible pain is pretty much gone, except the mornings are still painful, however not enough to be on the pain meds still, which I'm happy for that! I appreciate you story and giving the details, I appreciate it. I was happy to find this sight and it really helped me feel that I wasn't alone. I felt like something was wrong as though I did something to my shoulder while I was sleeping or whatever, you know...So, let's see it's been since February 3rd and today is March 20th, I guess I'm not doing bad at all....I started PT last Thursday and I have it every Tuesday and Thursdays. It felt soooo good to go, yet it did hurt but again it felt good to get going on my PT! Thank you again for telling me your experience and happy with our getting through it! :)

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Im in the exact same position . I get better for a bit than out of nowhere slight soreness to pain full for a few days than back to feeling better but it always seems to reocure

I had rotator cuff surgery Dec 9 2013. Had a decent sized tear of the suprasinastrus. Repaired with arthroscopic surgery. Sutures tendon anchored to bone. 1st month just sling and lots of meds. Some complete passive motion with c p m chair. Pain at this time.....out of the roof. Could not go 4 hours without it. And it was heavy duty....o x y cotton. Started p t 6 weeks out. Pain was bad. But mental depression worse. I am very active and upbeat. It was dark. I pushed thru, got going, kept seeing each day as a new one. Had a great a p t and his office. 2 days there, 5 days at home. Don't stop. Do something, stretch or strengthen everyday. My doc liked me at 1 and 2 months...said normal progression. 10 week barrier was key. I hit 12 weeks before felt light at end of tunnel was at least visible. Don't give up. If you needed surgery, you had to have this. I am still 4 weeks away from returning to office carrier..I hope I can....I am doing everything g to make sure d that means hard work. Please get . Well

it is so nice to see I'm not the only one going through such pain post op. It has been 4 months since my surgery, open surgery with calcification and arthritis removed and torn tendons repaired. Work thinks I'm on vacation, HA!!! I wish! I've done 24 sessions of PT and still in pain, my range is better but not great. Now I am experiencing pain in what feels like my bicep...what is this???? Oh it just needs to get better, but I am told that it could take up to a year. Just trying to stay positive and keep busy because it does get depressing

Hi kell, it sounds like mine, I was getting the bicep pain and major stiffness, long story short my pt ended up telling me to do just a few gentle pullies, wall and towel stretches just enough to keep the rom and at my 3 weekly pt appts I would do the same thing, only the full reps and he would stretch me arm out, I did this for a week and a half and then went back to work outs, he thought I was over doing it and the inflammation would flare up too quickly, he gave it along break and it seemed to do the trick, I think I'm nearing 36 pt sessions and the past 5 I've only just finally felt normal, no set backs, so far so good, good luck to you!

Thank you for your words of encouragement. It's just a few weeks later and things are finally turning around for the better. I still have stiffness and some pain but not constantly every day....Thank God! Hoping I have 12 more PT sessions approved since now I think it will help even more. Good luck to you Sparrow!

Hi all. I had my right shoulder done in March of 13, large tear repaired as well as tear in bicep. Recovered from that nicely, long recovery though. Just had left done in Dec. of 13. In Feb of 14 I was starting to experience sharp pain in my right shoulder again, then getting gas one day I heard a LOUD snap and had excruciating pain. My right bicep, the long portion, ruptured. EEEEEK, lots of pain for about a week. Nothing to do for it, I now have a "Popeye" muscle in my right arm. Doesn't affect my lifting a whole bunch which is good. Like I said I just had the left side done, am four months out, about two months post op I fell directly on that shoulder in my dentist office. The anchors are all still in place but have not done an MRI to check if I injured soft tissues. But now I am having that familiar pain in the same place that I had in my right shoulder just prior to my bicep rupturing. This is slowing my recovery down due to pain issues. I know this all sounds awful, but my right side, which was worse off than the left is feeling a lot better!! The range of motion is all there, my only issue right side is the occasional muscle spasm in the bicep that ruptured but that is still a fairly new injury. I understand the frustration, it seems like when I take a few steps forward I get tossed back one. Your body will tell you what to do and when to ease up. Just need to listen to what it is telling you :-)

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Hi, I had rc surgery, anchor, bone shaved down on nov 20 3 times a week since 1 week after surgery, saw doc about 6 weeks after, who basically tried to drag my arm round my back, which it refused to do he then told me oh you're not stretching!!! Every day I stretch 3 times, pulleys, wands, wall climbs, extentions, lifts..I had severe inflammation and was given anti inflammatory, yep, oxymoron for rc repair...right now I am almost 8 weeks in, pt is a nightmare, but I go, come home, heat my shoulder, follow my stretching routine, not to much not too little, enough to make me unhappy, get it where I can stretch it all the way up the wall, which I was having probs with before, then ice ice ice..repeat x 3. Then off to bed only to wake up in pain feeling like I've lost all the movement I had the night before?! I'm still not lifting it all the way, can't raise my arm passed my shoulder yet, even then it will twinge and croak..I have pain trying to get comfy in bed, mornings are horrible, enough for tears sometimes, I do not want to get out of bed and move it, just the thought makes me ill, and still can't put my arm behind my's just pain and stuck, and I worry that this will be my life from here on in. Now in whining all of this, and dammit I have a right to whine! ...Do I think it's getting better, nope, not in the least...but...I can move it a little better than last week, pain is still there, still cry with it, but doesn't last as long, but I'm finding I can do little things, more movement with less pain every week, it just happens in tiny tiny little phases that we have to go through more pain to get but it has improved, I've learned that everyone is different, some major surgeries and repairs on here, some like mine, but the pain we are feeling is all very much's just takes time, lots n lots of time, and I hope to be a fully functioning member of the human race in 4 months...2 more weeks of pt then I see the doc again, not sure what he'll say, I'll worry about that when I get there, just keep plodding along, here's hoping good things for us all!

I had rotator cuff surgery on Jan 23, they also shaved down a bone spur as well. I go to PT 3 times a week, do my excercises at home and still my shoulder is not where they want it to be. muscles are still too tight and have a lot of pain when in therapy. I only had a small tear though. Did not think it would be like this. Still cannot sleep in my bed through the night. I can handle a couple hours and then back in my recliner. I see Dr. again the end of April. I am right handed and its my right arm and I feel so handicapped not being able to do things. I keep trying and trying. pain meds, ice, heat.... rest, getting very frustrated. So I know how you feel.

Surgery for bone spur, 2 major tears, done Sept 29 2013.16 weeks out, I can not believe the post op pain I'm in. I did have a cortisone shot Nov 19th, which has worn off. I can now raise my arm to wash my hair and to reach out and close the car door, but if I extend just a little bit too far, ouch! Very painful! Can't sleep on my arm very well or reach behind my back toward the 'bra strap' area, still have difficulty with taking my tops off over my head and putting my hair in a ponytail. I wish someone would post who has had surgery and can tell us, that it will just take a bit more time and we will all get better, but I've not seen a post like that yet. hum.... makes me skeptical about how long recovery will take or will I get frozen shoulder?

Hi ivythan, how are you feeling today, still in pain, or hopefully on well on the mend?

Surgery for bone spur, 2 major tears, done Sept 29 2013....16 weeks out, I can not believe the post op pain I'm in. I did have a cortisone shot Nov 19th, which has worn off. I can now raise my arm to wash my hair and to reach out and close the car door, but if I extend just a little bit too far, ouch! Very painful! Can't sleep on my arm very well or reach behind my back toward the 'bra strap' area, still have difficulty with taking my tops off over my head and putting my hair in a ponytail. I wish someone would post who has had surgery and can tell us, that it will just take a bit more time and we will all get better, but I've not seen a post like that yet. hum.... makes me skeptical about how long recovery will take or will I get frozen shoulder?

It is certainly reassuring to read these posts. I'm 13 weeks post op (major tear, bone spurs, cleanup) and agree is a tough recovery. I was worried that I may have experienced a re-tear or was not healing as expected. But as I read these post I see I am not alone.
I still have pain that i manage with Advil and ice. Muscle tightness in my neck and across the back of my ribs that drives me crazy! At night I now use a heating pad to relax the muscles along with a Tens Unit.
I will say that each day it is getting better. I've found that doing the home exercises daily is really helping me gain my ROM back. I'm still very limited in several motions but am determined to regain the full use of my arm. If not, why did I have the surgery? My PT therapist keeps telling me 6 months to a year for full recovery. It is frustrating, depressing, it is painful beyond description and at times I wanted to just give up. I just wish I would have been provided more information on the task of recovery before deciding to have the surgery.
I now believe it just takes time, rest and dedication to a home exercise program with the intention of full recovery. Good luck to all.

Thank you for your informative post! I am in my sixth month of recovery after surgery and am still experiencing pain. Thank goodness my doctor is giving me pain medicine because the pain I experience after the medicine wears off is excruciating!

Now that I see similar posts like mine, I feel better. It is scary and depressing to feel alone because of lack of information about recovery. To all those who are experiencing pain, please hang in there! Now I know that everyone heals at a different phase and the most deciding factor is the EXTENT of the surgery.

Although I am experiencing pain issues I am convinced my quality of life is better now. God Bless you all...............

Never again!!

Me too it's worse now then ever

I had cuff repair on 4/10/13. It has been more than 8 mo. And my shoulder hurts more now then it did before surgery

I have tennis elbow and now they tell me that I have bone on bone in my shoulder with bone spurs...I'm in a lot of pain...can't sleep, took shots and meds for inflammation....nothings working. I see some people are great with the surgery...but I don't think the doctors are telling the truth about recovery from these surgeries. I guess mines would be a different from a lot of people on here. I need a replacement. I'm very worried about this....I'm right handed and of course the elbow tendonitis and shoulder replacement.

I am feeling the same as you! Had 2 bone spurs removed, rotator cuff repair and bursa sac cleaned out. I'v done 3 months of Physical Therapy. My arm is strong, I just can't lift it up high anymore and I'm also in pain. I haven't take any narcotic pain meds at all. I know it's not the surgeon or therapist's fault. I just think it's rare to recover quickly from this surgery.

I'm a 52 year old male I had my right rotator cuff done 4 weeks ago, open surgery with patch, also removed several bone spurs. I have had bouts with my shoulder for years and finally decided to get something done. Funny how a month before surgery my shoulder was feeling pretty good so I became skeptical about having it done. But i had scheduled surgery so I did it. So far 4 week post op I would said no way I would do this again, it was brutal, And I still have considerable pain. I keep asking myself why the hell did I do this? But everyone I know that's had this done says hang in there it takes time. Start PT this week and it sounds painful. And I have found when on pain meds I want to do more than I supposed too. Well good luck to all. I hope in three months I will be posting something more positive : )

It's been 3 months for me....would never do it again. Hurts worse than before surgery.

I am a 52 year old female who had rtc surgery, repair of a bicep that had moved, and a spur removed on 11/13/2013. worse pain ever, slow recovery, and I still cant move my arm or lift it at all. and although pt keeps it moving, I am in incredible pain everytime I go and it takes a full day off of pain meds and rest to recover enough to let them work on it again. I have to take hydrocodon to even convince myself to go back in there, and even then, I cry before, during and after the session. I did not expect recovery to take this long, I thought by 4 weeks I could at least sleep in my bed or lift my arm enough to get dressed and showered. not at all, not even close. It is so good to hear that others are having trouble too, I was afraid it was something I was doing wrong, and I had followed all the rules. It was my right should and I am left handed, thank God, but still I cannot lift my arm at all. Thanksgiving was difficult, Christmas cookies are looking bleak and now it looks like my recovery won't be much improved until spring. anyhow, thanks for the posts, they help my peace of mind. this is the most painful surgery I have ever had, with a very very slow recovery time, the other arm will fall off before I would do this again. thinking of you all, good luck

I feel your pain!!!! I hurt so bad I just want to cry. I don't take pain meds, just tylenol. I'm supposed to get my left shoulder done but no way!!! Thinking of you too!!! Hang in there.

The only thing worse than this was being in labor. At least that had an end and you got a baby to take home. 7 weeks out and the pain is horrible!!

I had rotator cuff surgery 3.2.12. It was off the bone, had to get two screws with the fibers to sew it back on. Had 8 or 9 bone spurs removed. Did PT and have full range of motion and pretty good strength but oh my gosh I still have pain sometimes and my bicep will lock up!! I thought once I had surgery the pain would be gone and I'd no longer have to take pain meds.. guess I need another MRI but I have no clue what could be wrong. My neck on that side hurts as well and it hurts when I text :/

I'm so glad I'm not neck hurts so bad also and it makes it so difficult to do PT. I'm on 3 months of PT now and can't lift my arm and hurts so bad. Now being told I need to be put back to sleep and have manipulation of arm done!!!! Ughhhhhh.


I had a slap tear which they clipped and left, he said quite a few bone spurs, and bursitis. A painful surgery but after a bit I was starting to feel better. The pain on top of my shoulder never went away and he told me that is where most of the spurs were and it would hurt for quite awhile and the entire surgery would take at least 6-8 months, and many times an entire year. I just called the doctor today and told them it was the same pain and worse like I had before surgery. Which is why I saw the doc and had MRI in the first place. In a week it will be 6 months for me. I don't even have to move and I will get such a pain in my arm it will bring tears. It is either taking THAT LONG to heal, or something else is wrong. I am wondering if I had all those bone spurs could that have done damage to me somewhere else and maybe he didn't see it? To me this pain is not normal. Sometimes I can't even pick up my little Chihuahua, about pounds, because it hurts so bad and I've almost dropped her times. I am waiting for a return call from doctor office right now.

Dear vowbrock,
I had left rotator cuff repair 7 weeks ago. Am doing all the exercises instructed by the PT, and yet the pain down left arm is just as bad as before the surgery. Feel very depressed as I'm pretty sure I should be feeling some benefits from surgery by now. Seeing consultant in 3 weeks time, but i have no faith in things getting any better. Time will tell!!

i just had a rotary cuff shoulder surgery done 6 weeks ago and am not pleased at all this was a very bad experience for me still cant lift my arm or pick up anything heavy and am in pain everyday and cant sleep at all....what i know now i would of never done this and usually am a good healer but this has me out in left field

Had artho surgery Nov. 1, 2012 and still in pain-mostly upper arm so much I cry every day for 4 months now. Getting 2nd opinion- Dr. doesn't want to give any meds. pain is unbearable and I type all day. Orig. Dr. says there is nothing in upper arm. He didn;t do bicep like he was supposed to and never did MRI. 2nd Dr. is doing MRI of neck and EMG and XRAYS of neck, no-one wants to address where the pain is. still in PT 4 months and continuing I guess don't know results of anything yet. Hope to know soon..Wish I had never had this surgery.

I have had 5 rotator cuff surgeries on my right shoulder and the pain is worse than ever. Its nonstop and sleep is nearly impossible. All I can good luck. Hopefully you will find a dr that can help. P.s. Second opinions are always best.

I just had left shoulder rotator cuff surgery for torn muscule, tendon, and soft tissue. Also acriomnplasty done (sorry about the spelling.) on 1/18/12. I keep getting very bad pain like 10 out of 10 pain scale level. I get this like pinched nerve feeling that goes all the way down my arm and into my fingers. I don't know what else to do!!!! I thought that by now i would have a little less pain!!!! Also now I am having problems with my right shoulder!!!! Anyone else having this problem?

damn... This surgery really sux, but at the same.. chances are that if you didn't go thru with the surgery, the damage will just get worse. That happened to me. Bot. of my rotator cuffs were torn and had surgery on the worst one first. I waited about 1 1/2 yrs before finally getting the first one done, and I went from initially being told the sling would be on for 4 weeks, to after the surgery being told it was a grade 3 tear, the worst one, and they almost closed it back up without fixing it. Now the sling is on for 6 weeks. Surgery was 01/12/12. So far i'm doing pretty good, except for the sleeping sitting up. that really sux. Therapy is extremely important to not get the frozen shoulder syndrome. Even at home, look for things you can do to keep it limber.. that makes a huge difference. And ice... ice is your best friend with this, and extremely important. Don't push your shoulder beyond what hurts.. there is the *good* pain like lifting weights.. working out, and there's the bad pain when you go..oh ****..that wasn't good. Don't go

If you've had the surgery and things just are not going the way you expected, and it seems like painful hurdle after painful hurdle.. I would seriously recommend seeing another surgeon for a 2nd opinion on what's going on in there if the pain is still bad and movement isn't where it should be. Remember.. when it comes down to it, it's YOUR body, and you make the ultimate decisions that are in your best interests.

Hi i had surgery for a rotator cuff tear on 12/08.2011, after my op the surgeon came to see me and told me there was more damage than showed on the mri scan so a lot more to repair, like you i too have done all the pyhiso also when allowed i started to go to the pool and i devised some exorsises to do in water which have helped a lot but still having a lot of pain in my shoulder along with restricted movement , last friday the surgeon gave me a steroid injection and the pain is a lot less but still cant put my hand behind my back ?. surgeon now tells me more surgery may be required really dont fancy that so feel i will have to put up with what ive got ...

vwobrock... it's your body, and I would look for another surgeon..maybe do some research and see who is best qualified in your area and go in for a second opinion. You can get a copy of your original MRI scan for free. They'll put it on a DVD for you. Get that and take it with you. The second surgeon will most likely take an xray to get an idea of what's going on and compare to the MRI, and probably order another MRI to see what's really going on in there. I wish you the best :)

I am very sorry about your pain! When I hadn't heard from anyone else, I was hoping it was just me! Yes, my shoulder mildly pops, enough that I can hear and feel it and, yes,my by bicep and whole upper arm hurts all the time. I work full-time and put all my energy into work and then fall into bed around 8:30 p.m. because of dealing with the pain all day and then being in pain at night. It's been 8 months, and it really is "old". I would feel better about it if I was ANY better than I was before my surgery but I'm not. I still can't wipe down a counter, etc. and daily hygiene-kind-of-stuff without pain. I plan on getting a second opinion but I have elderly parents who need care right now, and they need to come first. I guess I was still hang on until I can get to another doctor. Thanks for responding!