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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 47 Responses Nov 25, 2011

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I had my shoulder surgery 12/26/13. It's been almost a year of the most excruciating pain of my life. The doc who did the surgery told me if all of his shoulder patients turned out like me, he would quit doing the surgeries. He also offered to go in and recut my biceps tendon so I would know what real pain felt like. I switched docs. Now I have an orthopedic surgeon saying it's a nerve issue. A physical medicine specialist saying it's the shoulder and I need more surgery. The ortho refuses to read the report from the physical medicine doc. And the pain management specialist and I are left twiddling our thumbs. Well, that was until yesterday. I went to reach back to put my coat on and felt an explosion in my shoulder. My husband said I turned ghostly white and I thought I was going to pass out. Went to the pain management specialist and he is now emphatic it's my shoulder, not a nerve. He put me in a sling and told me to go to the ortho ASAP. Just waiting for the ortho practice to open so I can be told not to listen to a non-surgeon and I just need to give my shoulder more time to heal. I've almost lost my job over this. I'm having to switch departments to a job with less repetition. Thank you for posting your stories. I feel for all of you. However, I'm finding some comfort in knowing I'm not imagining all of this because the ortho doc certainly made me feel that way.

I had Rotator Cuff surgery May 28 2014. I got injured at work in March. I've completed PT and was lifting weights and felt a pull in my bicep area. I got another MRI and to dr said my capsule could get tightened but, he doesn't want me to get frozen shoulder. In May 2009 I tore my capsule and labrum, same shoulder. I've been out of work for 9 months now...and honestly, I don't think I'll be going back. They ordered me a Functional Capacity Exam and I think I failed it with flying colors! Can't even get 8 lbs over my head without tears falling down my face. I feel trapped. It's almost like I forgot what a normal shoulder feels like...I feel pain is normal. I after 6 months post op hurt worse than when I got injured...I don't know if it'll get any better. :(

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I had surgery in January 2014 and am still experiencing shoulder soreness especially after lifting something heavy. I had a small tear in my right shoulder from bone spurs and had a ligament removed.. I can lift my arm over my head. It is when I take it to side like reaching that it is sore.

Your post is from 2011. I had the same surgery on the same shoulder as you. I too am 7 months out. I had surgery Apr 7, 2014. It now Nov 15, 2014. Like you, I went through the painful PT and have continued using dumb bells and tension bands at home 2-3 times a week. I take 3 pills in the morning for inflammation pain. It seems to do the trick until I start using my arm. Then it aches in the shoulder and bicep. My surgeon said the recovery is 9 months to a year. If I still had pain after a year, he would give me a cortisone shot in the joint. I had a small tear in my left shoulder and a cortisone shot did the trick. I guess the advice is to avoid the surgery if possible, but if you can't, expect a lot of pain for many months. It is hard to be patient.

I had surgery June 30 2014. Still can't sleep in so much pain. Can't raise arm over shoulder height. Can't wipe counters etc without pain. Wish I never had this surgery. Now dr says it is retorn and needs surgery again. I'm stuck.

My daughter 15 had surgery in Feb 14 to remove bone spurs,was told 9 months to recover and she'd be able to return to swimming competitively, she's still in so much pain, recently she can't sleep and was in tears this morning with the pain.

I'm in pain

I had rotator cuff surgery on the right shoulder on August 11, 2014. I haven't started PT & can't imagine what it's going to be like because of manipulating the shoulder. I haven't slept since before the surgery because of being in so much pain. I keep trying to go off the pain meds but it gets so intense with the nerves pulsating that it's unbearable. I too was glad to find this group. I have been very specific with the physician about the pain & numbness down to the hand. They look at you like you're imagining the pain or have never heard a response like that from a patient.
There are times that the nerves pulsate from my ear down the arm & over the shoulder. I keep wondering: When will this turn a corner and get better???? The physician states to be careful and not to fall over the winter. I kept wondering if my experience was rare. Now I'm worried that my right shoulder will never be the same after reading all the other comments. Is there anyone who has had success from this procedure? The question is: Who do you go to for help, help with pain management (vs. pain medication), or to get an optimistic viewpoint? The pain medication does not take the pain away, it merely makes me sleepy.

You are two months behind me. I'm in pain. Its 1am. I took pain and nausea pill. Right shoulder, nine anchors. Just a simple fall. Shredded rotator cuff. 53 yrs old. Great shape.
Pt goes well. But the pain refers to bicep. Strange. But all body parts are connected.
All the pain you reference I have. No golf swing yet. Just keep plugging. I hear it's a 50/50 proposition on recovery. I want to win. I ,too, ask when does pain arc occur. I'm going to win doc to get off the vocoprofin. It's addicting. And I on.y take one a day.

I had surgery for rotator cuff almost 2 years ago. I am still in a lot of discomfort & pain. The pain is worse in the morning, still taking at least 1 pain pill a day just to be able to get out of bed & function. My dr told me I am a slow healer, 2 years come on I went to the hospital & got a copy of my surgical report, for free, & am going to get a second opinion, only because after the rotator surgery, I had to have elbow surgery for tennis elbow. I say go for second opinion. good luck

Back again,Had my workmans comp IME the doctor did not even check my range of motion I told him that I,m still in a lot of pain he said stop going to PT so much just do it at home my self got my report back the ******* said That I had a mild partial causally related disability 25% I cant lift my left arm more than half way with out being in major pain he also said that I can work as long a I don't lift my arm over my head I need to lift my arm be cause at my job I need to climb all day long , now 3 months post op I told my surgeon about the pain I'M still in,he says I need to get more aggressive with my PT that its me, asked him for another MRI he said no maybe in six weeks . what the hell one ******* doc says one thing the other says another now I have to go before a judge and try to get 50% disability so maybe I can maybe pay my bills I was better off not getting the surgery non stop pain

your story is the twin to mine , honestly while i was reading it , my jaw dropped

Make the third.

I had rotator cuff surgery aug 29th. 2013 about eight months ago , a work place accident was the cause , I still cannot carry a 16 ounce drink at waist or mid chest height for more than like 3 to 5 minutes with that arm before being in really bad pain on a scale of 1 to 10 it easily approaches 8and will pass that if I dont remove the load ! , I had a very good doctor , but he also told me they seldom come out good ! will be better as it is put back togeather but not repaired ! it will never be the same again ! as 50 to 55 % of patients experience a retear ! and an office worker or a grocery clerk would be in that 55% so with me being a professional mechanic on heavy machinery , I can never do the work as before the accident ! your not alone ! mine has been 8 months . and not improving doc took an MRI with dye and am waiting for the results , and to see if he says surgery again !

I had surgery August 9, 2013 to repair a full rotator cuff tear, SLAP tear- my labrum was torn clean off the bone and shredded, and a biceps tendon tear. This was a gymnastics injury and at almost 9 months out, I wish I wouldn't have had surgery. I have been in PT since 2 weeks post-op and while I have made major advances compared to where I started after surgery, I am nowhere near recovered. I was still training all 4 gymnastics events the night before surgery and now they are telling me that I may never go back. I was in the mondo sling for a little over 3 months, couldn't lay flat for about 5 months and still don't sleep well due to the shoulder. My external rotation is terrible, I can't lift much more than 5 pounds in my surgery arm and I can't do anything overhead. At my last PT session three days ago my therapist was checking my strength and while doing it something popped and I have been in terrible pain ever since. I'm worried something is wrong but there's no way in hell I will ever do this surgery again. It's absolutely brutal and I wish it on no one. I felt way better than this pre-op.... I hope everyone else recovers better!

With nine anchors, I fear that pop. And I did same thing. Shredded all of it, rotator,slap,labrum and the other thing. 4 hour surgery. Nightmare

I have had two rotator cuff surgeries within seven months of each other and a manipulation done. Dr. Wants to do another manipulation but it is workman comp so I am seeing another Dr. Which I am happy about. I had two tears and bicep was off the bone. I have been in therapy for 26 weeks total. Still have bad range of motion and pain in my bicep and swelling all the time. Anyone know why the bicep hurts?

I also wake up every morning and my arm is numb is this normal?

I had my surgery on 2/14/14.one major tear almost complete tear,one 50% tear,torn bicep that was released,bone spur shaved down,9 weeks post op, PT 3 times a week still in major pain .I cannot life my arm more than half way,something has to be wrong,cannot do anything with my left arm,have a tough time reaching over to my right side to wash under my arm, I'm ready to give up, have not had a good nite sleep in three months from when I first hurt it, well good luck to all

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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!...lol....actually 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 work...post 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 2013....pt 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 back..it'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 real...it'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.

Everyones story sounds like mine. However, I've had 3 rotator cuff repairs with the third repair placing anchor/sutures. Its now been around a year since the third repair and trust me, third time is not a charm. I'm in so much pain that I myself cry daily. When I lie down, I can no longer move my arm, I have to take my left hand to pick up my right arm to move it. I can't lie on the right side from the pain. I myself will probably just deal with it because I will never go back to that doctors office in Indianapolis. St. Francis Orthopaedics is the most uncaring individuals but then its a doctors office? I never get to see the surgeon only the PA's. The last time that I went (November 2013) I was told that there was nothing else that they could do for me at this time, that if I was in that much pain that I needed to see a Pain Management Specialist. Well, needless to say, I'm not seeing either and just living with the pain.

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