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Rehab Is Tough!!

Ok, I'll start and maybe someone else will share. As of Tuesday, Dec. 15th, I am 6 weeks post op. I had spurs and 2 large tears in my rotator cuff. I did the sling thing for 6 weeks and have just started strength training this week. I have had 3 knee replacements and this surgery is by far the most painful of any. I can hardly raise my arm and have constant pain. I have confidence in my physical therapist, but it is very difficult to not get discouraged with the slow progress. I should have done my homework before surgery- I was thinking I would be well on my way to normalcy in 6 weeks. Now I realize I am just getting started with the REAL rehab part. Sure could use some encouraging words from someone who might be further along or even completely recovered!!

j2judybug j2judybug 56-60, F 227 Responses Dec 17, 2009

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I had rotator cuff surgery 2 months ago and have been in phy. therapy since. I still need pain meds, therapy is very painful, and I need 2 MORE months of it.

I had a Partial Shoulder Replacement Surgery about 5 and a half weeks ago. Still in pain, muscles cramping up like crazy, and still can't raise my arm yet. I start outpatient PT soon.

This has been the most painful thing I have ever gone through. I had an accident and my shoulder bones completely crumbled. There was nothing left for them to repair. They had to do the partial replacement. My elbow was also badly fragmented, and I ripped two major tendons in the arm. They also weren't sure if my wrist was broken. It was a bad accident.

I have broken other bones in my life, but this shoulder is the most painful thing I have ever had. The surgery cuts into nerve lines, so there's tons of nerve pain. The cramping doesn't even let up much with Flexeril. Morphine only helped somewhat after surgery. They've had me on enough codeine and naproxen to kill and I'm still in pain. I have a high pain threshold and this pain has nearly driven me suicidal. Can't sleep well, too, because I have to sleep on my back. I wouldn't recommend this surgery to anyone. I wonder every day if I made a huge mistake doing it. Shoulder surgery is pure hell on earth.

Sorry to hear of your accident and how much pain you have. Please see my post from September 26, which I am seeing as two posts below yours on this website. Your shoulder WILL make progress, as long as you follow your therapist's instructions to the letter. (Maybe you shouldn't be trying to raise your arm yet except as instructed.) All of a sudden, around week 10, I started feeling SO much better. At 17 weeks I still have a little bit of pain, especially when I first get up in the morning - who knows what I do to my shoulder in my sleep! Other than that, my range of motion is returning and I am a little stronger. I was just discharged from going to the therapist and follow up visits to the surgeon. I am supposed to continue with my daily therapy for the next two weeks and then drop down to three times a week, forever, to keep both shoulders strong. So, have heart!

Thanks. I had my first out patient therapy session today. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, but I'm feeling it somewhat now. My surgeon said usually around 12 weeks you get better. I'm now about six weeks, so it will be awhile.

My second therapy session was awful. The therapist pushed me too much, and he massaged the surgical site too hard and it's still swollen a day and a half later. All the arm swelling is worse, and the muscle cramps have not let up since, the meds aren't working on it or my pain. I have been crying and suicidal all day. I don't have to go back for almost a week. I hope I'm recovered enough for it. But I'm going to have to tell them I can't be pushed like that. I literally wish I was dead. Therapy shouldn't make you worse like this. I would never in a thousand years recommend this surgery. It's not worth this hell. And I still can't raise the arm, which was the point of doing it in the first place.

I still have severe pain and swelling since Monday's PT. I left a message canceling this week's PT appointment. And I let my surgeon's office know they really injured me. All the healing progress I had has been destroyed. I have heat and swelling at the surgical site since the therapist messed with it. The muscles all around it have gone back to how they were after my surgery, all cramped and tight. And I have real sharp pain in the whole area if I try to do anything. I even had where the joint felt loose and it made a scary popping sound today. The therapist ruined me.

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I had Rotator cuff surgery too about 3 weeks ago. This was to repair a tear incurred when I dislocated my shoulder as a result of tripping on a cord. The MI showed additional older tear and I was told that "fresh" tears are much easier to treat successfully than old ones. I had two sites treated orthoscopically and one long incision for the old tear that required removing some bone spurs etc. The surgeon considered the surgery to be 90% successful for the old tears and 100% for the fresh one. The pain afterwards is just as others told here. Unbelievable. They never warn you about that or the lengthy recovery - probably for fear that people will reconsider the need for the surgery, which frankly, I did and do. I know I have to give it lots more time, but patience is not my strongest suite, alas. Interestingly, the surgeon believes in aggressive PT and had me do my first PT session 5 days following the surgery (passive movements only). Two weeks later, they have me on the pulleys but without exercising strength, just stretch. I should say that, with the help of the pain killers (hydrocodone and IBuprofen combination (alternating) I was able to write (slowly and with difficulty) a day after the surgery as well as type some on the computer. That was necessary for me due to a serious deadline (bad planning on my part). Am still in tremendous pain part of the time - especially when trying to get some sleep - no different than others described. I do wish I had some better help at home - my husband has his own health issues and can only do so much. Yesterday though I was able to visit the gym for the first time since my surgery (am very antsy without exercise). Used just the treadmill (holding on with one arm), weight lifting with the good arm, curls and stretches. I must say it made me feel much better overall - just to get moving. So I do recommend for those who are into that sort of thing. Today, however was a bad day - had to go back on the hydrocodone to get some sleep and typing is a bit hard (though I was able to arrange my computer for a more ergonomic positioning). I just wish I could talk to the doctor more often (like call him every few hours to share state of mind? ha!). MY PT I should say is great - small place, lots of attention and patience with my complaints (and I am both talkative and descriptive!). Well, more later - oh yes, the stories here were really helpful - good to know I am not alone.

Have hope, everyone. It is October 26 and my left rotator cuff repair was July 17, ten weeks and one day ago. I have experienced the same as you: sleepless nights, painful therapy, some very painful days, especially in the morning. All of a sudden, just this past week, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I have less pain, just a little in the morning, and sleep longer. My range of motion is getting better. It's not where I want to be yet, but much improved. I can put my hair in a ponytail, I can do non-weight-bearing chores, and, since yesterday, I can sit in the passenger seat of a car and fasten/unfasten the seatbelt all by myself. Getting dressed is easier. I'm starting to get back into my own life instead of sitting home all day and going "poor me - I'll self-medicate with food." (major weight gain!) I have gone back to the elliptical at the gym, will do a partial ballet class three times a week starting in October, and get back to water aerobics the week after that. Everything will be modified to avoid putting weight or strain on my left shoulder, but the end is in sight.

I hit the 1-10,000 bad lottery. My nerve block went into wrong nerve, and my body immediately shut down. My wife collapsed when she saw me in ER. after 1 minute I stopped breathing at the surgery center. They put in the breathing tube , and I got to the ER after 35 minutes. I was unresponsive for 2 1/2 hours, and my blood pressure dropped to 40/60, and pulse was 30 beats/minute. When I came to, I thought the surgery was finished, and I was in recovery. Only after seeing 6 of my loved ones in the room, did I realize I was in trouble. I couldn't hear anything and was paralyzed full body. Eventually my odd arm came to , followed by my legs, then my operating arm. And then my senses returned. I had a CAT scan ( which I hated because of radiation exposure), it was negative for stroke. The ER were great. My anthesiologist not so great. I didn't realize that missing the correct nerve could be almost fatal. Now I know. I will deal with that initial pain after surgery, rather than take a crazy risk that could be deadly. I'm still needing to reschedule, but most probably with another doctor. Stay tuned for more updates. Ray K

I had rotator cuff surgery on August 11, 2015. I am a 68 year old golfing female. I prepared by getting a long handled shoe horn, fabric velcro to replace buttons on blouses, a gizmo that attaches to the sink to was wash utensils, lots of soft pillows, and a flat spongy washing pad at CVS and body wash. It's difficult to get the usual bathing tools to slide in under the arm. The most important thing you need in the first 3 weeks is someone to take care of you. You can't do anything yourself. Be sure to take a stool softener because of the pain pills. It's been one month since my surgery and I not even close to sleeping in a bed. I slept sitting up on the couch for 3 weeks. Stack a pile of pillows next to you and place a small soft pillow on top. You can grab on to that one and rest your head on it. If your feet are flat on the floor you'll get bad swelling in your legs and ankles. Try to prop your feet up if you can. I finally made it to the recliner 2 nights ago. Sleeping is much better now. Yes. The pain is bad but the pills help a lot. Remember, crying is OK. I did that frequently the first 2 weeks. I started PA 10 days after the surgery. Yes, it's painful. But after each visit I can see how my ROM has improved. Go to a small PT facility where you'll get personal attention. Do your exercises faithfully if you want to get your life back. My surgeon said to me after surgery, " My job is done. Now it's up to you." Above all, don't do anything stupid that may undo the surgery. I've heard many stories about people feeling good a few months after surgery and trying to do heavy lifting. Rip! Good luck to all in this exclusive club. Things will get better over time.

had rotator cuff surgery July 29 most painful recovery ever. Sleeping is difficult from get go. And tougher surgery if you are independent like me. Can't get myself out of the sling can't get blouses on without help. Driving is awfulness difficult. May have to have shoulders replacement because of deteriorating bones. I'm 62 And work three jobs.

I'm eight weeks post op and still in a lot of pain. I'm taking Advil and one Percocet daily. I just want to add that I bought a wedge pillow and it was a life saver, since I was in bed most of the first three weeks! I'm struggling with depression and frustration since the surgery, but am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Woow!!!thanks! this blog has helped me prepare for my rc surgery,on 8-17-15....looks like I'm in for a lot of pain

I had rotator cuff surgery 10/6/15. I was in so much pain the first night I had to go back to hospital and be admitted for pain control. 2 doses of a strong IV narcotic and then increasing the Percocet to 2 every 4 hours did the trick. I now have a healthy fear of pain. Some people around me and my primary doctor look at me funny if I say I take more than one or two doses a day of pain med. My doc even suggested that I try Tylenol! Some people have no clue!

I'm glad to hear I am not alone. When the nerve block of my arm wore off, I was in an ambulance on my way to the ER. The pain was unbearable. They put in and IV and gave me morphine and a muscle relaxer and an anti inflammatory. I really don't think the doctors should be sending us home the same day of surgery. This is a very painful and complex procedure and without a LOT of dedicated help at home and strong pain relief, there will be problems. For the cost of the ambulance and emergency room (well over $4,000) staying in the hospital 24 hours probably would have been less expensive.

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Fractured shoulder into pieces and broke it off at humerus. Emerg surgery in France to plate and pin which i chose over replacement shoulder. 5 weeks in and feeling anxious and depressed even though i tell myself it could have been worse. PT is painful and slow. And this may not work if blood supply to shoulder ceases. Missing work and feeling normal. Feel as though i am grieving for a loss. Then tell myself off for being impatient etc. It has been a tough few weeks and getting pain meds right is hard. Patience and being tough i guess...not my strong points

I had RTC surgery on 12/22/14 to repair 2 small tears and 1 large tear that needed to be re-anchored to the bone, and it has been 12 weeks of misery. My doctor had me start PT at 6 weeks. I advise anyone that is going to have this type of surgery to please research your PT beforehand. I wasted 5 weeks at a place that was very unprofessional. The facility was very cramped to the point that the tables were less than 2 feet apart and it was very uncomfortable and embarrassing to be so close to other patients. The staff acted like clowns doing comedy routines or miserable and bossy. They'd have music blaring and children running around the place. I did not feel like I was getting 1-on-1 attention regarding my issue. I'd be there for 1 1/2 hrs doing exercises that I could do at home and I felt no progress was being made.My dr was very upset that at 3 weeks of PT that I was unable to lift my arm, so wanted them to be more aggressive. Another 2 1/2 weeks and they're still doing the same exercises, with no improvement. I decided to go to a different place and within 5 minutes he was able to diagnose that my pectoral muscle is locked up and that until we can get it to relax, I won't be able to life my arm or bend my elbow up and back. I'm so angry about so much time being wasted. I just hope that I don't have to have more surgery to correct this locked muscle. I see the dr in a few days so hopefully this is something that can be fixed without surgery.I wish that I had found this blog before I had my surgery. I had no idea how painful recovery would be and how difficult and uncomfortable sleeping would be. I ended up getting a pinched nerve in my lower back from the weird sleeping position and would have excruciating, stabbing pain in my front upper thighs. I'm on percocets 5 and naproxen 500, but still having a little nerve pain in my back and in the area where they made the tear repairs. I had been using ice packs up until a couple weeks ago, but now I use a heating pad. I highly recommend Sunbeam electric heating pad for neck and shoulder. It gets really hot and can be draped over my shoulder, and place on my lower back.I'm supposed to go back to work in a week, but I don't know how I'm going to survive. I only work in an office using the computer, but I'm just so miserable and having pain. I know that I'll need to ween myself off the pain meds, but how can I do that if I have to focus on work, to. I'm so stressed out and depressed.

Sorry to hear what you're going through. I had rotator cuff surgery in mid January of 2015. Tear, plus calcium buildup and shaving of my ecromium to allow full range with my arm. The first 6 weeks were tough. A lot of pain, difficulty sleeping. Went into rehab 2 weeks after the operation. Began with passive movements and physical manipulations by my therapist. One important thing: make sure you are comfortable with your PT person. I started with one person - didn't like him and switched rehab facilities right away. You're going to spend the next six months with your therapist, so make sure you are happy. Can't emphasize this enough. Didn't think the pain and discomfort would last so long. I have just now entered the second phase of treatment. I'm pretty aggressive with my therapy - do it religiously, but almost screwed it up by pushing to hard. Went to the doctor to see if I re-tore because I experienced a sharp feeling of pain in the anterior shoulder, but luckily I dodged a bullet. But the doctor and therapist told me to pull back a little on my therapy. Remember, once you start feeling pain, don't push anymore. I would push past the pain and that's not a smart thing to do. The biggest risk of re-injuring is in the first 3-5 months, so be careful in your PT. I've learned my lesson. This experience really makes me appreciate my health. Hopefully, I'll be back in shape in the six month mark. I certainly appreciate everyone's comments here and knowing that I'm not the only one going through this painful process.

Dear Dayna,

It's 2:12 am and I should be sleeping. I'm not...and the reason I'm not is because my shoulder aches.

I too had shoulder surgery, 2/25/15, and I'm still miserable. I wish I had never done this. I'm supposed to go back to work on 4/27. I feel like I'm completely defeated psychologically. It's like climbing a mountain that has no summit. It's demoralizing.

Just wanted you to know I completely get it and I hope you feel better soon.


Hopefully you're doing great now. And its all a blur.

Sorry for your experience. I'm just 6 wks out day after tomorrow and my injury was last June and just had surgery 1/28/15. Very painful 4-5 wks and now that arm shoulder is not having much pain, my neck is really tight and hurts now. PT to start this wk. Right after surgery, instructed to do passive ROM 5 minutes 5 x's a day. I know this has helped.
Do your PT, and try and be patient with yourself. Hang in there.

Also, when coming off narcotic, come down slowly, don't go cold turkey. The withdrawal was "hell." Titration is a must. If on 2 pills 4 -6 x's a day, decrease I.e. 2 pills 3x's a day etc, or ask your dr or pharmacist how you should do this. Go slowly.

I had my right shoulder rotatorcuff surgery back in May of last year and it was one of the worst surgery I had. I had a 3rd torn, bone spur and arthritis and after the surgery I went in for Physical therapy . It was a long process, I was going twice a week and for about 4 1/2 months. I had my second back surgery in Sept. a few months later, and I suffer more with the rotator cuff surgery than the back surgery.I am very prayerful that it will get better with

I had it on nov 14th I cry I cant drive my stick shift car I doubt if I could drive automatic. The pt is a crying event also. I have never had to let someone else take care of me its nice but also hell.. almost like being a prisoner it seems . I just thought they were giving me a worse case scenario saying I couldnt drive or do anything. Im so depressed it feels like I will never get better. I had one of the best ortho surgeons in Cincinnati and he was wonderful. I hope you feel better soon.

Had complete tear repair on October 23rd. My pain is in my bicep. Anyone else with this problem? I thought 3 week post op I would be much better...when does the pain go away!

Wow! I can relate. After going to PT for nearly 4 1/2months and learning everything that was taught to me there , I begin to feel better. So, I continue at home doing those same routines.. it has made my pain much bearable.

I am 8 weeks since RCS and sleeping is very difficult. My shoulderhurts. My clavicle hurts. My bicep hurts and my ELBOW kills me. Sometimes I have pain in the wrist also.

I'd just seen my surgeon, and I was preparing to have my fifth knee surgery, when I slipped and fell while shooting baskets in my driveway; the fall was attributed to some old, worn basketball shoes. I tried to break my fall with my right hand, which is my dominant hand. I could not lift my arm after the fall, so I visited my surgeon the next day. He determined that I'd torn my rotator cuff and moved the shoulder repair up on the priority list. An MRI later confirmed that the supraspinatus was fully detached from the humerus.
I had surgery about a month after the fall. The first week after the surgery was difficult. I'd purchased a cryo machine (Donjoy Iceman) to minimize pain, but getting to sleep at night in a recliner was still uncomfortable. Also, the sling I was initially provided after my surgery didn't abduct the arm, so I had lots of swelling in my forearm. To reduce the swelling, a physical therapist applied a cryo-cuff to my arm during a couple visits and recommended that I temporarily place a towel between my arm and my side. I immediately purchased a Breg Atlas Universal sling to abduct the shoulder - extremely comfortable sling that doesn't tug on your neck. I highly recommend the Breg sling (about $75).
I started passive range of motion exercises during week two (pendulums only), then my surgeon had me visit the therapist twice a week starting week three for more aggressive passive range of motion to loosen up the shoulder - ouch, very painful. I've been doing some of the exercises at home more frequently recently, in part to make my PT visits more tolerable. I apply heat for about five minutes before performing the exercises then I apply ice after exercising.
In terms of everyday life, I've gotten use to the inconvenience of not being able to use my right arm. My wife helps me bathe, and I was able to return to my desk job after two weeks (typing and maneuvering the mouse with one hand is not fun). Eating, brushing my teeth, and dressing myself are no longer that difficult. Lack of sleep, which is less of an issue now (getting around six hours per night) and boredom, since I'm usually very active, have been my biggest challenges. I'm hoping to be out of the sling next week.

I have a cryosurgery, and use two frozen water bottles instead if ice. Works great and is much less messy. Two in the freezer to rotate, two in the cryocuff "thermos".

Sorry - I have a cryocuff, not cryosurgery. Darn Percoset. ;)

I too am 6 weeks post op and have the same pain and awful crunching. Very hard getting by when alone.

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I am 59, in good shape, and scheduled for surgery in 10 days. I live alone and am wondering if I can handle this on my own. Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.

I would suggest you have a nurse/aid if your insurance covers it. I don't know what I would have done without my husband. I spent the first week basically sedated with narcotics and did not do anything myself. I have a high pain tolerance and this is the most painful experience I have ever had. I wish you well!


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The rehab in particular has been painful at times to this point (five weeks postop). Getting everything prepared at home is a major key to easing general discomfort: Sling that abducts the arm (Breg Atlas Universal), cryo therapy machine used at regular intervals (also bought Breg Polar Shoulder Wrap), recliner, pillows, meds, short sleeve button up shirts one size larger than normal, practice using the non-injured shoulder/hand if the dominant arm is affected, healthy foods, etc. Mentally, I constantly tell myself that the process is temporary, which helps me get through my PT visits and home rehab sessions.

i had my surgery three days ago. If not for my hubby, I would be lost. This very painful and just this morning my sling slipped while I was peeing and i banged my shoulder against the wall. I usually avoid pain meds but I cant get by without them. I cant even walk without the sharp pain. Please be sure you have someone within yelling distance. Take care Ken!

I am 8 days post op and doing well. I have only been taking pain meds in the evening and at night. I still can not sleep in a bed the recliner is where I can get the best sleep. The one thing that had me freaking out before surgery was I could not wipe my butt with my other hand. Turns out they make a device for that found one on Other things that are good to have on hand before surgery are: floss sticks, prepare meals ahead and freeze them, bath brush on a stick, pants that you can pull up and down with one hand, plenty of large ice packs (amazon,com) button down or zip up shirts, slip on shoes and practice doing stuff with one hand before surgery! Oh and practice putting the sling on by yourself. I feel confident enough right now to be on my own only after one week. The first few days after surgery you defiantly need someone around to help.

Depends if you are left or right handed. toughest things are getting dressed and sleeping. Make sure you stock up on short sleeve shirts with buttons and tank tops and shorts. Think of all your daily activities and how you will modify them. I am 3 weeks post and lots of pain still.

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Great to hear everyone's experience following surgery. My condition was a result of coming off my horse during training for jumping - classic case of horse going left instead of straight at the jump and me going down and landing on my shoulder. An MRI showed a full tear and retraction of the supraspinatus, bone spur, and tear of the bicep tendon. Prior to surgery, about 2 months after the injury, the shoulder was starting to become frozen so I was required to have PT to increase the range of motion to reduce post surgery complications. Surgery was a breeze - until they woke me up. Actually the first 10 to 14 hours was tolerable as a result of the nerve block. I elected to purchase a "cold therapy machine" which I still use now 5 weeks after surgery. This is a device which has a bucket you fill with ice and water connected with a hose to a type of vest you wear. A pump in the bucket circulates the cold water through the vest providing hours of cold therapy. This has been critical to help manage the pain. It is a "must have" for anyone about to have this type of surgery. My post surgery pain was sever once the nerve block wore off so I started taking Percocet to help manage the pain. I had requested my prescription to be the 10/325. This gives more bang than the 5/325 with the same amount of Tylenol. Sleep was not an option for the first few days following surgery. I couldn't sit for long in a recliner and I couldn't lay down. I resorted to sitting with a foam roll positioned to help prop my head so I could get brief naps while sitting up. Oh, I should mention here the importance of taking a stool softener while taking the pain medication. The doctor or PA don't always share this essential advice. I started PT after 4 weeks limited to passive movement. My physical therapist is highly educated and well trained with a lot of experience working with rotator cuff injuries and surgery patients. Being selective and picking the right PT is another nugget of advice. So, here I am awake at 12:41 am because I took 2 Percocet due pain and can't sleep writing to share my story. The up side is now after about 5 weeks I can sleep in bed on my stomach with the support of several pillows to help position my arm. Although I become a little depressed due to the physical constraints I always come back to celebrating the small improvements that come when they come. It is a slow process for recovery due to the need of the tendon to reconnect to bone. A business saying comes to mind - slow is fast and fast is slow. Go slow to go fast in your healing.

i just had left rotator cuff surgery arthroscopically 3 days ago. Had much more severe tear on right shoulder with open surgery 15 years ago and recovered pretty much least i cah do pretty much anything. This time i am much older and sort of scared of what lies ahead. My orthopod is highly experienced but paints a pretty ominous picture of how long real recovery will take. i want to be able to kayak again so im all in. i dont have my post op f/u visit for another week and so far things seem to be going ok but i cant sleep more than an hour at a time even sitting up in a chair. I didnt get to talk to the surgeon after the operation so im not sure where this is headed although the post op nurse said the operation "went fine". i tend to avoid pain meds at all costs but am taking mine regularly at this point based on all the advice i have had from friends who are in health care. i wasnt to be kayaking by January but it is starting to look like that may not be realistic.

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I had rotator cuff repair and a "Mumford Procedure" (removal of the end of my clavicle) on July 2,'s now 12 days since surgery. Had an open procedure rather than arthoscopic, so now have 19 staples in my left shoulder...these will come out tomorrow.
I was prescribed Percocet for post op pain, but due to a mess up with the prescription - doc neglected to put the date on it, so pharmacy refused to fill it - I ended up with Vicodin. Dressing was removed a week ago, and all looked well at that point. I have been told that I will be in the sling for about 4 weeks before therapy starts, and then for another two weeks as the therapist does "passive movement" on my shoulder. Not too sure that I believed that recovery was going to be this difficult. I soooooo long to sleep in my bed, but lying flat is impossible because of the pain. I don't have a recliner, so have to prop myself up on the couch. I keep a pillow under my shoulder at night, but still wake up in excrutiating pain each morning. It feels as though someone is stabbing a knife into my shoulder! As soon as I get into an upright position, the pain lessens, but I still need the vicodin to get rid of it altogether. Yes, I KNOW it's only been a couple of weeks, but should I still need the Vicodin everyday just to get my day started?
Really feeling miserable with this.

I understand everyone's pain on here I have now been through 4 shoulder surgeries and counting...from one nightmare to another. My 1st surgery was a labrum tear on the right shoulder 2012 operated on in October and back to work in February 2013 not fun but not the end of my world.

Over compensating for the right I tore the left by the end of February 2013. My first surgery for the left tear was August 2013, I was hoping it would be as smooth as the right, but found out quick after that I had frozen shoulder. My scar tissue was so bad I had to have a second operation in January 2014. After surgery I experienced tons of pain and was unable to lift my arm more than 4" above my waist. I had an EMG done discovering my nerves had been permanently paralyzed from the pain block, that news of course hit me hard. But that still didn't explain all the problems, so I had an MRI done again and to my horror found out during manipulation my Rotator cuff and muscles had been fully torn. May 2014 I had a 3rd surgery to beak up once again frozen shoulder and repair my rotator cuff. You can't imagine my frustration waking up from shoulder surgery with pain in my elbow... Guess what my elbow may now be injured due to over manipulation along with another tendon. the saying pain sweat and tears can't explain the frustration. I'm lucky to have a great support system of friends, my partner and amazing nurse to keep me focused on getting better oh and of course I will be seeing a new specialist. I am only 31, I could never imagine how horrible some of these experiences could really be. With a new doctor and determination I'm hoping to get my life back or at least a little bit more of my left arm anyway...

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I feel for you. I am scared to death. I tore my rotator cuff 4 mths ago but didnt have ins. just got ins so my 1st ortho appt is may 16 n then will schedule my surgery appt. Good luck. (Didnt look at date of this post)

i had my shoulder surgery 5 weeks ago, which included a hip bone graft into the anterior glenoid, a Bankart repair and a rotator cuff repair. i have been told that my hip site would be worse than my shoulder area, which was true before in the first 4 weeks, as it was a 10cm long incision when compared to the key holes above. but right now my shoulder is showing dominant pain, esp. after i did the PT exercises every time, i just hope nothing is going wrong up there, as my shoulder had been so manipulated after this surgery. may i know if someone outthere also experiences pain after PT, and know if that is normal or not?

I'm now 5 weeks post op and surprised by amount of spin I still have. Had this surgery on my other shoulder but it seems much worse this time I suspect because it's now my dominant arm. Am weaning off the sling/pillow so pain is worse than last week. I assume this is normal?

I had my first rotator cuff repair done arthroscopically on December 6 2014. I was told not to move it so I didn't move it! I went for my first follow-up appointment on December 11 and had an X-ray. When the doctor put the x-ray up his first words were "oh no". Second words "what did you do" - I did nothing but the anchors had popped out. He scheduled me for my second surgery on December 18. This was an open surgical repair of the repair. No one could prepare me for the pain. I thought it was bad with the first one - this one took my breath away. I spent 5 weeks sleeping in a recliner and trying to get myself off the pain meds. I've been in PT 3 times per week for 3 months and I am still unable to raise my arm higher than chest level without assistance. I've finally asked them to schedule an MRI because without assistance my range of motion does not seem to be improving. My PT benefits have run out for the year and if he's going to have to go back in to clear scar tissue, I'll need therapy after that so I want to know now and schedule it now (I can't even believe I'm thinking of another surgery.....but this is unbearable as it is).

Boy you are telling me, I had this surgery on 06/16 and it is now 08/27 I still wake all night long, haven't slept in 5 days really hour or two here and there. I see you posted in April, if you are still around how are you now! my Dr left the practice Surgeon still there, apparently I don't need pain meds anymore I should be fine his staff told me when I asked if it was normal to have so much pain during PT, that its not a trip to the day spa, I think my PT progressed me too fast and something is wrong, but they are paid so who cares if Im suffering im tired! I hope you are doing better ((((hugs))))

I am 5 weeks out from my surgery. I fell on the ice, 3/9/2014 tore my rotator cuff and fractured the head of my humerus. Surgeon put in a plate and screws to fix the fracture and repaired the rotator cuff on 3/14/2014. I am still having severe pain. I have been going to PT since 3/31. I feel like my progress is very very slow. I am anxious to get back to work but I have no idea when that will be possible.

I had a very similar experience. I fell on the ice on 3/23 and had surgery on 6/23. Progress is slow. I hope you are feeling better!

These posts are so interesting and have really helped me deal with the unexpected pain and lengthy rehabilitation of shoulder arthroscopy. Like others, I lifted weights as if I was still a 19 year old, not like the 60+ geezer I am. I suffered a torn rotator cuff in both shoulders. I'm only 6 weeks into my first recovery period, with at least a couple of months of rehabilitation ahead of me. I'm worried because I still wake frequently at night due to the pain. I thought I'd be sleeping soundly after so many weeks. My passive exercises start tomorrow and I'm going to do them as often as possible to try to prevent the problems so many others have had. And when the recovery is complete, I'll have to start over on my other shoulder. Who says getting older is good? Best wishes to all of you out there and I hope your recovery periods are short!

Please dont overdo the PT! I did that with my first rotator cuff surgery and hurt my neck in the process which took 3 MORE MONTHS of PT to correct! I wont be doing that again! Good Luck.

Had torn supraspinatus repaired with suture anchors (screws), subscapulris and bicep torn too. Trimmed acromion process on collar bone. Played 18 holes of golf today, April 12, 5 1/2 months out. Therapy was slow, all passive for 6-8 weeks, then active with bands and weights. I am doing well because I did the exercises three times a day as instructed. Do not try to lift anything for two months, heavy lifting six months to a year if at all. I coild not sleep or raise my hand higher than my chest before surgery and now I' fine. I still do the stretching and weights each morning. Your success is up to you following this surgery. Be patient and follow the directions of your therapist exactly.

I am at 2.5 weeks and this forum has helped tremendously. If anyone is having a problem (now that's a joke) who isn't with taking a shower my husband bought an extra sling for me to wear in the shower. What a saving for me. I would not take a shower without it or without him. This really blows.

I can feel your pain as I read your post. I had my surgery 4 1/2 months ago. Mine was hanging by a thread and what they didn't know was the subscapulary was torn as well. So my surgery was double of what they thought. I still am in so much pain. PT is slow going and I just had an injection a week ago to see if it would help some. They told me I may have to go back into surgery but every time I think about it, I start to tear up, I can't go thru that pain again. I had a blood clot on the inside of my elbow from the sling and it took 1 week to calm down. Talk about pain! I was ill from every med out there so I only took Advil and that did nothing. I have only half of my motion of the use of my elbow rotation. I'm not sure why that is but my surgeon said I will not get that back. I was hurt at work, I'm a Nursing assistant but I'm now back to work only 4 hours a day doing activities. Nothing much, just playing games and talking with patients. It's all I can do at this point. I don't think I will ever go back into Nursing, I'm so afraid I'll never have that strength again and I'm afraid to do it again.
I'm really just hoping for the pain to stop and to be able to do some things normally again. It's frustrating....

I had been suffering from calcific tendonitis in my left shoulder for years, from excessive workouts.
After many cortisone shots, physical therapy etc my ortho doc decided surgery was the next option.
I'm a month post op. He went in removed the calcium and since it had been there for years when removed it left a huge hole in my rotator cuff. He then had to repair that, as well as shaving the bone spur etc.
yes, it's a painfully hard recovery so far but I do feel better than I did a few weeks ago.
My issue is the terrible dull constant ache in my wrist and hand. Has anyone experienced this as well???

Me, me, me. Going to talk to MD about this tomorrow. You are not alone!

I'm 4 weeks post-op and I have that dull ache in my wrist and hand too. It doesn't make any difference if I'm in or out of my sling it still aches. Sometimes I put a moist heating pad ( the microwave kind) on my hand/ wrist to help ease the ache. It must be something common since you're experiencing it too. Good luck and hope you soon feel better, myself included.

Yes I do---mine usually starts in the afternoons and lingers for some time.

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I underwent 2 rotator cuff surgeries to my left shoulder... It started in 2005 while working out and knew I did something to my shoulder. Six years later, after several bouts of physical therapy and several MRI's, the navy doctors finally figured it out - my rotator cuff was torn, but I managed to deal with it by severely curtailing my activity level. In March 2011, I had my first surgery and was quite unprepared for the aftermath, so to say... The old saying, "you don't know what you don't know," was quite applicable. My recovery nurse tried to tell me I had to do these exercises, which I found out later were called Codman Exercises. I was still so doped up from the surgery, I didn't understand a word he said, and didn't do them. My first post-op appointment a week after surgery was the first time my arm came out of the sling. My surgeon helped me out of it and wanted me to straighten my forearm down and let it hang naturally. The pain of trying to straighten my arm was incredible... The end result was it took almost 2 weeks for me to straighten my arm. Physical therapy started later that day. As a result of me not doing the Codman exercises for the first week after surgery, my recovery by my estimation was set back months. I spent 7 months in physical therapy making small progress with range of motion and strength, when I felt something give in my shoulder during physical therapy. I knew I did something to it, but didn't want to believe it. A month later, I was sent for another MRI and they confirmed my fears - the rotator cuff was re-torn and I would have to undergo a second surgery. I had to sit down when I heard my physical therapist tell me that and almost felt like I was going to pass out - I didn't want to have to deal with that pain again, but that was the only option to fix it, so I did it. Unfortunately, with the failure of the first repair, the revision, my doctor said, had less chance for success and once healed wouldn't be as strong as it would have been if the first repair succeeded. January 2012, nine months after the first surgery, I had it again. This time, I knew what to expect, but still couldn't fully prepare for the pain to come - primarily from physical therapy. The second one was still rough going, but by doing the Codman exercises made my recovery faster. I'm a little more than 2 years after the second surgery and it's okay. Not good, but okay. I still have to stretch my shoulder a couple times a week, and the strength is about 50 percent of what it was, at best. There was a time I could bench press 295 lbs with my body weight around 165. That will never happen again, and I'm fine with that. I work out with 50-55 lb dumb bells and it works out fine and I'm able to keep myself in shape. I'm still cautious about activities I do because I don't want to risk hurting my shoulder again. I'm at the point that I can, in some ways, fondly look back at the pain, discomfort, sleeping in my recliner for 6 weeks twice and know I can't forget it. The day I forget about it and think I'm 19 again will be the day I tear it for the third time...

I had surgery done on January 27. I have two full tears and 1 partial tear along with a torn bicep muscle. I was told since you have 2 biceps muscle one will take over for the other. The surgeon said that if my muscle was only partially the way down my bicep he could've repaired it but since it was torn to shreds I order for him to repair it he would have to make an incision and it would've been considered cosmetic.
So here I am 4 weeks out and it is still painful at times but more frustrating. I tore my right and am right handed. I'm still sleeping in a recliner. I have PT 3 times a week and am told I should be able to fix my hair with difficulty but 2 hands in about another 2 weeks.
I've talked to 2 ppl who had this surgery and they both told me that is will be 100% within a year... Crazy but it did need to be done.

It's been 4 weeks since my surgery. I had three tears and two bone spurs. The first couple of days post-op were pretty rough, but it's been relatively pain free since then. I'm still sleeping in a recliner. Havng said that, the PT is starting to get a little painful now that he has started extending my stretches a little. Not using my arm hovever, is starting to drive me crazy. It feels like I'll never get back to using it.

in reading all these posts of people having really bad pain, I can't but help fearing that that pain will come in my furure as well.

I've had rota cuff repair ligaments had slipped off and damage to back from repeatative dislocations this is my third op. It does get better over time. I always end up doing more than I should and faster than I should due to having a 7 year old autistic child. But believe it does get better with time my first one on that arm would have worked but I went back into nursing. It does change your life I have had to retrain to do another job but life is looking better the only time I really get pain is in the winter with the cold and the pain is really bad. Atleast its not all the time tho and a hot pack sorts it with pain killers hope that helps xxx

I saw that you were in Nursing. I had rotator cuff and subscapular surgery plus a bone spur. I'm 4 1/2 months out and I can't even imagine going back to my job as a Nursing Assistant. I have lost half of my elbow rotation. It doesn't move outward any more. My work has me working in Recreational Activities and I am enjoying that. I'm afraid to go back into NA and get injured again. Did you say you could not do nursing anymore?

I am 3 weeks I from full thickness repair with retraction and bicep repair. Glad to say it is not as bad as I had read about. PT is slow and I find myself in a hurry. I am still in the part where my PT is doing the work.

I am at day 6 post op, and experiencing a lot of pain, which is to be expected. However, Is any one else experiencing the frustration of not being able to do anything like you used to? Also feeling really lonely as I live rurally and have a great social network at my job. I'm missing all of my friends and my sense of purpose!!! Feeling helpless!!! My husband and others seem to minimize my pain, and can't seem to understand that it is difficult for me to continue cooking and cleaning, etc only using my left hand (I'm a righty), so I am getting minimal help in these areas...making the pain worse by the end of the day (and possibly preventing the healing process to happen). I was all set to deal with the pain but was not expecting this depression.

I can feel for ya. I have not had my surgery yet. But it is coming in the next 2-3 weeks. I am also a righty and do all the cooking and cleaning and deal with my kid. It really makes me worried about the surgery because I wont be able to do those things.

I'm 4 weeks post-op and I know exactly how you feel. I'm happy that I'm beginning to do for myself ( get dressed on my own, doing some cooking with one hand, cleaning with one hand) but I still feel depressed throughout the day. I've had pain and discomfort from the tear and now from surgery for the past 3 months and it is starting to take its toll. I just have to keep my chin up and try to stay positive. I've always been very active and I seem to spend a lot of time resting and sleeping all night in my recliner! I'll be happy to become more active, hopefully by summer. I'm a righty also and have to use my left hand for my cooking and cleaning and I understand how tiring it becomes. Hang in there, I'm sure it will get better for both of us.

Totally understand and empathize with your frustration levels and depression! I hope you were able to find some more support. Ridiculous for anyone to think that after only six days you would have been ready for cooking, cleaning, etc. I hope you have had a successful outcome, and also have to wonder if you are still married....

I am so afraid. I just went to the Dr and the MRI said this:

1. probable subtle full-thickness rotator cuff tear of the distal supraspinatus tendon, just proximal to its insertion upon the greater tuberosity as above with a small accumulation of fluid within the subdeltoid and subacrominal bursa. Questionable subtle contusion at the level of the greater tubersoity of the humeral head, may also be a potential site of tendon tear at the insertion of the supraspinatus tendon.
2. Mild synovial thickening of the ac joint. Mild inferior spurring with mild crowding of the subacrominal space may lead to impingement.

from all these posts it sounds like I am in for pure hell. Almost makes me wonder if maybe I shoul dpass on the surgery??

I am really scared about this surgery. Almost to the point of not wanting to get it. AllI hear are horror stories. I have a family but my wife is severely disabled so she cant help. I do the cooking and cleaning. How am I gonna do this stuff? Also what about sleeping? It sounds like I wont be able to sleep in the bed? Let alone even pull up my own pants!!! and advice?? I am not worried about therapy I will do it to get my movment back but I am worried!!!

I have a 7 year old autistic boy and have very little help before surgery I went out and got loafs of ready meals I know its not ideal but will feed you both and can eat off paper plates you throw away. Cups and small thing are not too bad with one hand. I have had left and right done with extensive damage done to both. But there are ways any more advice I will do my best to help. It is worth it xx

O and you can sleep in bed go get your self a v cushion and your two pillows you will get comfy. Everything takes a little longer to do but you can do it even pulling up your own pants xxx

Pulling up pants - that did become easier with time, no button pants for the first 2 months though. I found long sleeve shirts actually easier to get out of than short sleeve shirts. I finally 4 months out can mostly get dressed and undressed by myself... My "Big Day" was when I could blow dry my hair by myself. My husband, Bless his heart, built me a contraption that he mounted on the wall and I could place my hairdryer in so I could do my own hair with one arm.

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Welcome to the club. 9 weeks post surgery and still sleeping in Lazy Boy. Some times pain is almost unbearable. Doing PT exercises 3-4 times daily. Have had 2 hip replacements and rotator cuff surgery on the other shoulder, but this is the worst.

Had rotator cuff tear surgery Tuesday and never imagined such post-op pain and limits to moving. Starting PT on this coming Tuesday. Does anyone experience muscle spasms post-op. Great that I found this site and see others that can relate to this surgery.

Post-op spasms are so severe that I want to cry like a baby.

Good luck, this pain and limitations have been a nightmare for me!

me too, im 11 weeks out, and im fending for myself my Dr left the practice no one really cares I haven't slept for a week really its nothing but a nightmare

I'm 8 weeks post-op and I still have occasional spasms, that will make you want to cry. But they are getting farther between now. Usually worst if I'm tired or over did things with my right arm/shoulder. I still take approximately 4 -6 Advil a day to help with the residual pain and stiffness.

I start PT next week so I'll let you know how it goes. I've done a few of the exercises suggested by my doctor for after 6 wks in the sling. I hated the sling!
So glad to be out of it! Used a large microwaveable heating pad prior to doing the PT exercises recommended by my doctor and that seems to help. I use the heating pad for 20 minutes, then do stretching exercises and strengthening exercises for next 20 minutes, then follow up with 20 minutes of ice packs.

Surprisingly, after my exercises and the hot and cold packs, a lot of the pain in my shoulder is eased up. I know that sounds crazy, but I think just stretching the muscles/tendons helps. Still can't get my right arm up over my shoulder, but making some slow but steady progress.

Hardest things I found to do, while in the sling: getting my pants up (sounds funny, but it isn't, trust me!), wiping after going to the bathroom, and trying to pin my hair up! My bicep muscle seems to be bigger than it was before and tighter/harder. Hope this will improve with time and anti-inflamitory drugs.

I had rotator cuff surgery 4 weeks ago this Friday. I experienced muscle spasms down my right arm, a lot of discomfort in my shoulder blade on right side and neck pain. My hand has discomfort also. I still sleep in a recliner and can only let my arm hang down when the sling is off and I can bend it at the elbow but nothing else. I start therapy tomorrow because my surgeon says I'm very stiff and tight in the shoulder and my therapist will get me past that. I know it will be a long, hard recovery and I'm not looking forward to the pain. I'm so tired of feeling helpless and depressed at times. Just have to keep my chin up and move forward. Good luck to you!

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Hi I am waiting on my RC surgery to my right shoulder I also have Impingement. I am 40 yrs. Old and still working light duty in the office have been waiting on surgery since July Workers Comp and all the legal crap has been holding me up. I just wanna get this done and back to my job. I literally sit for 8 hrs. A day doing nothing. I am going crazy. Do any of you know how long rehab takes before I can go back to my job I lift totes of car parts that I spot weld they weigh 30-35 pds. Just wanna feel productive again.

Hi there. I had shoulder surgery on 10/24/13. I am just now starting to get most of my range of motion back and should be starting strengthening it soon. I am 50 and have a very physical job. I don't expect to be back to work for at least 3 more months. At times it feels great and other times it feels like it is just going to fall off. Good luck when you have your surgery and be very very patient.

I also had repair 11/12/13. Full thickness tear with retraction, which required augmentation patch to bridge the gap. 9 weeks now and the cracking, popping and snapping is terrible when doing pendulum exercises. Anyone else have these noises going on? Scares the hell out of me, sounds like something is broken loose. Any input would be great thanks.

When doing my pendulum exercises in PT, I get a little bit of a popping noise. My therapist said it was a result of still having inflammation and it compressing bone together. Made sense to me. I am 4 weeks post-op.

Experiencing the same cracking, popping, and snapping, with immense pain, after 9 weeks post surgery. Hang in there. I am 79 years old and this is my second rotator cuff surgery.

Yeah, I'm 6 weeks post OP just started the real therapy and the noise I hear is awful but heard its normal. Poussin exercising though and can't hardly move the attn excerpt for pendulum expertise

Thank you for the advice. Although this scares me it helps knowing there are others who can relate to all of this.

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I am 4weeks out from surgery. I was under the misguided impression that it would be 2 month ordeal and viola! Not so. Physical therapy for the next 6 weeks and then 4-6 weeks rehab on my time. I feel for everyone. The pain is worse than what I ever expected. Hang in and blessings.

This group has been a huge source of information and curiosity quenching for me. It's been nearly 11 weeks since my surgery. It included repair of a large tear in the rotator cuff, Labrum repair, bicep tendon repair, decompression of the clavicle and bone spur removal. On my 6 week anniversary of surgery,which happened to be the day after Thanksgiving, I was leaning over to pick something from the edge of the pool at my home, lost my balance and fell toward my right arm which is the surgical arm. Instinct took over and I braced myself with my right hand. BIG mistake. Laid on the deck screaming like a woman in labor for about 10 minutes until the pain subsided. Skip forward....I am now scheduled for another surgery to repair the new tear caused by that fall.

While I thought I had done a lot of research on what to expect, I was and am still surprised at how long this pain has persisted. Particularly the bicep pain. It appears I have a severe case of tendonitis in the bicep where it attached at the elbow and this is was way worse than the shoulder itself before my re-injury.

I was in the sling for 4 weeks and started PT after one week. My PT was excruciating the first time as I had not taken a pain pill before going. I quickly learned to do so! While the PT has been uncomfortable to very painful at times, I look forward to it. There is a clear improvement in the range of motion which helps make the discomfort worthwhile.

Lack of sleep and inability to be productive have been problems that I was not really prepared for. Even now at 11 weeks, I sleep about 1 and 1/2 hours at a time and have to get up to apply Bio-Freeze before going back to sleep. Was in the recliner for right at 7 weeks. Additionally, I am a very active person who ran about 5 nights a week before surgery. Still not able to do so because of the pain from the jarring but I am walking instead.

My wife thinks that much o my continuing pain is due to the re-injury and whatever trauma the fall did to the previous surgery but there's no way to know for sure. Needless to say I am very skeptical about going through this again but I think I have no choice due to the severity of the new tear.

Stretching the arm with a pulley and rope, home exercises and Bio-Freeze have been my saving grace.

I am six weeks out from my RCS and I am still in pain. Night time is the worst for pain.
I faithfully do my therapy but am frustrated when my arm doesn't move certain ways like it used to.
I had a horrible time after surgery. Super sick from the meds, nauseas and vomiting. Had to stop and only take Tylenol or advil. The pain would put me in tears most days. I also got a blood clot by my elbow from the sling putting pressure on my arm. That pain was so bad that death crossed my mind. But, I made it thru that ordeal and I got to start keeping my sling on off yesterday but wearing it when I'm out and about.
I am a CNA so going back to work wouldn't be a wise thing right now. Not much I can do.
I'm just really hoping PT will pay off in thd end an I get my arm back. Right now I'm so frustrated and worried.

I am 14 weeks out from RCS. I have faithfully followed ALL instructions from the Dr. and P.T. I faithfully went to P.T. 3 times a week and did my exercises given to me at home. The pain is so bad before, during and after anything I do.... work, sleep, walk... you name it. I finally requested another MRI before the end of the year, because I met my deductible, and the Dr. mentioned he may want to do another one. The MRI shows that I have a tear in my rotator cuff. ??? I can't miss another 2 months of work and I can't afford the surgery again. I just don't understand how there can be a tear. I swear I followed all instructions from my Dr. and my P.T. My P.T. says that I may be able to get past the pain if I continue P.T. without surgery. P.T. costs between 250 to 500 a visit. So I can't afford that. Has anyone had this experience? Very frustrated!

im 11 weeks out and something isn't right, I have read that if the PTherapist progresses you too quickly from passive to strengthening it re tears that is my experience right now tried to call surgeon and tell him I was being moved from passive to strengthening and it didn't feel right! I was told by a medical assistant that its not a trip to the day spa REALLY so I have suffered for a few nights because I apparently do not need anything for pain So I am just hanging out Dr;'s defend each other you should really look into how it retore, if you wre progressed to quickly by a overzealous PTherapist.. I seriously am thinking I need to go somewhere else, and a lawyer! :( I hope you are better but your story is identical to mine and I hope you find relief I know exactly where you are and feeling ((((hugs)))))

Hello I,m 6 weeks post op also had several spurs and large tear repaired with patch. Started rehab very painful. Wondering if anybody else has a lot of noise going on like popping or cracking kinda scary sounding, is this normal? Like I said in prior post if I could go back I would have left it alone, but all I can do now is go forward I guess. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing to much, the sound is awful.

I just had rotator cuff surgery 11 days ago. Although my repair was to my subscapularis muscle which is uncommon. Must rotator cuff repairs are to the supraspinatus muscle. My surgeon is very aggressive as he had me start therapy one week after surgery. This seems rather quick to me...has anyone else started therapy so soon after surgery!? I'm afraid this may cause damage...

Jessa, I started with PT six days out because the surgeon was afraid of scar tissue formation. The first couple of sessions just entailed passive motion and massage, but by the end of the second week I was doing pendulums with a one-pound weight. I was kept in the abductor sling for more than eight weeks, so I think the early movement was a good thing for me -- though it hurt like the dickens -- to prevent my shoulder from freezing up. If your therapist knows what he/she's doing, it's not going to cause more damage. Trust the professionals to know what they're doing, and follow their instructions to the letter.

Thank you..

They started me 48 hours after surgery. Not fun at the time, but I'm now 4-weeks post op and advancing well in range of motion. Hope pain and sleep catch up with my progress.

I am on day 6 Dr. Had me start PT three days following surgery and I am going 3 days per week. I too was so nervous about going early, but after doing some research have learned that the earlier the better. I cried during the first was so painful, but also I was really afraid. It does often feel like something is tearing inside my shoulder, especially near bicep (I had supraspinatus and bicep repair). I was told that the popping I felt was a result of blood flow back into the joint. It did feel really good to get my arm out of the sling for a while, but the rest of the day was really painful!!! Take anti-inflammatory and pain meds about an hour before appointment, and ice right after!!! Good luck!!!

I started PT 5 days after my surgery. I too and a little scared at such a quick timeline. having sait that, I'm 4 weeks out and have experienced no ill effects.

absolutely that is too soon, 6 weeks immobile is rule of thumb

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I am a nurse, 60 years old, hurt left shoulder from work accident. After a long year ,finally had surgery on left shoulder. It has been one week, I have not taken any narcotics, Mainly ice, and prescription of 800 motrin. Sleep now on sofa with wedge behind back, left the recliner after 3 days. I have my arm in a sling and see the physician on Monday. From reading the PT stories I am getting worried.....I did have a complete tare but my clavicle was nearly broken at the end from lifting said was shaved. My physician thought they were going to use metal, but I was lucky. NO arthritis, no spur.... Has anyone had "minor pain" with PT or do I need to take a bullet to bite?

Hi- I'm a 57 yr old female and I'm 5 weeks post-surgery. This is the SECOND time Ive had surgery on the same full-thickness supraspinatus tear. The first surgery also had my bicep tendon relocated. Neither surgery was what I'd call really painful - just about what you'd expect after surgery. Physiotherapy was slow going and uncomfortable - maybe mildly painful. NOTHING like what I'm reading in the comments here. I also took myself off the narcotic pain meds ASAP but I have continued to sleep in the recliner. I tried the bed and found it was not as comfortable as a recliner so....
Do the physio as instructed, 5 or 6 or more times a day, but stop the session if/when it is painful and go back later. Use ice after physio. I may have just been lucky - but NO, I did not have to "bite the bullet". Without the bicep issue to deal with this time I am fully expecting to breeze through physio this time.

To all who are currently suffering through the recovery/rehab process, know that it will get better. I had a miserable ordeal -- full tear, in the full sling for 8-1/2 weeks, PT at the rehab place 3x per week starting 6 days post-surgery (and at home 3 more days per week) for 5 months, allergic reaction to some of the drugs, etc. etc. If there could have been a problem, I had it ... but I'm now pretty much fully functional. I can take heavy casseroles out of the microwave, stretch to reach top shelves, do just about anything I need to do. Sure, I feel discomfort if I try to sleep on my stomach with my arms overhead ... but it's nothing compared to what it was pre-op. (Heck, it was impossible to raise my arm at all before the surgery.) I even feel strong enough to go out on my racing bike ... and I had a pretty messy crash two weeks ago, and my shoulder survived intact! During the rehab process, I was in tears much of the time: the pain was excruciating. I kept at it, though, and I never missed a day of PT, and it paid off. Don't despair if you're six months out and not where you want to be. Neither was I. But in months 7-12, I continued to improve (even though the surgeon wasn't optimistic that I'd see more progress after the six month point) and I'm now pretty darned good. Trust me, even though you think it won't get better, it will. I was a pathetic basket-case in the beginning -- I don't think I got more than 20 minutes of sleep at a time for at least 4 months -- but I'm now doing fine. Keep working hard, and don't give up.

How long did you stay in hospital after surgery? I am having my surgery next week , a right shoulder latissimus dorsi transer for recontruction of rotator cuff tear with a GraftJacket augmentation and limited open ulnar nerve decompression. I go for surgery in the morning then they are sending me home later in the same day. I live alone and I am worrying if this is a best thing to do,when i have read that some people stay 2-4 days after this kind of surgery.

Hi, Slim. Surgery was outpatient -- which it really shouldn't be, if you ask me. I had a nerve block, so I was fine until the middle of night, when the pain level hit the ceiling. I had a "granny nanny" stay at my house the first few days. There wasn't anything she could do for the pain, but it made me feel more secure knowing she was there when I staggered to the bathroom in a drug-addled state. I don't want to scare you, but I really don't think it's a good idea to be alone the first night or two. At the very least, you'll want someone with you to change the ice in the ice machine. There's no way I could've reached up into the freezer to get the blocks of ice myself and then refill the empty containers with water and replace them in the freezer, much less hook and unhook myself from the machine. Now's the time to call in favors from friends or family, if you have 'em, and ask for some babysitting help. Don't be a hero and try to go it alone the first few days, if you have any other option. Good luck with the surgery!

Thanks for the info,I will try to stay in hospital for the first two days, if that cannot happen, I will ask my family for help for the first few days, I'm glad to here that things are better for you after a long recovery,it helps me to know what the recovery will be like, thanks again.

Hi, now one week after surgery, my next visit with surgeon is Jan 7th 2014, one problem is that my right hand is swollen so much that I can't see my knuckles,I feel like needles and pins on my fingers and numbness on my hand also my arm is swollen above my elbow, is this normal or should i be heading straight to emergency.

Glad to hear of your success. I have had your luck so I was getting worried since I still can't use my arm and it doesn't move like it should. I'm a stickler to my PT so I hope it does pay off. I'm a CNA so going back to work would be impossible right now.

Thank you, I had lost hope, after reading your post I feel a little more optimistic I cant sleep still taken off pain meds, dr quit practice, Medical Assistants don't care, PT does nothing but chastise me maybe I need a change because I was/am ready to give up this is hard no doubt but thank you for your encouraging story maybe hope is not completely lost..

I'm 3-4 weeks post shoulder stabilisation, labral repair and os acromiale fixation. I cannot believe the pain in my upper arm, I think it's my bicep muscle. Did you have this problem? I wonder if I have done some damage

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Hi, I certainly understand I had bi-lateral knee replacements at the same time and I would rather go through that than have the same surgery on my other arm (even though I am always in pain). I also had significant tearing with spurs and also arthritis. The physical therapy was an awful experience and I am a proponent of physical therapy following physical therapy for my knees. My knees are pain free and no problems but the surgery on my arm has been over two years and I can't lift my arm to comb my own hair.

Well I am 24 female, hurt myself doing volunteer work with my job and then made it worse with continued working out and not seeing a doctor.

13 months of trying to fix the problem, doctor finally said surgery, but had no idea if there was a tear even after 2 MRIs and xrays and 12 weeks of PT. From what I know (no follow-up yet) a bone spur was removed and several tendons repaired.

9 days out from surgery and its horrible. I had no idea. I cant drive, wash my hair, make food, or work, amongst many others. Pain is severe. Had no idea.

When do most people return to work? I am trying to work from home today but near impossible. I just started my career and am so worried of the impact of this :(

My husband and I want to start a family in the next year or two but after reading these stories i am worried this could still be recovering in 12 months.

Any full recoveries here?

I had RCS in 07. Had the nerve block which lasted about 17 hrs. Had to take pain killers for the next 3 days. I began PT immediately within a day or two after surgery. I was back in the gym within two weeks, arm in a sling and doing lower body exercises and low impact cardio. The first few days are tough but take the pain killers for the first few days and wear the sling for the 30 days as ordered. It's important to do the PT and get back to doing some type of exercise ASAP. This will help the healing process and is good for the mind.

I am glad I found this group. I am 17 days out, now from rotator cuff tendon repair, I thought I was going in for removal of bone spur only, so was not at all prepared for this, particularly the length of disability. The pain has not been so bad. I took Percocet for the first 48 hours, but became so nauseated that I wanted to die. Decided to live with the pain, but it was not that bad. I wear the sling constantly except when showering and doing the pendulum exercises. PT begins in 2 days. I have more pain at night after sleeping for a few hours. It wakes up, most nights. I was in a recliner for awhile, but that becomes uncomfortable. Now in bed with lots of pillows. Can sleep on back or opposite side. Not taking Ibuprofen, as somewhere I read that it may slow healing. Tylenol if necessary. Was very worried about ripping out the stitches accidentally, but am reassured by reading this. Thank you all and good luck in your healing.

My 74 year old mother just had the surgery 16 days ago. She is staying with me for now, but I really want her to go home sometime soon (and she wants to be home too) now that she can get around better, make her breakfast and lunch, shower herself, etc. We have stairs, but her house doesn't, so that's another reason I think she'd do well at home at this point. The only thing she seems to need major help with is styling her hair! It feels like she is asking me to do things just because I'm here that she can actually do herself. Do you think it's safe for her to return home any time soon? She also has trouble getting the cast on and off without help (one strap is hard to snap without using 2 hands.

Have read most of these very helpful posts -- thank you all for your input. Here's the scoop: I am caregiver for my 93 year old husband with vascular dementia. I also have a rotator cuff injury of some sort and have an ortho appt. this week, for a consultation as to the feasibility of having surgery IF needed, and keeping my husband at home, with two family members coming in to help with getting him up and getting him to bed -- the real grunt work of caregiving. I was thinking one month of recovery would do it, or at least one month would be the hardest and then things would improve from then on and I could resume y caregiving. But having read your posts I am realizing that I'm probably being totally unrealistic! I've had two knee replacements but that was before my husband became ill, so I could concentrate on therapy (mostly self-applied) and recovery. If anyone has any reaction to the possibility of resuming caregiving within a relatively short time I'd so appreciate your input. I'm sure the ortho dr. will give his two cents' worth, but advice from those who have been there would be so valuable. Many thanks in advance!

Nanfran, I'm afraid you're going to need a longer plan before you can return to the role of caregiver. I am a nurse, and I was told I won't be able to lift or move patients for at least 6-7 months. :(

Does anyone else have backache from wearing the sling? I am nearly 6 weeks post-op, and still have some aching in my arm, but nothing compared to the pain in the opposite side of my back. I have never had backache before, but now I can only sit and stand for a short time before I have to lie down. I have tried not wearing the sling for short periods, and am careful to watch my posture, but it is getting no better. Any advice? I am otherwise progressing as well as can be expected.

Yes my back aches as well. I'm 6 weeks out. Does anyone else still have bruising?

I am 5 1/2 weeks post op and was starting to feel like there were more problems from the sling than not wearing one. Back pain, wrist pain, forearm, etc. Surgeon cut me loose from the sling yesterday and already feel better today.

I am having to remove mine throughout the day after only 9 days (drs orders) due to cramping up of the arm, severe. Woje up 2 nights ago thinking something was really wrong.

Have yet to figure out how to wear clothes other than a giant t shirt with the sling, any advice?

I am a female, 58 yes, 7 weeks post op. It has been so encouraging to read these posts and know I' m not alone.

Pain is still very severe at times, and sleep is sketchy. I'm working hard at PT, as I am a cyclist....and I can't wait to get back on my bike next spring!

My surgeon did a great job of giving me all the details prior to surgery... I thought he was an alarmist when he described the pain... but I' m a believer now. :)

2nd RC surgery first one 2011 and July 10,2013 was my second on same shoulder(left). First surgeron said he was going to repair my tear that was 50% at the time clean up arthritis, and shave down spme spurs, he waited until I was out of anesthsia to tell me and my family that he felt my tear would close I was 34 at the time...the tear got worse did PT before and after this surgery got cortisone shots only 2 because it give me pains in my chest, was out of work for 3 months. the pain never went away and would inform my dr. that i was in pain and my sleep was off, they tried all types of medicines but nothing never worked, I found myself aggitated and tired from lack of sleep and would tell my family something is not right, early 2012 after months of telling my dr. that i couldnt sleep and I was major pain and I felt like hot lava was running down my arm, my primary car dr. informed WC that I was not making progress. I workers comp ignorged me for a very long time, I kept going to work my dr. limited my driving and activites but I was stressed out and to tell you the truth my job still acted like I was able to do everything like normal they didnt care, anyway one day I was in my kitchen and picked up a cup and the cup dropped out of my hand and m6 fingers and thump was numb. thats when I decided something needed to be done, they had ignored me long egough. I went to see my primary dr who listened and understood and she set up a MRI to be done Feb of this year. the MRI found the tear had worsen and didnt change from my first MRI which leads me to believe that first dr didnt do anything but play dr. with my shoulder! Workers Comp tried sending me back to him but I refuse and sought out a second dr. so Ive had my second surgery and Iam in pain everyday, PT does make it worse I have that 3xx a week. My sleep is horrible, they just sent me for sleep study, they prescribe all type of pain meds but they too help for a bit and then its like candy...I thank God for not having an addictive personality! I'm tired of going to see the lastest dr. he hasnt once touched my shoulder but looked at my scars, but after 4 weeks said I could return to work, but I havent went anywhere, the letter from my employers said I can use my undamage extremities LOL yeah the right arm that Ive have to do everything with which caused my neck to hurt and sent me back to dr in the first place LOL, as I explain to them all this is my temple and nobody knows howw i feel, i cant even sit in bra past 30mins please. I found this post as i had a horrible night and I got this morning and Im going to the ER. Im dealing with a surgeon whose been in magazine so you know hes a no it all and his work is fabulous, but that xray will prove something is still wrong because i feel it, my shoulder is swollen and hurts to my heart... i wish everyone a happy recovery as I continue to fight for mine Peace and Blessings

A fall led to a rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder. Surgery did not find the tear, but released impingement syndrome. Physio was hard, and I was pushed along with treatment. Pain increased and would not stop. Further surgery revealed there was a tear, a difficult location for the repair. More physio. More pushing too hard at a rate I was not ready for. Another tear. This time a "flap" had come loose, which required more surgery. #3 in not too long of time. The surgeon used a disolving "tack" to hold the "flap" in place. Just over a year later, the pain had never stopped. It seemed worse. More surgery. This time the surgeon discovered that the "tack" had not dissolved and was as new as the day he put it in my shoulder! It had somehow turned itself so the point was sticking out, making it like a stone in the shoe that can't be removed! This 4th surgery took out the tack. More physio. My shoulder has never recovered. It is permanently swollen, looking like I have shoulder upon shoulder! There is fluid in the shoulder, and it is warm to the touch. My range of motion has never come back fully, and there is a lot of pain and discomfort. I was given a TENS unit for home use, and this is the only pain relief I get. Check TENS out because it does help.
Shoulder surgeries, if possible, avoid!
It is important to do the exercises, to go at your own pace if you can. Follow a pain relief plan. Keep moving the shoulder to avoid frozen shoulder. Stretch it out. Ice it down.
If possible, avoid sleeping on the side of the injured shoulder. I slept in a recliner for the entire 3 to 6 weeks. It was way better than lying down.
By the way, the 4 surgeries were on my right shoulder. Due to having to do floor exercises during physio, and my difficulty getting down on the floor, I kind of flopped backwards to get on the floor, putting my left arm out to stop me. Yeah, injured that shoulder, too! I had only one surgery on that arm. The doc did not find a tear. No more treatment or surgery for that arm...although the pain pattern is repeating itself!
Shoulder surgery truly is worse than knee surgery!
Be careful, be wise, be educated! Thus you will recover, and you will avoid further surgeries!
Get well!

Wow you have been through such a painful journey with this injury. It sounds like now it is a quest for pain management.

Yes, Perseverer, it is a long quest in pain management! I find the more negative or tired I become, the more the pain increases! The more stress, the more pain! Charting my pain has been a real help for me!

I am still suffering mightily 4 weeks post-rotator cuff surgery (mine was pretty minor: 2 cm, plus trim impingement, done arthroscopically). I started with pain meds (Norco) then stopped after a week, slept fitfully for another week, and started taking one Norco a night. Sometimes I'd sleep well, sometimes badly. Taking 1 Norco doesn't seem to impact constipation: taking more definitely does.

It's been a month. I didn't take a pain med last night, slept fitfully, and all day I've been in pain. Not only does my shoulder hurt, but my wrist and biceps. Not sure why. I'm icing everything as much as possible. I've been sleeping in a reclining chair.

Here are my questions:
1) when will the pain go away? Partially or completely?
2) when can I sleep in my bed again? When can I sleep on my side again?
Your insights greatly appreciated.

Be patient with your rehab. The pain does subside, but the more you rehab, the more the pain will increase. Managing the pain comes in small steps at first, but bigger steps can be taken. Look into pain management works! It might be awhile before you can sleep in your bed because as you lie on the injured shoulder, pressure points cause the pain to increase. You feel every movement, and if you cough or sneeze, you feel more pain. This is normal with shoulder rehab because of all the muscles and nerves that run down your arm, in your neck, and through your back. Work at your own recovery pace, but make sure to do the simple shoulder exercises up to 3 times a day, if tolerable. There is light at the end of the tunnel! You will make it through.

This is the best site I have found. I am five weeks postop. Had rotator cuffs tear repair, labrial repair, and a bone spur removal. The surgery was the most painful Thing I have ever experienced and it even beat my giving birth to a 10 lbs. 2 oz. baby with no epidural. I have the added misfortune of having had a pulmonary embolism five days after surgery. I have never had any lung problems in my life so this came has a complete and total shock. I spent a lot of time in the hospital so Physical Torture Started later for me and as a result my shoulder and biceps are wicked stiff. I am praying that I don't have frozen shoulder. My surgeon told me to take the sling off at four weeks because of stiffness.

I just did pulley exercises two days ago and I have been in so much pain since then that I actually had to take a painkiller again. The side effects of the painkillers have been unholy LOL. I have to outweigh the pain over the amount of Colace and Senna that I have to take along with it. Now that I am on Coumadin because of having an embolism I cannot eat any greens. This is really making fiber intake difficult. At this point I cannot imagine that I would ever recommend rotator cuff surgery, but I'm willing to have an open mind. On the positive side, I transitioned back into my bed last week using a foam wedge I bought from a medical supply store. Sleeping on my back is really hard But it sure beats sleeping in an electric recliner, which I got stuck in when the electricity went out. LOL.

Does anyone else have stiffness and pain in their bicep? I didn't have bicep repair so I don't know why this is happening.

Saintannie1115: I am 4 wks post op. Back on pain meds for sleep (I quit for a while). Last night I didn't take any and slept badly and have more pain today. Bad bicep and wrist pain which I ice. I am icing everything right now. Good luck. I long for normalcy.

I just had the same surgery on Monday and was hoping that you had some better news! Are you doing better in your recovery?

Thank to all of you foe has help me a lot rerading yor posts...

We're all so curious if what were feeling is right or wrong. This is major surgery with major rehab for sure.
My surgery was aug 14th. Complete rotator tear capsule off to and bicep tendon was exposed. The bicep tendon was cut and move to another spot. 4 anchors. And 6 entry ways.
I'm still sleeping in recliner, I've tried lying down on bed but the pulling on the tip of shoulder is horrible also can't lay on good side either so back on recliner. My cryo ice machine is my best friend. I put it on minimum 4 x day at least 40 minutes or longer. I'm not one for meds. I just did the first two days post op ten stopped. To much vomiting. I do ibuprofen 600 MSG if needed.
4wks post op now had 1st full PT day this AM. Thought I was going to pass out when put on the pulley to pull bad arm up. 10x. 10 very long sec holds. Wanted to cry/scream. My pt does gusha scraping on trap and over incisions hurts but good. It helps get chi/ blood flow going.
Came home had a good cry and got on here while icing to see if it was just me. Lol.
Hard for me as I am a shiatsu practitioner Asian bodywork and I'm use to taking care of others gently and now it's my turn and pts are very aggressive for sure. Wishing all of u better days to come
Me included. Whew. Omg. Long rd ahead

Hi everyone just thought I would share my experience as I am 8 months on from having had this surgery. Had the usual key hole surgery plus he had to shave little bit of bone but main thing was the muscle repair etc.
Woke up to be told worse than thought and would have to have sling etc and NO exercise for weeks. Pain as everyone has stated was quite bad and the recovery far worse than I thought or was advised.
My physio says I am doing very well and on the road to as near a full recovery as is possible.........this after 8 months. But it wont be a full recovery !! still cant move the shoulder and arm like my other one.....but its getting better. however still feel as if I have a vice like grip holding my shoulder.
I think the big issue is that you are not told fully about the recovery time. I thought that after 3 months that I would more or less be physio laughed at me she says 9 to 12 months is about right and even then need to keep up certain exercises.

I have now had nearly 9 months off from my golf and so far have only been able to do 3 rounds and even then only 9 holes each time. I must confess with what I know now I would think again before I had this operation

Today I am 6 weeks post op from rotator cuff surgery for the second time in 8 months. I fell in April 2011. Had my first surgery in Oct. 2012 because the first orthopedic surgeon I went to did nothing but give me pain meds for several months. Decided to get a second opinion and after MRI found out my rotator cuff was torn. Had arthoscopic surgery and when they went in discovered that I tore my bicep tendon 99%, greater tuberosity malunion, bone spurs from a small break of my humorous bone. Recovery was awful. Started PT 6 weeks after first surgery and pain got worse and worse so went back to my ortho. He did another MRI and to my surprise rotator cuff was torn again. Second surgery they had to cut me open as opposed to arthoscopic surgery. My supraspinatis muscle was so damaged it was unable to be repaired. Started PT yesterday and it was very painful. This has been a horrible, painful, long and drawn out experience for me. I am 36 with two kids and I cannot even begin to tell you how this injury has effected my everyday life. Of course it's my right arm (I am right handed) so just doing little things that you normally don't think about is nearly impossible. Therapist says he doesn't know if I will ever have full ROM ever again but I will be happy if I can at least get to the point of using my arm again since right now it feels like it is dead. It does make me feel better reading these posts as I know I am not alone. Hope everyone gets through all of this eventually as I know it's a long road ahead.

bone spurs, large tear in rotator cuff, bicep tear.agree it is hard not to get discouraged by S L O W progress. met friend who said i looked good. i laff. im not sick,,just cant stand the constant aches and pain. tomorrow is 4 weeks.

Needed some encouragement....3 weeks post op for rc/bicep ruptures...(had hip replacement 3 three years ago and recovery was amazing)...this however, very different. Not prepared for the pain and discomfort...thought I would be in complete recovery by now...I tend to live in World by Disney...but reading comments has lessened my realize that it is going to be a long process and patience is a must...getting out and keeping busy is helpful...I am a teacher and actually look forward to going back to work...I guess I finally realized I am not invincible...please keep up the honest and helpful comments...

Sorry I am just where you are. Started rehab exercises today. Only did once. Supposed to do 3 times. My arm is I killing me.

What I have learned about rotator cuff:
1. For most of us it is crazy painful (ask for a long acting block and a morphine pump).
2. You will NEED some one to help you for at least a week
3. You will be constipated - have Colace and suppositories ready or bowels will turn to cement.
4. You will want to have a recliner to sleep in (borrow one if you need to)
5. It is painful for a long time – it is what it is
6. Get button down shirts, pants with elastic etc.
7. Use lots of ice and heat
8. Wear your sling (for 6 weeks) and be careful don't overdo even in PT
9. Get out when you feel up to it and walk, it will left your spirits
10. Read the labels on your meds---the side effects are a major challenge
Good luck to everyone---hearing I am not alone helped!

I\'m going to be graphic for a moment but it may be worth it. Constipation: Colace changes the consistency of your stool, adding water so it is easier to pass. Magnesium stimulates the movement. Opiates tend to stop the movement, so taking both Colace and magnesium is your best bet when taking these pain killers. This is my understanding- I\'m not a medical professional, just really well acquainted with constipation.

Hello, I am now on my 4th weeh post op arththroscopic surgery.... i am having a new type of pain on my bicrp muscle after doing PROM 90 degree extensions Has anyone experience this?...
i also take Slow Mag (magnesium) plus eat salads and dried problems.

I'm nearly 4 weeks in and I am also experiencing the pain in my bicep muscle. Did you get any answers to yours?


I was happy to see the tips by Pipen51 as I will soon undergo this rotator cuff repair surgery and IF I decide to do so, those tips will help me. Thanks!

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Although inclined towards sports and exercise, my DNA is pre-disposed to posture and spine challenges. Turn my rotator cuff competing with my grandson on a obstacle course. The surgery with three arthroscopic holes done in early April and last surgeon appointment completed in early July where he mentioned good prognosis for range and flex. Nonetheless, the strength is almost zero. Like to share that soreness after rehab. will continue to recur. Sometime, this will disturb your sleeps. I live in condominium with a small swimming pool. I started water treading about two months after surgery and told my PT and surgeon who endorsed it. It is difficult to swim freestyle but now I manage backstroke. I am positive going back to golf as my surgeon advised putting and chipping for starter end of July. Had three knee ops for spurs previously, this is most challenging but I am hopefully this is going to improve life quality. Remember the shoulders problem is also associated with neck and poor posture - do simple strengthening of the spine and neck. God Bless.

I fell and tore 2 tendons, had RC arthroscopic surgery almost a month later. I had problems with muscle cramps before and after surgery, and discontinued all icing sometime during PT. I had a block (very nice), and was off pain killers in 1 or 2 weeks. As I came off the meds, the cramping pain was worse than the surgery pain. I was in a sling for 6 weeks, slept in a recliner for about 9 weeks, and was done with PT in 12 weeks. Now that it's been 15 weeks since surgery, I realize how complicated this recovery is. I was completely clueless in PT, so I did exactly what they said (I cleared the no ice with PT). I had a good therapist who knew exactly how far to push, and I was never in real pain, just extreme discomfort for 10 seconds at a time. It helps if you can trust your therapist. Near the end of PT, I added moving stretches to the static, and I'm glad I did. After PT, after a lot of thought, I dumped the free weights in favor of my arm weight, which I can use anywhere. I base all of my stretching and exercises on movement, with a combination of passive and active by linking my fingers. You naturally get the right mix for your recovering muscles. It makes me think of Tai Chi. Heat still helps. My biggest challenge was knowing what to do - I needed a 24-7 injury adviser. I'm 61 years old, and I plan not to fall again.

Today is my 5th week, after RC surgery. I've had 2 c=sections and the pain didn't seem this continuous! (altho' I guess we forget THAT pain, or we'd never get pregnant Anyway, I am a person who cannot take pain meds. Tylenol=hives. codeine=vomiting. Toradol=nausea. Therefore, I took 75 mgs. Demerol every 4 to five hrs. after the nerve block wore off. And now I'm just taking ibuprofen......and Still on the couch. Still not sleeping thru the night. My heart aches for my real bed. But visions of kayaking run through my head....:)

P.S. Zinnia: what's a doona pillow?

I work in healthcare so I have direct knowledge of treating rotator cuff tears, both before and after surgery. I am also not a stranger to orthopedic issues and their resultant pain. I've had a ACL tear, broken nose, dislocated elbow, and concussion. Last year, I had a debridement completed on my left shoulder. It was ver successful eliminating the pain immediately. My right shoulder has been completely different. Dealt with minor pain for about one year before I finally got sick of it and got a X-ray. Bone looked terrible so I scheduled the same surgery as I had on my left last year. After waking up from anesthesia on the day of surgery, I was informed that one of my tendons was being held together by a few threads so they did a rotator cuff repair and an extensive debridement. I was completely unprepared for the level of pain I had and am still having. Once the nerve block wore off, the pain got severe enough to cause me to get extremely lightheaded. I am now 5 weeks post-op and am still havin pain and spasm issues. Sleep is terrible which makes it more difficult to deal with the pain throughout the day. PT hurts but is helpful. My range of motion is improving, I can do normal daily activities better, I am using less pain meds, but it still hurts all of the time. That's probably the worst part-every other injury that I have had I could find a position to get rid of the pain temporarily. Not so with this surgery. I have a 2 hour limit in every position before the pain gets worse. Logically- I know it will get better and I will be glad I had the surgery as I have helped dozens of people through the rehab. It doesn't change the fact that this surgery sucks in the short term.

My husband had rotor cuff surgery 1 year ago so when I was told 2 months ago that I had one to I was scared to death. I have had many surgeries with the last being the removal of my patella. So understanding surgery I had my surgery on June 14th. I had a nerve block which started out as arthroscopic and ended up a full cut. Today is day 13. I'm in no pain other than soreness and tightness from all the bruising oh I also had a bicep tendon release. I'm sleeping great although do not enjoy the sling it's ok. I do take my sling off a little per the doctor. My question is when I do my pendulum swings and started to come upright my incision feels like its coming apart. And it's not. I'm thinking its just the muscle. I am returning to work light duty Monday with therapy starting in 2 weeks. All in all so far this has not been a bad experience . Uncomfortable yes. I know the worst is yet to come.

1 week post op here...i keep wondering how we know if we've done damage?

I feel like i've jostled my arm too much just getting in and out of bed...and then i almost fell when my foot caught a cord under the edge of my bed and i reflexively put my arm out! Unfortunately, it happened without my sling on as i was letting the arm stretch for a few minutes...

Now I hear noises in my shoulder when I scoot around trying to get comfortable in bed.... and every now and then it seems to move into a position where it seems a tendon is out of place... eventually that goes away but it can go there really easily. Wish I knew what was going on...

I am 8 weeks post op. Feel that way every single hour of the day and night. The anxiety is horrifying. I tore both suprapinatus and infraspinatus. Complete tears with retraction. 8 months from tear to surgery. Have not had any pain. Except when first torn, it was the worst pain ever. But, post surgery nothing. I still have no idea if that is good or bad. But, with all my worries about retears, the surgeon and my PT say all is great. Just always be careful. When they say to do passive exercise, do them totally passively. It is easy to not. If something feels wrong, don't do it. Wear your brace always and don't over do things like pendulums. I barely did them and always using my body and my ROM is considered exceptional even though sometimes I did not come out of the brace for days because of the fear. And I have sometimes had pops and weird feelings but, so far all is good. The stress, though, has killed me. I am just now feeling comfortable. If you are worried, go see your surgeon and ask. Please do and tell them everything. Some things that I thought were bad seem to have done no harm. Just made me more careful. But, it can go wrong in a hurry. In my case, looking at medical journals, I have a very high failure rate. Can't think about that. I am much younger than most so maybe that helps. Still.....I worry all day every day so you are not alone.
As far as a previous post, saying no pain is BS, I have none but some aches . Go figure.

Also. I plan to wear my brace for the next 4 months. My surgeon said I could do away with it 2 weeks ago. Screw that! I don't wear it around the house at times but always when I sleep and if I am out. I know my tendons are still weak and until 100% just not taking chance. Honestly, if my ROM suffers, I will take that over a retear. This is too long a process to mess it up. ROM can be worked on. Tearing this again would be the ultimate tragedy for me.

hi. 3 weeks post op. every time i have extreme pain, i feel like something went wrong. surgery was 7/16/13. pt now is mostly massage and the pt moves my arm for me,the pain last night was crazy bad. assuming it was from the pt.

I am six weeks post op (7/22/13) Still having moderate pain starting physical therapy on Tuesday Very nervous and scared I hear is very very painful I don\'t like Painful What type of exercises are they having you do and how painful is it Do they give you pain medication Still sleeping in the recliner I can\'t wait to get back into my bed Hope you\'re doing better keep me posted on your physical therapy as I will be right behind you

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I am four weeks out from RC surgery and am still having terrible pain, especially at night. I am a 55 yr. old female. After a couple hours of sleep I wake up with excruciating spasms that send me flying out of bed. I wonder if I have done damage from not wearing my sling much. My P.T. told me it was okay to not wear it at home if I am careful, so I've only worn it when I leave the house. I am used to being extremely active so this inability to function is a big challenge. I also feel I was pushed too quickly to start isometric exercises. I am taking ibuprofen during the days and one dose of percoset during the night. Any thoughts on all of this?

I am in my 6th week after RC surgery and it gets more painful all the time. The first 10 days were mild pain and took meds. Started PT at 2 week, very passive and really liked the movement out of the sling. As PT got harder so did the pain. Now I have such intense pain in my Bicep tendon from elbo to shoulder I can't do anything except look for some meds to curb the pain. DR. says that's normal, in my case I had some work done where the tendon attaches to the shoulder. My shoulder has very little pain, but the bicep pain is severe. Does anyone else have this? I am back on Hydrocodine and large doses of Ibuprofin, still doing passive PT and just want to get to week 12 where people say they start to feel better.
Right Shoulder and I'm right handed. I am retired, thank goodness, so I don't have to do anything but read.

I can feel for you. You are further than I am. I had my surgery four weeks and it will be five weeks Monday. I was doing really good but the last couple of days have been really bad. The pain is awful. I like you am having the Bicep pain into my elbow. My physical therapist has started a few new passive exercise this week. I am glad to know that is considered normal. Dreading to start therapy with weights.

At least we have similar situations, to know we are not alone. My whole arm aches now, Makes me not want to do anything but watch tv, holding a book can be a challenge. Good luck.

I\'m 51y/o female, 5 weeks out today, 3 tears. I have worn my sling the whole time, even when sleeping (I had this same repair 3 years ago on my other shoulder and it healed perfectly this way). A couple of days ago I didn\'t wear my sling- just sick of wearing it- and was just really careful. One day of that had me hurting so that I was happy to go back to my sling (I\'m supposed to wear it one more week). Last time I had this surgery it was very painful starting to use my arm again but the whole process was so worth it. I will gladly trade recovery pain that will eventually end over that pain that interfered with everything I did before surgery. It will get better.

I am 6 weeks post-op after rotator cuff tear and acromial decompression. The pain gets worse and worse. I go to PT 3 times a week, and the therapist stretches and massages so hard that I feel bruised from that, in addition to the pain. I too feel it in my biceps and my elbow. Most days my entire arm just aches. I would not want to go through this again anytime soon. How would one know if a re tear has occurred? Ibuprofen, Aleve, Vicodin do little to control the pain.

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I had surgery 3 days ago for a rotator cuff tear, 1or 2 labrum tears, and a bone spur (on my dominant arm!) I'm not into PT yet but definitely should have done my homework especially because i don't really feel like i've had good pre & post op instructions and care!

I was definitely not prepared for the horrible pain that lasted for 2- 3 hours - about 17 hours after surgery. I wish I'd at least been warned! i'd taken 2 percocets at 11:30- before going to bed in case the block wore off. I set the alarm to take 2 more at 4:30am which was good because I was just beginning to feel the pain. i tried to go back to sleep but the pain just got worse and worse! i finally called the doctor at 630am and he seemed bothered and told me to take aleve! I did but of course it doesn't act right away so it continued to worsen! It got so bad that I ended up sobbing and shaking and hyperventilating! Thankfully the worst passed by 9 and i was pretty comfortable by noon - just exhausted by the trauma!

With that behind me, i find i now have a ton of questions and there's very little info and no diagrams on the 1 post op sheet. i don't remember the exact position of the pillow behind my sling eg: does my forearm sit in front of me or completely on the side or somewhere in between? does it matter? ive seen photos of arms in all three positions!

I'm also very high waisted, which means that my pillow sits higher on my torso which means my arm sits farther out - away from my body. Makes me wonder if fat patients are fitted with the pillow too?

Well, at least I'm starting to do my homework now on PT. Hopefully I'll get a good therapist! But I also must admit that I'm not the most disciplined.... I think I'll need to both keep the long view in mind - while taking it a day at a time! But any tips will be appreciated!

I tore my rotator cuff February 22 2012. It was the most painful accident I've ever had, and the strangest. So long as I stood up there was no pain whatsoever. If I sat or lay down the pain quickly went from nothing to absolutely unbearable. I dealt with more than a year of this intense unbearable pain. It took forever to get better. I'd pretty much given up on improvement after about twelve months of constant pain and finally it started to get rapidly better. Now, fifteen months better i am back to normal. A lot of muscle atrophy but much much much better. Be patient. Recovery on this one takes forever but it does happen. Or at least it did in my case.

I dislocated my rt shoulder 12 yrs ago and never knew the damage that i had done..have been dealing with issue ever since..but just in the past yr I felt the need to stop the more pain management I had rotator cuff repair and few other things repaired..too much to has been 3 months and im getting my r.o.m. back very slowly..still painful here and there..I was out of the sling in three weeks and in PT a week later..passive PT for the first 4 weeks with not much pain..but i have not been to therapy for a week due to insurance issues..pain is about a 7 right now..cant wait to get back to is a vital part to my recovery and pain management..i knew this would be a slow and need for a patient recovery..and still lookin forward to a great nights sleep..thanks for sleep aids..just please dont push your recovery or it will set you back and will increase the risk of more scare tissue on the healling areas with will cause you even more pain..this is the most painful surgery i have ever had..but it will be worth it in the long run.

I didn't have nerve block was afraid. I had 2 surgeries on right shoulder in a span of 6 months, took over a year tilI i slept in a bed. It was slow recovering but it is fine now. So I just had left shoulder done and I am left handed was doing well but workers comp inter feared so we know what that did. Now I am having issuses with my recovery. Why can t people leave you alone till you heal. Its a long process that can t be rushed. Let me tell all of you it s very painful ,its a time consuming recovery but its worth it. Frustration sets in early when you are used to being independent, but eventually it all comes together. So right now I am hurting right along with you, cranky from not sleeping , but I know in the long run I all be golfing ,swimming, and back to normal, its just going to take time. Good luck to all of you, p.s. Gin and tonics also help with the pain!!!

At least I know now that other people are having similar pain issues. your words that say a long process that can't be rushed, help. I am 8.5 weeks post op, when I have a good day I think, oboy I'm getting better, then the next day I'm back to pain and need the gin.

You guys are scaring me! I will be having the surgery next month on my rt shoulder. All caused from getting hit while stopped at a red light. Had a steroid shot on Tues, not bad. Was in a pillow sling, no relief there. Had cervical spine surg in April, no problem with that until after the accident. Had pt 2x week for 6months now. Neck better but the shoulder really hurts, have a tear. MRI Monday. To top it off its just me (74) & my 2 dogs. Sure sounds like fun ahead!

Sunnybunn, don't worry! I had two tendons repaired, a bone spur removed, arthritis in my collar bone debraded and a partial thickness tear in another tendon cleaned up - 3 weeks and 5 days ago, and I am doing really well. Pain for 3 days that necessitated prescription pain meds, then went to aleve as needed. Started passive PT 5 days after surgery, and am now doing gentle strength training. I have 100% range of motion already. Still sleeping in the sling - but without the bump attached, and out of the sling all day. I hope you have as easy a time as I have. :)

Hi! I am a 59 year old female who is almost 7 weeks out of surgery. I had a tear and some degree of frozen shoulder. I am shocked at the amount of pain, the slowness in progress. Sometimes I feel sure that I will never get better. My whole life has changed. I have no idea how a person can get through this without a lot of help and support from family and or friends. Right now I am discouraged, obviously, but trying very hard to "give up". I'm sorry for you, but it's encouraging to know that I'm not alone.

im almost 9 weeks week out of surgery and the amount of pain still suprises me.. am seeing slow progress but the pain is annoying and sleeping is still difficult

Wow...some pessimism around here. Me too today, which brought me here in the first place. But kind of makes me feel better and more positive, not because I don't have pain....I really do. But I would say to all of us post-ops: hang in there! To pre-ops: Don't let this talk get to you…you can do this, and if your injury was like mine, I think you'll be better for it. More on this below, but first my facts:

I'm mid 50s and now almost 10wks out from repair of high grade partial rotator (supraspinatous) tendon tear (suture and reattachment of split/frayed tendon) with biceps tenodesis (cut and reposition of biceps tendon), plus removal of bone spur and other odd junk.

Yes, it still hurts. Today it hurts a lot, and I have ongoing sleep problems. But the pain ebbs and flows: some days/nights pretty good...others, not. I've been out of the sling since 6wks, and I'd say I have MORE pain now than wks 3-6. But this coincides with increased active-assist PT and now, active PT exercises, and just using my arm all the time now. I pretty much have chronic low ache (1-2/10) mixed with brief bouts of sharper pain (4-7/10). For most pre-ops out there: The period of 20-48h post-op (after nerve block wears off) is the worst....keep popping the opiates. But, it gets better pretty fast. For me, I was done with opiates by 3 days. Sleep was a problem....well still is....but worst was first wk or 2. Like I said, I've had pain since, but it's manageable....and for me, without drugs. From what I was told, this is pretty standard.

And still, I’m thinking all is good…or it will be. You(we) have to take the long view. My ROM is MUCH improved from just 3 wks ago, and getting better little by little. Anyone who does this HAS to know that recovery is long and gradual. A colleague had a more minor repair, and yet had pain for >6mos. But he’s doing great now. The data says that most of us will have much less painful and more functional shoulders, for far longer, when all is said and done...IF we do our PT and regular exercise later. In my case before sugery, I had chronic to pretty bad pain (esp at night….what a drag), except for the 3 mos after a cortisone shot, which you can’t keep doing. My tear was going to get worse and probably pop eventually, and it would’ve been much harder to fix later. So, if you’re injury was like mine…or even more minor….have faith.

almost sounds like i could've written this.. 9 weeks post op on tuesday.. and yes. i can move a bit better . but the pain for me is crazy and makes me 2nd guess ever having done this operation

I'm wondering now if it would be better for me to consider not even having this done. I just had the MRI yesterday, and will be seeing the specialist in a few days to discuss the surgery. My first question will be, "What are the consequences for NOT having the rotator cuff repair surgery?"

I'm almost 71 years of age and right now, and I seldom sleep over 2 hours most nights already. If this causes me any sleep loss it seems as though I may never sleep again for almost a full year or so, should I live so long without any sleep.

BTW: I'm glad I found this site because everyone is so friendly and helpful in sharing their experiences and outcomes. I pray that all of us will overcome these surgeries and especially all the post-op problems and difficulties, but when I see my specialist I will definitely ask what will happen should I decide not to have this surgery. As fate would have it, the tear is in my left shoulder and I am left-handed.

The best to all of you, pre- and post-op patients. God bless.

My husband had his shoulder surgery 4 days ago. He is doing quite well from the surgery except for one thing. He thumb is badly bruised, he had it xrayed today and they say it isn't broken. The Dr office wants to see him again next week as they are concerned he may have damaged the skin on his thumb. My theory is, there were 3 nurses putting on his sling and he was still quite out of it. They put his elbow in first and then tried to put his hand in. They cranked on his thumb a lot to try to get it in the sling. I am just hoping no permanent damage. Has anyone else had this happen?

I had surgery on March 26 2013 for a torn rotator cuff - a 5mm tear off the bone and bone spurs removed. I had a bad wreck in Sept of 2012 went thru therapy and my shoulder still killed me so I had an MRI. and the DR said I needed surgery. The surgery was a success - no complications at all. I did bruise alot and boy was it tender. I feel the hard part was getting dressed or bathing but I managed.... It was hard to sleep so I took a muscle relaxer and it helped. I slept sleeping sitting up for 3 wks and eventually on my side. I only used 4 percocets for pain for the 1st couple days and only Motrin or muscle relaxers to help - narcotics are too addicting to keep using. Anyways after 10 days my DR had me stop using the sling stating it wasn't necessary due to many people getting frozen shoulder for staying in the sling too long. I started also small exercises, swinging my arm back and forth, or side ways, and walking the wall with my hand as I could tolerate several times a day. I went back to the DR on April 27 and now am starting therapy this week. I totally feel great and can drive again too. I have read so many "horror" stories regarding this surgery. I know your pain is real. I maybe the exception to the rule here but I am healing very nicely thank God. I will start therapy tomorrow May 2. Passive ROM first then gradually add strengthening exercises. My arm and shoulder are moving pretty good. I was definitely told not to overdue it or lift anything since I am feeling so great. My pain on a scale is a 2-3 if that just after a month. Therapy may add some more discomfort but that's ok I am really to heal and get this behind me.....use lots of ice and heat therapy.....Good luck and keep faith you will heal....Hope this encourages someone and God bless :)

I'm very happy for you. You did extremely well compared to what others said they endured. I hope/pray you continue to mend so beautifully.

I had a rotator cuff surgery about 3 months ago and I feel that there is no end in sight of getting better. the rehab is far worse than the surgery itself. nothing helps the constant dull pain and I cant recall a good night sleep. the rehab is awful very painful pulling and stretching my arm back it brings tears to my eyes and I find the rest of that day a wash. i'm sit in my chair-bed with an icepack for the rest of the day. a few weeks ago the doctor suggested not to wear the sling...yah!!! progress!!! still being very careful and doing my daily exercises. I woke up to find a knife stabbing pain...a 10!! I would say! where they clamped the tendon on the side of my arm. I cant move my arm at all without a stabbing pain. I'm fearing the worst cause I have been told sometimes the surgery fails and you may have to get it redone. has anyone experienced this stabbing pain during recovery??? I afraid something has gone wrong. any words of encouragement will ease my fears. thanks for listening. good luck to you all

You're not alone. At least half a dozen times, I was sure I had retorn the repair because of the excruciating pain I was feeling. The good news is that I was always wrong: I may have set my recovery back a few days each time by overtaxing a muscle, but I never did any irreparable harm. Do exactly what the doctors and your PT therapists tell you to do, and you'll be okay. I'm coming up on my six month anniversary, and I'm functional again. I'll never had the range of motion I had before, but I can function again. Things will get better. Have faith.

I just found this thread, but liked your post.

I feel the same way, just haven't had the pain. Thought it would be a few weeks and then back to normal, then found out it is months, and months, and maybe a year. Yikes! I am 8 weeks and feel that my life has been shredded more than my cuff.

I am an ortho nurse practitioner/surgical first assist so I know the operative drill. I fell in January 2013; went into to the office and had an xray and ultrasound that morning by ortho/sports surgeon. I knew I had torn the supraspinatus (had ruptured the bicep 2 y ago and opted for no surgery.) Because I am 60 yo I wanted to attempt rehab first before consideing surgery but by the middle of Feb I realized that I had strength issues. MRI position was torture but confirmed the tear. I hand picked my anesthesia and surgical team and on 11 March had arthroscopic surgery. I did have a nerve block which lasted 26 hours. I did have a DonJoy Iceman continuous cold circulation pad which I used through the night. I did sleep in a recliner and then on a couch propped up. During the first week I used 5 Oxycodones (Percocets) primarily for sleep. Passive therapy started on day 5 and I took a Percocet 1 hour prior to therapy. My forward flexion the first day was 150 degrees. Therapy is three days a week at our facility. I started sleeping in bed at 3 weeks. I am tomorrow at 6 weeks post op. The pillow sling has been off two days but I think I am going to uses it still at night for good positioning. I returned to work at 4 weeks (office) and continue to use percocets prior to therapy. It still aches but I know that is normal. A key thing is to find out the stages of healing to both give you peace of mind as well as to protect the shoulder. Next is to continue using cold therapy and sleep reclined if you are hurting; cold and gravity are your friends. Use analgesics 1 hour prior to therapy...I now have my therapy mates doing the same and they are moving along nicely also. AND Patience..If you had surgery it was because you and your surgeon weighed out the risks/benefits. Recovery and post op pain differ in everybody. I expect that my recovery will be at least 6 months (and I also hope not longer)