Surgery Success!

shoulderpainSurgery success! It was still dark on Monday when I left for my surgical appointment to decompress and debride my left shoulder. It was nearly a year ago I had to have my left bicep tendon reattached, as it was torn and shredded due to repetitive movement, yet the origin of the injury is still unknown. I was the first patient to arrive at the surgical pavilion, as instructed by the surgery scheduler and the first to be operated on.

After the initial paperwork was filled out, it was a short wait before I was being prepped for surgery. Yet I don’t remember a damn thing after the anesthesiologist hooked me up with his “cocktail” fed through my I.V. The next thing I know I am waking up in the recovery room. As expected I was a bit groggy to come around, but was given some juice and crackers as I came around. Bandages covered my left shoulder and I couldn’t feel anything because of the nerve block that was in place. I did however feel my pinky and ring finger, as well as the outside of my forearm. It would about 20 hours before feeling had returned to my arm;.

Talking to the nurses and the surgeon, the procedure when as expected, cleaning up the shoulder joint, which was limited due to inflammation. Much like the original injury, I am not quite sure what caused this relapse, especially after making great progress the few 2 months after the bicep tendon repair last October. This time around, there was no actual repair in the shoulder, only cleaning and recovery was expected to be quick. I could point to the fact I might have done too much too soon, as I was working on the haunted house just days after my surgery. Still I don’t think that accounts for the good progress I made early on.

This time around, I laid around the remainder of Monday but got up early on Tuesday and ready to go. I had to leave the bandages on for 2 days and was told not to shower for 7 days. Really? 7 days, I would smell terrible, so my wife helped me cover the shoulder in plastic and I showered. Very little pain even after the nerve block wore off and I was busy working around the house. However I did use the sling much of Tuesday, but shed it on Wednesday, as the only pain I experienced was the actual incision points (3) in my shoulder.

Once the bandages were removed I appeared to have full motion in my shoulder, there was no more pain when I brought my shoulders together. I could get my left hand/arm behind my back and there was no pain when I lifted items with my left hand. It feels great to be on the road to recovery. Thankfully this recovery won’t hamper my running. Physical therapy begins on Monday with the therapist I was working with previously who already knows the state of my shoulder. I suspect it will be 2-4 weeks and I will be able to start lifting weights again.

Shoulder: Surgery Again!

Frozen_Shoulder_Adhesive_CapsulitisFor me the diagnosis (adhesive capsulitis) and recommendation does not come as a surprise. There comes a point in life when you get to know you body and know it well. I have been at this point for a number of years now since tearing my ACL in 2009. Along the way I changed my diet, lost a lot of weight and got healthy. That in itself has made a world of difference when it comes to my body and the aches and pains I feel. The result, surgery again on the left shoulder.

The shoulder has been an ongoing issue for the last 2 years with surgery being required in October, 2013 to reattach a torn bicep tendon. Mistakenly I pulled up my medical history and read the results from the MRI I received last year:

1. Tear of the anterior glenoid labrum. Blunting of the posterior glenoid labrum. Partial tear or thinning of the interval region of the rotator cuff.

2. Tenosynovitis of the long head of the biceps tendon.

3. Moderate degenerative changes of the glenohumeral joint with notable osteophytic spurring of the inferior articular surface of the humerus, loss of articular cartilage and slight irregularity.

To the best of my knowledge the orthopedic surgeon only reattched the bicep tendon and didn’t address the labrum tear. I could be wrong and I will inquire at my pre-surgery appointment.

Last week I received the results of my most recent MRI and the orthopedic surgeon reconfirmed his original diagnosis, ‘adhesive capsulitis’ otherwise known as frozen shoulder. Unfortunately the shoulder capsule has not responded to repeated Cortisone shots or physical therapy.

The pain has been unforgiving and my range of movement limited, not being able to raise my arm, scratch my back or squeeze my shoulder close enough together in order to squat, which is where I first experienced the problems.

Yet these problems have been ongoing since I recovered from surgery last year. The orthopedic surgeon’s PA said she had never seen anyone recover so quickly. I had no pain and my range of motion was back to normal within 4 weeks of surgery, but I took a turn for the worse near the end of November.

The reason is still unclear but I am going to assume it was too much too soon for the shoulder when I got out of the sling. I was just 2 days out of surgery and I was working on erecting the haunted house at my son’s elementary school. I can’t be sure this was the reason for the sudden increase of pain followed by the limited range of motion.

In fact I don’t know when the original injury occurred. I will guess is occurred during an adult soccer game, my last, which saw me tear my miniscus back in 2011. I do recall falling on my shoulder wrong, but I never really associated the two events until now.

Surgery is now scheduled for September 15 in Walnut Creek. It’s going to be exploratory surgery to clean up the shoulder capsule and manipulation of the shoulder in order to tear the scar tissue. It’s was described as being “simple and quick” procedure with minimal recovery time. Once the scar tissue is cleared up, the capsule will be filled with Cortisone and physical therapy will be prescribed.

I am just looking forward to FINALLY having some relief and being able to do what I want when using my shoulder, pain free. More important I can’t wait to strengthen the shoulder up and get back to lifting weights.

Frozen Shoulder

shoulderProgress continues to be stagnate, as I struggle with severe pain in my left shoulder. After a schedule orthopedic appointment near the end of December, the P.A. told me I had adhesive capsulitis otherwise known as frozen shoulder, “is a disorder in which the shoulder capsule, the connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder, becomes inflamed and stiff, greatly restricting motion and causing chronic pain.”

Depending on the source you read, there cause is not well understood. Yet, one possibility peaked my interest. “Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder has been immobilized for a period of time due to surgery, a fracture, or other injury. Having patients move their shoulders soon after injury or surgery is one measure prescribed to prevent frozen shoulder” (source). Yet my bicep tenodesis didn’t leave my arm immobilized very long and one of the exercises I was given upon release was to let the arm hang like a pendulum, but was given a weight restriction of 12 ounces.

This pain is similar in nature to what I was feeling the past 12-18 months, if not longer. Prior to an MRI I was given a Cortisone shot in the shoulder capsule, based solely from an x-ray image. The pain failed to subside after the lidocaine wore off and it was one step closer to surgery.

Now that the surgery is nearly 12 weeks behind me, the shoulder hurts more now than prior to surgery. I attempted to “get under the barbell” this past weekend and was unsuccessful. I could not press the barbell without pain, nor could I get the shoulder back far enough to get under the barbell to squat. Bicep curls didn’t bother the shoulder, but pushups did. Placing my elbows in the hanging abs straps seems to put some unwanted stress on the shoulder as well. Working out is going to be very challenging.

Jeff Sekerak might have the answer. I bought his ebook some months back after reading about his story. His workouts are essentially body weight exercises. Some I can do, others I probably can’t initially. Along with Jeff’s exercises, running doesn’t seem to cause problems either, not to the point that I can’t run. As much as I want to gain strength, I need to get the shoulder healthy before I continue to add to the pain I am feeling.

I have another appointment scheduled for January 17 at which time a Cortisone shot will be administered to the shoulder capsule. If this is like last time, it won’t relieve the inflammation I have going on. I am staying positive in hope is does, but I won’t get my expectations up. Chances are I will have to go back for more physical therapy as well. If neither of these relieve the pain, I could end up on the surgical end for treatment again. The most common is manipulation under anesthesia, where they put you to sleep and yank and crank the arm. Sounds like fun, huh? The other, arthroscopy, cutting small incisions around the inflamed parts of the shoulder.