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Will it never end!!? Need support for shoulder rehab.

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  • Will it never end!!? Need support for shoulder rehab.

    I am 8 weeks post screw removal and capsular release. (following 4-part humeral fracture, pinned and screwed. Pins removed, but had no ROM, so further surgery ordered as above).

    I have full ROM, but it does hurt to do so, not terribly, but still... I am just starting strengthening with my PTs, but the arm and shoulder blade are so sore that we've backed off. I feel like I'm spinning in circles--it hurts, we slow, it gets better, add weight/new exercises, it hurts again.

    Now, I'm not a pansy. I get it that there is pain involved in shoulder rehab, but this is getting silly. I shouldn't have to pop a vicodin or darvocet to sleep still, should I?? I get some really sharp pain when I move my arm a certain way (kind of reaching back and out), my armpit area is super sore, and my scapula is sore to the touch.

    Will it get better? I can start riding, but it feels like my arm had every muscle pulled in a violent spook (if you've ever braced during one of those, you might know what I'm talking about). I'm afraid that I'll make it worse by riding, but after 8 months out of the saddle, I REALLY need to ride.

    Hand holding, please. Kind words would help. Maybe a swift kick in the arse to get my out of my pity pants, too!
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    Can you limit what you do on the horse? Have a groundsperson with a lunge line?

    I totally understand you are frustrated. Can't help with the shoulder ROM issues, but I can sympathize!
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


    • #3
      Just Jingles

      Huge Jingles for you ~ no advice just be careful ~ I myself, am headed to the Knife and very worried well...scared to death actually ~~~ rotator cuff which they say is more painful than THR which I had in 1-17-05. THR was a piece of cake but this ???? remain out of mind with fright.

      Good Luck ~ Be careful and please update when you feel like it ~ Jingles & AO ~ Always Optimistic ~

      I do think you should ride in some fashion as it will help your heart and soul immensely ~
      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


      • Original Poster

        ZuZu- I've spent the last 7 months watching the rotator cuff folks come and go at the PT clinic. I can tell you exactly what rehab will be like! Heck, I could probably be an assistant there by now

        RC surgery is pretty straight forward, but find yourself a shoulder rehab specialist. I'm lucky that we have a world-class (as in sought out by pro athletes) ortho/PT practice near me. Fun to see all those ball players, lacrosse guys, gymnasts, etc. as I'm sitting there, week after week.

        Geek- I am just walking/trotting on my jumper, who pulls when the mood strikes him (which is fairly often). NO JUMPING for quite some time, so I am trying to wrap my head around the possibility that dressage really *is* what I need to do next in my riding career. Sigh. I don't want to stop jumping yet.
        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


        • #5
          Calvincrowe ~ please do tell any details ~ appreciate your input greatly ~

          do tell ```what do i expect ??? when can i write a check ? when will I be back in the barn to just sit ? please any information greatly appreciated Calivincrowe ~ TIA
          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


          • Original Poster

            Zuzu-Ask your surgeon for details on a timeline, but this is what I did.

            From what I've seen, you'll be in an immobilizer when you leave the hospital, think big, ugly black shoulder sling with a pad to keep your arm away from your body. You are not allowed to move your arm--you can straighten your elbow and squeeze a ball to keep things loose, but no movement. Now, I cleaned stalls one-handed with that jobby on, so you can head out to the barn and pat noses and brush with help.

            When PT starts for RC surgery, I don't know, but I had to wait 8 weeks (but I had a fracture, so a different animal). PT starts small--they manipulate your arm to test your ROM. Lay on the table, relax and they lift your arm straight above your head, out to the side with your elbow bent, like that.

            You'll get some homework, simple stretches, pendulums, where you bend over and let your arm swing in tiny circles. It hurts, but not horribly (don't let my experience color your world--I had a really catastrophic accident, with many broken bits and metal inserted, sort of adds to the agony).

            They add weights, arm bicycling, and more movement as you progress. It will take a while, but you'll get there.

            And, they have the best moist heat pads to warm you up, and great ice packs. Get some ice packs!! You'll not regret it.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


            • #7
              Thank You ~ Calvincrowe

              Calvincrowe ~ Thank you much ! Have been reading all about this RC surgery and will meet with surgeon in a week or so ~ they did not inform me of my MRI results ~ just had the nurse who schedules surgery call me to set up the "knife party" nice communication skills so I am anxious to find out details. Thank you for your help ~ and Jingles for you to get back to normal soon ~
              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


              • #8
                Sorry, can't help with shoulder rehabs, not been there yet.
                Hope all goes well for both of you.

                I weaseled out of rotator cuff repair surgery, that was to be scheduled last Wednesday, by conveniently having my first ever gallbladder attack Sunday night and ending up in the ER.
                Will have gallbladder surgery next Tuesday and the shoulder surgery is now postponed for a while.

                Don't recommend that route, but it worked for me.

                I don't know, I think it may have been a good trade-off, listening to the ones that have been there with those shoulder surgeries.

                I only have two older horses at home right now and they are out to pasture and housebroken in the pens.
                They only use one designated spot for the bathroom in the pens, that I clean twice a day, but won't hurt to leave be for a few days, if I can't.

                Any one knows about gallbladder surgery?
                I hear it is a walk in the park, when it comes to surgeries.


                • Original Poster

                  Oh, orthos are notorious for "poor communication" skills--don't let that bother you. They are skilled carpenters, really, and love putting things back together. Some are more talkative than others. My first knee surgeon was very short on bedside manner, my back surgeon was a straight shootin' curmudgeon whom I adored, my second knee surgeon was a hoot, my shoulder surgeon is the best--a tall, quiet Chinese-American who dresses beautifully and has the cutest giggle. He is so encouraging and kind, and apologizes nicely when he's running an hour late.

                  Ask questions, bring a paper to write down answers. Your surgery should be an outpatient procedure--come in in the AM, go home that afternoon. I insisted on staying the night after my initial surgery, and I was very glad. It was 4 hours long, and I was pretty ill afterward and had trouble peeing. They controlled my pain better there.

                  Oh, you'll also probably sleep on the couch or in a recliner after surgery. The bed is too flat, or it was for me. I was on the couch for 3 months. Mr. CC was not happy to see me return, as he's a bed hog
                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                  • Original Poster

                    Funny you should ask, Bluey! Mr. CC had his out almost exactly a year ago today!

                    Very easy surgery, you'll have it done laproscopically, probably, with 3-4 small incisions. Takes about an hour. Mr. CC was sick from the anesthesia, ask if they can give you anti-nausea meds to take home. You'll be on a restriction from lifting for a while (2-3 weeks??), and will feel pretty crappy for a bit.

                    He hasn't had any complications--you can develop diarreah, and have trouble eating greasy foods.

                    Good luck! Let us know if you need anything--but you sound pretty darn organized and self-sufficient
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                      Funny you should ask, Bluey! Mr. CC had his out almost exactly a year ago today!

                      Very easy surgery, you'll have it done laproscopically, probably, with 3-4 small incisions. Takes about an hour. Mr. CC was sick from the anesthesia, ask if they can give you anti-nausea meds to take home. You'll be on a restriction from lifting for a while (2-3 weeks??), and will feel pretty crappy for a bit.

                      He hasn't had any complications--you can develop diarreah, and have trouble eating greasy foods.

                      Good luck! Let us know if you need anything--but you sound pretty darn organized and self-sufficient
                      Thank you for all that information.
                      I am starting to become allergic to doctors, I think.
                      This came out of the blue, just hit and yes, you are sick as a dog and doubled over with pain, can't get relief and I never needed pain medication after arm surgery.

                      I never eat greasy foods any way, just don't like them, or sweet ones, just like plain and salty and sour stuff, so that should be easy.
                      Will miss the fresh fruit and veggies, but can do fine with cooked/canned ones.

                      I will ask them about the nausea patch, if they don't offer it right off.
                      I hope I don't feel too bad afterwards, but I expect it will be better than shoulder surgery, that being put off will be a relief.
                      I have good help, my neighbor has already offered several times to come feed for me.

                      I hope you find something that helps you.
                      It sounds like you are in great hands already.


                      • #12
                        YIKES EEEKK So much surgery talk !!!!

                        OH MY ~ so much surgery talk ~~~ EEEK YIKESS Jingles for all of us to get through "this" and be back in our respective beds and saddles soon ~ Jingles Jingle Jingle & AO ~ Always Optimistic ~
                        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                        • #13
                          Perhaps we need a Surgery thread ~~~

                          Perhaps cothers need a new forum category - or at least a new thread on dealing with various types of surgeries in a HR manner ?
                          Last edited by Zu Zu; Sep. 26, 2010, 12:25 PM. Reason: spelling
                          Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                          • #14
                            Bummer Calvincrowe . Shoulders suck! I'd say with both my shoulder fracture and my husband's shoulder surgeries, sleeping comfortably was one of the last things that we could do (think months!).

                            With your current issues in rehab now, I suggest getting a PT or massage therapist that is really into trigger point therapy. I had one for my elbow, and I am certain that was a huge contributor to my amazing recovery from that nasty injury (my rock star surgeon said NO ONE has ever done as well as me with my kind of injuries to my elbow).

                            I got a TheraCane and the trigger point book she used to have as a resource at home, and it's been super handy:

                            If it's any consolation, about 6 weeks or so after I broke my shoulder, I started getting these awful muscle spasms that would drop me to the ground sometimes (sometimes would happen not even using that arm). They had to back off some PT for a bit and do a lot of deep tissue massage, but eventually they did stop.


                            • #15
                              Ok, news to report for those with bad shoulders.
                              I talked to a friend that in his early 20's had a horse buck him off and shattered his shoulder.
                              They had to do two surgeries to put him back together and he said it was tough and long, but he is today, a few years later, 100% fine, so there is hope yet.

                              He said that it really was not that bad, just seemed so at the time and part of the stress was him worrying about being able to do much if he didn't heal well.

                              Just smile, even if it is a pain grimace and keep on trucking, it does get better, eventually.


                              • #16
                                Ugh Calvin! I haven't looked at this board in a couple of weeks because I've been doing so well after my surgery in May. I'm so sorry to hear you're still having so much difficulty. I second what Pharmgirl said about massage therapy. One of my PTs did some deep tissue on me, it SUCKED but really increased ROM and ultimately decreased pain. She also suggested a great stretch involving a pool floatie. Get one of the biggest diameter ones and lay on it lenghtwise, so it goes right down your spine. It really opens up your pecs which are no doubt VERY tight as well. It felt wierd to me at first but it really worked. All that being said I agree, laying on that shoulder at night still is not the most comfortable sleep I've ever gotten either!


                                • #17
                                  Well, doing dressage only isn't the worst thing in the world!!
                                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                  • #18
                                    CC, it will get better eventually!

                                    And now I'm going to hijack your thread thoroughly. My apologies.

                                    Zu Zu, so much depends on your surgeon and your physio. I'm lucky that I live in the home of the US ski and snowboard team, so we have some really excellent people who understand that the need is not just to fix you up but to make you at least able to so what you did before.

                                    My rotator cuff surgery wasn't a bunch of laughs--my husband had been through a THR the previous year, and our feeling was that the RC surgery was indeed a tougher recovery.

                                    I didn't get an immobilizer, I went home with a sling, with instructions to wear it in public because it would stop people bumping into me, a pain pump thingy implanted in my shoulder for 48 hours or so, and some really good drugs.

                                    I was in PT with a shoulder specialist a week after I came out of surgery. I went three times a week for three months. I could cheerfully have smacked that guy on several occasions, but when the going got really rough, they eased up and sent me to the masseuse instead... who I also manage to avoid hitting. I also worked out on the machines in their gym, which helped me not get enormously fat.

                                    They had a PT in the practice who was a hunter-jumper rider, and once my shoulder was healing nicely, they sent me to her to get my riding strength back.

                                    I had surgery at the start of November. I was cleared to ride again in February (as long as I didn't fall off... yeah, right.) I elected to wait until the ground wasn't covered in ice as at the time I had a loon and a greenie to ride.

                                    After the first two weeks I managed most of the feeding by myself--took longer than normal, but it got done. Horses lived out 24/7 and that winter things like grooming and run-in shed cleaning got neglected, but they had plenty of food and water and we all lived through the experience.

                                    It's not something I want to experience again, but I was in so much pain and my right arm was largely useless, so I'm glad I had it done. (I'd rather not have had the accident that precipitated it in the first place, which involved a violently spooking horse, me as the human whip-lash with an arm going through angles arms are not designed to go through, a concrete pad to land on and a smashed helmet... whilst my poor husband watched.)


                                    • #19
                                      atr ~ thank you ~ I needed to know ~

                                      atr ~ OMG !!!! Your accident sounds like mine even with husband watching ~ and the comparison of THR is so real as I had a THR 1-17-05 and was praying this is not going to be worse ~~~My THR was not painful BUT never having been in a hospital or had any injury the experience was terribly depressing for me ~~~ So very worried about the depression aspect coupled with PAIN with this RC~ I was stuck inside for months with my hip just PT outings... no trips to the barn ~my surgery is set for early November ~ not in pain now not on tylenol ~ still completing barn work just in a modified manner ~ rode my older mare through the woods last Sunday.

                                      Just hoping I will be able to walk the short = very short distance to the
                                      barn and at least hang out down there during the slow rehab...

                                      Thank you for the information I needed it in order to prepare ~ remain worried to say the least ~
                                      Last edited by Zu Zu; Sep. 28, 2010, 11:20 AM. Reason: addition
                                      Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Zuzu- the anticipation is the worst. It WILL hurt, you WILL receive great pain meds--TAKE them. So many people won't, they think it is weakness or that they'll be addicted. Wrong-o. Get ahead of the pain and stay there. I was deeply depressed for a while, too. It is a side effect of the meds. Talk to your doctor, tell others about it, don't keep it in. Set goals (doable) and go out to eat, see movies, shop, go to shows or events to stay in the horse world.

                                        Be honest with your PT, but realize you will have to hurt a bit to get better. RC surgery, heck any shoulder surgery, is a tough recovery. Get all those fall prep chores done now, set up help to feed/care if needed.

                                        You'll be making that short walk to the barn pretty much the 2nd day after surgery, with help so you don't fall from all the meds . I was nose patting and feeding treats the first day, doing full feeding the second. But, I'm always pushing the envelope on safe vs. stupid.

                                        I got on last night and actually rode for the first time in 8 months. I'm sore!! But my mental state is so much better.
                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!