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Shoulder pain 3 years post surgery--scar tissue?

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  • Shoulder pain 3 years post surgery--scar tissue?

    I had a 4-part humeral fracture nearly 3 years ago--four surgeries, an injection and tons of PT and I had nearly full ROM and just some soreness if I over used it. Fast forward to Halloween night: I reached into the closet to grab a decoration, and felt a "twang" and searing pain. It is located about an inch below the top of my shoulder, to the back side of my arm (just above the biceps, but on the back/side). It felt okay, then when I rode the next night, I did a half-halt and the searing pain returned, with a vengeance. I skipped a show, and got into my orthopedic surgeon on Monday. Now, when I reach across my body or down and in, it hits me again--it takes my breath away, and I'm a pretty tough cookie.

    X-ray showed the remaining screw is still in place, not coming out or loose, nothing obviously wrong. Bone/break looks "fantastic" according to my surgeon. We injected the shoulder, hoping that would relieve it, but it hasn't.

    So, dear COTH "cripples like me": what can it be? scar tissue come loose? tendon getting "caught"? I guess I need to go back in, right? I don't want more surgery, but I can't ride or do my own hair or pick up my dog/cat without pain. Argh!
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    Usually, arthritis & bone spurs are what you are left with after orthopaedic injury & surgeries. I separated my AC joint and years after the initial injury I got a stabbing pain when I stretched out my arm across my body to move clothes in a closet, and then it started radiating pain up into my neck and shoulder. X-ray "just" showed severe arthritis. It has "settled down" since then, and I find if I don't repeatedly stretch my arm up over my head or across my body then it is tolerable.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


    • Original Poster

      Oh, poo! Not what I wanted to hear . I can clean stalls, but riding is out of the question. I am also getting some "nerve pain"--that 'hummy, zingy' feeling, and it sometimes feels like it is falling asleep (the whole arm). The xray showed no bone spurs, but I'm guessing I need an MRI to really get the whole picture.
      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


      • #4
        You know, in that case it could actually be your neck!! My ortho suggested that when my AC joint was causing the stabbing pain, but he ruled it out because the joint itself was slightly enlarged and painful to the touch. Yikes, I would definitely have your neck checked out. Sorry!
        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


        • #5
          ^^ As soon as you mentioned numbness, I thought of pinched nerve in neck!!

          However, the pain from reaching across the body could mean impingement of the AC joint, either from arthritis (in my case for the right shoulder), or (as in my case w/ the left shoulder) bursitis, and/or tendon/rotator cuff issues (both shoulders in my case). Not that I'm a doctor, just life-experienced. I find relief from my current symptoms with a hand-held TENS machine for 30 mins followed by 30 mins of ice pack.
          Hope you find the root cause, and it's feeling MUCH better very soon


          • #6
            Do you need till need the screw? I had a plate &screws on my collarbone afterIbroke it in several places. Ten years later it started to hurt and limit my activity. Felt like things weren't able to move freely I thought scar tissue. Took out the hardware & got immediate relief. Guess the soft tissue couldn't slide over the bumpy hardware like natural bone. Fingers crossed that it's such an easy soutin for you.