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Author Topic: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?  (Read 3745 times)

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Offline LOGDOG

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Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« on: November 23, 2012, 08:53:36 AM »
Just wondering how many of our members have had shoulder surgery, or may be thinking about it. How did it go? What was your recovery time? Anything you'd do different? Did you get the relief you were seeking? Do you have full range of motion now?

I've known for some time that it was in my future. I guess I maybe pulled the engagement lever on the LT40's and LT30's a few thousand times to many with my right arm. Lots of grinding in there and pain .... getting worse here lately. We've got great insurance and great doctors here. It's just the downtime that concerns me. I dislocated my left shoulder badly back in 2005 or so and it went back together much better than my right shoulder that's never had that kind of trauma. After the physical therapy on my left shoulder the doctor told me I'd need surgery on my right shoulder long before I'd ever need it on my left. It's just one of those things you put off until you just need to do it. I'm thinking it may be time.

Offline ellmoe

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 09:48:32 AM »
   I've got the same situation,but can't see anytime in the near future to be out of service so long. You have my empathy, but I have no answer for you, except maybe a new mill with auto-clutch. ;)
Mark
Thirty plus years in the sawmill/millwork business. A sore back and arthritic fingers to prove it!

Offline Onthesauk

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 11:24:11 AM »
I'm waiting for some responses myself, know I'll have to have it done eventually.  Short term, had a cortisone shot 6 weeks ago and made a big help, at least able to sleep at night.
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Offline tempforce

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 11:42:46 AM »
i had my right shoulder surgery almost 20 years ago.. i only had about 20-25% motion before and it felt like gears skipping whenever i used my arm… now my joint is nice and smooth, with about 90-95% motion. i can't wrap it around my back as far as my other arm. over head is the same as my left and across the chest is normal…. pain lasted over a month. sort of like a rock bruise when running. takes forever to quit hurting.. i have no weather related pain in that joint.. i do use a daily fish oil soft gel.. to keep my joints in good health.
i would recommend it. sure beats dealing with the pain every time i went to use that arm to pull/push or when i rolled over or tried to lay on that side..
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Offline doctorb

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 12:16:40 PM »
LOGDOG-

My suggestion is that you get a nice comfortable chair and call Jeff.   ;)
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Online Jeff

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2012, 12:49:55 PM »
Which of the 5 would you like to hear about? The last was the worst, with yhe longest recovery, but after over a year and a half it is finally  pain free. Id not eant to do it again, but glad i did
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Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 01:18:03 PM »
Oh my gosh.... 5?!?!? I am curious .... why 5? Was it a nip and a tuck, here and there through the years that lead to the full on remodel or ? When I dislocated my left shoulder, I was down for over 4 months. My arm was so tight from being in that sling. The only way I could point at the ceiling with my left hand was to raise my thumb. Terrible spiking pain when I'd try to raise my arm. Been there. It's no fun. I can't imagine 5 times.....

I haven't been able to sleep on my right side for years. Lots of grinding, sharp pain, feels like bone on bone. Something's got it out of sorts here lately because it's cranked up even during the day. I find myself pressing on it with my left hand and favoring it unconsciously. A client of mine said something to me the other day about doing that and asked what was wrong.

Thing is ... I'm right in the middle of negotiations on a 5000 square foot shop on 3 acres to move all my equipment into. If this shoulder's not going to cooperate with me though.... I'm not interested in buying that shop. Maybe it's a good thing is rared it's ugly head when it did.

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2012, 02:38:53 PM »
3 on the left to get it right and 2 on the right 26 years a part.
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
Ezekiel 22:30

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2012, 02:43:37 PM »
I had to have surgery on the right shoulder (rotator cuff) a few years ago. A lot of nagging pain before and especially the first week after the surgery followed by a period of painful physical therapy. It took about a year for a full recovery, but the shoulder is now as good as new without any pain. The young orthopedic doctor did a good job on it. Glad that it was done, but not so happy at the time.
~Ron

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2012, 06:24:26 PM »
Tempforce ...sounds like you had a successful surgery. The way you describe your shoulder like it was skipping a gear...I can relate. I was walking in a parking lot the other day with my wife, arms going back and forth as is normal when you walk.I had her put her hand on my shoulder as I walked so she could feel what was going on in there.  My right shoulder was just like "pop,pop,pop,pop,pop..........." with every motion forward and back. She was like "Ewwwwww....." Can't fake that. Tempforce, can I ask what kind of surgery you had?

Jeff.... I feel bad for you. Both sides ... wow. Did you do arthroscopic or open shoulder or both in the end? I watched an arthrorscopic shoulder surgery on YouTube this afternoon. Made me queasy, but I wanted to see what goes on in there.

It seems like somewhere in my history of conversations about shoulders, I heard someone mention that there's a type of XRay or MRI maybe that can take an image of your joints in motion so the doctor can see what's happening in there with the bones. Does anyone know if that's true? That would be the cat's meow for figuring out what's going on in there.

Offline doctorb

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2012, 07:43:45 PM »
The generalizations for chronic rotator cuff repair are:
1. The surgery is painful
2. The recovery is long and painful with plenty of PT
3. The recovery takes a year, minimum
4. The eventual pain relief is pretty good.

So, as can be seen by the replies in this thread, most are happy with their result but recall the painful path to get there vividly.  This surgery should ideally be done by a surgeon with fellowship training in shoulder surgery and, unless the circumstances are very unusual, should be done arthroscopically.  If your surgeon is talking about an open procedure, get a second opinion.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Online Jeff

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2012, 08:01:26 PM »
I'm on my laptop now instead of my phone, so can reply a little bit better.

My first surgery, on my right arm was a major put back together after a sawmill accident. In fact, I know I've talked about this before, so search here I come.

I'm back.  ;D I posted this before the last surgery. As I said, the last was the hardest. Due to the previous repair, and my age. The first time in 1989 I was still in my prime.  :D

Do different causes.  The first one in 1989  was an accident.  We had a pin fall out on the hydralic cylinder that activates the big iron log kickers on our Debarker outfeed trough. The kickers push up through the trough, push the log up on the live deck, then return out of the trough. when they come back out of the trough and down, they just clear the wall. If you look at the video link, you will see how they work and the wall that is there.

Well, the way we should have fixed it, was locked out the machine, go find some wrenches, took the hoses off the cylinder, pulled the ram out on the cylinder so it would line up and then put the pin back in.  In the real world when we were trying to make production, You have two guys back there, have the debarker operator push the lever until the clevis lines up then put the pin back in. That's what we did. I an another guy put the pin in, then motioned for the debarker operator to put the kickers in the up position so we could walk out past them.  He did that, then lifted his hands up and to each side to show he was clear of the controls. At that point, Bob and I turned around to walk out. I took one step, and for what ever reason that possessed the guy running the debarker, we guess he was grabbing a lever to do something else, he put the kickers back down. I was now between the kicker, and a 2 by 6 T&G wall, about a foot from one of the 6 by 6 barn poles.  The kicker pushed me into the wall and I tried to resist. My arm was torn from its socket and most of the muscles torn lose with it. Bob was behind me and at the same time grabbed my belt and pulled me backwards as the kicker went on down, probably saving my life.   

Bob told me he had heard about peoples eyes turning red in anger, but never saw it until that day. I instantly spin and was going after the old fart that activated the machine, as Bob held me back.  I still didnt know how bad I was hurt. 

I had a fairly major reconstruction of the shoulder with my arm pinned to my side for 6 weeks after the operation. My wrist got to be about as big around as a kids.  It took me about a year to recover completely, but I went back to the mill after 4 months.

Thats the shoulder that is bothering me now. I went almost 20 years with it trouble free, as the fix was quite successful.

The other shoulder was diagnozed as a repetitive stress injury. I've had 3 operations on it, and after about 4 years now, it give me very little trouble. It took a longtime for the pain to go away on it, and I lost about 15% of my range of motion.

The video below shows the debarker that got me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-oCi8SCs7o
Just call me the midget doctor.
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Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life.
Ezekiel 22:30

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2012, 08:33:45 PM »
I have an idea of what that pain felt like Jeff. Close anyway. When I dislocated my shoulder, my basset hound had been nipping at my ankles and pant leg cuffs. Well she tripped me while I was running. She was right under me and I didn't want to fall on her so knowing I was going down, I tried to tuck and roll. Well, I landed on my left shoulders top, rear angle I guess. It pushed the head of my humerus (top of my arm that sits in the socket), out of the socket and down into my chest. The head of the humerus was literally sitting straight above my chest muscle. Most excruciating pain I've ever felt. I didn't tear the tendons though. So yours must have just been insanely painful.

My wife called the ambulance, they came out but wouldn't or couldn't put it back in place. So I sent them on their way while I was writhing in pain. I wasn't going to pay the $600.00+ for a 10 minute ambulance ride if they weren't going to treat me. Wife drove me to the ER. They got me in, put me on some pain meds, the cool feeling came over me and the doctor was able to put the bone back in the socket. Spent the next several months sleeping in a chair with pillows propping up my arms and shoulders. I imagine after surgery there's probably going to be a call for that again.  :-\

Doctorb ... do you know anything about the imaging tools that are out there to diagnose what's going on inside the shoulder prior to cutting? One of my doctors had told me several years ago that you shouldn't "cut" until you absolutely have to. Do PT first. See if that helps, and when all else fails, then do the surgery.

Offline doctorb

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 09:54:02 PM »
Most surgeons suggest a trial of PT.  Taking anti-inflamatories plus a guided course of therapy helps lots of people, but they are usually the patients with partial thickness rotator cuff tears or very small full thickness tears.

In terms of imaging, you need to have x-rays and an MRI.  With your history of dislocation, your problem may be arthritis as a result of shoulder instability from the dislocation.  So your cuff may be fine, or relatively so, and the problem is a joint that's trying to slide out of alignment and the arthritis that accompanies that after years.  Injections help many patients that have more inflammation than rotator cuff tears and who don't seem to get better on OTC Motrin/Aleve......

Before we lay you down on the OR table, would it be OK with you if we make a diagnosis first??????  Go see somebody, but make that somebody a doc who has a shoulder based practice and a fellowship.  Jeff traveled to get his done and, while I am sure it was a PITA, he saw the right guy.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2012, 08:49:37 AM »
Thanks doctorb. I should clarify ... my left shoulder was the one that was dislocated. It's in "good" shape now. The right one was never really "injured", but it's the one that is giving me a hard time. I'm definitely going to see a doc about it and get the scans done. Some Soma would be nice.  :) Lortab gives me headaches though. Motrin and Aleve don't even put a dent in it.

Offline doctorb

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2012, 09:11:54 AM »
I don't like or use Soma or Flexeril.  Just my choice.  Read the small print and you will find that there is no evidence that they "relax" skeletal muscle.  They are pain relievers/sedatives.  What dose of Motrin have you been taking.  Most patients taking OTC Motrin are not getting enough.

The  maximum daily dose for Motrin/Advil/Ibuprofen is 2400mg/day.  That means you can take 600mg (3 OTC 200mg pills every 6 hours) or 800mg (4 OTC 200 mg pills) every 8 hours.  I've been doing this a while and I'll bet you've underdosed yourself.  Just a guess!

If you sum the number of all these 200 mg pills, you will be takibg a handfull of pills a day.  If these larger doses of Motrin do help, then get a perscription from your doc for the 600 or 800 mg tablets.  That way, you'll get the same dose and only be taking one pill at a time.  The co-pay for the pharmacy is often less than you'll pay buying all those large OTC bottles of Motrin.

Anyway, I would suggest taking 600mg every 6 hours for a week or so, regardless of your symptoms, and see if it makes a difference.  If you get stomach issues or black stools don't take any more.  Take them with food and take them round the clock for thios short period.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."

Offline Dakota

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2012, 09:29:23 AM »
Good advise from everyone.  I looked for a guy in his mid to late 40's that did sholders every day, with excellent results.  As a result, I have a shoulder that feels brand new.

I was able to return to work in 8 weeks, by really working on my recovery.  Every time I started on a new physical theropy device, I built something at home to mimic it(used a boring machine to good effect).  This really sped up my recovery.  Be carefull not to overdue it though. 

It's not easy and it's not painless. 
Dave Rinker

Offline tempforce

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2012, 08:14:27 PM »
hello again…
my surgery, was done at 'great mistakes naval hospital' (great lakes)  the dr. gave me an option, on having little holes put in and done microscopically or the old fashion way… if i knew than what i know now. i would of had it done with the newer method.. recovery time, sucked big time.. but the navy surgeon had only done two micro shoulder surgeries before it was my turn. so i opted for the tried and true method… i've been told the micro surgery does less damage to the surrounding tissue so you heal quicker…  what the surgery entailed is they removed all of the textured material. made my socket and ball smooth again. and gave my joint more space.. as i was filling the gap with arthritic calcium…
i found out several years later, that i had Rheumatoid Arthritis. which was the underlying cause of my joint damage… i guess my immune system went into overdrive being exposed to all of the dirty air in the Persian Gulf. the area contained, centuries of no hygiene, chemical weapons being used and all of the oil rigs ablaze. i guess stress will run down your resistance as well. 
anyway, i would do the surgery again, if needed.
no regrets...
cleaning up wildfire damage...
making lumber and siding out of wildfire damaged trees.

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2012, 08:39:02 PM »
Lately I've been starting my morning off with 2 650mg Acetaminophen extended-release tablets. So that's 1300 mg. I guess there's room there for 1 and 1/2 more per day. I've never been a fan of taking more pills than is absolutely necessary ... other than supplements maybe. Odd as it sounds ... I'm actually looking forward to finding out what's going on in there. Not that it'll be exciting by any means, but the mystery will be gone hopefully.


Offline doctorb

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Re: Who's had shoulder surgery or is contemplating it?
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2012, 09:34:58 PM »
LOGDOG-

No, No, No, a thousand times no.

Do not confuse, as many patients do, the actual milligram dose of one medication with another.  They are entirely unrelated.  Ambien is 10mg.  Cipro is 500 mg.  Pay no attention to the number of milligrams when discussing different drug's dosages.  I am talking specifically about ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin or any other OTC name) that comes in 200 mg pills.  Do not take all that extra tylenol (acetaminophen).  It is liver toxic and the FDA is having a big push to remove it from all combination pills ( like Percocet).

Acetaminophen is great med to decrease a fever, and only fair, IMO, as a pain reliever.  It has no anti-inflamatory properties whatsoever.  So, a drug like ibuprofen, which is both an anti-inflamatory as well as a good pain med, is much better for your situation, and does not give your liver what can be an irreversible hit.  Ease off the tylenol!

Have you tried Aleve?  Some of my patients swear by it, and you take it only twice per day.  I have no personal experience with it.
My father once said, "This is my son who wanted to grow up and become a doctor.  So far, he's only become a doctor."


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