Background: I was in a bicycle accident is 2008 where I hurt my shoulder. I was diagnosed first with a sprain and then with tendinitis. I went through 2 rounds of physical therapy and then had surgery (8/2010). The surgery remove a small piece of my collar bone, so nothing with the rotator cuff. Towards the end of my PT, I started to get stabbing (really bad) pains in my shoulder. I went back to the Ortho but he said he couldn't figure out what was causing the pain. He gave me a TENS unit and told me to use that when I got the pain. For a while that was ok.
Now I've been getting the pain more frequently and it lasts longer. The TENS works temporarily but 30 mins after I stop the pain returns. The pain originates somewhere around my AC joint but radiates down toward my elbow. When I get the pain, the slightest movement causes extreme pain (8-9/10). I've been trying to pinpoint what sets off the pain, but it seems to be a variety of things. I work with ropes courses so I climb a lot. Climbing seems to start the pain. It usually doesn't hurt while I climb, but once I stop and put my arm down the pain starts. I think most weight bearing done above my head starts the pain. Also leaning back on my arms while sitting also seems to start the pain.
Has the Ortho done an MRI? There are things that jump to mind that an MRI could rule in/out. The pain in my shoulder was thought to be tendonities and treated with PT and TENS, It gradually got so painful that walking along gave me no pain, but once i stopped and sat down, it was the letting my arm drop that cause EXCRUTIATING pain, THey dug deeper and found that I had a torn tendon and other problems with my shoulder. Last December, I had a partial shoulder replacement and the pain is gone. There's recovery pain, but NOTHING like what I had. Have they said what you have that is the CAUSE of the pain?
I have had severe shoulder pain-first they tried therapy and 1 injection, did an MRI and said I needed surgery. Once he got inside my rotator cuff had a slight tear in it that did not show on the MRI-after 6 months of pt, and another 6 months of healing, it is as good as new. The other shoulder, he had to remove most of the cartlidge. It is about 90% better but never will be normal again but said the only option was replacement and I would know by the pain level when I reached that point. But you definitely need an MRI to see what is really going on and also to try and see the extent of the injury/damage. You also need a good doctor that won't let it go on for too long without offerring help of some sort.
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