I had surgery for a torn supraspinatus tendon on 2nd of September 2013. I now have four anchors in my left shoulder with a cross-bridging suture to keep the repaired tendon down to the bone. I have been doing the exercises the OT requested 4 times a day and the range of movement has improved. However, over the last 2 weeks I have been getting radiating burning type pain down the arm to the elbow with slight tingling. I went to my GP who thinks that it is refractory nerve pain from the surgery. He prescribed Lyrica to help with the nerve pain. I have to take a 75 mg dose twice a day. I am on my 2nd day now but I believe that it can take a day or two to get into the system and work.
I have another week of wearing my arm sling and will be commencing physio on October 3. My surgeon said that it will take at least 6 mths before I have a reasonable result. I have not taken any pain meds today, only the Lyrica and Mobic (anti-inflammatory - slow release). I am wondering if there is anybody on this community who has had similar results with any kind of orthopedic surgery that had a similar result and how they dealt with it.
I am tempted to have an x-ray or MRI to see if there is any nerve impingement of the shoulder. I had surgery on the same shoulder two years previously for a torn biceps tendon and healed fairly quickly. This time it is different and seems to be taking a lot longer. I am feeling quite depressed at times as I am wondering if this problem will ever be resolved. Thank you for reading this. I appreciate any positive reinforcement and hope for the future.
You should be talking to your surgeon about this, not your GP. Every surgery is different. In my experience when I have had multiple surgeries on the same joint it takes longer and longer to heal afterward. Surgery to anchor a torn tendon in the shoulder has a long recovery. It hasn't even been a month yet, you have a long, long way to go.
Thanks for the reply. I have achieved a good result with the lyrica and the aching and burning pain in the arm seems to have resolved and I am feeling much better. I am now cutting back on the lyrica and will stop it altogether in the next couple of days.
I agree with you about the healing taking longer the 2nd time and will be starting my physio in four days. My surgeon has told me that it will be at least 6 months. I realise that it will be a long recovery but am hopeful that my fitness will help to shorten the time. This is something that mentally is much harder to deal with as I am not used to sitting around for long periods. I would be interested to hear how you dealt with your previous surgeries and what support or advice you can give. Once again, thank you for your reply.
Thanks for your Reply!
I had the exact same thing done as you.
You are still pretty much just starting to recover. It will be painful for awhile, but doing the PT they have you do plus more at home on your own daily, and I mean 3 times a day ..no cheating, it will heal..It did take about 6-8 months....
I had the pain and took Ibuprofen 800 after the first week. I did my follow up with the ortho surgeon.
Thanks for the positive reply. I can now take this info on board and know what I have to do to get better.
How long was it before you weaned off your pain meds? I have just started to wean of my pain meds and feeling a bit nauseous, and now I am only taking Panadol Osteo 2-3 times a day. I am wondering if I should keep taking the Mobic (anti-inflammatory). I have left a message for my surgeon to ring me today regarding this, as I am supposed to start physio in the next 2 days.
It's just over four weeks since my surgery and I am still getting some slight burning pain in the back of the shoulder but no ache as such. Otherwise I am getting a good range of movement with the pendular exercises 3 times a day since the surgery.
How long was it before you felt reasonably good once you started physio? You stated that you started Ibuprofen 800 mg after the first week, was this the first week of physio or your surgery. Mentally I find it quite challenging as I am 62 years of age and pretty fit, so I hope this will help with my recovery.
Once again thanks for your input. I would like to hear more about your recovery if you are interested.
I took the pain meds for maybe 3 days afterward the surgery and then only at night. I had the surgery on a Friday and went back to work that following Monday.
Total about 2 weeks on pain meds. I went back to work and had to drive, so only able to take pain meds at night. My ortho had me do the Physical Therapy 2 times a week for about 10 weeks, towards the end I started going once a week.
I will say this, if you do not do the exercises like they tell you to do them, it will NOT heal correctly. It takes time to heal so don't be in a rush... If you can you try taking Ibuprofen 800 in between your pain medication if you still take pain meds.
Night times were the worst...I couldn't move...I used a small pillow under my arm to help me get comfortable when sleeping, sometimes I would roll over and then I remembered the shoulder...LOL...
Like I said I only took pain meds for 3 days fully and on the fourth it was only 1 a day. I didn't need any refills.
However my shoulder feels great...Yes there are times I get what I call phantom pains, but nothing that stops me from doing anything...
Some people had a higher pain tolerance so don't go comparing my pain to yours. We are all different, so if you still need the pain meds take them.
Had my first physio on 2nd of October. Physio discussed my surgery and asked me what outcomes I expected etc... He then massaged my affected shoulder and upper back area with a special cream for about 10 minutes and then applied a heat pack and had me just relax for about 20 minutes. He told me that because of the poor condition of the tendon (as mentioned on surgical report), that it would take several months to heal. He was very happy with the range of movement that I have obtained already with the pendular exercises I was given by the OT at the hospital, which I do 3-4 times a day. The physio said that he will start cautiously at the next visit (17th Oct.) I have booked the next four visits in advance as he is booked heavily.
As for the pain, I am taking Targin (slow release pain killer)10/5 mg each morning, and don't need the night dose. I take Mobic (15 mg) slow release anti-inflammatory after breakfast. During the day I now only need Panadol 1000 mg twice a day. I am sleeping well with a small pillow under my left arm (sleeping on right), and under my left shoulder when I sleep on my back. The pain I have now is negligible and my outlook is good. I will most likely be going back to work in a couple of weeks. Being fairly fit I will probably heal a lot quicker than people who aren't.
I will keep in touch with you regarding my progress. Once again, thanks for the positive thoughts.
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