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stephanier.1765

Have you had shoulder surgery for an impingement?

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I'm trying to decide if going through the pain and risk of surgery is worth it. I have a shoulder impingement and bone spurs and I suffer with significant pain as a result. It's becoming difficult to dress and undress. Physical therapy resulted in only small improvements and although the steroid injection gave more pain relief it was not complete and only lasted a few weeks.

 

I'd love to hear you story if you've been through this yourself.

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Is it something that will eventually heal on it's own or will it always be like this or worse?

 

The problems with my shoulder were not the same, but I'll share anyway just in case it helps. I don't know anything about impingement (beyond my quick google scan) or what the surgery would consist of. 

 

Originally I had surgery to tighten up tendons because I was sublocating my shoulder regularly and then had one bad dislocation. The surgery itself helped tremendously and the joint stayed in place after that, but the pain pump they used for after was not FDA approved and slowly destroyed the cartilage in the joint. Had they not used that, then it would have been great, and they don't use that particular one anymore. 

 

Once my cartilage was gone, I was scraping bone on bone every time I moved and they found deep gouges in the bone and the bones were full of water. Basically, my shoulder was a mess. They knew I would need a full replacement, but my little one was only ~6 months at the time, so we wanted to put it off as long as possible. It only got worse. By her first birthday, every movement was extremely painful and I had lost a lot of range of motion. Shortly after the joint froze and I couldn't move my arm at all so they moved up my surgery. I had a full replacement when she was 14 months. Replacement surgery was a beast to recover from, but worth it. I still get pain, but nothing like before. Range of motion is less than a normal shoulder, but it's enough for most daily things. 

 

I hope you find the answers you need. Honestly I'd say if it's something that may heal, give it some time if you can tolerate it. But if it will not, the constant pain is not worth it and I'd do surgery. If I could go back, I would not have waited. They knew it wouldn't get better, I just wanted my youngest old enough I could wean her before surgery. Waiting was not worth it. And to top it off, we didn't end up having to wean when I did have it done!

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I have had frozen shoulders on both sides, and it was shocking how long it took them to heal--years actually.  But they did heal completely after a while.  One of them was helped a great deal by a treatment I got at a chiropractor--basically it was like a stamping mill that she ran over and over my shoulder.  It didn't hurt much, and I think it broke up the scar tissue that had formed.  It was what finally started that intractible shoulder onto the road to healing.  I was glad to find something non-invasive that actually helped.

 

 

 

 

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I have had surgery for impingement on both shoulders. 8 weeks before I could use the shoulder much and in 12 weeks I had full range of motion and strength. I started PT ten days after surgery - started with massage to reduce swelling and eventually worked up to strength training.

 

My first surgery was five years ago and harder to recover from as I had it done here in Alaska. They have made considerable improvements in technology and PT even the last few years. The second surgery included repairing the bicep tendon and was still a smaller incision and less pain. I went to a surgeon in Portland who does a thousand of these a year and really knew his stuff.

 

My kids are older and were great help. I took it easy for two weeks, then was back at all my normal activities.

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I really wish it would heal on its own but I've been working at it for a year and so far still nothing. The shots do help but not enough and too temporary. I guess I have to decide when I've had enough pain. It's good to see the good outcomes you all have experienced because it makes the surgery decision a little less scary.

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I have had frozen shoulders on both sides, and it was shocking how long it took them to heal--years actually. But they did heal completely after a while. One of them was helped a great deal by a treatment I got at a chiropractor--basically it was like a stamping mill that she ran over and over my shoulder. It didn't hurt much, and I think it broke up the scar tissue that had formed. It was what finally started that intractible shoulder onto the road to healing. I was glad to find something non-invasive that actually helped.

My frozen shoulder took years to heal also.

 

My doctor was against surgery for it.

 

I did therapy for over a year, then just did therapy at home.

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I've had a shoulder impingement and two frozen shoulders. I don't think they are the same thing. An impingement to my understanding is when the joint gets "caught" on something and kind of sticks a bit and gets irritated.

 

You can get a frozen shoulder from having and impingement because you stop moving your shoulder as much and then whatever it is in the capsule kind of cements together. Apparently, once this happens, though you can do physical therapy, they have found that it will thaw at a certain point and that's really the time the PT will speed things up. 

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I had surgery for a torn rotator cuff. About 5 months later, I had surgery for frozen shoulder. I can already move it better than I could before the initial surgery. I still don't have full range of motion and won't for at least a year, but the pain is so much better! In the long run, it has been worth it.

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I had a shoulder impingement that rendered me completely unable to use my right arm. For all of last year! I tried physical therapy and it barely made a dent. I did other things..massage, shots, etc.  Before going the surgery route I gave PT another chance and I found a GREAT PT who fixed my problem. It took three months of therapy, two or three times a week, and I still do exercises at home. But I can use my arm and there is no pain.  I really had NO mobility. It was awful. Couldn't sleep on my right side, couldn't use that arm to wash or dry my hair. Couldn't put dishes in the cabinet. 

 

I hope surgery helps you and that you heal quickly. I am SO grateful that my arm is better.  Don't want anyone to suffer like that!

 

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I haven't had shoulder surgery, but I have had shoulder issues over the past few years. Apparently shoulder issues run in my family. I think I had either impingement or a torn rotator cuff. I did physical therapy, and it helped a little, but I found more relief in recognizing what was causing the pain and dealing with it. One of the biggest things was that I had a young kid (2 at the time) that I was constantly lifting in and out of lots of things. Now that he's older and I don't lift him as much I notice less wear and tear on my shoulder. A few other things that I've done:

 

  • Stopped carrying huge bags of library books. Now I either use a rolling cart or take a stroller to the library and put them in that.
  • Being more mindful of carrying groceries and not making bags too heavy or carrying too many at once.
  • Worked on creating a more ergonomic desk both at home and at work and being cognizant of my posture when I'm working
  • Work on some shoulder exersises that I found in a book
  • Use a Shatki mat when I find my shoulder/back tensing up
  • Started to lift weights but still using lighter weights on my shoulder
  • Only carry a small purse

These things and the passage of time have helped my shoulder. I still have days when it flares up, but I can usually recognize it and take care of it. If I was still having issues I would continue to do therapy or look at surgery. To be honest, part of the reason that we're done having kids is that I worry about damaging my shoulder more if I had a baby and was constantly holding it and then needing surgery. 

 

I wish you luck in healing your shoulder and exploring all of your treatment options.

 

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I have heard impingement used more than one way as well.

 

My mother had an undetected rotator cuff tear, had PT, and just moved on when it seemed to die down (pain was blamed on arthritis, which she does have). No frozen shoulder. When the tear was detected, she had "alternative" range of motion (other muscles were recruited and some shoulder function was still there), but she had developed an impingement on the nerve that was causing pain. Surgery was successful, and her tear was repaired to some extent (even though it was like a decade old!). She eventually needs a shoulder replacement because it's all down to bone on bone at this point (another decade or more later).

 

My mom opted to have surgery mostly because of the pain, I believe, and the fact that the tear might be able to be somewhat repaired. The surgery did good things for a long time. She had an orthopedist she trusted (she has traveled long distances for other surgeries when she hasn't had a surgeon she trusts). I think having a good surgeon counts for a lot in making these decisions.

 

HTH

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