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living with shoulder separations

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  • living with shoulder separations

    [COLOR="Red"]Hi All.

    I fell off my horse yesterday and as a result I have a grade 2 to 3 separation on my dominant shoulder. I am 19 years old. Surgery is strictly not an option.

    I have been spending all afternoon reading about this injury, and I am glad to have come across this forum. I have read all the other threads to do with this injury. From what I read, the future seems very bleak, with a long healing time and symptoms returning months, years and decades later (osteo-arthritis).

    Thus I have decided to start a topic.. and what I would REALLY like is to know is, if it is possible to have the injury and lead a completely painfree life from the injury. As in, no discomfort whatsoever (as if the injury didnt exist).

    ONLY people who have had the injury for AT LEAST ONE YEAR, without surgery please.
    The aim is for myself, and other sufferers to know that there is hope, because I am in so much pain right now, that knowing I will be better would really help.

    Thanx in advance

  • #2
    I know you asked for one year. but I figured i throw in my 2 cents anyway, maybe it will help.

    I did mine about 3 weeks ago to this day. And it sounds like mine is just about how bad yours was, so i figured i would tell you about my 3 weeks so far and maybe give you something because I know how it is.

    The first id say 4 days was rough, most of the pain came at night (I refused to take the vicodin, im not into really taking anything) I spent nearly all my time in a sling.

    Day 5, I had to go to my job (im a bouncer at a nightclub while im not in school) so I had to take the sling off. My shoulder was stiff, and that night was when I started doing my own pysical therapy, doing stretches when I could and it helped alot.

    into a week and a half, I kept doing my stretches everyday and doing shoulder rehab with wieghts at the gym. I started wearing my sling only to bed now.

    2 weeks, no more sling at all. id say most of my range of motion back. Little bit of strength back. I can now do just about every normal activity. (drive a stick shift, lift light objects, put on clothes easily)

    3 weeks, id say I have about 99% range of motion back. I can now lift most things without pain. The only time I really have pain is when I reach my arm across my body, and its minor. And honestly I barely notice that my shoulder is injured.

    I have done a TON of research on this, just like you. I personally know a guy who has seperated his shoulder and he is just fine now. He has a bump, no pain whatsoever.

    And yes with this injury it does increase the chance to develope arthritus, but any joint is suseptable to it.

    I know exactly how you feel, trust me. But you will start to feel alot beter, those first few days are a dosey, with all the swelling still going on. Make sure that your taking ib profin to help the swelling and you ice it through out the day.

    In about a week you should be able to do some light stretching, it will hurt at first, but once you start stretching it will get alot beter. I would also recommend going to the gym at about a week and a half to 2 weeks and start with light wieght shoulder rehab, as it has done wonders for me.

    I guess in short, I know exactly how you feel and you will be in pain for awhile. But it will get alot beter, it just takes time, dedication to rehab and rest. I hope this helped a bit in making you feel beter, Take it easy and good luck resting and and rehabing when you do!


    • #3
      Hi, thank you for your reply. it was encouraging. but unfortunately, not one other person who has had the injury in the medium to long term replied which has me very worried. I have about 60% range of movement and still in alot of discomfort. Im hoping and praying I can get my life back together after this. Surely there are athletes out there, footy players, skier martial artists who have had this before. Any successful recoveries?


      • #4
        Hi Ellen,

        I was injured more than 3 years ago. It was a grade 3 separation. I had a ac joint reconstruction 1 year into the injury as the pain I was experiencing was increasing in frequency and intensity. My arm was unusable more days of a week than not. The surgery has helped without question - the best thing I did for the shoulder.

        In terms of function the shoulder is almost as good as my uninjured arm. It is certainly not as strong as my right shoulder. However, I try to avoid using my shoulder in certain ways such as no more heavy overhead lifting so the strength issue may partly be my problem.

        I still suffer from inflammation around the ac joint which can last for various lengths of time and cause a lot of discomfort. From Wednesday of last week I have been in a medium level of pain which peaked yesterday. However, I do feel a lot better today. I treated the injury with anti-inflammatories and did not do any heavy weights. This was my longest stretch of time - 7 weeks - without suffering from inflammation. I also get a lot of pain under my scapula of my injured shoulder.

        Discomfort is always present, I usually some kind of pain, and almost always I have stiffness. The injury certainly has a negative impact on my quality of life. However, I try to manage my shoulder injury as carefully as possible and get on with life.

        However, I admit that I put a lot of stress on my shoulder and so we may not be in exactly the same situation. I put a lot of stress on my shoulder through heavy weights - bench press, squats, rows, and deadlifts - where I aim to achieve personal records. I also still do judo, swim, and box which all put a lot of stress on the shoulder. I am interested to see if my quality of life would improve by stopping heavy weights for two months but am hesitant.

        Anyway, you have to live with you injury, it can never be reversed. I hope your quality of life is not effected.


        • #5
          Hi Ellen,

          I assume that you are talking about an A/C seperation, if so this is a very common "Rugby" injury, people who have had this without surgery are know to live with a "step in the shoulder". My personal experience I did mine 6 years ago now and was booked into surgery to have a screw put it, the day before surgery I visited the surgeon, he said surgery is a good option, but if you are prepared to live with the step in your shoulder then you can do without. I choose not to have the surgery, and I believe it was a great decision by me. It was tough, and being an active person going to gym I did struggle a bit, for the first year I was alot weaker in my shoulder and had some pain in it, however as the months/years went on it got better and better. I dare say now that I am back to 99% capacity with very little restriction at all. So my advice is make sure you do rehab on it and make it stronger, the first year or two will be a bit of mild type pain, but you will get over it (never 100%) and live a pretty good life. As mentioned I am 6 years down the track now and have very occasional arthritic type pain, but only rarely and usually get it only when I am pumping some heavy weights. I hope this helps you out.


          • #6
            Thank you so much choz. 99% is something I can live with I guess, just out of curiosity, how did you do yours and what grade is it?

            unlike you, I am female where there is no possibility at all of hiding the bump. especially this summer, and gals with traps will never be in fashion. just wondering also if you could hide your bump from working your trapezius, since you do lots of heavy weights.


            • #7
              i know three people who have had separations between 10 and 22 years ago and they are doing well. no pain, no change to their active lifestyle. except one guy who is getting pain in the joint when its a raining day.

              i think the concensus is positive for MOST people.

              the people who post on these types of forums tend to be the ones who are having difficulties and want to learn more about their injuries because its bothering them.


              • #8
                To Plucs,

                Why would you be hesitant in having a rest from your active lifestyle? It seems contradictory that you practice weights, judo, boxing and swimming and yet you are in alot of discomfort. If I was you I would take a break for a long time, maybe a year and then see if ou quality of life improves without the extra stress on your shoulder. So why be hesitant?
                Thanx for everyones input


                • #9

                  I am hesistant as I want to do same the things I have always been doing.


                  • #10
                    First timer here! I have a level 3 sep. I am going in under the knife MAYBE next week. Has anyone heard of a plate being placed on top of your color bone with a drop in the plate on the end that holds your shoulder up where it should be? then they repair the tendons and ligaments. take the plate out after a year or so? this is new I guess and holds the original stucture of your shoulder together so the lig. and tendons heal.
                    I really can't find the place to post this so if you could answer me and put me in the right spot I would appreciate it.


                    • #11
                      hi leah... just wondering who is performing that technique. i have never heard of it but it sounds promising. hopefully u will return to this forum and give us an update.