I agree with jellybean 100% regarding scans and GPs. My excellent sports physio advised getting an ultrasound, once done my GP (who's excellent for heaps of stuff) said no op would be done for my injury and go back to physio, went back and physio said nah you need to see an ortho.
I'd wanted to go and get my own scans done to try and speed things along before seeing the ortho - physio advised not to. Good advice.
Exactly as jellybean points out - the orthos (top ones) know exactly what they need to scan and the type of scans they want, they have their own favourite imaging place, technicians and radiologists who they trust to accurately interpret the scans (ie all the boxes listed in jellybean's post are ticked) resulting in higher likelihood of correct diagnosis and treatment options.
If you just go out and order your own scans, you risk wasting hundreds of $ by either getting the wrong ones done, not scanning the right area, not getting an accurate reading etc, etc. However, we all know when we're just not getting the right answers, in which case I'd think about going it alone. Seek a couple of top opinions first.
I've just had the same op as you - suprasp + biceps. Too soon to tell but luckily ortho had said tissue was good and op went as well as it could have gone. Sorry to hear you were not so fortunate.
Only time and plenty of physio will tell. I'm optimistic of returning to sports I want to do. Before making a decision to have the op, I was quite careful to make sure my post-op expectations were consistent with the repair work my ortho would be doing (which included the scenario of possible additional injuries he might find once shoulder was scoped).
Long and short - GPs can be fantastic - but they may not be so good with diagnosing/treating sports injuries. Not all injuries will show up on the scans - might need a scope. Good sports physios are gold.
Just thought that I would post an update on the never ending saga.
Had my first post op meeting with the surgeon on Wednesday. He is happy with the progress, and contrary to my worst fear, I have not torn the bicep tendonesis repair. How I arrived at that thought is for another time.
So now I am without the sling. Yeah! I am surprised how quickly your body adapts to changes. Specifically, the atrification of muscle tissue. Unfortunately unless I excercise frequently 3-4 times a week I lose muscle mass and hence body weight. Since being in the sling my right arm has shrunk to something that resembles an 8yr olds bicep.
One thing I didn't expect was the pain after the sling was thrown away. Not joint pain but tired muscle pain, given the inactivity it is not unreasonable but it actually hurts more than the pain from the surgery. I know, I know just being a girl(sorry to the girls) about it.
Anyway each day gets better and I am allowed to go back to physio on the 28th of this month. Can't wait.
I had shoulder surgery in 2002 (work injury)... for a look and see because the MRI didn't show much but some fluid around the bursa. I had hydradialation (however you spell it!) injections which were very painful! That did not work. I then had the surgery which the surgeon said he didn't expect to find much and was going to "clean it up a bit" I came out with the diagnosis of a full thickness 70% tear of the supraspinatus tendon! It was sewn up and screwed to the bone and a decompression of the whatever bone! I then developed a frozen shoulder, which I have struggled with ever since. My physio knew there was something wrong with my shoulder all the time he was working on it. He happens to be a physio for the socceroos! Six visits back to the surgeon did nothing. I then pestered another surgeon and yet another for quite a while because the original surgeon didn't want to know me after I did not recover as expected and sent me off to "pain panagement"!! Finally in 2004 a second surgeon decided to take a "risk" and do a manipulation under anaestetic and "clean it up a bit" He found my bursa was infected and I had quite a bit of swelling, he removed my bursa! I did recover some movement. I recently had my 5th child (1st Aug) and noticed my shoulder becoming painful again, I went back to the 2nd surgeon and requested a MRI, he suggested an ultrasound because there are too many mechanics in the shoulder and an ultrasound was better. He also mention only I can do my physio and the pain in my fingers had nothing to do with the shoulder, he was quite terse! I felt like a pain in the butt so I left the ultrasound for a few weeks thinking he doesn't believe me so maybe I am just being a sook. Well I had the ultrasound done.... I have another tear 1.5 cm in the same tendon right along side of the repair... the tendon looks thin in many places...Ho hum... Gee was the doc ever so nice to me when he rang with the results! GRRR I am to go back and see him on the 5th of December, do you think I will be giving him a piece of my mind..making me feel like a pain? My GP would like me to see someone in the city now for the 3rd operation! I was nearly sick when he told me about the tear. I have never forgotten the pain from the 1st operation. The 2nd was minor compared to the 1st! I will be out of action for quite sometime and won't be able to hold my baby! I have been told by many a doctor that my shoulder will never be the same. I do not want to keep having an operation every few years.... When do you think human body parts will be on the market? LOL (kidding!) Has anyone had such rudeness like the operation was not earning these doctors any money or it was coming out of their pocket? Why is it they don't want to know you when "their operation" has not been a sucess? Who lives with the pain? GAWD! Oh and don't get me started on the Work Cover merry go round...it stinks!!
I have seen so many surgeons and people dealing with work cover over the last 6 years it's a joke! None of them hold out any hope for a "full" recovery, I have to "live" with the pain. I am right handed too and I sometimes forget I am. I trained myself to use a computer mouse left handed! I knew nothing about the internet 6 years ago and luckily it kept me going through these frustrating years! I have one thing to thank my injury for though... I met my fiance outside the psychologist's rooms! True dinks! He is also a workcover recipient (back fusion)...yeeehaaah! We both know what it is like to be in constant pain. Noone unless they have been through it knows what it is like! Be careful with the pill trade... they only do harm along the way. I never knew how many drugs I was allergic to until I had this injury! It is exhausting to think like a left handed person when you are right hand dominant, but where there's a will there's a way! Good luck.... positive thinking... I don't take much in the way of medication now because of the side affects I have had and I am feeding our new daughter. I think I am use to the pain now and have bad days and good days. I am not looking forward to my 3rd operation as you can well imagine! Good luck to you.
Last edited by rosecoloured64; 21-11-2007 at 06:22 PM.
Sorry to hear what you have been through. Hopefully your next repair will be your last!
Congratulations on your new daughter, if she provides you with half the joy our daughter has given us you will be in heaven.
Its interesting to have somewhere like this site to get some feedback. I should have done more research before my op but didn't and completely trusted my orthopod. If I had my time over again I would have scrutinised the whole process far more closely. Unlike you i was not(fortunately from what I have read) invovled with workcover, although I firmly believe that my shoulder problems are work related, it was easier for me to go the private route.
My recovery is progressing, each day I get a little bit more ROM but no strength yet. The pain is there all of the time, and as you probably know night time is the worst. I tend to try and let my body deal with the pain without any medication. I was given some STRONG pain relief when I left hospital but haven't been forced to take any yet. I guess that I am reasonably lucky to have a tolerance of pain. It appears that the pain you have gone through has been far worse than mine, especially with the supra repair. Fortunately? I didn't have to go through that as I vaporised mine so there was nothing to repair.
As you say.... positive thinking!... Look for the positive in everything. . My philosophy is that there is ALWAYS someone worse of than me with just a sore arm.
Good luck with number 3
Last edited by 6tee7; 21-11-2007 at 11:52 PM.
Thanks for your congrats, she is truely amazing.
I am petrified about my 3rd op.
Your pain is real and should not be compared with "others" pain, it comes and goes, we all have to live with it. Good days and bad days, we get use to it. Fresh operation pain... ewwww. Yes night time can be the worst. I do have all types of spasmodic pain throughout the day and I never know when it will hit. Can be a bit embarrassing at times in public when I yelp for that split second, or if i am trying to cut something i have ordered out at dinner that is a bit tough and the knife flies out of my hand or I have to ask someone to cut it for me like a little kid or not being able to lift the spoon from the soup to my mouth right handed!
If I had my time again I would have done quite alot of things different. I did not know life can be like this and feel for those worse off than me, never the less we live the lives we have and shouldn't disregard our suffering to a certain extent, at the same time... make the most of how we can adapt, and we do. Hind sight is a wonderful thing!
Strong pain relief... as in Tramal or similar? They sent me off my nut! Yucky things those drugs!
Have you asked the professionals how, when, if, you will regain your strength and time wise? If not..ask them, you/we keep them in a job. I use to be intimidated and not ask, then wonder or GOOGLE it and then be disappointed because I gave myself a very unrealistic recovery time. I then became depressed and frustrated because it wasn't meeting my standards and goal I had set. Silly me! They will hesitate... ask for a ballpark figure...work on that and if you need more time then so be it. The strength will only come back after many many months or years of constant physio and exercise...if ever!
I was told after I had muscle wastage after 4 years of not being able to work my arm properly without pain it would take 18months of exercises 6 times a day...constant!
The surgeon said to me on the phone..what to do..what to do with you... we will set you back to before step one if I operate again...gee installed my confidence in him! I have asked 2 GP's now if I can leave it...both said no. YIKES!
I am getting another opinion on the 10th December...in Melbourne. I know I have to have it done and am mentally preparing myself for it (or booking a flight outta here) I do not want my arm to "hang" like one GP said if I do not get it sorted and keep working it.
News flash.... after work cover cutting my wages off in September (because they said I had a work capacity) I have been to the medical panel (3rd Nov) Just got the news I will have my payments reinstated...thank goodness!
I actually was on my 2nd interview for Safeway when I got the results from my ultrasound.( I did not tell them I was on work cover and was dreading the time i would have to) I really believed I could work if I had to. I also knew my arm was playing up more. Maybe I do have a more profound mental illness...LOL
It never ceases to amaze me with work cover... all they need is 2 of "their" docs (they pay handsomely) to say I am fit for work. No medical scans, no nothing, just their 20 minute appointment (if that)...not even anything from my docs. Mind you I was 6 months pregnant at these doctor appointments, but that's not related to my injury, so they gave me 6 weeks after her birth to get a job and go to work, mind you I had a caesar and couldnt drive for 6 weeks either! I have not had wages for 3 months and it will take them a few weeks to reinstate them.
It's all a game... mostly a mind game. So far I am winning! There have been times I didn't think I could play the game anymore. I'm still standing...The arm may not be the best...Ratfinks! I actually started to believed there was nothing wrong with my arm at times because they constantly disputed it in their reports. I do have an adjustment disorder so their psychs report... ummm yessum... I don't want to be like this and refuse to believe it will be like this forever! We are just a number in a business to them. Their aim is to get us out of their face and stop costing them money. I am number 1 to me.. now and that's how it will be! I am glad your recovery is progressing, goodluck and ask those questions if you have not! Thankyou for your good wishes too. Seeing as I had both my operations in The month of April 2002 and 2006 I may choose a different month this time for the op and the month before to fly out!! LOL
Last edited by rosecoloured64; 26-11-2007 at 12:39 AM.
Had first meeting with physio y'day. Bad news. I will expand later when I get some time and my head around it.
Thanks for the reply
Sorry to hear that. Keep your chin up. Not much more I can say for someone who says so much most of the time!
I will check back in a few days.
Talking to surgeon tomorrow. Keep you posted.
So what's happened 6tee7?
You had the op (supraspinatus + biceps wasn't it); then things seemed to go pretty well; but you went to physio, and then things not so good, and finally appointment with surgeon - which we assume is not for the usual follow-up....
I agree with you that the muscle degeneration is huge after 6 weeks in a sling and 6 weeks of 'assisted' physio (ie no strength work). It's going to take months looking at my arm now. Just got to keep plugging away...then hey presto...it'll work.
Hope surgeon's appointment goes well for you.