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Surgery for Shoulder Impingement/Biceps Tear
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Surgery for Shoulder Impingement/Biceps Tear

I'm a 29 year old female, who has had shoulder pain for years. I was a competitive swimmer as well as a fitness junkie who did years of strength training. The last month or two it has gotten considerably worse. I can't sleep, and am in constant pain. I finally went to an orthopedic doc a couple of weeks ago.

We tried a cortisone shot (based on my symptoms, he gave it to me in the rotator cuff area, which he suspected was the problem) and then scheduled an MRI for later in the week, the pain only got worse. Then, a couple of hours after the MRI, it got considerably worse. The doc saw me first thing on Monday 1/25 and gave me two more (he gave me one for the bicep tendon and the other for the impingement - we had the MRI results showing that there was a tear in the bicep tendon as well as a rotator cuff impingement on the acromium). They still have not worked.

He told me that if they didn't work, it wasn't wise to keep trying the cortisone because of the side effects and that it most likely would not work even if we tried again. I am supposed to go in early next week if the pain is not gone.

He is recommending surgery. I have done PT in the past - with no long-term relief, I was doing pilates exercises up until the pain was too unbearable (which are very similiar to PT exercises). I have done heat and ice and NSAID's.

I guess what I need is opinions from people who have had this type of surgery. I want relief from this pain, but am scared that the surgery won't help. I don't want to go through a surgery and wish I hadn't done it. I just don't know what else to do. I can't bear much more of this pain. I also don't want to think about a long recovery. I'm a busy mom of two kids and the thought of having to rely on people isn't appealing. However, I hate being in all this pain. I'm ornery and tired all the time.

Any help would be great!

Thanks  


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5 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello!

I would suggest you to stop steroid injections as these are anti inflammatory medications and they are not working as the primary problem, the tear is not healing.

You can take oral pain killers, use ice packs and rest for some days.

You can start physiotherapy and try healing your biceps for couple of months. Avoid over working and lifting of weights.

Go for an MRI to check healing and if there is no healing consider surgery.

Take care!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for responding!

I've tried ice and heat to no avail. I've been taking nsaids for 4 months. I noticed it getting really bad around the beginning of October. I haven't worked my shoulders out for the most part for several months because of the pain and at least some level of pain has been there for several years.

Would you still recommend going to PT if the exercises have not worked in the past, or because there are actually two diagnosed problems on the MRI (Impingement as well as the bicep tear) Does that change your opinion at all?

Do both of these injuries ever heal themselves?
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1205014_tn?1265731513
I can't give you much advise, however I will say I have the same problem. I know exactly how you feel, the pain is unbearable at times, everything causes pain, especially getting dressed! The affected arm  is my right arm and I am right handed.  It even hurts me to drive, or brush my teeth.  I am afraid of surgery as well, however I can't take much more of the pain.  I have had this for over a year but recently was hit by a car while crossing the street landing on the bad shoulder. Since then the pain became unbearable. Before my accident I could manage the pain , now it is constant. I've heard good and bad things about surgery.  Some are very sucessfull, but others never really heal or require another surgery.  I am a single women and cant afford to be off work for a long recovery. SDI only pays about 2/3 of your salary.  I barely make it as it is so I dont know how I can survive for 12 wks on 2/3. Sorry to vent. I can simpathise with you taking care of kids and not wanting to rely on help.  I feel the same why. I sure hope you find the cure you need. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I had surgery  for a torn rotator cuff, impingement, torn bicep tendon and the removal of part of collar bone. That was May 5th 2010, and i was just informed that the surgery was not successful for one reason or another ( Not sure?). The last evaluation suggested that i have an impingement again and they are wanting to do another injection along with a dye MRI, and  due to the findings there is a 90% chance I'm looking at having to have the surgery preformed again . Does anyone know what  would have caused the first surgery to not be successful? Is a second surgery a wise choice at this point? I'm not sure if i want to go through this again.
  
Thanks to any responders on this .
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1605619_tn?1301635451
If you have a tear of the biceps tendon, therapy is not going to heal it.  Arthroscopic surgery is the way to go.  I worked for an Orthopaedic Surgeon for 5 yrs and we did a lot of these tendon repairs with an extremely high success rate.  You are young, active and want to remain that way so I would say go for the surgery.  It will take you out of commision for a while but, fingers crossed, you will be glad you did.  Make sure that the surgeon who operates on you does a lot of SLAP repairs and other shoulder procedures!  Best of luck!
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