Advanced search

Mumsnet hasn't checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can't diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.

shoulder pain ? rotator cuff injury

(15 Posts)
BasketzatDawn Sun 06-Jan-13 23:21:08

For last few months I've had bad shoulder pain. When it's really bad, pain is down whole arm and fingers tingle slightly. It disturbs my sleep. Not discussed it with any HPs - it was much worse a few weeks ago and rest and gentle stretching have helped somewhat. I have self-diagnosed it as tendonitis type thing, possible rotator cuff injury. I ought to at least get a ref to a physio, I know. DH is annoyed that i've not done this yet - he is right (I rarely say that wink)

In the meantime, what can i do to help or not make it worse? I am terrified it will hang about for ages still, or i'll not get full function back. I try very hard not to overuse it/stretch it when reaching (I try to use other side) or lifting anything much on that side - though it is my dominant arm. To add to the difficulties, i cannot take pain meds like ibuprofen due to other health problems. What would a physio or GP do that i'm not doing already?

Allergictoironing Mon 07-Jan-13 10:06:53

Tingling fingers means there's pressure on the nerve, possibly caused by inflammation but ofc impossible to diagnose without examination.

Am HP will be able to correctly assess or diagnose the cause of the problem & give you exercises designed specifically for it, and be able to give you any appropriate treatment (e.g. specific massage therapy). You say you've had this months, well a decent therapist should be able to speed up the recovery vastly - when I was treating sport injuries I would reckon on a max of about 3 months to get a typical injury of this type back down to "occasional twinge" level, and that was assuming ligament damage (one of the worst to recover from). You do have a good chance of it lingering for years if you don't get the right things done.

May I ask why you are so reluctant to see a professional about this? I hate pain, and would much rather I was treated by someone who could cut recovery time by at least half!

gingeroots Mon 07-Jan-13 10:56:59

I've had two frozen shoulders .
The one I had treated by an oestopath resolved far more quickly than the one that I waited months for a NHS appointment .

It's important to be seen by a HP as different stages of injury require different treatment/exercise .

As for general advice I think iceing the shoulder ( front and top ) and gentle pendulum exercises help . Try and keep it gently mobile .

If easier alternate cold with hot but finish with cold .

Allergictoironing Mon 07-Jan-13 12:22:25

I was slightly avoiding giving advice on how to deal with this because a) depends on the exact problem & b) self help is NOT a substitute for seeing a professional.

Depending on what's wrong, even little things like changing the pillows on your bed can help, altering the position of your car seat or your desk layout/how you use your PC or laptop/tablet etc. BUT these can't be advised without a proper assessment!

BasketzatDawn Mon 07-Jan-13 17:56:31

Thanks for those replies. I went down to cottage hospital today and filled in self referral to physio. Going on past experience (my back wasa problem a year or so ago) I will be seen in a couple of weeks. If there'sa delay, i'll D/W a GP before that. I can't really endure the pain and loss of function any more, so i will get it seen to now. Honest, guv!

I can't explain why i've been so slow - till about 6 weeks ago it was just a bit of a twinge, so i put up with it. Just too much else going on and I tend to put myself down at bottom of list, which is silly i know. I've been a mother of four for years. AND i am ex HP so think i can work it out for self - silly too as lots i don't know of coursegrin. Two sons with developmental dis, one is Home ed. And I have autoimmune liver disease so i am knackered constantly - having liver biospy this week and looking forward to having a lie down wink, but no way can I lie for 6 hours on my R shoulder (after the biopsy) so i've been worrying about that instead of getting shoulder dealt with <ostrich emoticon>. Anyway I can lie on front with slight tilt to right so that will be fine, and I need ot get this done, to get the disease stage. There have been so many delays already.

One last question. i hate coldness and my DH (who knows only what he has heard on Radio 4 re medical matters!) tells me there is no point in using ice when injury is not acute. I.m not sure he is correct. I use heat as that eases the pain, esp in absence of Big Pharma products. But I should us ice too???

Allergictoironing Mon 07-Jan-13 18:19:51

Well done on going to the hospital & setting it in motion. 2 weeks? You lucky lucky woman, round my way it's about 6 weeks if it isn't a critical thing and you can't self refer it has to be through your GP or a consultant.

Ice reduces inflammation, heat helps relax tension - good chance you have either or both. You can try what's known as combination therapy (hot & cold alternating in the same session) as it isn't going to harm you. Always start & finish with cold, about 10 minutes max for each cold part of the session & as an ex-HP you will know to wrap the ice pack & not put it directly against your skin. try this a few times (at least twice a day) & see if it helps at all, if it doesn't then leave it until you see the physio.

Another thing you may find helps is getting your pillows sorted (bear with me). A majority of people I know have piles of soft squishy pillows, which ofc sink down in the middle. A few others have somehow got hold of the idea that the lowest pillows you can bear is a good thing. Both these styles mean that if you lie on your side you end up slightly squishing the shoulder of whatever side you lie on. Ideally you should try firm pillows with a combined thickness of approximately the same as the distance between a line drawn up from the outside of your shoulder, and your ear IYSWIM. This keeps your neck straight, and stops you from squashing the underneath shoulder.

For driving or desk type work, try to make sure that your hands are NO higher than your elbows and your upper arm is relaxed completely down at your sides, to prevent any hunching of the shoulders.

Good luck with the physio, & come back to this thread to tell us how you got on smile

BasketzatDawn Mon 07-Jan-13 19:13:59

Interesting about pillows. I will do a self-assessment smile.

I don't know whether self-referral option is local as in this health board, as I know of people in other Scottish areas who can do so too, but it is one of the bril things about Scotland, methinks.

Allergictoironing Mon 07-Jan-13 19:43:37

Ah a Scottish thing, lucky lady.

You did understand OK what i was getting at with how to get the pillow height right? It's really hard to explain with just words! The idea is that when you are lying on your side you spine is completely straight though the shoulders & neck the same as if you were sitting or standing up, and your head isn't tilted to either side.

BasketzatDawn Mon 07-Jan-13 19:47:12

Yep, i think i got pillow thing - did have to read the words several times though. Thanks again.

gingeroots Mon 07-Jan-13 20:12:19

More thanks from me to Allergic about the pillows !

Allergictoironing Mon 07-Jan-13 22:00:32

When I was doing therapy professionally I found that apart from problems caused by obvious sudden trauma (wrench, fall etc), probably more than half of back/neck/shoulder pains were caused by one of the following things

Pillows/sleeping position
Driving position
Work desk posture
Using a laptop/tablet slouched over a very low coffee table type thing

Ironically, I can't do much therapy now because of my own back being a bit wrecked, though that's due to an old accident sad

debinaboat Mon 07-Jan-13 22:47:10

I just want to add a word of caution .a word with your GP would not be a bad idea.
I had symptoms like yours (plus a few more)that ended up with a diagnosis of something that physio would not have been recommended for.
When I googled my symptoms i was convinced it was a rotator cuff injury too. I even told my GP that's what it was.blush
I was wrong.
I am also in a similar home situation(including the HE) so I know how easy it is to put everyone else's needs first,but if you can find the time to see your GP.just to be sure you are doing the right thing.x

gingeroots Tue 08-Jan-13 07:57:49

allergic have you any tips for improving driving position ?

Allergictoironing Tue 08-Jan-13 11:26:59

Hi gingeroots. I would try to avoid suggestions if someone has a specific problem, as what's generally accepted as a good position may exacerbate some conditions. But as a general rule

Have the back as upright as you can be comfortable
Steering wheel comparatively low & close to you
Seat not tilted too far back
Headrest set forward enough so you don't have to tilt your head to be touching it
Lumbar support set so it's in the small of your back, supportive but not pressing.

The theory is that you have the whole legth of your back supported not just your shoulders; and having the back of the seat tilted too far back tends to encourage slouching. Arms should be able to be dropped comparatively low, and not stretched out straight & at shoulder height. You often see men driving like this, with their arms straight out at the top of the steering wheel, I guess they think it looks sporty or something lol, whereas they are causing stress in their shoulders by having them raised, and tension in them & their arms by having them almost locked straight.

Try watching a bit of modern F1 or similar, and look at the driving position they are in. Of course there are some major differences like how low they sit in the car, and their legs being stretched out in front of them due to streamlining requirements & low seating, but their bodies are upright with head/neck supported & their arms in a lowish relaxed position. These guy have to drive under extreme conditions for a long time, so they need to be in a position that isn't going to cause unnecessary stresses & strains on them.

As i said, these things are soooo hard to try to explain just in words. Do Google "correct driving posture" (also the same for desk posture) and have a look at the pics, there are loads on line smile

gingeroots Tue 08-Jan-13 15:33:56

Oh thanks allergic - it never ocurred to me to google ( goodness knows why ) and I've made you write an explanatory post instead !

But your post is jolly helpful ,thank you .

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: