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Tendon in arm/shoulder problem. How long did this take to heal for you?

(5 Posts)
TendonQueen Tue 25-Nov-14 22:46:15

Five days ago I woke up with horrendous pain in my upper arm and at the top of my shoulder. It's got better with painkillers but only to a degree, and I can hardly move my arm at all - can't use a fork properly, change gear without intense pain etc. Went to walk in centre tonight and was told it's the tendon at the arm/shoulder boundary (can't remember the name now) and it takes 'a long time' to heal. The nurse I saw said it was 6 months in her case! I know there are conditions that last longer, but I am still pretty down about this since

a) driving is currently verging on impossible, and if I can't drive then all sorts of things including looking after my elderly parents will become extremely difficult.

b) me and DH are just about to start trying for another child, don't have much time left, yet I am facing a spell on strong painkillers and I don't know how manageable that would be while pregnant.

Can anyone cheer me up about their similar problem resolving sooner? Or give tips about how to get it to heal asap? I have had serious health problems before and know I should put this into perspective but I am really sad about this tonight.

CMOTDibbler Wed 26-Nov-14 09:12:22

I've had a lot of tendon problems, and what has really helped is acupuncture (which I'd have never thought tbh). I paid for sessions with a private physio who combined massage, stretches, acupuncture, and exercise recommendations. The agony went after two sessions.

larryphilanddave Thu 27-Nov-14 19:09:17

Have you seen a doctor or had some sort of referral? I've had a tendon problem (different area though) and a relative had a frozen shoulder, which sounds similar to your issue but I'm no expert. We both needed physio and steroid injections in order to heal properly.

The time depended on availability and referrals - all in all, I started physio about 2 months after seeing the GP (first available appointment), then had my first steroid injection about a month later, but my injection was delayed as I had some work to do and needed to get it out of the way beforehand as I needed to rest the tendon for at least a week post-injection. After the steroid injection I had about two more appointments over the following 6 weeks to follow up, then I was discharged as everything was fine.

My relative on the other hand had to wait much longer, but that is because they travel a lot for work and it took a while to pin down dates where they could see the physiotherapist. They needed two lots of steroid injections. All in all it took a little under a year, but as I say that was largely due to not being available for appointments.

Don't want to disappoint, more that it sounds like you might well benefit from a referral asap so the quicker that happens, the quicker it gets resolved.

In the meantime if you can find some sort of brace or support, often sports sites have a wide range, these can help. Try to work out a modified way to use that arm if you can so that you avoid pain as much as possible. Massage can help, and you can probably find some helpful exercises online or from your GP - our local NHS trust has a handout which can be found when doing a Google search for my issue (not shoulder, sorry!), but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find something similar online. I found these useful too.

TendonQueen Fri 28-Nov-14 01:02:45

Thanks CMOT and larry. I saw nurses at our local walk-in centre and then a GP the next day. The nurses gave me the worst case scenario but were kinder, and advised physio asap for best results. The GP was a lot more blasé, and said rest it for 2 weeks, and that the waiting list for physio would be months long so I would be better off just looking on YouTube for exercises hmm I decided I had more faith in the nurses, one of whom had had the same problem herself, and booked the first private physio session I could for next week. Paying is well worth it to me if it allows me to heal faster. I'll also consider acupuncture as my searching so far has turned up a few emphatic recommendations for that.

The good news is that the pain, which was almost unbearable when I posted and also last night (and I've been in severe pain before...) has improved quite a bit today. My movement has improved a little, but it has helped most of all not to be in constant pain. So am cautiously crossing my fingers and hoping I will be a lucky person who gets a faster recovery than expected. I've ordered a book on stretching that comes well recommended (on here and elsewhere!) and will keep trying to stay as mobile as I can and see how the next few days go. I really appreciate your responses.

EmNetta Fri 28-Nov-14 01:37:36

Glad you've organised physio and are considering acupuncture. I woke up with similar shoulder pain a few years ago, and GP diagnosed bursitis, with a slow recovery. I had usual painkillers, but found best help was arm in a sling, meaning I didn't use it, and I wonder if this would help in your case? Best wishes for good recovery.

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