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Rotor cuff injury much worse now(25 Posts)
I recently saw the gp who diagnosed me with a rotor cuff injury. I’d had pain for a while but thought it’d get better, fell on it and it got worse. Referred for physio and currently waiting to hear. The meds prescribed seemed to be helping although movement still restricted. Anyway, 2 days ago I made a slight but really painful movement with my arm and now I’m in agony. It’s literally throbbing and something is now touching a nerve that’s pulsing down my arm. Is it worth going to the local urgent treatment centre or do I just need to sit it out and wait for physio? What can I take for the pain alongside the naproxen? Many thanks
I would probably go get it checked. Did your doc say to put cold on it?
No just gave meds and said to wait for physio appointment
Hi op. I’m a physio. Excuse being rude but a)how old are you? B)is this following a trauma or did it come on slowly? C)do you have movement that is restricted by pain or is it also stiff (like you physically have a block to the movement)? D)how long are the duration of your symptoms?
I’m 46. Started last year, maybe October time. I just thought I’d slept on it wrong but it didn’t get better. My dad has suffered with frozen shoulder so I thought it was that. I remember about a year ago the dog really yanking my arm suddenly but it didn’t give any immediate signs of injury but I do remember feeling pain when playing tennis with kids last summer. Then I tripped and put my arm out a couple of months ago which made it much worse, hence the visit to doctor. I can’t get my hand anywhere close to touching my lower back. The pain is at the front and top of my shoulder, feels sore and tender, muscular aches at the back. Pretty much any arm movement now hurts, pulling trousers up, taking top off is really painful. Catching suddenly, shaking out duvet pretty impossible. And I’m getting a pain that radiates down my arm, feels like hitting a nerve so my arm feels weak.
Oh op you’ve had a rough time haven’t you. It’s tricky; it could have been a mild cuff irritation which has progressed into a tear or it could actually be a frozen shoulder.
How long is the wait for physio where you live? They should quickly be able to give their diagnosis. If it’s that sore you probably need to up your pain relief.
You could ask the gp to try a diagnostic steroid injection. They would do a glenohumeral (shoulder joint) injection if they thought it was a frozen shoulder. That should help with pain but not movement.
Or you could ask for a subacromial injection which would be for the cuff. If your movement improves straight away then that’s a good indicator it’s your cuff.
If it’s really affecting you that much you could ask to be referred into your local musculoskeletal interface service. They may considering doing an ultrasound scan to check the integrity of the cuff.
Just a word of caution that if your gp injects you and then it turns out your have a cuff tear that is amendable to surgery you may have to wait a wee while as some surgeons won’t operate too close to an injection.
I know this is a lot of ifs and buts. But hopefully I’ve given you an idea of options.
Not all cuff injuries need surgery or injections (and improve very well with physio), unless being young like yourself, you have a significant tear.
Reading through your post again it does sound more like a frozen shoulder with the age and onset.
This is a very good evidence-based website:
Hello OP - has calcific tendinitis aka calcific tendinopathy been considered? I had a similar history, was misdiagnosed by GP as having frozen shoulder and wasted time and ££££ getting private physiotherapy which had no prospect of curing what was actually going on.
In the end I got myself seen by a shoulder surgeon, belatedly had an MRI and the socking great lump of calcium deposit in the tendon was there for all to see. If that is what it is the pain and impairment will get worse rather than better and I would not wish the inflammatory reabsorption phase on my worst enemy - see other threads on the subject. That first time I fortunately had it surgically dealt with before reabsorption but then had a recurrence 7 yrs later.
Anyway obviously I don’t know whether this is relevant to you but something to have on your radar perhaps.
Morning OP , I’m in your boat , I have the problem in both arms , so can’t put coat on unaided . Yesterday I found a fantastic light linen one in Zara (sale ☺️👌) that’s so lose that I can 🎉 . Iv found having a back massage helped in the short term too . I’m meeting with the physio this week for a follow up , but no better . Surgeon the week after . Sorry I’m no real help .... just your not alone !
Thanks so much for your replies. So painful and always wake up in pain during the night. Yesterday was just awful but feeling better today. Not sure the physio wait time here. How do you tell whether it’s the pain or stiffness from stopping the movement? I’ve managed to get my hand closer to my back today but the pain is just so intense.
GPs aren't much good with soft tissue or other types of internal injuries. Could you afford private physio?
Op have you considered asking your gp for an X-ray. Very unlikely to be OA at your age but would very easily rule out a calcific tendinitis, although that doesn’t really fit with your history. It’s tricky for you to test yourself but basically if you move your arm up infront of you and then out to the side. See how far you can get. Then ask someone to passively do the movement when lying down and see how far they can get. If they can only get the same amount of movement as you can then it’s likely to be capsular and a frozen shoulder.
pope are your shoulders both very bad first thing in the morning by any chance?
Yes , sadly ! This morning I leant on my elbow to take my cuppa and thought I was going to cry ! It goes off in a few minutes, I give it a brisk rub . (Not sure if that really helps , but stops me swearing 🤬) I’m now finding that if I drive for more than a good hour my arms get sore . Not helpful as just moved to an area that’s an hour to get anywhere useful! I’m really pinning my hopes on being offered the injection as we have DGC 9 due in September and I’m on call to look after their big brother. I find it helps to do things that yd normally do arms above head bent in half , so taking off T-shirt is like touching toes . It’s a blooming nuisance isn’t it ? X
I can’t imagine how awful it must be having it in both shoulders, how on earth do you sleep?
When I saw the gp he said the physio would evaluate and may send me for further investigation.
If you can afford private physio then I would definitely look into that. I did and it took many sessions of massage, ultrasound therapy and ice packs to work on mine.
Or/and how about a TENS machine to help with the pain? My GP recommended it for back pain and it does help.
I wedge myself with a V pillow and drink sleepy tea ! Like you , mine had no real start. We were moving ,so lots of lifting but no ouch I think I’ve done something!? My pledge to myself is when I’m over this , I’m going to get my body as strong as I can be . My DM lived to 95 so Iv got 40 years to enjoy yet ! The advice Iv been given is don’t lift anything and do physio twice a day 🤞x
I have it in both shoulders too. Throbs a lot of the time. So painful. Physio helps and loosens everything but then once physio stops, it starts again. Across tops of each shoulder bone, down outside of arms to just above elbow. Awful thing.
Morning all , just back from a 730 physio appointment at hospital, loving Local hospital, it may have a 1970s Russia vibe , but treatment is tip top ! So good news is , this will get better , got to get a stretchy band and some very basic exercises. I’m seeing surgeon next week , physio have written to say they think injections is way forward to manage pain . In mean time it’s pain killers 4 times a day .as I’m compensating and holding myself in an odd way lessen pain . Also booking back massage as helped last time ! They said first 3 months tend to be painful but then you will make progress and recover 🤞😎
Just to give some hope I have a rotator cuff injury and a month ago it was really dragging me down mentally- been getting worse over about 6 months. About 2 weeks before the physio appointment came through I sat on Google and worked out an exercise plan combined with ibuprofen 3 x daily. By the time I saw the physio it had just started to improve and thankfully is continuing.
The main exercise that did it for me was rolling a towel and putting it under my armpit then trying to use the good arm to gently pull the bad arm behind my back. No hope to start but 4 weeks later it's getting there. When driving I also push the (locked) car door away with my forearm flat against it - obvs it's my right arm!
Don't know if that makes sense but wanted to let you know it does get better slowly!!
Glad to hear pope that yours will get better, hope you manage to get the injections and it helps.
I think mine is frozen shoulder. It has changed a lot this past week. Last week a small sudden movement had left me in agony and numbed my arm temporarily.
My shoulder still clicks but I have less movement in it and feels much stiffer. The pain is now from just below my jaw all the way to my elbow almost, along my outer arm. And about a third of the way down my back on that side. A constant dull ache. Sharper in my shoulder when I move. It’s gradually got worse as the week has gone by. And still no word from the physio. And probably isn’t helped by working at a desk.
I had to have rotator cuff surgery after putting it off a long time. It was hard, but it worked and I'm pain free. Hope you don't need it, but if you do, just be ready for 2 to 3 months of recovery.
I had the injections last Friday , whoop whoop 🙌 id say I’m 70% better ! Still can’t put my arms behind my back , but apparently that’s the last bit to get better . The muscle was so tight in one arm that the syringe popped spraying us all with steroid, but about half went in and that seams to be enough. I’m going back in 2 months for a repeat . This time they will use an ultrasound to get best location . I hope you get your appointment and get relief. I was told horror stories about the injections, but honestly they are fine , a lot better than the ones in the dentist! X
Wow great to hear the injections have given you some relief.
I’ve been on naproxen for just over 6 weeks now and it’s definitely helped. The pain is less and I’ve got a bit of extra movement. Still not heard about physio
If you can afford it op a private chiropractor or physio. I am seeing a Chiro for rehab on a freezing (not yet to the stage of frozen) shoulder and am improving massively. The sooner you can be seen the better. Good luck.
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