Rotator cuff tear...

(19 Posts)
StarbucksQueen Mon 08-Mar-21 19:07:20

So last Sept, after about 6mths of worsening shoulder/upper arm pain, I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder.. had the physio exercises, and increasing pain relief (naproxen, dihydrocodeine..), and spoke to my GP again this week to ask about steroid injections.
He told me that a frozen shoulder was really the end result of something that has happened to my shoulder, ie an injury, or maybe a muscle/tendon tear..he has now referred me for a scan (an xray showed nothing of concern)..I have tried to compare symptoms on the internet for a frozen shoulder vs a rotator cuff tear, and there are similarities - just wondering if someone on mumsnet has suffered a rotator cuff tear, and how it was treated once finally diagnosed?

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GreenSalon Tue 27-Apr-21 20:30:57

I realise this is a thread from last month but just to say I went to physio with similar. Diagnosed and treated for frozen shoulder. Didn’t get any better and saw a consultant (have private insurance thankfully) who immediately diagnosed a rotator cuff tear with bursitis as I could actually move it though it was stiff. And classic pain in upper outer arm and on doing particular movements. This was confirmed by an MRI which showed a small bone spur had caused it. I had a steroid injection which provided immediate relief and followed up with physio.
Unfortunately in the two months since the pain has returned so will be going back and picking up on a previous conversation about surgery. It’s extremely painful and causing huge sleep disruption which is another sign apparently of a rotator cuff tear.

PaperMonster Tue 27-Apr-21 21:06:42

I’ve been in pain for months and reading this and looking it up, I think this is what I have! Physio is booked for mid-May. Am in agony,

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Apr-21 00:01:17

The classic rotator cuff pain is when you cross your arms over and lift your arms above you head ( e.g taking a tight t-shirt or in my case scrub top off) you get a pain at the back of you shoulder joint.
Buying a shoulder ice pack to use every evening and physio is really improving things. But it is a slow injury to heal.

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Apr-21 00:03:34

Mine was diagnosed over the phone with me describing the original injury and clinical details. My GP said he could send he for a scan, but I was able to exactly explain clinical signs. In particular worsening pain during the day to peak intensity at night and the very specific action causing the highest grade pain.

StarbucksQueen Wed 28-Apr-21 09:34:25

Well, an ultrasound confirmed the rotator cuff tear..the GP said a steroid injection could make things worse - if I was doing the physio exercises, or general movement I could over stretch it and make the tear worse.. I have some new exercises, and the pharmacist at the surgery have changed my painkillers which do now take the edge of the pain, enough to let me do the exercises and get some sleep - and although its good to hear this is a 'normal' rotator cuff tear, I can certainly sympathise with anyone else suffering.

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PaperMonster Wed 28-Apr-21 12:21:05

@StarbucksQueen good to hear that you’ve been seen to and fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

@Lonecatwithkitten my pain is at the front, deep in the joint as well as on the outside of the arm. Gets worse as day goes on. Struggle with quite a lot of things and can’t remove my bra unaided. Does that sound like it, or is it not because the pain’s at the front?


StarbucksQueen Wed 28-Apr-21 12:45:58

@Lonecatwithkitten.. my pain has always been more or less halfway between my elbow and shoulder, on the outside of my upper arm.. I can't even get my hand in the back pocket of my jeans - and I have to fasten my bra at the front then twizzle the fastening round to my back.. I find a tens machine helpful in the evenings and sometimes during the night when I just can't sleep

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Lonecatwithkitten Wed 28-Apr-21 18:47:57

@StarbucksQueen and @PaperMonster the shoulder ice pack I bought I have found enormously helpful. The tendon gets inflamed through the day rubbing around the joint which is a large source of the night pain.
I have various chronic pain issues so it took me a few months to realise this was new and by then my pain was very specific. I am on month 4 of rehab and it is improving.
Yes @PaperMonster I couldn't put so my bra up or undo it. But taking my scrub top off each evening had me nearly screaming.

DragonMamma Wed 28-Apr-21 18:51:10

I had a rotator cuff tear and had surgery to repair it in the end. You have my sympathies, it took about 2.5 years to jump through all the NHS hoops!

PaperMonster Wed 28-Apr-21 19:45:49

@Lonecatwithkitten thank you. I have a process for getting clothes off as painlessly as possible - but I really struggle with my Oodie which always baffles me as I think it should be easier being so big!! I’m going to suggest to the physio whether it could be this when I get to my appointment.

pumpkinpie5 Wed 28-Apr-21 19:51:47

I have this too. 14 months so far. No improvement with private physio, saw consultant last week who has said frozen shoulder and likely rotator cuff injury underneath but need to address the frozen should first. I have an cray in two weeks time but what I really want is an mri then surgery, but going through nhs procedure is so slow and it's really getting me down. I cant dress myself properly, pain worse at night, and agonising if I jar it or reach for something without thinking about it.

PaperMonster Wed 28-Apr-21 20:44:35

Oh @pumpkinpie5 that sounds so frustrating as well as painful. And also quite worrying from a personal perspective as it sounds so similar to my own issues.

pumpkinpie5 Wed 28-Apr-21 20:48:44

@PaperMonster yes sounds very similar. It has taken such a long time, I would just really like someone to let me have an mri and be able to tell me exactly what I have done. Do you get a shooting pain down your arm when you jar it? I literally have to stand still for a few minutes until it wears off.

PaperMonster Wed 28-Apr-21 21:05:43

@pumpkinpie5 I have this stab of pain in my upper arm. Driving’s a nightmare - changing gears is so painful. I went to have a cortisone injection in my hip last week and jarred my arm opening the car door and walked into my appointment in agony with my arm whilst my hip was feeling relatively pain-free!!

LucysSkyDiamonds Wed 28-Apr-21 21:17:49

Mine wasn't a tear but I had a borderline frozen shoulder and a buggered rotator cuff all thanks to a dodgy pillow hmm. It's taken 4 months of weekly physio (paid for privately, thank god I can afford it) but I'm coming out the other side. If you can find a physio who specialises in sports injuries they will be best placed to help. I had a lot of dry needling to ease out areas that were particularly bad. The difference in the last month is incredible, I didn't realise how much pain I was in before it went away. Hope you get sorted soon.

Racingadmin Wed 28-Apr-21 21:28:25

Sorry to hear about all of the painful shoulders .

If you can move it, it's not frozen .

Please beware that you could have a slap tear rather than rotator cuff injury . Got mine doing chest fly in body pump and overextending.

Slap tear presents in a similar way to rotator cuff tears. However a slap tear has to have surgery as the cartlidge doesn't knit back together.

It took keyhole surgery , 5 weeks immobile in a sling , 8 weeks not driving . I then needed further surgery a year later as my body 'over healed' and grew bone spurs. These had to be cut out via open surgery.

Worth it in the end as after six months I was pain free and back to all of my exercise . Have full movement and strength.

If you do get a surgery referral try and do as much pre - op strength and physio work as possible

underneaththeash Wed 28-Apr-21 21:30:43

@StarbucksQueen This really isn't my area of speciality at all and I hate people giving advice about things they're not qualified to do - (I'm an optometrist and really don't know much about shoulders).
BUT...your history is very similar to mine and the pain you describe - half way down your arm on the tricep side. Shoulder pain etc.....

Mine eventually - after an acute episode was diagnosed as a cervical disc herniation - basically a disc prolapse in C5/6/7. After an MRI.

StarbucksQueen Sun 02-May-21 13:28:20

@underneaththeash.. that's interesting, the ultrasound scan apparently shows a definite tear, but if my physio exercises aren't helping then this would be something else to consider

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