Friday, December 17, 2010


I went to an orthopedic surgeon today. Two days ago, I evidently tore a muscle in my shoulder. Technically, I did it weight lifting, but not during my regular routine. I picked up a 14 lb. weight (not that heavy) to move it, and I was not careful, and was immediately in big trouble and pain. I put it down quickly, and I have been in hot pain ever since with limited movement and strength.

Based on the 34 painful positions he put my arm in, the doctor suspects a SLAP lesion.

I am scheduled for an x-ray guided contrast injection MRI on Monday evening, the 20th. If it is what the doctor thinks it is, he says I have to have surgery to repair the muscle. He says PT and drugs will not help without surgery first.

I looked it up on the internet, and all of the sites said that most SLAP lesions don't need surgery, and that physical therapy and drugs should always be tried first.

When I looked up the surgery, it said that you cannot use your arm for 6 weeks after the surgery (yes, it is my right arm and, yes, I am right handed) and the time to total recovery is 3-4 months.

I guess I will be getting a second opinion after the MRI results come in. I have my next appointment with the original doctor to discuss the MRI results on December 27th. They said I just have to live with the pain until then, and don't do anything with my arm that causes pain.

Sometimes it seems like two steps forward and ten steps back. I do not want to stop weight lifting. I don't want to lose the muscle I have gained and gain back the fat I have lost. I am just basically a big baby when it comes to surgery, and I don't want to be scarred in a place that shows in a sundress.

I did this to myself. I was careless. I don't want anyone to think that it was sensible weight lifting that did this to me, and avoid lifting, because it is so important to health, especially to women "of a certain age".

Anyway, not happy. Not happy at all.


  1. I just spoke to my niece, who is a brand new physical therapist. She said that, depending on the severity and the location of the tear, it may be able to be treated with physical therapy. She has seen it in her practice, but she has also seen people try PT first and then end up with surgery after all. She says some people opt for PT and are not completely healed, but decide that their range of motion and pain level are something they are willing to live with to avoid surgery.

    She said that if I request PT, my doctor should let me try it. She also said that if he comes back with surgery as the only option, I should get a second opinion from a doctor outside of the first doctor's group.

    Good advice!

  2. Good advice! Yes. Karen

  3. Ouch! Here is hoping that the PT works. I am a slow healer so I would opt for the PT and any non-invasive options at my disposal.
    Maybe your new hormone doctor will give you the endocrine functioning of a 20 year old in the New Year and speed your healing. (Fingers crossed)
    Hope you are not in too much pain. I am having heated steroid injections in my facet joints in my lumbar spine on Wednesday. (It's cool, they use sedatives) Although I think a shoulder tear would hurt worse, especially a fresh one.

  4. Why do you need the injections, if you don't mind sharing?

  5. I have been in two auto accidents (one in 2005 and one in 2009) and have bulges and tears in my disks (L-2 to S-1) which cause pain in my hip and radiate pain down my leg. None of the bulges so big that they warrant surgery, and for that I am very thankful. The weird thing about being in pain all the time is that if by some miracle you do stop hurting, you don't know what to do with yourself.