6 weeks postop and I’m making a change

Today I made the decision that feels like pure common sense to me to stop PT with the bands. This is what I sent the surgeon this morning. “I started back with the bands daily as instructed. The pain got worse again. I tried every other day instead of daily, and my recovery is still going the wrong way. IF, and only if a PT would give me guidance for now and tell me what to do later I’d like to go once. If they insist on multiple visits I’m going to just continue movements like this https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/recovery/shoulder-surgery-exercise-guide/ and see if I can start hurting less than before the surgery. I am going in the wrong direction in pain and movement with the band pt.”

This post is solely about my shoulder if that helps you to decide to click to read more or not. Here’s my Pinterest page about the shoulder

I’ve written before but in summary, right after surgery, it was my left shoulder that had the cortisone shot that hurt first. Then after the nerve block wore off my right shoulder hurt, but not as bad as I expected. I didn’t take as much pain meds as prescribed and I was glad later when I had something stronger left to take for the pain. I don’t think I spelled it out in past post, but since I would follow instructions and since we couldn’t really afford PT with our insurance after a costly MRI and surgery I took my doctors offer to do PT at home on my own.

A day over 1 week I did PT with bands as instructed and the pain skyrocketed and was horrendous for at least 2-3 days. I hope nothing was damaged. I called the doctor and I was instructed to continue passive PT like pendulums, raising my arm over my head with left arm assist, and the motion of the PT exercises just without the bands, but to stop the bands for 2 weeks.

At 2 weeks I was back doing laundry, dishes, dinner, etc like I was before surgery basically one armed and it took longer. If something truly required both arms I was not. I discovered there was a big difference in the just using my arm a little bit and truly not using it at all.

At  2-3 weeks I was getting discouraged that the pain was still so much worse than before surgery. The ache area was larger. It took way less movement for the shooting pains to hit and the shooting pains were in the same places they were before surgery plus more places too.

At 3 weeks I was to start back on the PT w. bands but I talked to the doctor and told him the pain was still considerably worse than before surgery and I was still having to take lots of ibuprofen. He said to wait another 10 days before active PT with the bands. He also said my pain level was not normal but the didn’t think any damage was done from doing the bands on day 8 post surgery. We didn’t cover my questions about when I could extend my arm back enough to hook my own regular bras or push my thumbs into my back to pop it, pick up my 16 lb cat or even a gallon of milk. I’m guessing since it just hurts to put my arm in the position of the PT placements those are still a while away. I want to know when I should be able to lay on my right side again. At 3 weeks I cleaned the house, vacuumed etc but had to go back on ice and take something for pain even though I really didn’t do that much with my right arm. My right rib, shoulder blade, shoulder and arm all hurt enough that I didn’t think just 4 ibuprofen would help. Just after 3 weeks on our wedding anniversary, I was not up to a level 5-7 difficulty hike (per Kevin Adams book) to a waterfall we had planned for that day but I did finally wear a pair of jeans instead of sweatpants.

A day before 4 weeks I planted 15 small plants and moved 2 plants. I mostly used my left arm and it took longer than it should’ve but I got it done without my pain level increasing much. I was also able to finally cut down on the ibuprofen a bit and hope when I start the PT w. bands DAILY April 16th Monday per doctors orders, it doesn’t skyrocket my pain like last time. I still have a lot of popping and snapping sounds, and I noticed either a new bruise near an incision or my whole shoulder was slightly bruised and now it decreased to a smaller spot I can see and feel near the middle incision. The 3 incisions have all gotten larger and look dark like I knew they would, as I don’t scar well at all. Without a doubt, it still hurts worse than before the surgery, still in more areas and requiring a lot less movement for the sharp shooting pains and my movements are still less than before surgery. If I stretch my bicep at all, like even involuntary when I wake up it hurts my entire upper arm from shoulder to elbow. I can not put my hand out 90 degrees (more like 45 degrees to my side without sharp pains stabbing the front and back of my shoulder, and I can’t put weight on my elbow like to scoot myself in a chair or the bed. The more I move around and go back to walks and normal things the more my low right rib and right side are hurting again/still but other than rolling on the foam roller I can’t go to the chiropractor yet for a real adjustment. Yesterday I decided to try CBD oil and give that a try in hopes that I can drastically cut down on the ibuprofen.

Monday, 2 days before 5 weeks I started the PT with the damn resistance bands again per Dr. Brooks instructions. Again the pain level increased greatly. The shooting pains when I’m not even using it are way worse.

6 weeks. The daily PT feels like it sets me back every day I do it. I know it’s upped my pain which is without a doubt considerably worse than before surgery. My shoulder well my everything on the right just hurts and it’s discouraging to be 6 weeks post surgery and still hurt this much. With the daily PT with resistance bands, I discovered I can either kind of use my arm for some normal things OR I can do PT then it hurts so bad I don’t want to use it for anything else.

Last night I met with some gals for dinner before camera club. One had rotator cuff surgery and was shocked I was told to do anything more than move it at this point. She was surprised I was even told to put it over my head at this point.

1:30 am my arm woke me up in pain again and I had to get up to take something for pain. I’m sick of losing sleep, I’m ticked the pain is worse than before surgery and is getting worse from doing the band PT. This is just not working with the bands. It’s too much too soon. Of course, I’m not a physical therapist or surgeon but I do know my body. I can move my arm/shoulder fairly well, not to 90 degrees out to the side yet but,  I have no fear of getting a frozen shoulder, and will continue the PT without bands or weight. The bands are going to have to wait until it’s healed more! I looked closer at the sheet today I was given with instructions to start on day 8 after surgery and it says shoulder strengthening, not shoulder post-op recovery exercises  We don’t have normal insurance, that’s why I said I’d do PT at home, but at this point, I’m willing to pay out of pocket to talk to the doctor’s physical therapist one time.

Image (14).jpg

I appreciate Dr. Brooks answering my couple of patient portal message questions. That is a pretty nice service to be able to ask a question and hear back. I wish at my 1 week follow up appointment I would’ve asked as many questions about what to expect over the next 2 months as I inquired about specifics of what was done. I still want to know which scope pictures are of my bicep tendon, because it still hurts just as bad, actually worse than it did before surgery. I swear I had to have had some sort of bicep involvement. I also want to verify that they looked at my labrum from all side because I’m still having the pain in the back of my arm and I don’t know what that would be from.

Here is what hurt before surgery and after surgery. On the ‘after’ second rendering at 6 weeks, I got rid of the purple marks.

where i hurt2

For my past shoulder post simply type shoulder in the search bar on the first page or click the tag for “shoulder”.

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