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Looking For Some Advice
Posted: 05 July 2010 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I need some advice.  My left shoulder has been causing me almost constant pain for the last two years or so.  The pain’s severity waxes and wanes, usually over the course of a week or two.  Some days it barely hurts at all and I can push it to the background and function like it doesn’t hurt at all.  On others, the pain is so intense that I can’t elevate my arm more than about 60 degrees without feeling like I’m about to black out.  The weather effects it to.  It hurts like fuck when it’s rainy.  I bring this up now because it’s been getting worse over the course of the last year.  The bad days are getting more common and my left arm is noticeably weaker than my right, and noticeably weaker than it used to be.  It’s especially noticeable in my upper arm, I have trouble holding my arm up or outstretched sometimes.  I also get the occasional shooting pain down the back of my arm when I use my arm a lot.  Stretching my shoulder helps a lot, especially pulling my left arm up over my head and holding it there, but it can be an excruciating experience.  As can the other main thing that helps: sleeping on my left side with my arm extended up or out.

I have done a little looking at my best guess is that I have a rotator cuff tear in my supraspinatus tendon.  (Given where most of the pain is coming from compared to the anatomy diagrams I’ve looked at, it looks like the guilty bastard.)  I don’t know how I could have torn it, but I have a few ideas.

I guess what I want to know is if anyone has any advice and maybe a better idea (or confirmation) of what the problem could be.  It’s getting really bad at times and occasionally makes it hard for me to function.

[ Edited: 05 July 2010 01:03 PM by Dead Monky ]
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Posted: 05 July 2010 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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See a doctor,  it could be rotator cuff, which my wife just had her fourth surgery for, or a frozen muscle, which I have just been trough physical therapy for, or something else entirely,  You need an x-ray to start, the longer you wait the worse it will get.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The best advice I can give is don’t seek advice on the Internet! grin

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Posted: 06 July 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with mckenzie. Free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. Get professional help. wink

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Posted: 06 July 2010 06:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If it feels like a problem with a tear, injury, ligament or joint, see your doctor. Schedule a checkup while you’re at it and kill two birds with one stone, save time and money! A physical therapist would be ideal, but depends on your insurance and doctor’s recommendation.

But if it feels like its just the muscle cramping up in a frozen position, a licensed massage therapist may be able to help for around $60-$90 for an hour massage.

I have a shoulder that does this. My massage therapist “un-freezes it” and recommends some stretches and it gets better for weeks. A massage therapist who specializes in sports / athletes (local runners and triathlon, etc.) would be ideal for you because they would deal with this sort of thing all the time, rather than a “spa therapist” who just sort of pets someone for an hour and plays pretty music which would be lame and useless. My massage therapist is also a physical therapy student near graduation, so I’m lucky. My alternative (backup) massage therapist is a guy who specializes in athletes and is no nonsense. Both are sort of on call for my bi-monthly “OWWW my shoulder is cramped up and I can’t move my arm forward or backward!” Sometimes I go 3-4 months. Sometimes I need it every 3 weeks.

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Posted: 06 July 2010 10:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My advice is to see a doctor, who can EXAMINE you, after you tell him/her what you said here!

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Posted: 07 July 2010 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I know I need to go to a goddamn doctor.  I’m not fucking stupid.  I’d have gone by now if I could.  My problem is I’m poor.  Dirt poor.  And, my job sucks so no insurance.  (Yes, I am working on changing that).  And as for the new health bill: I don’t qualify under anything that takes effect anytime soon.  Hospitals don’t like people like me and we get ignored or sent home with a handshake and a script for some pain killers.  I can’t really afford to go to a doctor or a hospital to get my shoulder looked at if all there going to do is tell me, “Blah blah, it’s this.  We can’t really do anything.  Here’s a script.”  I’ve been putting this off as long as possible because, honestly, I’ve had more important shit to worry about and the potential costs are daunting.  I have enough debt and bad enough credit already.

I was asking because I wondered if anyone had had a similar problem or knew much about them and/or knew any exercises or stretching techniques I could use to sort of lessen my misery until I could scrape up the money for a doc visit or somehow magically acquire medical insurance.  I’m trying to fix my shoulder using internet advice.  I’m not a fucking moron.

Sorry if I sound a little bitter and sensitive about the whole thing, but I’ve been burned and ignored before, as has my girlfriend, and several of my friends and family members.  You get kind of pissed off when nobody cares about your pains because you can’t pay them.  Also, I’m tired of people just dismissing my questions with, “Go to a doctor.”  Really?  I hadn’t thought of that before.  Do you have any other insightful bits of wisdom for me you glib, patronizing asshole?  Again, sorry.  I’m going to get off this subject for a while.

Man, I need to reduce the stress in my life.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Chill, DM. You left out the important information about not being able to afford a doctor. Having gone through physical therapy on my ankles recently I can vouch for the medicinal benefits of ibuprofen. If your shoulder is swollen apply ice. If it is not swollen use a heat pad, as hot as you can stand it without burning your skin, for about 20 minutes.

And never, ever, vote Republican. They are the reason you have no health insurance.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Chill, DM.

Sorry.  Again.  I’m just kind of stressed lately.  My home life kind of sucks right now and I’m really, really, really stressed out.  So I’m a little on edge and a touch over sensitive right now.  So again (and I know this is probably getting annoying) sorry.

You left out the important information about not being able to afford a doctor.

Sorry about that.  I guess I just kind of assumed everyone would realize what I was asking for.  I do that.

Having gone through physical therapy on my ankles recently I can vouch for the medicinal benefits of ibuprofen. If your shoulder is swollen apply ice. If it is not swollen use a heat pad, as hot as you can stand it without burning your skin, for about 20 minutes.

My shoulder isn’t really swollen, though when I elevate it certain parts of it feel noticeably different than the same parts on my right one.  I think I may try one and then the other and see what helps.  Unless anyone thinks I shouldn’t.

And never, ever, vote Republican. They are the reason you have no health insurance.

Yeah, but they have the best hair.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Since my patients are built quite differently, I can’t give you any detailed advice, but what I would suggest is trying to stick with reliable sources of information, rather than random anecdotes or advice from individuals. You can try:

The Mayo Clinic

The NIH

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

Hope that’s useful.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m sorry, it is really difficult to figure out what you problem is without seeing you, anything else would be a guess and probably wrong. :(
Anyway, you can’t go wrong with alternating heat with ice, using anti-inflammatory meds like Motrin, rest and gentle exercise.

[ Edited: 07 July 2010 05:57 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 07 July 2010 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I don’t know where you live, but there are quite a few free clinics where doctors donate their services, across the country.  If you could find one, even if it’s some distance from you, it may be worth going there.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The shoulder is the most complex joint in your body, which makes it even more difficult to guess..

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Posted: 07 July 2010 06:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Since my patients are built quite differently, I can’t give you any detailed advice, but what I would suggest is trying to stick with reliable sources of information, rather than random anecdotes or advice from individuals.

Honestly, they all say the same thing.  Reliable or not.

I don’t know where you live, but there are quite a few free clinics where doctors donate their services, across the country.  If you could find one, even if it’s some distance from you, it may be worth going there.

That’s probably not a bad idea.  I think there’s one in Saginaw (about thirty minutes from me).

The shoulder is the most complex joint in your body, which makes it even more difficult to guess.

I know.  I guess I’m just wondering if there’s anything that helps in general.  I’m going to give the heat and ice a try and as I wrote initially, stretching it helps.  Resting it is supposed to help, but all that seems to happen when I don’t use it is my shoulder and upper arm tighten up to an almost unbearable level.

Oh well.

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Posted: 07 July 2010 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yes, gentle use, no lifting heavy boxes or pushing cars! cool smirk Sorry, rest doesn’t mean STOP all use! Just don’t overdo it!

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Posted: 07 July 2010 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Dead Monky - 07 July 2010 02:03 PM

I know I need to go to a goddamn doctor.  I’m not fucking stupid.  I’d have gone by now if I could.  My problem is I’m poor.  Dirt poor.


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