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Jan 26, 2021 - 11:33:52 AM
568 posts since 3/9/2013

I’m going in a week from today. Heeling times are all over the map. 3 months off work and another 3-6 to feel right again. Who has experience? When can you play again?

Jan 26, 2021 - 11:46:19 AM

Owen

Canada

7770 posts since 6/5/2011
Online Now

+/- 25 years ago I had a partial tear repaired with a procedure called debridement plus some type of anchor to hold a flap of cartilege in place.   Since the doc prescribed "movement/use as tolerated," I eschewed formal physio..... did a bit of my own design... I think I took the weekend off from running the dairy....  healing was a piece of cake.... no subsequent problems... YMMV.     I expect yours is more involved... I hope all goes well.  

It was years before I got my banjo, so I guess I can't attribute my ham-handed "playing" to the operation.

Edited by - Owen on 01/26/2021 11:47:54

Jan 26, 2021 - 11:56:35 AM

568 posts since 3/9/2013

Wow. Those results would certainly be welcomed. That procedure you had in my understanding is like removing any tissue that’s maybe frayed or loose. Kinda like a good cleanup. Mine is a bit more traumatic to the shoulder. Multiple things going on but there telling me weeks before lifting my arm and 6 weeks in sling. It’s got me a bit down but at least I’ll have a summer.

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:06:11 PM

56647 posts since 12/14/2005

I could play - some- after a month or so.
But with the electric arm exerciser and sleeping in a recliner, I was eventually OK, and it doesn't bother me at all.

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:18:05 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5410 posts since 10/12/2009

I had a tear in the supraspinatus, of the left arm rotator cuff, repaired about 12 yrs ago.

The worst part for me was having my arm strapped across my chest with my left hand up near my right shoulder, for almost 3 months (can't move, flex, or extend that repaired tendon while it's healing).

Having that arm immobile for so long causes ALL tendons in the shoulder to tighten up and causes the surrounding muscles to atrophy......took a lot of therapy and about 3 more months of work and pain to get some decent strength and range of motion back. Took almost an entire year to get my left arm back to normal.

Do what the therapist tells you do when you're there, and they usually send you home with some industrial sized "rubber bands", you can hook to door knobs, etc.....to use for stretching and other exercises. Takes time, effort, & dedication but you'll get back to normal.

I spent a lot of time with a banjo propped up on my lap, just doing rolls, patterns, etc, with my right hand (which worked out really nice in the long run!)

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Patient: Hey Doc! Will I be to play the banjo after this surgery??

Doctor:  I see no reason why not...

Patient: Gee, thats great Doc !  I never could before!

Edited by - RioStat on 01/26/2021 12:22:00

Jan 26, 2021 - 12:25:29 PM

1 posts since 12/23/2020

if you have a full-thickness tear in the rotator cuff, your healing (and rehab) time is longer. Six weeks in the sling and NO active range of motion (otherwise, you may compromise your repair). Typically, you can begin active assisted ROM @ 6 wks, active ROM @ 8 wks, and then some strengthening/physical therapy. At approx 12 wks post-op, most patients can return to light duty, but nothing heavy, as regaining full strength takes several months.
if you have a partial-thickness tear, you can progress more rapidly, as your healing will (obviously) be faster. Most RTC repairs now are done arthroscopically (even many full-thickness tears), which can help minimize tissue trauma (and healing time).
there are numerous protocols out there for the rehab process and your doc will probably refer you to PT if he needs to do a full-thickness repair. If so, your therapist will guide you through the whole rehab process. Good luck (and listen to your physical therapist!).

Jan 26, 2021 - 2:58:33 PM

568 posts since 3/9/2013

You guys are saying what I’ve been reading. In my mind I’ll heal very quickly because I’m young and healthy. Then realized I’m not young. That sneaks up on you.
My PT is already set up and I’m determined to run it by the book.
Thanks for the responses. As you can tell I’m nervous as all get out.

Jan 26, 2021 - 5:20:57 PM
Players Union Member

OM45GE

USA

104094 posts since 11/7/2007

I had arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery on my right shoulder after a bad fall. When they got in there they found that I’d also pulled the biceps tendon out of the bone so that had to be anchored. The joint was “frozen” so that was debrided. That meant that they didn’t immobilize my arm and had me start on rehab right away so I didn’t have to deal with atrophy but rehab was still six long, hard months.

I was able to start playing banjo and guitar almost immediately but only for short periods because of pain. It was over a year before I was able to play several hours a day. 

I had a partial tear of my left rotator cuff that was treated with rehab only - a few weeks at the clinic and then a long time on my own. I still do the exercises.

I strongly recommend finding a physical therapist who understands the demands of playing music and then doing everything they tell you.

Edited by - OM45GE on 01/26/2021 17:22:40

Jan 27, 2021 - 8:24:01 AM

6419 posts since 9/5/2006

quote:
Originally posted by OM45GE

I had arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery on my right shoulder after a bad fall. When they got in there they found that I’d also pulled the biceps tendon out of the bone so that had to be anchored. The joint was “frozen” so that was debrided. That meant that they didn’t immobilize my arm and had me start on rehab right away so I didn’t have to deal with atrophy but rehab was still six long, hard months.

I was able to start playing banjo and guitar almost immediately but only for short periods because of pain. It was over a year before I was able to play several hours a day. 

I had a partial tear of my left rotator cuff that was treated with rehab only - a few weeks at the clinic and then a long time on my own. I still do the exercises.

I strongly recommend finding a physical therapist who understands the demands of playing music and then doing everything they tell you.


sounds like me,,but i could not pin point a time where i injured it...he told me i had frozen shoulder... did some rehab then covid hit our house and stopped that.  after things settle down i will try it again.. i have been doing some rehab exercises here at home and it has improved the mobility of it.  but i had never heard of frozen shoulder before,,and still don't know how i hurt it.

Jan 27, 2021 - 9:49:12 AM

568 posts since 3/9/2013

Terry I know what you mean. I can’t tell you when I hurt it. I can pinpoint a few times when I made it worse though. It took a long time to get to annoying level and just a short time to become almost unusable level.

Jan 28, 2021 - 4:12:10 AM
Players Union Member

OM45GE

USA

104094 posts since 11/7/2007

Rotator cuff injuries can be wear and tear issues. The shoulder is a complex structure that gets a lot of use and the tissues can degrade over time.

Mine were both traumatic injuries from falls. The one requiring surgery happened when we were moving to a new home. I was standing on a pile of construction debris and a board broke. I went horizontal and fell five feet onto pavement. End of story.

The other was actually two injuries. I tore it in a motorcycle accident back in the 1960’s. I was uninsured and couldn’t afford surgery somI rehabbed on my own. Then a few years ago I was walking between parked cars and stumbled. I caught myself with my left arm and tore the cuff again. My surgeon said it was a small partial tear and suggested trying rehab before cutting. Thankfully it worked.

Jan 28, 2021 - 5:15:03 AM

slammer

USA

3090 posts since 12/30/2008

I've had my left shoulder done twice and my right shoulder done once. Following surgery, your pretty miserable for about 3 days as far as pain goes. Not terrible but not a walk in the park.
Every orthopedic surgeon has their own strategy as far as rehab. Some will have you immobilize for 6 weeks and then start physical therapy and others start PT immediately. Different ideas as far as healing and mobilization. It also depends on the procedure and the extent of the injury and surgical technique. There is no one answer and healing time is different for everyone.
I was always back to work in 6 weeks, but was very careful after that and knew my limitations. Your body will tell you when your completely mended.
The nice thing is, the pain that you had before the surgery is gone. Most of the pain is from impingement on the nerves and they usually create more space for the nerves not to be impinged.
Looking forward to hear how you do and keep us posted. It does get better!!!
Slammer!!!

Jan 28, 2021 - 5:42:22 AM

3281 posts since 9/12/2016

I have had both repaired from accidental tears. Before repairs I could not raise the arm nor sleep in a bed. They fixed that. The therapy is what takes a long time.
The motion can be returned but it takes dedicated painful therapy ,because you stretch everything back out a bit more at each session. Finally good to go after a couple months of every other day therapy.
The most hated was'' that nerve block thing'' to numb it for the last one.
It is wonderful what they can do.
Also on the last one it was done through a small incision about 3/8 inch .I think he must have got a pry bar in there the way it felt.

Jan 28, 2021 - 5:42:44 AM
Players Union Member

wizofos

USA

5833 posts since 8/19/2012

Had full replacement in both shoulders but rotator cuffs were good so only replaced joints. Arm Immobilized for a while but I followed Doc's PT orders and now have full range of motion and pain is gone. I had some ulnar nerve impingement and damage in the right shoulder which caused pain all the way down to my pinkie finger which was relieved with replacement.
Now if he could just do the same for my back.

Jan 28, 2021 - 7:21:51 AM

6419 posts since 9/5/2006

the one that seems to help me the most is the hanging the arm down and bending over,, i started with 4 lbs making circles and crosses,,getting bigger as i went.. i do this for 10 minutes now i am up to 10 lbs ... and standing in a door way placing hand on facing and sliding it up as far as i can pushing it each time..i do these twice a day... 10 reps each,,,, hurts sometimes

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 01/28/2021 07:23:16

Jan 28, 2021 - 1:37:59 PM

568 posts since 3/9/2013

Tractor it’s funny you bring up the nerve block. My son had his labrum and bicep tendon repaired from an ugly dislocation in a wrestling match. That was over 4 years ago and the thing he remembers most vividly is that needle in the neck. He said it was the most painful part of the entire experience.

Jan 29, 2021 - 1:57:37 PM

3880 posts since 12/6/2009

I had surgery 20 years ago. I had my rotator destroyed using a trenching machine that hit some buried plastic buckets and the machines front end went up in the air and all 1400 pounds yanked my arm as it landed back down as I had a hold of the control bars. So fast I couldn't let go in time. The doc who did my arm repair also was the same doc that did repairs for the Jets football team. He said it was the worst damage he had seen….he had to make a grove in my arm bone and staple what was left of the rotator. I was screwed up for almost a year….and had 5 months of rehab. But that was a bad one…..most as he told me are little tears and recovery isn’t that bad….so good luck and don’t worry. People have gone back to sports and work with no problems…..

Jan 29, 2021 - 4:13:36 PM
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568 posts since 3/9/2013

The positives are I’ll get to catch up on every Netflix show I’ve said maybe one day. My cat will get the attention he thinks he deserves. And I don’t have to feel guilty about all the half finished projects I’m not working on.

Jan 30, 2021 - 3:46:15 AM
likes this

2438 posts since 10/17/2013

quote:
Originally posted by overhere

I had surgery 20 years ago. I had my rotator destroyed using a trenching machine that hit some buried plastic buckets and the machines front end went up in the air and all 1400 pounds yanked my arm as it landed back down as I had a hold of the control bars. So fast I couldn't let go in time. The doc who did my arm repair also was the same doc that did repairs for the Jets football team. He said it was the worst damage he had seen….he had to make a grove in my arm bone and staple what was left of the rotator. I was screwed up for almost a year….and had 5 months of rehab. But that was a bad one…..most as he told me are little tears and recovery isn’t that bad….so good luck and don’t worry. People have gone back to sports and work with no problems…..


Wow. That makes me wince just reading it. I can’t imagine the pain you must have felt.

Jan 30, 2021 - 5:00:01 AM

3880 posts since 12/6/2009

Luke....it sure was bad for 3 months after the operation....I couldn't lay down I slept sitting up propped up in the corner of our couch for 3 months...... still 20 years later....you dont want to stand behind me when I'm trying to hammer a nail in above my head.....never got full control back. Today anyone that needs rotator I pray for. but I also tell them...get the operation because you will never use that arm again if its a bad one.

....and get a good doctor who knows his stuff

Edited by - overhere on 01/30/2021 05:00:54

Jan 30, 2021 - 5:42:43 AM

568 posts since 3/9/2013

That does sound brutal. Was it an open shoulder surgery? Compared to arthroscopic? With that much damage it seems hard to believe they could manage that arthroscopic.

Jan 30, 2021 - 6:56:10 AM

3880 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by banjobrewer

That does sound brutal. Was it an open shoulder surgery? Compared to arthroscopic? With that much damage it seems hard to believe they could manage that arthroscopic.


it was open....I had a 3 inch slit they stapled back up when done.....glad I was asleep....lol

Jan 30, 2021 - 7:47:07 AM
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568 posts since 3/9/2013

Those are a lot tougher to recover from I hear. Glad you have some function still. Imagine if we all lived in 1850. I wouldn’t have to even worry about it because I would of already died of pneumonia years ago. Say what you want but it’s a great time to be alive.

Jan 30, 2021 - 12:23:36 PM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

16831 posts since 6/30/2015
Online Now

Almost had it for bad bursitis several years ago, but ultimately the PT and steroid injections worked. A former co-worker had both of his done, and claimed that after the PT his shoulder was stronger and better than ever, but mostly pain free. Of course every shoulder and every operation is different so YMMV. Good luck.

Jan 30, 2021 - 3:45:48 PM

6419 posts since 9/5/2006

i had the nerve block done on my back in 2018 and it didn't work but a few weeks then it came right back.... 6 months it was as bad as ever,,,still is. standing still for a few minutes at a time is bad,,,15 minutes is too much... walking without a leaner is short distance ,,with something to lean on i can go for a while. then there is the breathing,,,,,,,, getting old is fun !!

Jan 31, 2021 - 3:34:01 AM

3880 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by 1935tb-11

i had the nerve block done on my back in 2018 and it didn't work but a few weeks then it came right back.... 6 months it was as bad as ever,,,still is. standing still for a few minutes at a time is bad,,,15 minutes is too much... walking without a leaner is short distance ,,with something to lean on i can go for a while. then there is the breathing,,,,,,,, getting old is fun !!


my back has been popping out once a year for 50 years....but after a week with some Advil I'd be back to normal. Not any more....this time my back has been on and off since last summer every couple weeks....this last one now has lasted over a month.....Old? you better belief it. now I have to pick my banjo sitting on the bed leaning against a pillow at the head board like Sleepy Man Banjo....(trying to play like him lol). last time I had rays they said I had arthritis setting in at L4..also knees are on Glucosamine support...carpal tunnel....neck only turns so far one way.....elbows ache......waiting for something else ......you bet getting old aint for sissies........my wife says, "go to a doctor"....I said, " I dont know where to tell him to start"........PS stay off concrete floors, ShopRite, Walmart etc and dont go for walks on asphalt.........

Edited by - overhere on 01/31/2021 03:35:40

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