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Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

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Grizwald
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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby Grizwald » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:27 pm

Hugh2, TheJoe notwithstanding my experience is that more people show up at the ER for pain control post shoulder surgery than any other procedure. To toot my own horn a bit, I introduced a thing called the pain pump in our facility -essentially a three day nerve block- and the number of post surgical pain related ER visits dropped by 80 percent. I know that doesn't help you but given that shoulder injuries seem to be pretty common among us anybody getting their shoulder rebuilt should ask about them. This does not apply to laproscopic procedures.
Ice is your friend. You need to be careful not to give yourself frostbite but an ice-bag up to the side of your neck will help with the ache. The nerves that transmit pain from your shoulder are closest to the surface about half way up your neck. As a rough guide equal time off and on. for example 15 minutes on, 15 off works for me but everyone is different. Again be careful about frostbite.
Take your pain meds regularly even if things don't hurt. If there is absolutely no pain at all, cut back the dose but don't stop cold turkey. It takes roughly 10 times as much medicine to make pain go away as it does to keep it away. If you can't sleep in a bed because of the pain, it has not gone away.
Finally milk the inactivity thing for as long as it is needed and don't let PT push you too hard. For some reason PT always seem to be 33 year old retired Olympic athletes who have no pain receptors. You don't want to scar down from immobility but you really don't want to re-injure.
Stay safe
These users thanked the author Grizwald for the post (total 2):
Hugh2 (Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:33 am) • iriejohn (Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:28 am)
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Hugh2
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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby Hugh2 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:40 am

Thanks again Grizwald, you are a fount of information and I hope this thread helps others avoid or deal with similar injuries. This whole business sucks big time.

I had heard of the pain pumps and asked for one, but my hospital says they only allow them for inpatients. Having experienced this pain, which is close to the level of a kidney stone, which I rate as 10 and has put me in the ER three times in the past 30 years, I'm not surprised folk resort to the ER. I came close.

I'm not using ice nearly that much, will use it more. I've weaned slowly off the painkillers, so now just an annoying ache when in wrong position. I'll have post-op visit today.

The PT does concern me, but since I am a pain wimp I will not allow them to push me too hard. I've already lost our fall season, and cannot get to Panama to sail or South Africa to kite anyway, so this is a relatively good time to rehab.

I really should have taken it all more seriously this summer, but with the backup of surgeries from the Covid shutdowns, I probably could not have done much better. I had my first consult August 2.

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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby Hugh2 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:32 am

Just to update.

The torn and unrepairable biceps tendon is the upper of two (you all knew you have two biceps tendons, right? Not me), and surgeon claims one can do fine without it!

The rotator cuff tear was 3cm long, and the muscles retracted, so required a lot of work to repair, including what they called a mini-incision, about 5cm long which has left an ugly scar.

Just started rehab/PT this week, and so far just them gently rotating and moving the arm. They insist I continue wearing a sling all day and the immobilizer at night. I'm using the arm quite a bit for simple things, so hope I'm not compromising the repair. No more painkillers, and this past week I'm able to sleep in a bed rotating between back and left side. The PT folk say 12 months to full recovery, but my best kitesurfing buddy who had an even more serious tear was back kiting in 3, so I hope for 6 months. I missed out on a warm 25 mph day yesterday, and a cold 30 mph day today, but my buddies had fun.

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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby TheJoe » Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:46 am

Grizwald yeah I'm familiar with nerve blocks. I'm not a big fan of how they feel but do appreciate the effectiveness of them. I have yet to use a pump and only go with the initial treatment. My first two shoulder surgeries I was the 33 year old with no pain receptors. Now I'm jumping head first into middle age and well yeah time is catching up to me now.

Hugh best of luck to you during your PT. I know how frustrating it all can be. All so I know how hard it is to try and not use your arm when you do it out of habit. Don't know how many times I have reacted to dropping something while being in a sling only to start cussing myself thru the tears of pain.

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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby Grizwald » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:39 pm

Just to clarify, the pain pump I am referring to is what is called an elactomeric ball. It is a plastic ball about the size of a softball- about 4 inches or 10 cm in diameter. There is a tube that runs from it to your neck. The end of which is buried under the skin near the nerves in the neck. The ball slowly pumps local anesthetic around the nerve. The idea is that you wear it home. The biggest problem is that because it doesn't hurt people move their shoulders enough to dislodge the tube from near the nerves in the neck. Once that happens it is useless and the pain comes back with a vengeance.
Pain pumps in hospital tend to be patient controlled narcotic infusions. There are exceptions to this.

TheJoe - You are so right re how nerve blocks feel. One of the first I ever did was for a friend of mine. It drove him crazy that he couldn't feel his arm. According to his wife, he woke her up around 2 a.m. because he was sitting on the side of the bed yelling at his arm because it wouldn't move. Not all my friends are crazy but the number is suspiciously high.

stay safe
Griz

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Re: Torn biceps tendon, perhaps holding bar incorrectly

Postby Hugh2 » Thu Nov 05, 2020 1:54 am

There must be variation in response to or execution of the nerve block. Mine did not immobilize my arm, and it would have been a really rough first night without it.


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