Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Bad news on the shoulder


I had my x-ray and ultrasound this morning on my left shoulder. I don't have the official results yet, but I talked to the woman doing the ultrasound quite a bit. She said I had no bursitis (inflammation) and therefore didn't need a cortisone injection. In fact she couldn't see anything unusual going on. Just the tear that I did more than four years ago that we already knew about.

I got some clarification on that. And it turns out that tears don't heal. Once your tendon tears off your bone, it does not repair itself.

If I was ever told that before, I forgot or blocked it out. I even went back and read my blog posts around that time and couldn't find any indication that I knew it, although it is not explicit either way. But I'm sure I was always expecting it to heal eventually.

So it was a bit of a blow.

The advice of the ultrasound lady (and my doctor on Tuesday) is that I go to physiotherapy and do regular mobility exercises, as I did when I first had the tear, because I need to encourage the muscles around my shoulder to take over the jobs the tendon was doing. It will give me more mobility, although not help with pain (I think).

It is certainly much better than when I originally injured it, I was in a lot of pain then and could hardly lift my arm. A year and a half after that, 14 June 2012, my blog mentions satisfaction that I could now get my arm far enough behind my back that I could just touch the small of my back with my thumb. That is where I still am now. So it healed a bit or the muscles took over or whatever, and I had an injection in Feb 2011 to deal with inflammation and pain, but then it got to that point and no further.

I am finding it difficult news to cope with. I've had so much pain and stiffness and therapy in both my shoulders now (the right shoulder was occupational overuse, I had to leave work because of it and still can't do full-time work 15 years later). Maybe I have some basic weakness in that part of my body.

I did turn to food for comfort. I know that is a very bad habit of mine.

Our power was turned off in the afternoon for some planned maintenance. No heat, no computer or TV, no kettle for tea! As I was feeling pretty miserable, I snuggled down in bed for a hour for a "woe is me" session.

I'll be ok. Just sad today.


  1. I hope your physio sessions go well and your shoulder gets better...take care

  2. It's the first time I hear that a tear doesn't heal. It made sense to have the muscles beef-up to take the load. I sure hope with the physio you get the right exercise to manage your shoulder.

  3. Can it repaired surgically? Last summer my husband had surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear and a labral tear that he had suffered 12 years ago. The surgery required a lot of physical therapy afterwards but was hugely successful.

    1. The subject of surgery came up at the time and again now, neither my doctor nor the ultrasound lady seemed to think it was indicated in my case but I'm not sure why and it's certainly something to investigate. I'm glad to hear that it's something you can do after a period of time has passed and that it can make a big difference. Glad it worked out for your husband.

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your shoulder. I had no idea that tears don't heal. This is definitely news to me. I hope the physio really helps.