View Full Version : Shoulder rotator cuff problems

4th March 2019, 08:49
Anyone else riding with this? I have started to get this (my sister recently had an operation for it).Pains not so bad when I get moving but I sometimes roll over in my sleep and it feels like I've pushed my shoulder in

4th March 2019, 09:22
Nope but I've got several bulging discs in my cervical spine that pinch nerves and shoot pain down my arms along with severe DDD. (Degenerative Disc Desease) I wake up in the middle of the night in agony during an acute attack. Sometimes I can hardly move my head in any direction without severe pain.
Getting injections in 2 days along with opiod treatment.

4th March 2019, 15:19
Had the operation back in my USMC days by parachute doctors.

No problemo with left shoulder since. But the rest of my left side ?

Constant maint. Try a pillow between your knees to keep knee caps apart when laying on your side.
Me being larger than you. Know how gravity sucks for us larger specimens of human perfection.

4th March 2019, 15:27
Not rotator cuff problem, per se, but I dislocated my left shoulder 45 years ago, then 10 years ago got a compound fracture in that same arm, just 3" below the joint. Lost some bicep & deltoid muscle due to the damage & when I relax, the shoulder comes out of joint, if I don't have an arm rest. It also always wakes me up if I roll onto my left side. The good thing is that it doesn't bother me when I'm riding & I don't feel a need for any pain meds. I'm always aware of the damage, tho. Every time I move I can feel the tightness in the muscles & when I put on a shirt or jacket it pops loud enough for my wife to ask "You OK?" I have a couple friends who've had the rotator cuff surgery & they're kinda in the same situation. It bugs 'em, but it's good enough to work with & way better than before the surgery. They both said the only reason they got the surgery was that the pain was just getting too constant & too intense & they were not able to function on any kind of normal basis. Hope it doesn't get to that point for you, but if it does, find a surgeon who's done a lot of this. Experience matters, so I'm told.

4th March 2019, 16:11
I've had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Hell of a thing to go through, but not having the surgery is worse. It's been about five years and I'm doing fine.

4th March 2019, 16:23
Try PT first, you might be lucky.

4th March 2019, 17:31
Don't know if my shoulder injury was a rotator cuff specifically but it hurt like hell when I moved the wrong way and putting a jacket on etc. was very difficult.
Anyway, went to my doctor who gave me a cortisone shot directly in the joint and that worked, only minor pain very occasionally since then and it has been a few years now, no problems anymore riding MC's or bicycles, kayaking, etc..

Tim The Grim
4th March 2019, 17:39
I had stabbing pains in both shoulders at different times for a few years.
An outstanding Massage Therapist kept me out of surgery, but I kept aggravating things at work and in my shop.
One day out of the blue he asked if I slept with 2 pillows. I answered that yeah I had 2 firm neck roll pillows stacked up. He said try one low profile firm neck roll for a while. He retired a short time later.

I have stayed with one low profile pillow and have zero shoulder problems now.

4th March 2019, 17:52
I've got a torn labrum in my left shoulder which I believe is somewhat similar to rotator cuff. No issues when riding. Feels weird in bed sometimes if I roll over on it. PT helped with regaining range of motion but not with the pain. Got a cortisone shot for it which helped for a solid year but now back to normal so surgery is next step. I literally broke my ass a few years ago in my mid/late 20s and that has been more of an issue when riding lol.

My Dad has a torn rotator cuff, he said PT helped some. Surgery is likely the fix but I heard the recovery from shoulder surgery is a real ***** which is why neither of us have done it yet.

4th March 2019, 18:04
I've had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Hell of a thing to go through, but not having the surgery is worse. It's been about five years and I'm doing fine.

Could you share how your surgery and recovery went? I've put it off because I've never had surgery before so it's a bit scary to me plus the recovery process seems super inconvenient.

4th March 2019, 18:54
Could you share how your surgery and recovery went? I've put it off because I've never had surgery before so it's a bit scary to me plus the recovery process seems super inconvenient.

I'd be glad to. The surgery was a piece of cake, I wasn't present.:laugh Seriously, The pain afterwords is a lot and the therapy and recovery will take a good six months to get back to normal. If you have a complete tear only surgery can reattach it. Good luck.
Here is a video. You can find more.

4th March 2019, 18:57
PT is a joke as a remedy when it comes to $h!+ like this. I'm doing another cortisone injection. It's been 5 years. The last 2 I did back then didn't work. The first one 8 years ago did. They are hit and miss. Sometimes they work, other times they don't. I think you can only do them like once a year. Use to be every 2 years.
I'm going back on the oxys for awhile too. **** living in pain every day and the surgery or surgeries I need just ain't happening. Too risky and off work too long. Removing discs and welding my vertebrae together with pieces of my hip bone. I could very well end up worse off if I did it.
The oxys work and greatly improve my quality of life. Rather be a junky addicted to them that can function with minimal pain than a vegetable.

4th March 2019, 22:03
Thanks all, trying the one pillow sleeping arrangement tonight.Seeing doctor at end of month

4th March 2019, 22:39
Right shoulder torn rotator cuff, torn biceps tendon, torn labrum. Surgery went well and 6 weeks back to work and riding but taking it very easy. The Physical Therapy continued for another 2 weeks. Left shoulder torn rotator cuff and acromial process trimming. The left was a small tear and I was back riding in 2 weeks. The right one was so slow to heal because of the reattachment of the biceps tendon. I was 65 when that happened and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Pain was gone if a few months and none since then. A good physical therapist is a necessity.

4th March 2019, 23:10
If you just recently started getting this pain, give it time(3-6) months to heal. Surgery isn't necessarily required to heal tears and should be a last resort. Especially in older people where the surgery is only 60% successful anyway. And that's with or without a good PT.
Don't jump at the knife. Especially if you can't pinpoint any significant traumatic injury as the cause. There's a good chance it's just a small tear that while painful, will heal on it's own if you give it a chance to.

5th March 2019, 00:01
I'm a great believer in physical/occupational therapy. It got me back to work a lot earlier when I had Carpel Tunnel surgeries, Broken hip, Shattered left elbow and various back injuries. I've found that doing the exercises 2-3 times a day worked better for me than trying to do a whole bunch at one time. When I shattered my elbow and broke my arm in '17, occupational therapist supplied me with a green rubberband to work my back, shoulders, and arms. I also drank a supplement (Ensure) during my recovery and made sure I ate well. I was stronger than I was before the accident, when I went back to work. I've found that if I keep doing these exercises, my shoulders and back don't bother me much anymore.
A guy, I worked with, was having shoulder problems and the Doc told him he will need surgery if he keeps doing what he was doing. Workforce Safety sent him to Occupational Therapy but he wouldn't go the extra mile and ended up having surgery. Missed more work because of surgery than he would have going to Occ. Ther. Appts.
I think most people who say that therapy doesn't work is because they have to take off work and lose out on their pay, so they don't go. Too bad, I prefer healing my body with therapy than to the Knife and Needle. But to each their own!

5th March 2019, 00:58
Physical therapy isnt a cure for everything. It was suggested for me yet again by a Dr. very recently...til he saw my latest MRI. Then he compared it to 3 others I've had done in the last 8 years. Then he changed his mind. Complete waste of my time.
Been there, done that.
Surgery has a 60-70% chance...to make my life worse. Imagine all your discs, c3/c4, c4/c5, c5/c6, and c6/c7 on both sides removed and these vertebrae hard welded together. 100% no F'n way as far as im concerned.
DDD only gets worse.

5th March 2019, 04:16
If I got any good Karma, I'd share it with you, Gunner. Never say Die, a Good Life always needs a Good Fight!

5th March 2019, 10:18
Gunner I have DDD as well no fun.. :frownthre

When I was young and silly, trying to impress the opposite sex. I did some very abusive things to my body.. Hot Dog Slalom, Jr.Rodeo, stepping out of moving cars..... way too many things to list. :doh
While in this process of abuse I tore both my rotators. The first time on my left which healed nicely with PT. The right has never healed has good days and bad depending on my work.
I have pain every day which is getting worse and I do have a specific way I have to sleep, I have a body pillow to keep my self aligned, or I wake up in pain and sheet don't wanna work for a while.:(

I also have lower back injury L2-5 have scar tissue from fractures, knee, hip & shoulders with DDD and arther isn't helping either.
Some of you know I have a speed shop and with this kind of work you get in some weird positions and have to be a masochist, or at least mentally challenged. s
SO, to keep myself wrung out, I get straitened out every couple weeks and a good deep tissue massage works wonders..
For me I never could get past the Dr. telling me I would have a 40% chance of becoming pain free and then only for 3-5 years before doing it again. That was 20 years ago and as the pain is getting worse as the technology and procedures are getting better. Maybe in retirement I will get surgery done, when all is lost and nothing to live for..:headb

5th March 2019, 10:42
Well, the only reason I've suffered the past 4 years or so is because of the DEA declaring war on opiates and the stigma attached to being on them all of a sudden. Prior to that they couldn't give them out fast enough. Recently, as the pain has gotten worse, I decided to say f'k the DEA, FDA, and society. I can live a relatively pain free existence. Ive already been there.
Tomorrow I go in for the injection and decide on going back on oxys full time or just when I get the acute flareups.

5th March 2019, 10:54
If a muscle is completely torn no amount of therapy will help. It has to be reattached surgically, It can not reattach itself. A muscle has to be attached at both end for it to work.

5th March 2019, 16:51
Had the surgery 20 years ago and the repaired side better than the non. Thing I found is make sure you work through the pain to get the range of motion back. Super important...the strength will come back with normal use but cant stress enough the ROM. Talked with a lot of others that had this and the ones that didn't pay attention to the ROM now severely limited. Did PT on the non side a few years ago when it started declining and it helped a lot, still do rubber band stretches couple times a week and that's keeping the RT strong and pain free.

5th March 2019, 18:52
Well in a get off October 2017 I received multiple tears to rotator cuff, two broken ribs, fractured clavicle and severed acromioclavicular ligament,?sp, Went a year before getting in for surgical correction. If lifting the arm it allowed the shoulder to drop down into the chest cavity and some loss of stability. I set myself up with a couple of three pound barbells and worked daily at strengthening the shoulder, (my youngest boy showed me some exercises), without stressing it. Helped a lot, but could no longer sleep on that side. Was able to do a three week, 7,177 mile run out West last August, did tire easier with some discomfort the last 1,000 miles or so. Surgery this past October and now very good motion and minimal pain. Because of my strengthening work no P.T. Has been necessary. Oh, and back to sleeping side to side. Do use the pillow between knees, many years now, with good results. Now Arthur Ritis is who I have the most problem with but I’ll take it. Learned today that my surgery was way more complicated than Inwas led to believe. Two days in hospital and discharged to home.

20th April 2019, 22:12
I'm awaiting surgery referral and bought a sling with abductor cushion. It supports my arm at the correct angle from the body. I wear it at home and at night. That gave me time to practice donning and doffing it single-handed.

Since I'll be driving one-handed I installed medical grade (better construction, bearings and a stronger clamp with no protruding bolts compared to cheap spinners) steering wheel spinners on my trucks and a cheapy on my riding mower. I should have done that years ago because they are so comfortable to use. I see why truckers like them. I don't recommend waiting until after surgery since that's not a great time to learn new things or spin wrenches. I picked up two MPD spinners off Ebay for 70 bucks each. Keep an eye out for deals. They're worth having even if you don't have a medical need for one.

One chore that isn't fun one-handed is using a can opener. That's my reason/excuse for buying this
which is a great addition to my kitchen and the best can opener I've ever used.


These work well on jar lids:


BTW so does a heat gun. I have several and tried one on a stuck jar lid. Heat guns apply more heat than the old hot water trick with no mess. If I encounter a lid I can't easily shift I'll gun it.

I've been on oxymorphone for several years, periodically suffer for a couple of days without to ensure I'm not getting attached to it, and have zero problems. I suspect the junkies are just too silly to follow instructions. Legit pain patients shouldn't have to suffer because idiot white trash can't stay away from Chinese fentanyl.

22nd April 2019, 08:29
Thanks all.

11th August 2019, 17:58
Update, had shoulder joint replaced last Tuesday and of course won't be riding until FULLY rehabilitated. it went well and I can't stress enough how much thorough preparation makes one-armed life easier.

Prep which kicked azz:

Get Cryo cuff or similar in advance and have a convenient way to make fitted ice cubes. I use cold drink styrene cups in a plywood and metal rack I whipped up from scrap for my chest freezer. Beats chasing cups. No need to remove cups from cubes. Cold packs work too. I hang the unit from an IV stand off Amazon which will later be used for test fuel tanks in my shop.

Have spare slings including a light mesh one for showering.

Have pain meds in advance!

Make simple shirts you can don one handed.. I cut one strap on some cheap loose tank tops and used fabric adhesive to attach velcro. I can step into those like a pair of shorts without disturbing the arm.

Make various tools to function as an extra hand. I can't post pics but I tacked visegrips and channellocks upside down to eighth inch sheet and c-clamped them to my kitchen table. Channellocks are held closed by rubber bands.

Practice Tegaderm bandage/dressing swaps one handed if you live alone.

Shoes which use Salomon Quicklace system laces are outstanding.You can buy the lace kits. I will never want conventional laces again.

13th August 2019, 23:49
i have a torn rotator cuff, a separated ac joint, and biceps and forearm tendonitis.
i chose to skip surgery for now, and did 3 months of therapy instead.
i am a a lot better! not perfect, but tolerable. i have no problem riding my bike.
you gotta work hard, and take it serious, or it wont help!

Medyo Bastos
14th August 2019, 00:48
i have a torn rotator cuff, a separated ac joint, and biceps and forearm tendonitis.

i chose to skip surgery for now, and did 3 months of therapy instead.

i am a a lot better! not perfect, but tolerable. i have no problem riding my bike.

you gotta work hard, and take it serious, or it wont help!

Just don’t throw a baseball!

I just had the surgery. I was only out of work for 2 weeks. I haven’t been back on a bike yet though. P/T is making a huge difference

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28th October 2019, 02:30
PT rocks. I do it thrice a week and at home.

Push until you get "good" pain due to fatigue, but not "sharp" pain which warns ya went too far.

Lack of pain from the joint I'd have replaced years ago had I known, priceless! I want to get all my surgeries done in my 60s before I'm too old to heal.

28th October 2019, 09:50
Due for a cortisone shot should make a big difference

30th October 2019, 23:49
Just don’t throw a baseball!

I just had the surgery. I was only out of work for 2 weeks. I haven’t been back on a bike yet though. P/T is making a huge difference

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i tossed the tennis ball for my dog once. bad idea!
i cant do quick or powerful movements.
but i am pain free 85% of the time.
it dont wake me up anymore.
i can carry a cooler full of beer and ice!
i am able to shift and eaton fuller 10 speed 13 hrs a day.
b4 pt that arm was nearly useless!

1st February 2020, 04:20
Jumping into the discussion kinda late (couple months late) but yeah, my right arm's rotator cuff is pretty shredded. I have to do a lot of excersizes to keep the muscles around my shoulder strong to hold it in place decently enough. I also work my core quite a bit to try to keep my wrists as noodly as possible instead of sending weight through my shoulders, elbows, and wrists (my whole right arm is kinda messed up actually). I'm sure I'll probably spend some time at some point finding some different handlebars to put my arms in a different position but for right now what I've described has been working pretty well for me

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Tim The Grim
1st February 2020, 17:33
Not sure if it’s been mentioned yet but kinesio tape is worth using.
I’ve used it on my shoulders, knees, elbow and now helping to hold my chest together after my open heart stuff.
There are numerous vids on YouTube as to how to use for different conditions.

My brand of choice is “Stengthtape”. I’ve never gotten a bad batch.
That’s more than I can say about the stuff at retail and drug stores.
Sucks when you’re on a ship and find out your tape has no glue.