Ouch (believe me, I know)!!! I'm truly very sorry to hear about
your fall & the possibility of a re-tear! I will certainly pray for you that you did not re-tear your rotator cuff! I just posted on the thread about
chronic shoulder pain, but I have had 3 shoulder surgeries (3 surgeries in 4 years!), so I can definitely relate. I basically destroyed both my shoulders swimming competitively. My rotator cuff was actually spared, but the rest of my shoulder joint was basically shredded. I tore 80% of my labrum in one shoulder & then proceeded to completely stretch out my ligaments in the same shoulder such that they no longer head the head of my humerus in the joint, thanks to a post-op injury by a PT & my return to swimming (despite racing at about
1% capacity). Then after I had those ligaments repaired, I stupidly returned to the pool (still at about
1% of the level I had initially been at) & ended up doing the same exact thing to my other shoulder! Fortunately, I just missed having to return for surgery #4 after I had a mishap with a horse just days after I had come out of the sling (about
4 wks post op), although my recovery was set back about
6 mo! I know that the ligament & the rotator cuff surgeries have been likened to one another in terms of the severity of injury & surgery. They are no fun at all!! I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone! So I'll pray real hard that you don't have to go through that experience another time! Is it your dominant arm? I sure hope not! That is the worst! Three - four weeks in a sling feels like an eternity when your dominant arm is out of commission, not to mention the many weeks that follow during rehab & recovery!
I don't know if your surgeon made you have something like this post-op, but my surgeon required that all his patients have a Cryo-Cuff
(I had all 3 of my surgeries at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC). It's basically an ice & compression system for the shoulder (they also make them for knees, as well as horses' legs!). There is a velcro/cloth "garment" (for lack of a better word) that fits around your shoulder & chest, with a tube coming out of it. The tube then hooks up to this tube on a cooler that they give you, which contains ice water. You have someone hold the cooler above the level of the shoulder, and allow the shoulder garment to fill with ice water, providing the patient with both ice & compression. Depending on how high you hold the cooler, you can get more or less compression. Then to drain the device, you just hold the cooler below the level of the shoulder. If you don't have one of these, I would definitely look into getting one if you have another surgery! They work much better than ice. I love mine. I actually have 2, because my first one got pretty worn out after 2 surgeries. My surgeon requires that you use it all day (except while sleeping at night) for the first several days. I found that I used mine very heavily for the first couple of weeks & then following PT or any other exercise, or at the end of the day. The cryo-cuff is soooo much better than ice! The compression feels great, and the "ice" stays colder for much longer than a traditional ice pack. Plus, it surrounds your entire shoulder, so you don't have to worry about
the ice slipping off, or only covering part of the shoulder. The only thing that I don't like about
it, is that with the tube coming off (you just kind velcro it across your chest when it is not in use/hooked up to the cooler) I felt like a Borg drone from Star Trek
PS - I have no affiliation with Cryo-Cuff
whatsoever, it just helped me a lot & I love mine to death (still use it every once & a while when the shoulders really act up). Many surgeons don't require that their patients use something like this, or they just give them a dinky little ice pack holder that doesn't work so well, so I just wanted to provide you & others with some (hopefully) useful information. Just some food for thought.
Post Edited (skeye) : 6/9/2009 8:16:55 PM (GMT-6)