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SLAP tear shoulder recovery? anyone

I have had MRI dx slap tear in right shoulder, surgery has been
suggested, has anyone had this surgery, what was your recovery? I
was told I would be in a stabilizer sling for 6 months. that PT
would take another 3 months, Anyone? how long before you were able
to set stones, waiting it out as long as possible,

Thanks anyone?

I had a rotator cuff wired a few years back. now I can’t lift my arm
over my shoulder. Now the other one is is torn and I’ve decided to
leave it alone. surgery did not help.

sounds like a rotator cuff tear. recovery time will depend on your
overall health status and willingness to work on it, but the time
frame stated is about normal.


I tore my rotator cuff in January when I fell on the ice. The repair
was offered but I declined because I am already losing enough brain
cells to old age and did not want to risk going through an
anesthetic. Anesthesia is pretty safe but I just didn’t want to take
the risk.

I had physical therapy for the shoulder and was thereby able to
retain almost 100% of my range of motion. It’s not quite as good as
the uninjured shoulder, but very close.

Physical therapy is often underused or not prescribed at all for
musculoskeletal injuries, which in my view is a big mistake. It
helps to regain full strength and range of motion of the injured part
and should be part of every recovery program.

Just my .02!

John in Indiana
John Moe MD, MPH

The big pieces here are the skill of your surgeon; the skill of your
physical therapist; and your willingness to WORK and follow
instructions! If any one of those is less than optimal your result
will be too.

My daughter has had three shoulder surgeries (not SLAP), and
recovered astoundingly well - excellent surgeon, excellent PT, hard
worker. STILL couldn’t play college softball. just didn’t get it
back to that level.

My husband had rotator cuff surgery. Same excellent surgeon.
Different PT, good, maybe not excellent. BUT - the biggie - NOT
willing to work and follow directions. PT is not easy, fun or
painless. It IS time consuming. If you aren’t willing to really
follow through it will NOT give you a good end result.

You know yourself and your resources best. be honest about all.

Good luck!
Beth Wicker

And may I add to the comment about physical therapy and injuries -
just because the physio tells you that you have regained about as
much motion and as little pain as you are likely going to have, don’t
give up. Keep exercising the injured area - keep it moving and treat
the pain with tens if necessary. My body took a thumping when a
running child knocked me off my feet and through the air, landing on
my shoulder. Result was physio for two years, (that was when she said
it was good enough) swimming and gym for the next five years daily
(because I didn’t feel it was good enough) and now occasional
swimming when possible and daily exercises to keep it moving. You are
worth putting in the time to feel as good as you can.

Don’t give up.

Barbara in the midst of getting dogs organized to go to the vet and
the groomer

I agree with all the comments about physio. Absolutely wonderful, but
definitely not always painless! I ripped a shoulder and completely
lost all movement in the whole arm, though fingers wiggled nicely. A
few truly terrible physio sessions later, everything was back to
normal. Rigorous daily exercise of the arm at home too, of course.
But definitely worth the pain and effort - who wants to lose movement


If you can avoid surgery do.

If you can swim and get a TENs unit to interrupt any pain as opposed
to an effective but addictive narcotic pain medication (drugs other
than opioids have too many side effects and are not as effective).If
you do NEED a pain med try to take it only when absolutely necessary-
not every 6-8 hous and not for more than a week. Some people respond
best to a single serious opioid pain shot to break the cycle of pain
then follow with aspirin for inflammation.

If you can get an Rx for ultrasound particularly if you are not
going to keep at least twice weekly appointments and do the exercises
at home to the letter and tailored specifically to you - NOT
printed out from a general registry by a PT tech.

If you have access to a pool or otherwise can swim daily do, for
short periods. It isn’t going to heal faster if you push yourself.

Muscle tears take time to heal period. Do Not Go For Surgery unless
it is the last option after consulting a second opinion giver that is
not a surgeon- surgeons will always rationalise surgery! Get an Rx for
Neuromuscular therapy from your MD, Orthopaedic MD, or an Osteopath
and find a licensed NMT with at least 5 years experience and specific
experience with your diagnoses that will develop a plan tailored to
your needs using deep tissue and the Travell Method (deep tissue
massage therapy or more specificly : the Travell Method is the
singular effective massage modality that will work for your injury.
Expect it to take at least 2-3 months of weekly body work, with your
own swimming programme)… Dr. Janet. Travell was a surgeon
specialising in musculo-skeletal injuries, chronic pain and soft
tissue injury. This is a therapy that requires the practitioner to be
licensed by their State Board. Not all massage therapists have
studied this method and the Atlanta School of Massage, Florida School
and Rhode Island all certify therapists in this method It is superior
to Swedish massage or sports injury related massage.

Insurance usually covers prescribed neuromuscular therapy, and some
therapists will work with you on a guaranteed payment plan through
your insurance as opposed to out-of-pocket payments. This is an
effective treatment for deep tissue injuries and helps the tissues
heal. Surgeries further damage the torn tissues and add to the
healing time necessary for the body to repair soft tissue.

I highly recommend NOT having surgery but developing a recovery plan
that will help heal the tear as fast and completely as possible. No
surgeon will give you a guarantee nor will they agree on paper to a
revision if necessary and at their expense should a complication
arise from their initial operation. If you do find one that will,
guarantee their skills and the surgery will be effective in YOUR case
then consider that surgeon.

Pt requires a great amount of homework too. And you must interview
the PT’s in your area- some are at best not trained, some are at
least certified. Most worker’s in PT dept.'s are under the
supervision of a licensed Physical Therapist and are trained to run
through excersises outlined on a pre-printed sheet. They have zero
physiological knowledge or training. there are many kinds of PT
specialities- make sure you ASK Questions about their experience and
specialisation before committing to a programme or even a full
appointment. there are many just out of school PT’s that set up shop
with no real world experience. When faced with surgery as an option
you need an experienced PT. Sports Injurys are not what you have and
they tend to push one too hard. If you need to get back to the bench
tell them your livelihood requires your ability to use your shoulder
to exert pressure in concentrated points on small work pieces and ask
what therapies they would recommend or plan for that kind of work
and how long before you see results. The use of Hydrocollator packs
would be indicated. If they don’t have at least that equipment, keep
looking. Equally if they limit the ultrasound application to a lower
level than your MD prescribes, again, keep looking. Hospitals are not
always the best PT departments, nor are Private PT’s. It depends on
the locale in which you live and competition in the area. Be a good
consumer when it comes to your health and recovery and don’t enter
into a programme you know you will not follow thorugh on.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me off Orchid’s list.

Don't give up. 

I agree, don’t give up on physical therapy. Most therapists have seen
only people who give up too soon, so the therapists really do not
have experience with a highly motivated patient. Pretend you are in
rehab after a ski accident while preparing for the Olympic Games.
Would “pretty good” be good enough for you? If the elite athletes
can persevere, so can we. It’s up to each individual.

  • M’lou