After damaging my shoulder wakeboarding, the pain in my shoulder never settled. After some time I decided to seek help. I actually started with acupuncture, which was not successful as I was to learn I would need surgery after seeing a shoulder physio and then a Sports Doctor (who was very conservative and was not recommending surgery unless I really thought I needed it. He advised I would never have 100% recovery) I decided to go ahead with the surgery and considering I did not have the symptoms of a tear (lack of sleep etc) I expected to go to hospital and have the joint cleaned up.
After surgery I woke up to my arm in a sling, a morphine balloon stuck in my shoulder for pain and the harsh reality an 80% tear in my supraspinatus been repaired and a bone spur removed. The consequence being 6 weeks in a sling and 6 months to fullrecovery. I instantly burst into tears, this was not the news I expected. I went in to have a clean-up. I ended up staying an extra day in hospital as I could not get the pain under control. I was so surprised at the pain in this joint. After having back surgery, I did not expect this to be as bad … however, the pain from shoulder surgery is far greater and more acute.
Because it was my right arm, I was unable to do a lot of things in the time I had the sling on. I could not cook, drive, type … I really had to get my head in the right space. After having a “poor me” afternoon where I cried most of the afternoon … I quickly realised I was the only one that was suffering, and this was not going to be a good behaviour pattern going forward. I gave myself a talking to, and realised a positive attitude was what was needed to survive this time. So from that time onward, I kept reminding myself that it was only 6 weeks, not permanent … I was not dying, there were many more things worse than this. I started walking to the shops, catching the bus. It was like a forced holiday.
After 6 weeks, I was able to remove the sling … I was so happy to see the end of the sling, and frightened by the sight of my arm which had withered away. It was a little frightening to see the muscle wastage. I had physio every week and had exercises to do. I was diligent with every step of recovery. At 12 weeks I was able to start light weights again. Because my movement patterns had changed (I was hitching up my shoulder using my traps) I started my weights program under the observation of a personal trainer who could watch my every movement. I had to start again and build my arm, back and shoulder back up again using very light weights.
Unfortunately, in the process of recovery I did suffer some frozen shoulder in a section of the capsule. This is a very painful condition, and it was a setback. I found relief and recovery using a lacrosse ball to roll on up and down my back … there were all these very sore spots that seemed to be related to the frozen shoulder situation, eventually this method helped and worked to free the shoulder. I kept at the weights and slowly built back up the strength. It was definitely 6 months before I was recovered, and probably another 12 months before I didn’t think about my shoulder every day.
I now do Crossfit and am very fit and strong. I can say that my shoulder is 100% fixed. I have just mastered the bar muscle up this week which is a very difficult move. Full recovery is achievable, my advice is to work with a good physio, do what you are told and follow a weights program that can be monitored.
Good luck to anyone reading this article preparing for surgery. Positive mind, positive attitude … you will be fine. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any extra questions. Or visit my website www.enjoyjewellery.com.au