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Terrible pain after subacromial decompression surgery. Cause?

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  1. #1

    Terrible pain after subacromial decompression surgery. Cause?

    Hey everybody.
    Just to give a quick history, I was having chronic pain in my shoulder around October 09. The pain got worse and worse, so I got an MRI.

    MRI said I had narrowing of the subacromial space causing impingement of the rotator cuff muscle. My ortho decided to go the conservative route..I stopped lifting and followed thru with physical therapy for 5+ months. The pain/swelling went down but it still hurt doing almost any movement at the gym (especially push movements). So I decided to take it easy and give it time to heal.

    Fast forward to July...I was out of the gym for almost 10 months and still had pain in my shoulder. I lost so much muscle that it took me so long to gain..I couldnt take it anymore. We finally decided on surgery.

    Surgery: August 10th 2010 My ortho did a subacromial decompression and distal clavicle excision. A bony spur was removed. He said The tear in the supraspinatus was minor and didn't require surgical repair. He also mentioned very minor damage in my labrum that didn't require repair but just needed to be "cleaned up."

    I have been following through with physical therapy 3x a week and am doing everything right. I just finished college and have not yet found a full time job so I'm uninsured and paying for this out of pocket. My PT says my strength and flexibility is great...but I am having some terrible symptoms.

    The right side of my neck feels extremely hot and inflamed. I am also having pain going down the medial side of my arm.
    The RC area itself hurts occasionally, but I am moreso experiencing the tingling pain in my lower arm/forarm and really bad inflammation on my neck.
    (all symptoms are worst the day after physical therapy)

    I spoke with my ortho and he says he thought I might have c3-c4 disk herniation. I got an MRI and it is confirmed..
    MRI Nov 10th 2010
    Posterior disc bulge at c3/c4 towards the right and osteophyte (bony spur) found in the spine.

    My ortho said to take the conservative route and have physical therapy/traction therapy done.
    My only worry is the fact that there is a bony spur in the spine. Im wondering if the spur is causing the irritation and also confused as to why this is happening right after my subacromial decompression surgery.
    It is a minor bulge (not even a herniation) so I was unsure if this was the cause of the pain. I have had traction done for the past 3 weeks and have not had any results..


    The most frustrating part for me is the fact that I can't diagnose my problem.
    My Ortho thinks its something spine related. One PT thinks its scar tissue after surgery and overall weakness of scapular stabilizers (even though i have fantastic ROM!), and another PT thinks some of my muscles are overcompensating because of overall weakness...

    Does anyone have any idea or advice?
    Im thinking of maybe trying active release therapy?

  2. #2
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    How about 2nd opinion therapy? See another doctor.

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