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I had an mri done to both shoulders. I have a minor tear in my left rotator cuff and inflamation on my right side. The right side is the one bothering me now. I have been dealing with a touchy left side for years. I think I have had a tear on the left side for years now.

For a long time now I have had to be careful with my exercises. I do mostly body weight and yoga type of exercises to help me stay in shape for all the surfing I do. I surf at a high level on small boards and really love it. I have been surfing for about 20 years now. I get better every year still and I show the 20 something crowd how a man does a big rail turn. The thought of not being able to surf is killing me.

I'm going to see a specialist soon to see what he says about surgery. I'm bumming because everything I have read about shoulder surgery tells me that I will be out of the water for a long time. To make matters worse I might need to get both sides done. That could put my on the DL for a year.

I assume that if I have surgery I will not be able to play sax for a while too. My to favorite things to do besides hanging with my family are going to be out of reach.

I was just wondering if any of you have had you shoulders done and how long you took to rehab? How did you feel when you had it done? Did you come back stronger than before or did you lose a step? I'm 34 and I want to surf until I die. This long run mind set tells me I should get it done and just deal with the long rehab instead of always having to baby my shoulders and always being injury prone and maybe messing them up to the point that I wont be able to surf anymore.
 

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My 25 years old son had surgery to one of his shoulder which kept dislocating and after the operation he had to undergo some serious rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles, mind you he is a VERY strong swimmer ( although an amateur) and swims easily in a session between 2,5 Km and 4 Km in a swimming pool!
Although is is very fit by all standards and the doctors said that surgery went very well, he has regular occurrence of pain.
 

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My lady had shoulder surgery many years ago and she just had it again a couple of months ago. She also talks to others who have had shoulder surgery. I don't know that you can really generalize very much from others' experiences, but I'll say this as briefly as I can: if the specialist recommends surgery, do it now. If you don't, you risk more damage later. Even if the rehab is long, at least you will eventually have the use of your shoulder. Imagine never being able to surf or play the sax again. Read the last sentence in your post and listen to your own mind. Take good care.
 

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Not my field but ... "a minor tear" doesn't sound like a "shot" shoulder and also doesn't sound like something a surgeon would be likely to be keen to operate on. And surgery isn't likely to improve inflammation. There are other therapies, less invasive, that might do you more good.
 

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Always get a few opinions. Doctors are all making educated guesses based on their education
 

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After a 22 year hiatus I picked up the sax again a little over 2 years ago. One of the first things I noticed was that I could not practiced for long periods without my back or shoulder hurting. While a harness helped a little as compared to a regular strap I still could not practice for long. As a matter of fact the harness resulted more in shoulder pain than back pain. Initially what I did was to start playing the sax sitting (I prefer to play it standing) supported on a yo yo fishing reel placed over a small table. I would adjust the seat accordingly. Then I bought a Sax-on (quodlibet .com) which helped a lot. Most recently, I bought a Free neck 3.1 harness. I have not had any back or shoulder discomfort for months now. I still use the three (fishing reel, free neck and sax-on) for practicing, alternating as each one has its advantages and limitations. I know that at least the free neck is somewhat expensive but in my opinion I think is worth it. I hope this help and your shoulder gets better.
 

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Don't let them cut you for a "minor" tear and inflamation. You're just getting old. Once you let them get their hands on you, they're going to do whatever your insurance company will reimburse them for; and surgeons make their living by operating on you. Surgery is an invasive procedure, and a measure of last resort.
 

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I am suffering from the same thing right and debating whether or not to have the surgery after my newborn comes in October. I also found out I have bone spurs in both as well. I am on a pain regimen of ex. strength tylenol and supplement it with Glucosamine/Chondroitin twice a day and physical therapy.

After one month on the Gluc/Cond. supplement my shoulders improved drastically.

Rotator cuff tears do not heal if the are really torn.

B
 

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I had "Tennis Elbow' in my 20's and went to a doctor. He asked me if I was a pro tennis player, I answered no, and he said, quit playing and it will go away. That was the best advice I ever got from a doctor.
 

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I has somewhat similar options if therapy didn't work, but it worked and shoulder is fine for an oldie. be careful. Therapy treatments can be painful, but better than surgery.
 

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Rotator cuff tears do not heal if the are really torn.
Yes. I'm a bit concerned about some of the medical advice you're getting here, without any info or medical expertise. By all means, meet with the doc and discuss options. Also get a 2nd opinion if you want to be confident in whatever course of treatment you choose. But this is a physical fact: tears do not heal by themselves. And they can get worse. When they tear all the way through and the tendon is disconnected from the bone, the muscle does not have blood supply so even when it's reattached it may never fully work again.

3 rules:
1. Talk to your doc.
2. Talk to your doc.
3. Talk to your doc.
 

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Whether you take the time to rest and rehab your shoulders back to health, or rehab following surgery, look at it this way-if it takes a year, you will reach that point anyway (August/September 2012?). You can be there with nagging shoulders, or with healed shoulders.
 

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I grew up right across the street from Garth Wyckoff - he's a pro surfer now.. He never did any out of water excersise for surfing, as far as I know - just surfed all day, nearly every day. Maybe you're just doing too much, between surfing (paddling) and gym lifting... good luck, I hope you heal and that your sax playing does not suffer as well.
 

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..... As a matter of fact the harness resulted more in shoulder pain....
That's been my experience also with the harness. I was using it even when playing alto and because it holds the horn very close to the body, your shoulders are drawn back.
After a while I developed a sharp pain in the right shoulder (bursitis?). I went back to the neck strap and I added a couple of shoulder specific poses to my yoga routine and it hasn't been a problem since.
 

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It all depends on how bad the tear is.
 

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I am suffering from the same thing right and debating whether or not to have the surgery after my newborn comes in October. I also found out I have bone spurs in both as well. I am on a pain regimen of ex. strength tylenol and supplement it with Glucosamine/Chondroitin twice a day and physical therapy.

After one month on the Gluc/Cond. supplement my shoulders improved drastically.

Rotator cuff tears do not heal if the are really torn.

B
Modman, You might have better luck with ibuprofen instead of Tylenol. Yes, Tylenol works for pain, but ibuprofen will help decrease inflammation which is contributing to the pain. Not a doctor, but I do work in Physical Therapy.


Stormott, Bummer...Surfers and swimmers (especially butterfly specialists) are very prone to shoulder/ rotator cuff issues. Shoulders are tough to rehab following any kind of surgery. Usually a period of very limited to absolutely no active muscle use (PT involves lots of passive range of motion) while things heal, then people like me get to stretch the s*** out of your shoulder and help you strengthen it once the Doc gives the green light...Very painful, but if you put the work in, you should see good results.

Most of the horror stories about shoulder surgery are from people who think it is all better after the doc does his thing. They don't follow his/ her guidelines for immobility, and they don't fully heal. Not to mention the fact that they don't put the work in to strengthen it again.

Don't be afraid to talk to your orthopedic doctor about other options like physical therapy. Get a PT referral: If you see a PT 2-3 times a week for a month, and you aren't feeling better with less pain, go get the surgery. With younger motivated people like you, I like 2 times a week, then having my patient exercise either in the clinic or at home 1-2 times (saves you some bread too). Some people can't be trusted to put the work in outside the clinic though.

Cortisone shots help some people, but they only prolong the inevitable.

Good luck with whatever you do!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the replies guys. I have been managing my tear for years. The funny thing is the side with the tear isn't bothering me to bad right now. The other side with the inflamation is bothering me more. The added stress from the tear on my left side is making my right side work harder and causing stress. The idea of surgery does bum me out but I think at this point it really is the best option. I have done PT in the past and a large part of my work out routine involves PT type moves to keep my shoulders balanced and stable.

I have trained like a high level athlete most of my life. This is the most serious issue I have ever had. I guess that's not to bad considering how long I have been going and how hard I train. I just want to keep surfing strong and often. The thing that makes me think that the surgery is a must is the flair up happened after doing some real conservative jump rope. That shouldn't make my shoulders flair up for weeks. It is low impact and should help stabelize my shoulders.

For those who don't know surfing creates some really bad muscle imbalances in the body and shoulders. The guys that don't do anything out of the water are asking for problems in their backs and shoulders. It causes a lot of stress on the lower back and it pulls the shoulders and chest forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When I swim underwater doing a breast stroke I can hear both of my shoulders grinding, clicking and popping.

Hey Swperry1 how long do you think I will have to lay off the sax?
 
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