To share the information in this article, with individuals who learn through watching and listening, I am creating a video presentation of the article. To listen to and watch the video presentation, you may click on this link: Rotator Cuff Tears, Physical Therapy, Strategies – You May not Need Surgery Video Presentation
Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to have you around my table. On May 24, 2017 I wrote this article, Continuing to Train in Martial Arts with Rotator Cuff Tears — Don’t Give Up on Your Goals.
Through my Process I discovered that No Surgery was required to repair the rotator cuff tears of my infrapsinatus, supraspinatus and subscapularis.
Below is an Account of my Process
Examination of my Left Shoulder by my Primary Care Physician
In lieu of the pain in my left shoulder, I set up and attended an appointment with my primary care physician, who is also a sports medicine Dr. Upon being examined my Dr. told me that I would have to have surgery to repair the rotator cuff tears. He ordered X-Rays and an MRI. I had the X-Rays done that day and waited to have the MRI scheduled.
The news and what having surgery would entail and the needed rehabilitation process post surgery put fear in me.
Different Types MRI Machines — Regular MRI, Wide Bore MRI, and Open MRI
After the MRI was scheduled I went to have the MRI done, however, the regular MRI was too confining. At this appointment I found out that there was an alternative to that MRI tube — a wide bore MRI. After the wide bore MRI was scheduled, and I went to have the MRI done, I still found the wide bore MRI to be too confining. I then found out that there was another alternative, an Open MRI. I was scheduled to have the Open MRI and was instructed to have my primary care physican prescribe a medication to help me relax during the MRI.
Suggestion if you are Claustrophobic
If you have any difficulty having MRI’s, due to being claustrobic, I would recommend an Open MRI. The Open MRI has openings to the right and left of your head, which you can see profierally after being moved into the Open MRI. I would also suggest that you aak your primary care physician to prescribe a medication that will help you relax during the time in the MRI. My shoulder MRI took between 25 and 30 minutes and I did not feel claustrophic in the Open MRI.
Results of the Open MRI on my Left Shoulder
After having the MRI I got the report that showed I had tears in my infraspinatus, my supraspinatus, and my subscapularis. The report reinforced my fears, but I am glad that I did not give up on the possibility that I would not have to have surgery. I decided to visit a physical therapist that I had seen in 2009 for meniscus tears in one of my knees. During the appointment, the physical therapist had me move my left arm in the various range of motions and tested my shoulder strength.
No Surgery on my Left Shoulder Required
After seeing my range of motion and testing my shoulder strength, he told me I would not have to have surgery. Hearing the news greatly encouraged me. I was so happy and relieved to know that I would not have to undergo surgery to repair the rotator cuff tears. The physical therapist gave me some exercises to begin at home. I set up another appointment and over the past 3 weeks, my shoulder has strengthened and I am on the mend.
Suggestion and Hope — You May Not Need Surgery to Repair Your Rotator Cuff Tears
Please see a physical therapist before you undergo any surgery to repair your rotator cuffs tears.
In the event that you have been told that you need to have surgery to repair rotator cuff tears and you have had an MRI, I have a suggestion.
Consult with a physical therapist and ask them to test your range of motion and the strength of your affected shoulder. If you have a good range of motion and strength in your shoulder, you may not need surgery. Working with a physical therapist will help to reduce inflamation, strengthen your shoulder and improve your range of motion.
Past Experience with Dr.’s and Orthopedic Surgeons told me that I Needed to Have Surgery
My primary care physician, after the initial examination, said I had to have surgery, otherwise, I would lose function of some muscles in my left arm. What he declared put fear in me and was simply not true.
My experience has been that Dr.’s and Orthopedic surgeons seem to want to push me into surgery.
I am so glad that I consulted with the physical therapist that I consulted with and saw for a period of time in 2009.
My Experience with Meniscus Tear in my Right Knee in 2009
Medial Meniscus and the Anterior Hood of the Lateral Meniscus Tears of my knee
In 2009, during my training for my black belt my right knee locked up. I saw my primary care physican, at the time, who scheduled an MRI of my right knee. I underwent the MRI and the results showed that the medial meniscus and the anterior horn of my lateral menicus (both on my right knee) had torn. I consulted with 2 orthopedic surgeons, who both said that I needed surgery. I met someone at the YMCA who had similar meniscus tears. He told me that a Dr. had told him that if he had surgery to repair the meniscus tears that his knee would become unstable.
My primary care physician, at the time, sent me to a physical therapist. The physical therapist told me that I could strengthen my knee to support the meniscus tears and in the process avoid surgery. So I worked 4-5 times a week, for I worked 8-9 months, to strengthen my right knee. I worked to strengthen my righit knee by walking the pool backwards and forwards, riding the stationary bike at a low resistance and some weights. With time my knee got stronger and I was able to start back training full muay Thai knees and muay Thai kicks using my right knee and leg.
I am so glad that I saw and consulted with a physical therapist, at the time, although several orthopedic surgeons wanted to operate on my right knee.
No Surgery Needed to Repair the Meniscus Tears
In March 2009 I wrote an article, When Circumstances Change our Plans and Dreams to share my experience surrounding these meniscus tears at the time. You may read this article to gain more insight by clicking on this link: When Circumstances Change our Plans and Dreams.
Disclosing the Impact of my Traumatic Brain Injury to My Physical Therapist
Strategies used to Compensate for my Traumatic Brain Injury while working with my Physical Therapist
Over the course of the past three weeks, I have attended appointments with the physical therapist. He gave me instructions during the appointments. Sometimes, I would write these instructions on paper and other times I just listened. What I found was that when I did not write things down, I forgot what he told me and needed clarity at the next appointment. With my growing awareness, I disclosed to my physical therapist that I experienced a traumatic brain in a motor vehicle accident when I was 10 old.
I told the physical therapist that I needed to write down what he was telling me during my appointments, with him otherwise, I would forget them. I also asked him if I could have his email address to be able to ask him for clarity, ask questions and share concerns between appointments. He said yes, and I have asked for clarity, sent questions and shared concerns with him via his email address. He has been gracious and kind to give clarity and send answers to my questions and concerns. Thank you for your time and kindness Rick.
If you are Living with the Impact of a Traumatic Brain Injury and Working with a Physical Therapist
Disclosing to your physical therapist that you are living with the impact of a traumatic brain injury may help you. Helping them understand that you need extra help may help them to be more patient with you. Traumatic brain injury is an invisible disability. Without your physical therapist having insight into what you need, as an individual living with the impact of a brain injury, both you and your physical therapist may experience frustration. Such frustration may lead to stress and interfere with your physical therapy process.
Stress that will interfere with your ability to benefit from your physical therapy.
My suggestion is that you write things down that your physical therapist is telling you to do between appointments. By writing things down, you will have reminders and notes that you can refer to after you physical therapy appointments. Also, ask your physical therapist if you can have their email address to ask questions and share your concerns (as they arise) between appointments.
My Ongoing Physical Therapy Process
I am very fortunate to have a physical therapist who allows me to email him for further clarity, as I have questions. I am grateful for his time and kindness toward me. His clarity gives me peace of mind. Thank you Rick.
I am doing the exercise that he has given to me. I have been able to start back training with my short kali sticks to enhance both sides of my brain and body.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me. My shoulder is on the mend. God is healing my shoulder.
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