Friday, April 29, 2011

Shoulder Update

I hurt my shoulder in early March in a hard ski fall - directly onto the shoulder while moving at a pretty good speed.

Four weeks ago, the doctor used X-rays and ultrasound and decided it looked like just a bad bruise to the rotator cuff - the supraspinatus muscle. He gave me a cortisone injection, and had me schedule a four-week follow-up, but he thought I'd cancel the appointment. The cortisone helped, but within days, the pain returned. I feel like I'd had a small improvement overall, but not a lot. For example, with a good warm-up, I'm able to crank out push-ups, which were almost impossible before. But, the pain is still there and it's been getting tougher to sleep at night due to pain.

Yesterday was my follow-up appointment - an appointment I'd never even considered cancelling.

After a discussion of symptoms and some strength tests, the doctor pulled out the ultrasound machine again. This time, the swelling was gone from the injured area, giving him a better look at the tendon. It looks like I have a partial tear to the tendon. He suggested a number of options for treatment. The most conservative was physical therapy alone. Next on the list was PT plus a series of Traumeel injections. Traumeel is a homeopathic treatment that can be used in various forms - pills, ointment or injections. Next was platelet rich plasma treatment, which I've had done on a torn hamstring tendon with a good level of success. PRP is not covered by my insurance and will cost about $1000, so I'll pursue other options first. Last was a referral to a surgeon, but the doctor didn't think a surgeon would even want to see me given the low level of the injury.

I opted for PT plus a Traumeel injection. Before he started the injection, the doctor asked me how I do with uncomfortable injections. Between a prior PRP treatment and a Synvisc One injection, this guy seems determined to cause me pain. He used ultrasound to guide the needle and did a series of injections that was quite uncomfortable. He told me my shoulder would be sore afterward and it certainly is. I'm also supposed to take it easy on the shoulder for a few days and I have some pain medication to help with the short-term soreness and to help me sleep.

After the appointment, I got out for a run with my wife and the dogs. I ran about 2.5 miles with them and then went out for another half hour alone, taking it pretty easy.

Today, I think I'll walk the dogs if the rain isn't too bad after work.

I'm planning to ski tomorrow, but I certainly don't want to fall on my shoulder.

No comments: