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    Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery
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    TOPIC: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery

    Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 9 months ago #27385

    • Cozy
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    Hi there. I'm hoping to hear from anyone that may be having or have had the same issue I am having now. I had a bicep tendonesis and subacromial decompression Nov 30th. Pt has been very hard an was told I had a frozen shoulder as I couldn't straighten my arm and was up for the possibility of manipulation under anesthesia. I have been working hard in pt the last couple weeks and have now gotten my arm almost all the way straight and my shoulder range of motion has improved. I feel I am definitely doing better in my shoulder recovery area but now new symptoms have started also. First it was pain in my hand, wrist and fingers which I noticed when i first started to write again. It has progressively gotten worse where any movement using my hand hurts-like electrical pains I guess would be the best way to describe it-I can't touch the pain. Then this last week my whole arm has begun to ache continuely, like when you have the flu and no amount of ice or pain meds makes it go away. I went to pt and she said it was my nerve being pinched in my shoulder and after some work he was able to make it go away temporarily. She can also make the ache comes back when she pushes on my shoulder in a certain place which makes me feel confident that this is what it is. But the hand pain I can't seem to get rid of. I am going to call my dr tomorrow since I'm not scheduled to see him until next week and I am supposed to be back at work the week after which will be impossible with these issues. I'm just really disappointed because I do feel that my shoulder is better but now this nerve issue is making it impossible to progress. Has anyone had these type of symptoms before and if so how did it go away or improve? Thank you.

    Re: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 9 months ago #27387

    • ljansen
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    I haven't had those symptoms but would highly recommend getting in to see your doc to rule out neuropathy and even more so, CRPS. If it's either of those, they should be managed right away to prevent worsening that might not be repairable down the road. There have been a few people on this board who have to deal with CRPS and it's not pleasant at all. Not trying to scare you, but when it comes to your recovery, it's up to you to advocate for yourself and your best interests. CRPS is often overlooked. Cavitator on here knows a lot more about CRPS if you go back through his posts to find out how he was diagnosed, etc.
    R. Shoulder Capsular Shift - Sept. 03
    L. Shoulder Bankart/SLAP/Capsular Shift/Rotator interval & SS repair - Jan. 05
    L. Shoulder MUA/adhesion release - Jan. 06
    L. Shoulder SAD/Bursectomy - Sept. 07
    L. Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis - Mar. 09
    L. Shoulder Open Latarjet & Arthroscopy - Nov. 24, 2011
    L. Shoulder Capsular Release/SAD - June 11, 2012
    L. Shoulder Capsular Release/Screw Removal/Biceps Tenotomy - Mar. 22, 2013
    L. Shoulder Arthroscopic Latarjet Screw Removal, Interval Repair, Axillary Neurolysis, Debridement

    Re: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 9 months ago #27519

    • Cozy
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    Sorry for the delayed response as I don't get an email that anyone had responded to my post thank you for your information. The day after I posted this I saw my dr and he so think that I had RSD so he put me on amitryptyline. I have been on it for a week now and although my aching has subsided during the day I still am unable I use my hand without pain. I tried to cut squash for dinner and it hurt to much. I am seeing my dr again today since I am supposed to go back to work this next Monday. I am really worried that I am unable to do my daily duties at work since I am still unable to do basic household chores at home. I am a hospital manager/RVT at a vet clinic and although I know I won't be able able to perform any of my RVT duties, (animal restrain, lifting, holding, drawing blood, etc), my admin duties don't entail just clerical work-which even that will be hard since typing is a problem. I do everything at the clinic, from moving inventory to working on any type of equipment when it's down. The last week before I had surgery I had to wrestl with two of our printers-the lovely job of the manager-we do EVERYTHING and all at once lol. My point it i still struggle with putting clothes on and sleeping it absolutely horrible. I have so much more pain at night and once I finally fall asleep I am awoken the moment my pain pills are coming due and then I have to wait 30 min for them to kick in and sometimes they don't help by then. Don't get me wrong, my ROM has improved over the last few weeks so I'm not going backwards in that aspect. I can, by myself, raise my arm almost straight in front of me to the level of my shoulder, and I can raise it out to the side almost straight up to my chest level. It all takes a lot of work, feels like someone is pushing my arm down since there is no muscle strength to help me, but it is an improvement. I just worry because the pain is still there so the amitryptyline hasn't helped all the way and I have to take my pain pills every 6 hrs on top of that-no matter what or it's horrible. I guess I will see what the dr says today.

    Re: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 9 months ago #27522

    • Cavitator
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    I am not so sure. RSD/CRPS isn't something that you "had." It is something that once you have, you have it forever. Remissions are very infrequent, progression happens more than it doesn't. There is no cure. While achiness is common, severe burning pain, color and temperature changes predominate. Swelling too. And the pain, uncontrolled, is intense enough that you want to chew your arm off.

    I hope you don't have it and there are other things it could be, but if it is going there, get to pain management without delay and most likely you will be started on stellate ganglion blocks. Everyone now agrees that ones best chance at this beast is early intervention (first 3 to 6 months, or sooner)! Lyrica and neurontinin are drugs of choice, opiates too. But nothing works very well, unfortunately.
    3/51 Bilateral VIII C.N. complete neurectomy
    2/60 Failed Supratentorial electrotherapy w/subsequent pancerebral resection
    2/89 Bilateral aqueous humor drainage w/complete retinectomy
    3/02 Quadralateral proximal extremity resection from gestational thalidomide exposure

    Re: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 8 months ago #27537

    • Cozy
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    Thank you for your reply. I saw my dr Friday and he still believes I have RSD even though I reiterated my symptoms, not like the ones you described, and told him that my hand problems haven subsided. I'm going back to work tomorrow but he has me only working half days or 6 weeks bc of my pain and lack improvement. He thinks that the nerve issues I'm having may be causing my slow healing and he said that if at the 3 month mark post op if I am still having issues then he will go in and manipulate. He said it takes 3 months for the anchor to be completely healed and therefore would be ruled out as the cause of my pain. I'm confused with the RSD diagnosis just bc the symptoms described aren't the symptoms I'm having. When I first saw him, when he discusse it, he looks at my hand mentioned the shininess, (I was waiting in the room or over and hour an a half), but then he looked at my other hand noted that both my hands were sweaty and I told him that I do tend to have sweaty palms.
    It almost felt to me as if there was a bit of reaching. I guess as long as there is no harm in me being on amitryptyline, (as it is an antidepressant and this whole process is depressing), then I guess I will just wait and see if things progress in the next couple of weeks especially bc I will be back in a somewhat work routine so I can see how I can function.

    Re: Aching arm, painful hand after shoulder surgery 1 year, 8 months ago #27538

    • Cavitator
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    It is only my opinion....bad outcomes are stressfull for you and also your surgeon! Keep that in mind. He also has a personal goal.

    As an RSD/CRPS sufferer for 5 years (as a result of a SLAP repair gone way bad) and health care pratitioner for well over 25 years, I have an opinion. It is long and detailed but I can condense it into probably one sentance:

    No one cares about you as much as you do!

    Listen to the voice of caution in your heart. You need to explore and self-educate on your unique situation before you go one day further with any changes (or non-changes). Once you empower yourself with knowledge, only then can you make a reasonably educated decision on where you need to go...
    3/51 Bilateral VIII C.N. complete neurectomy
    2/60 Failed Supratentorial electrotherapy w/subsequent pancerebral resection
    2/89 Bilateral aqueous humor drainage w/complete retinectomy
    3/02 Quadralateral proximal extremity resection from gestational thalidomide exposure
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