My Arms Still Hurt

I need to find a place to document what is happening with my arms (both the left one operated in Feb and the “good” one). My hope is to see a pattern, or that one of my readers will see a pattern or understand the mechanics and provide some coaching.

History of my case can be found here. Surgery to removal of sling, and a report on the physical therapy to regain motion. I am under orders not to do strengthening exercises. I am continuing my stretch exercises post-PT and am increasing the range of motion, especially elevation over my head.

There are two observations (pain & popping) that I’m making on the left and right sides, each. These have been going since the surgery, or perhaps before. I am going to make notes of things after today June 9 (Surgery was 4 months ago, Feb 3)

Pop: like cracking a knuckle, a physical jolt and I hear a sound. It involves the shoulder joint. The pop is associated with a temporary sensation that does not rise to the level of pain. Some times the discomfort from the pop lasts seconds, other times it might still be there an hour later.

Pain: is in the muscle, not in the joint. It occurs in two locations: 1)  on the front or the outside corner of the shoulder, in a 1/2 inch line running down the roundness of the rotator cuff muscles. 2) in the front of the main mass of the bicep muscle, several inches below the joint. This pain is a slice, 1-2 inches long. Each pain is transitory and ends when the triggering action ends.

UPDATES I realized that I need to try to track the events that are repeat causes and easily described and then check over time if they continue to happen, so, I’m dating each item each time it happens with the hopes of seeing patterns.

Left Arm – Pop

1. Sitting in a chair, lifting left elbow to rest it on the back of the adjacent chair. June 9

2. Best example of pop. I was reaching for a loaf of bread at the back of the kitchen counter. I used both hands, arms fully extended, directly in front of my body. I needed to lift the loaf 10″ to get over something at the front of the counter. Each hand started the lifting movement, but the left got “stuck” and didn’t rise for a moment, then popped. July 2.

Left Arm – Pain

1. Corner of shoulder. Holding fridge door open with right hand, reaching sideways to upper shelf to get cat food can. I tell myself “Hold shoulder down, raise hand” which might help with the movement if not with the pain, June 9, June 15

2. Corner of shoulder. Left hand scratching left ear, elbow straight in front. Takes a little while for the burn to build up. June 9 June 15

3. Corner of shoulder. Lying on left side so shoulder is down and bearing weight. Pain is mild, but I can’t lie that way more than 10 minutes. I’ve been noticing it for at least a week running up to July 9.

Right Arm – Pop

1. sitting in driver seat of car, raising arm to place hand on top of passenger seat back June 9

2. Lying in bed on left side, reaching right arm down to thigh to move blanket and sheet off prior to getting out of bed. Moving from behind midline to front. June 9

3. Wiping kitchen counter, moving left across in front of stomach. June 9 June 15

4. Wiping counter, moving right out away from body June 15

5. Grabbing top corner of car door to swing it open, starting with arm partly extended, shoulder high, and moving left across body. June 15

6. The general statement about popping is when I make large arm movements, often with no particular load applied, like waving goodbye, or the examples above. These are continuing to happen as of July 9, but no one event is easily reproduced.

Right Arm – Pain

1. Corner of shoulder. Turning steering wheel right-handed. Turning the wheel left, with right hand moving from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock position. Turning the wheel right, with right hand moving from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock position June 9

2. Corner of shoulder. Reaching behind midline, rotating outward to reach waist high toilet paper dispenser June 9 June 15

3. Bicep. When standing, reaching down at full extension of arm, ahead of mid-line, to flush institutional toilet. June 9

4. Corner of shoulder. Leaning on elbow on arm rest of a chair (the “thinker” pose) June 9

5. Corner of shoulder. Lying on right side so shoulder is down and bearing weight. Pain is mild, but I can’t lie that way more than 10 minutes. I’ve been noticing it for at least a week running up to July 9.

Actions I choose not to do

I do not make any rapid arm movements, e.g., tossing a wad of paper to the trash can. I’m afraid of popping more than pain. I tried tossing a stone with my daughter, it hurt the right arm.

One Response to “My Arms Still Hurt”

  1. My Arm’s almost better « One small step for man Says:

    […] went to the Doc yesterday with the hope of being freed of my post-op restrictions and to discuss my various arm pains. Good News: He says: “You may do anything you can do.” (Note the careful grammar). I […]

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