I've torn/re-torn my rotator cuff about 4 times.
I went to physical therapy in lieu of surgery (which I couldn't afford due to lack of insurance), and when I found that I couldn't afford that, either, I decided to just try to do some exercises on my own, while taking it easy on my shoulder to keep it from tearing itself in half again.
I worked out vigilantly with weights earlier this year in a weight-loss effort that has stalled due to a decided lack of facilities in my immediate living area. I was careful not to lift any more than my shoulder told me I could. I spent a lot of time looking like a puss, but no injuries happened, and I was able to get to 55-lb tricep curls, which I viewed as a pretty big accomplishment, all things considered.
Apparently the weights strengthened the muscles enough that they were able to heal, which is nice, because I can lift things with both arms again. This is an ability which made moving out of my dorm that much easier earlier this month, and something I was excited about.
Well, apparently everything healed in the wrong position, and now I'm having what I assume to be nerve-damage-related pains. Funny that these never happened while I was working out.
I thought about AD's adventures with pain-med seekers when someone said to me this morning, "Honey, are you okay? You're white as a sheet!"
The good thing about the pain is that it's not constant, though my muscles tensing up at the first onset is causing some pretty heinous knots to form in my back and neck on the right side .
The bad thing is that it doesn't respond to anti-inflammatory medication...or NSAIDs, or whatever you call them. One night a few weeks ago I spent two hours in a luxurious hotel bed, unable to enjoy my surroundings or sleep because I was in so much pain I couldn't see straight. I had taken 550mg of naproxen (the prescription my doctor gave me when I told him I was bedridden with cramps...thanks, doc, it didn't help a bit) along with 2 extra-strength Tylenol. My liver was twitching, but my shoulder's condition didn't change.
The pain comes when it wants, and leaves when it wants. No amount of positioning or stretching will hasten its departure.
I need a massage for these knots, but I'm afraid of what will happen when someone digs their elbow into my shoulder blade. Will it set off a chain reaction in the nerves that will cause my shoulder to start hollerin' again?
The part, for me, that causes the most frustration is that I don't know when the pain's going to happen. It's happened 3 times today. Sometimes I can go weeks without feeling it. There is no list of set activities that I can avoid to keep from being in pain. And when it hurts, I can't do anything but sit there and try not to throw up.
I mean, the endorphin rush I get when the pain finally dissipates is pretty cool, but damn. :-P
Edit: I should mention that there's some irony here that people who aren't around me all the time wouldn't automatically "get": I work in the biologics department of one of the world's biggest suppliers of prosthetic items to repair broken bones and damaged tendons, including a product that's apparently been blessed by Jesus (sarcasm...don't come lynch me) because when used in rotator cuff repair, it has no equal in terms of how it helps the patient heal.
I broke my toe last May while working here. Guess what else they manufacture? Yep: prosthetic toes and screws to repair that sort of thing.
O GOD MY LIFE.