• Happy National Acadian Day!

Sore Motors

Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
1,091
Reaction score
238
Location
Heart of the Shawnee Nation
My shoulders are always hurting, one worse than the other. Need surgery, but I’m deferring that maintenance until next fall so I can get back to my bucket list. It occurs to me that the shoulders are like a paddler’s motors. Anyone else gone though a breakdown? Were you able to get around in the wet bush without pain or incapacity? I tried a steroid shot and it worked for a couple weeks of no activity. This has to be common with older models. I have 2-3 trips that my dog needs to do this summer before I can hit the shop for an overhaul.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2021
Messages
69
Reaction score
54
Location
Mount Solon, VA
Black Fly, I have some shoulder pain, but not as bad as yours. I have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, plus the usual old age osteoarthritis, so I know about chronic pain. What is your doctor's recommendation for non-surgical interventions? What is your diagnosis (osteoarthritis vs. rheumatoid arthritis vs. torn rotator cuff, etc.)? Pain meds (NSAIDs and/or opiods), disease-modifying anti-arthritic meds, another steroid shot, and physical therapy are the usual choices.

You said your steroid shot worked for a while with no activity. Can you tolerate any activity? Any exercises that will strengthen the shoulder muscles will be beneficial, both short term and in speeding recovery from surgery.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
526
Reaction score
151
Location
Ontario
my shoulders are messed up- too many years rock climbing, as is the rest of my body especially my legs due to severed nerves and spinal damage.
The only short -term cure seems to be powerful anti-inflammatory meds coupled with painkillers and weekly long term anesthetic shots, but I do get cortisone epidurals 2-3 times a year which are far more effective than local shots.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
1,091
Reaction score
238
Location
Heart of the Shawnee Nation
The orthoscopic laser knife surgery to address part of the problem is minimally invasive, but still takes some lengthy recovery/therapy and will only address some dead tissue in the joint. My diagnosis includes bone spurs, bursitis, arthritis, and the dead torn tendon. Last thing I want is a bad flare up 40 miles from a road. I guess I’m stuck with some of the debilitation even with surgery, which could make it worse. Shoulders are tricky, I’m told.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,976
Reaction score
495
Location
Schenectady, NY
I have no right shoulder joint left...back in 1985 I had my recurring dislocations repaired and got 30 more years without another dislocation, and had excellent use of that shoulder throughout that time.
Unfortunately, due to the method used back then, my shoulder joint has fully deteriorated to the point where I'll need a replacement joint.
I have been delaying the surgery until I finished building my house, and of course I can't disrupt the ski season.
The shoulder repair back in 1985 required extensive recovery and months of physical therapy to get back to an active lifestyle.
Now, at 65 years old, I'll be happy with a pain free joint...no matter how long is the recovery.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
237
Reaction score
201
Location
Godmanchester, Quebec
I've gone through a couple of lengthy shoulder pain cycles. They can last 12 months or more. I haven't been able to paddle on the left for a couple of seasons but it seems things are now on the mend. It makes all kinds of neat noises when putting on a shirt, taking off my jacket, etc. I have a rattle bag for deer hunting - basically a bag of plastic sticks that you roll around in your hand to mimic the noise of the antlers of rutting bucks. That's what I picture is happening in my shoulder.
 
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
879
Reaction score
232
Location
Western Adirondacks
Several years ago when I was painting a camp metal roof with aluminized paint, very carefully I thought, but I must have mistakenly let a single drop fall where I was about to step. Very suddenly down I went still clutching a half bucket of aluminized asphalt paint in my right hand. The worst part was I had just dismantled a crumbling cinder block chimney and the rubble was thrown down on the ground, guess where. On the way down I instantly thought "how many bones" would I break in the rubble pile. I knew I had to do my best parachute landing roll that I had learned years before in the Air Force. Turns out the loose rubble pile must have actually softened my landing as far as I could figure, because I immediately stood up with no pain, although I looked like the tin man covered head to toe with aluminum paint.

I had no pain until a day later when I could not raise my right hand above my chin without excruciating pain in my shoulder. So I went to see a sports medicine doctor who was also an orthopedic surgeon. An examination, xrays and MRI later determined that I had severely torn my rotator cuff. I was scheduled to paddle the annual adirondack 90 miler in another month, and then another race on the Yukon River the following season, so I needed to do something to get better fast.

The doc wanted to do repair surgery on my rotator cuff right away. I had known other paddlers who got that surgery and knew what recovery was like for them. I asked the doc how long I would have to hold my arm in a sling at my stomach. I already knew the answer... 3 months. No thank you. So the doc said he could inject cortisone internally right at the site of the tear and it might help for a while. Do it. it seemed to work and I paddled the 90 without significant pain. The pain relief seemed to be complete for about 3 months before coming back to some moderately low extent. After a few weeks of doing specialized exercises several times a week at a physical therapist near home I knew I could terminate the expensive visits and continue the same exercises at home. It seemed to help quite a bit. I also have an indoor paddle training machine that I used with care a lot over the winter months

Six months later, after the winter season, as am preparing for the Yukon race I made another visit to the doc and got another MRI. He said it still looked bad and repeated the offer for surgery. Can I tray another shot of cortisone? Sure, put the needle injection just where you put it before. That got me through the Yukon race in June, feeling a bit of pain tingle only just whenever I thought much about it or when the stern paddler forgot to call hut for a long time.

It has now been another 10 more years, and I have paddled every 90 miler race since then, plus two 440 mile Yukon races and a number of other local races plus training, all virtually pain free with complete arm motion as normal in all activities. I am convinced that proper exercises combined with the right amount of paddle training kept my arm self repairing itself going strong and healthy.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,655
Reaction score
1,098
Location
Geraldton, Ontario
I suffered for about 10 years with very bad pain in the left shoulder. A good physiotherapist spent about 3 months on me, and then said he didn't think he could help me, he suspected I had a torn bicep tendon. He suggested surgery. I have been using a bowflex machine and light free weights for over two years now, and the pain has disappeared. I haven't done a multi day canoe trip during this time, but have done lots of porting and paddling on portage clearing trips and everything seems good.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2018
Messages
1,091
Reaction score
238
Location
Heart of the Shawnee Nation
I can relate to the noises described by scratchypants. Had noisy shoulders for 25 years. A horse tore the tendon rearing when I had ahold of her and wasn't looking when she decided to rear up. That happened 3 months after fracturing the same shoulder sliding down a hill with boards strapped to my feet. The noises have only gotten louder and more painful. My former affinity for high powered rifles is now sated, especially ones with metal butt plates and tapered cartridges. My 30-06 and .54 muzzleloader are wall hangers now.

All these things caused my shoulder to be where it is now. I don't know if trimming the dead tissue via scope will help. Cortizone shot lasted a couple weeks. They can't get to the arthritis and bone spur without opening me up, and like someone said, that's a long time recovering. Glad to see I'm not alone, but sorry to see others suffering. Hopefully, i can get this done in a month and start paddling at ice out. Maybe the wilderness tripping will have to wait a couple months, but if I can do it pain free and worry free, it will be worth it.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
520
Reaction score
198
I don't know if they can do this for shoulders, but I had a painful bone spur on my heel. It was reduced by a series of (extremely painful) steroid injections way inside onto the bone. This is not a regular cortisone shot, but a heavy duty deep inside injection.
 
Top