Osteoarthritis and SLAP tear and SS
I finally got the MRI that you recommended months ago (my Dr took some time to get to it, but anyway ... that's another rant for another time).
The MRI shows my left shoulder has a SLAP tear - this didn't show up in an ultrasound or an xray. 3T MRI, on the other hand ...
The radiologist writes :
Superior SLAP tear and degenerative fraying of antero-inferior glenoid labrum
also multiple areas of high grade glenoid chondropathy
a few other bits & pieces of misc damage as well, but they're the main ones.
When my doctor explained that in laymans terms, she told me I've got a tear that's not worth fixing because the chondropathy is osteoarthritis and even if they fix the torn labrum it won't make much difference and will cost a lot and result in 3-6 months of rehab to get back to where I am now - ie: a lot of fucking around for little if any benefit.
The list of stuff she suggested consists of placebos, pain killers, anti inflams and a joint replacement when it gets too painful (which will happen, she says, eventually). Not exactly the result I was hoping for.
I'm not here to whinge, it's shitty, but I'm almost 40 and have played a lot of contact sports for a very long part of my life. I'm now paying the price.
My question for you is have you worked with anyone that has this sort of degenerative injury and what sort of lifting has worked? I can't squat (haven't been able to for ~6 months or more now, it's too painful to rotate my shoulders back with any sort of meaningful load on), I can deadlift without significant pain, I've done a few of your heavy shrugs for fun, they're ok. I can press sometimes and benchpress sometimes depending on the day (if it's good or bad). I can front squat and I can power clean. I tried those funny barbell between your legs deadlifts as a squat substitute but they didn't feel right.
The Doc says "light weights, lots of reps, keep exercising" as we'd expect, I call bullshit on the light weights lots of reps thing but would like your input on what's likely to work. I'm going to get weaker, but I'm also about to turn 40 and that's just how it goes. Can you help me fight this injury somehow? Harden the fuck up and just do stuff and damn the pain? Anyone else here got osteo arthritic shoulders and can share what works for them?
I have no experience with a SLAP tear and that degree of osteo. Thank God. Bottom line: you can do everything except squat, and you can front squat. So that's what I'd do. Work out a program that allows you to train heavy with the movements you can do that enable you to at least stay strong, if not make significant progress.
Would something like the "safety squat bar" that allows you to squat without having your arms back be useful for a case like this?
Quite possibly. Might be much better than the front squat, in fact. I forget about that device since we've never had one here.
Thanks guys, I'll have a look into the safety (stupid name ... ) squat bar, one of these, right? :
That's the bar I was talking about. It doesn't make sense for me to have one now, but if I were looking at a long time, especially rest-of-life long, without being able to hold a barbell on my back, I'd buy one or find a gym that has one.
Another option would be to by on of Draper's "Top Squat" device. It allows you to turn basically any barbell into a SSB.
From the experiences I've read it allows for a much more natural squat than does a SSB.
Awesome, thank you Hat. I'll try and find one in Australia.
I can't speak to the osteoarthritis, but I was successful in rehabbing my apparently minor SLAP tear without surgery. I took a prednisone 6 day pack followed by 60 days of meloxicam and did a lot of light shoulder pressing. I know that people have very strong feelings about using steroids and medication in general, but to me, it was better to try that than to have surgery. I was not able to low bar squat at all, but I could front squat, and eventually, I could high bar squat. I took it very slow and didn't do anything stupid. If something hurt, then I stopped doing it. I basically spent 4 months squatting, deadlifting and shoulder pressing.
I'm now 7 months out from the acute injury, and I have no issues with that shoulder at all. Snatches, cleans, jerks, low bar squats, benching etc. is not a problem. I am certain that my tear was due to flinging myself around on pullup bars and gymnastics rings, which I don't do any more. I only do strict pullups and dips. And, I don't go overhead for time. Well, I don't really do anything for time, haha.
I know that it depends a lot on the degree of the tear and your other issues. I know almost 10 people who have had a SLAP tear in the last year. Two of them have opted for surgery. One also had bicep involvement, and she just retore her bicep 4 months post surgery, and is now scheduled for a second surgery. So, if there are a lot of things that you can do without having surgery right now, then do those things and keep getting stronger. If taking medication helps, then do it.
Training without squatting is like lightning without thunder. The bright instantaneous dance of light is captivating, but you've got to feel the earth move under your feet and hear the great rumbling down the length of your back. - Dave Draper