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Thread: Geezer Shoulders

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Charleston, SC


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    I had this surgery about 3 years ago so I feel your pain. I was off of work for 3 weeks and spent about 6-8 weeks in the sling. I was able to drive myself around about 3 weeks after the surgery but it was very challenging. It will be very difficult to do anything involving the broken shoulder for about a month or 2. Cooking was out of the question unless I could do it one-handed.

    You'll be spending a lot of time on pain meds and icing the shoulder most of the day and if you don't have a lounge chair I highly suggest getting one because sleeping on your back will be totally out of the question. I was sleeping in an office chair for about 2 weeks before I finally bought a used Lounge from Craigslist. Recovery from that was no fun at all.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Chicago Burbs, IL


    Rip has an excellent video where he rehabs his own shoulder after rotator cuff surgery. I have torn mine twice, (stupid stuff not related to lifting).
    The first one was before my Starting Strength days. I did the silly bullshit and it "eventually sort of worked".

    The second time I used Rip's methods. Amazing results. Rip suspended a bar (using rings) from his ceiling. I used motorcycle straps hung from my rack. I began with a 1" doll rod.

    Shoulder Rehab | Mark Rippetoe

    I'd listen carefully to Rip's explanation and cautions. He tends to waste few words.

    The goal of this is to get you back to overhead presses. Which means you'll be able to sleep on your side shortly. LOL.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    I posted a bit of my shoulder rehab in the testimonials section but I will save you the trouble of looking for it.

    First RC tear was 5cm full width. In a sling nearly 24/7 for 3 weeks, even when sleeping. For 6 more weeks I would wear it just when out and about... mostly to keep people from bumping into me and to keep me from doing something stupid.

    Sleeping sucked. It took quite a long time, nearly a year, before I could sleep on the injured side but I was able to stop sleeping upright after 3 weeks.

    I was driving after 2 weeks. I was out of work for a month because a) the doc was being overly protective and b) because it was my left shoulder and I am left handed. This made everything more difficult, esp driving.

    Second RC tear, other shoulder, was smaller. I was back to work in a week. Driving within the same. I wore the sling for 3 weeks but only when not at my desk or at home.

    First shoulder didn't heal as I had hoped. Had pain and limited ROM after 2 years. It wasn't a bad repair, just bad rehab.

    After the 2nd shoulder, I did Rip's protocol. Much better outcome and even greatly improved the first shoulder. Not sure why it helped the 1st shoulder, but it did.

    I was 50 when I tore the first one, 52 for the second. That was a year ago.

    As soon as the doc gave me the okay to start PT (6 weeks post, I think) I was back in the gym.

    I started with a wooden dowel, then a 35# bar, the a 45# bar. All high reps / 5 sets and I did not bench at all.

    It hurt when lifting, it hurt when not lifting and progress was very slow.

    That was August of last year and it took me 6 months to get to a 95# press. I was very conservative with increases and in retrospect I might have been able to do more, faster. Such is life.

    I worked up to a 125# press at the end of February then I tweaked my back, bad, and took a month off. Started again in April and from 4/3 to 6/17 went from a 95# press to 135#.

    135# is not a great number, but having had both shoulders repaired at my age, I wasn't going to complain. More importantly, the pain has pretty much gone away in the left shoulder.

    Still sore immediately after pressing most days, but gone before I wake up the next day. This was remarkable to me. The daily pain and limited ROM just wasn't there all of a sudden.

    I've read posts like this and thought maybe there was some bullshit going on, but it really does happen apparently.

    I imagine my press would be around 150# or so now, but I had knee surgery and have been out of the gym for a while. Shoulders still feel good, though, and my knee is now healed enough that I should be back in the gym later this week.

    Let me know if you have any questions.
    Last edited by David Mitchell; 07-10-2017 at 12:05 PM.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    Quote Originally Posted by MashedTaters View Post
    Well, call me stoooopid.

    It's about 18 months since my "accident" doing dips. I thought my shoulder was stronger and healthier. I thought I'd try some incline bench. First 2 weeks, fine. Third week, my right shoulder caved. Couple bros got the bar off of me.

    Back to doc, MRI, blah, blah. I'm having shoulder surgery this Wednesday to repair a full thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon, and possibly another tear. And whatever other clean up is needed.

    I've read all that I can find on here about rehab, and watched Rip's vid, and plan to be aggressive as hell about my own rehab.

    However, my first question now is simply about the activities of daily living. For those who have had surgery, can you tell me about living with the sling? How long before you could drive, get on your computer, fix breakfast for yourself, etc.?

    Thanks for reading, folks.
    I wrote a long reply and probably, for all that, didn't really answer your question. In short, it was about 3 weeks until life got back to basic normalcy. Sleeping was still shit, but driving and other functions like getting dressed, cooking, etc... yeah, 3 weeks. You won't be carrying out the trash with that arm for a while or doing anything athletic, but you can wash yourself, dress yourself, feed yourself and drive in about that time. Maybe sooner if it's not your dominant hand shoulder.
    Last edited by David Mitchell; 07-10-2017 at 11:25 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Thanks for the info, folks! Very helpful.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    starting strength coach development program
    I had forgotten about this thread. An update on my surgery and rehab is in order. I had the surgery when I was 66; I'm now 68.

    Week 1 (July 2017):
    I reported to the surgery center at 0600; discharged to go home at 1130.

    Three of four RC tendons were torn Ė full thickness tears - and retracted. Two anchors required, labrum repaired, cleaned up the frayed biceps tendon and bone spur. Too much damage for arthroscopic repair; the doc had to cut me open.

    I opted for the nerve block. It took about 24 hrs to wear off. Around 1000 the next morning I took my first pain meds Ė two Percoset. Surgery was on Wednesday and by Monday I weened myself from the Percoset.

    The doc ordered a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) chair and I started using this thing on the afternoon of surgery. Itís a chair with moving arms that abduct/adduct your arms. On day 1 the range was 20 to 80 degrees. Beginning the next day, I increased the upper limit five degrees per day until I reached 115 degrees, where it remained. I used this contraption for 17 days, four to six hours total per day, one hour blocks.

    I slept in a recliner the first night. On the second night I moved to a bed wearing sling and supported my arm with a pillow; slept ok. In general, sleeping hasnít been bad.

    I made myself bacon, eggs and coffee the morning after surgery, carefully, with one arm.

    Two days later I removed the bandage, took my first shower, carefully, and covered the surgical site with waterproof bandaids.

    Week 2:
    First follow-up. Doc says to continue the CPM for the remainder of this week, begin PT next week, drive if Iím comfortable with driving, ok to ditch the sling in/around the house. Light chores ok, but wear sling in public for a couple more weeks so no one walks up and slaps me on the shoulder.

    Week 3:
    I returned to work; had first visit with PT; began Ripís protocol.

    The PT had me doing pendulum swings, passive stretching, bands, blah, blah, blah. He was totally blown away by the ROM that I have now. More so given my age and the fact that I have a scar on my deltoid, not just a couple of ports.

    I think the main take-away for the first 3 to 6 weeks (YMMV) is that movement with the injured arm should be passive - no movement requiring any muscle contraction, especially overhead stuff. For example, in Ripís video, you see him lifting his injured arm with the good arm to place it on the stick in the rings.

    Week 6:
    I began pressing, lat pulldowns and deadlifts: press 15x5x3; lats 20x10x3; deads 95x5x3. LOTS of warm-up before pressing Ė walking out a 15# bar in the rings and partial ROM pressing from top down as demonstrated by Rip in his video.

    Week 10:
    Continuing linear progression. Iím almost pain-free pressing out of the rack. I do a LOT of warm-up before pressing.

    Week 12:
    I added HBBS.

    Week 13:
    Still going to the PT 1X/week. I have to admit, I like the stretching and massaging. The exercises, well, meh. I also had my 3 month follow up with the doc. He used the word ďimpressiveĒ three times, but, of course, never asked about what I was doing for rehab.

    My lifts: press 50x5x3; lats 115x10x3; deads 200x5x3. Also, my shoulders are adapting to the squats.

    Week 15:
    Last PT session.

    Week 17:
    Four month follow up with the doc and he was impressed enough to say there was no need for him to see me anymore. He was emphatic that even though I am doing great and probably feel great, donít get cocky. More healing needs to take place. The anchors need 6 to 9 months to ďset.Ē

    Week 26:
    Six months since surgery. My shoulders are adapting to LBBS, slowly. Iím going to gym 3X/week; HLM routine. Starting DB bench with neutral grip today and a VERY slow progression.

    Eight Months:
    I gave up DB bench for close grip bench.

    Ten Months (May 2018):
    For all intents and purposes, Iím back to where I left off prior to surgery, in terms of weight that Iím handling.

    I hope this info is useful for anyone facing RC surgery.

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