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Old 05-21-13, 01:13 PM   #1
eja_ bottecchia
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Cortisone shot for shoulder pain...

About three months ago I took a fall and landed hard on my left shoulder and left hip.

The pain to my left hip went away after about a month. the left shoulder, however, continues to hurt.

At first I tried all the usual remedies, ice packs, Motrin, sleeping on my back (as opposed to sleeping on my side/shoulder),offerings to the Madonna de Ghisallo.

The only thing that I have not tried is rest.

I went to an ortho about a month ago and he took x-rays. There is no rotator cuff tear/injury and there is no physical evidence of trauma or damage to the shoulder joint.

He gave me some samples of Celebrex and prescribed Tramadol. He also suggested PT and, if that did not work, then a shot of cortisone.

The Celebrex worked while I was taking it (while at the LB Tour de Cure). The Tramadol just does not seem to work at all, however.

I have not gone to PT because of time issues.

So now I am considering taking a cortisone shot.

Has any one here had a cortisone shot to the shoulder for shoulder pain? Did it help? (Much? Little? Not at all?). Any lingering side effects from the cortisone shot.

The pain on my shoulder is driving me nuts. It makes it hard to get a good night's sleep, so I am now sleepy and crankier than usual.

Climbing out of the saddle hurts my shoulder.

Because of the shoulder pain I have adjusted my riding position which has now caused the rest of my left arm, down to the elbow, to hurt.

Any suggestions, comments, ideas? I would especially like to hear about your experiences with cortisone shots.

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 05-21-13, 03:09 PM   #2
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You need to talk to Your Doctor. not strangers over the web.


Tube sock full of (uncooked) rice heated in a Microwave , is a good Hot Pack .

frozen packets of Blue Ice for the cold.

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Old 05-21-13, 03:30 PM   #3
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You will probably love the shot. Your shoulder will probably feel great and you will ride like it is well then in about 6 weeks you will be wondering what you did to cause your shoulder to hurt again.

The shot along with PT / full range of motion movement and staying off the bike for a while would probably do wonders.

I am not a doctor but suffered with frozen shoulders for 3 years. I only used yoga to help heal mine. Yoga takes a long time to work without other medical attention.
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Old 05-21-13, 03:58 PM   #4
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You need to talk to Your Doctor. not strangers over the web.


Tube sock full of (uncooked) rice heated in a Microwave , is a good Hot Pack .

frozen packets of Blue Ice for the cold.
Thanks for the suggestions re: hot and cold packs. I have been icing it but not heating it.

Not really asking for medical advice (I know better than to ask for medical advice here...I've seen what happens when others do that).

Just wanted to know what everyone's experiences with cortisone shots have been like. That comes under the "how did it feel to you?" heading, rather than the, "should I do it?" heading.
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Old 05-21-13, 04:02 PM   #5
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You will probably love the shot. Your shoulder will probably feel great and you will ride like it is well then in about 6 weeks you will be wondering what you did to cause your shoulder to hurt again.

The shot along with PT / full range of motion movement and staying off the bike for a while would probably do wonders.

I am not a doctor but suffered with frozen shoulders for 3 years. I only used yoga to help heal mine. Yoga takes a long time to work without other medical attention.

Thanks. Staying off the bike will drive me (and those around me as well) bonkers.

My shoulder was fine until I fell and hit it.

I have read in several places that people who are 50 and over and have diabetes are at a higher risk for "frozen shoulder." Well, that is two strikes against me.

And I had been doing sooooo well.

Frozen shoulder for three years? Dang it. How did you survive?
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Old 05-21-13, 04:04 PM   #6
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As I understand it, Cortisone tends, with too much use, to destroy tissue. I took a couple for my never-ending hip bursitis - they have to be about 3-4 months apart, but, really, it didn't help much.

What did help - a lot - was some prescribed PT exercises/stretching, which I do daily religiously. Being my hip, I emphasize stretching the IT Band and strengthening the hip flexors with things such as band walking. Shoulder exercises would, of course, be different. My wife has a bad shoulder area and does PT stuff.

My point? Get thee to a physical therapist.

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Old 05-21-13, 04:07 PM   #7
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I had to have one in an ankle a while back, it hurt like hell getting it as the doctor fished for the nerve he wanted but, it worked as advertised. Hard consistent pain went away and I was able to go to work and resume weight workouts and riding that evening. If the doctor says it is indicated and nothing does it I'd take them up on having one. I cannot use Celebrex or Tramadol due to kidney disease so the cortisone would be my first question to the doctor. Hope you can get the pain stopped, being off the bike is the pits.

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Old 05-21-13, 04:13 PM   #8
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Thanks. Staying off the bike will drive me (and those around me as well) bonkers.

My shoulder was fine until I fell and hit it.

I have read in several places that people who are 50 and over and have diabetes are at a higher risk for "frozen shoulder." Well, that is two strikes against me.

And I had been doing sooooo well.

Frozen shoulder for three years? Dang it. How did you survive?
Been dealing with frozen shoulder for the past two years. It ain't no fun. Getting close to normal now. Could not imagine three years of that.

eja, did you have an MRI done?
Let it rest,IMO. Cortisone will hide the symptoms but if you keep using it it won't heal.
Not a Doc, just offering an opinion.
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Old 05-21-13, 04:34 PM   #9
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I have two fully torn rotator cuffs. I got a single shot in each arm two years ago and followed with physical therapy. The phy therapy is probably as important as the shot was. If you have no rotator cuff problem it's quite likely good phys therapy would be all that's needed. You basically have four main muscles in your shoulder and having them "balanced" is pretty important. You may also have some boney spikes that are impinging on muscle/nerves. Multiple cortisone shots is a real concern. Cortisone helps the pain but it damages the joint. I would make Phy Therapy a major effort sacrificing whatever you have to do in order to do that before getting a shot. A good phys therapist can show you the proper exercises using "rubber bands" or whatever so you should only need one or two sessions at the clinic followed by work on your own at home.
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Old 05-21-13, 07:15 PM   #10
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About ten years ago I had the same shoulder issues that you describe. Painful, limited range of motion, couldn't sleep on my side, etc. Doctor recommended cortisone shot and some exercises. The shot did wonders. It took about three weeks to kick in, but shoulder became pain-free and has remained so since then. I'm not a doctor, but I would think, based on my own experience, that it would be worth a try.
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Old 05-21-13, 07:16 PM   #11
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"I have not gone to PT because of time issues......."

Strongly recommend you find the time.
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Old 05-21-13, 07:30 PM   #12
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I had the shot a few years ago and was pain free for 6 months. The pain came back and I stupidly continued to play tennis. By doing so I ended up shredding the rotator cuff and had to have open surgery instead of getting scoped. If the shot works but the pain comes back, be careful, cause that surgery was tough to recover from.
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Old 05-21-13, 07:49 PM   #13
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I had shoulder issues from riding. I got the shot and shortened my reach, replaced my bike with a more forgiving fork and the pain went away.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:01 PM   #14
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"I have not gone to PT because of time issues......."

Strongly recommend you find the time.
Don in Austin
Plus eleventy-eleven. I've had shoulder problems through the years. Old swimming/diving overuse injuries coming back to haunt me. Cortisone helped a little bit, for a short time. Like a few others wrote, it helps with the pain but doesn't do anything about the underlying condition. Do the PT. You'll be glad you did.

Oh, and the P. Therapist will probably tell you that it's OK to keep riding.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:25 PM   #15
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Thank you for all of your insight. I have made an appointment to see the PT. I see her on Thursday--I will report back after our first session.
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Old 05-21-13, 08:58 PM   #16
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Also go and seek another opinion, but this time go see a sports doctor and ask if you should get an MRI. X-rays are excellent for seeing damage to bone and will show muscle and tendons, but will not show damage damage to muscle and tendons as clearly as the MRI.
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Old 05-22-13, 05:42 AM   #17
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Also go and seek another opinion, but this time go see a sports doctor and ask if you should get an MRI. X-rays are excellent for seeing damage to bone and will show muscle and tendons, but will not show damage damage to muscle and tendons as clearly as the MRI.
+1
I have had both shoulders surgically fixed. The first one I suffered with for about two years because the orthopedic surgeon kept telling me it was bursitis and gave me cortisone shots every few months, which were a temporary help. The pain kept me awake and made my life miserable. I eventually got a second opinion and MRI and found I had a tear in the rotator cuff. Never did discover how I did it. Had surgery and initially VERY painful PT for three months and it was 100%. Many years later I had to have the other one done. By far the worst pain is when they start the PT right after the surgery. Get an MRI and good luck.

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Old 05-22-13, 06:28 AM   #18
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I did have one cortizone shot 40 years ago and it worked great for gout in my ankle.

If you are heading down the road of frozen shoulder. I really don't know what would help. My shoulders started out just being sore and then painful. Luckily only one shoulder had a problem at a time so I was able to ride by just using one arm most of the time. I tried using as much range of motion movements as I could while I had the problem. As you know there is a point of pain that you can't continue to move the shoulder.

Try googling all that you can about frozen shoulders and maybe you can find something that will help.

If there is nothing torn or bone spurs, then run if anyone suggest cutting on anything.

As soon as my shoulders started recovering I started a yoga program and now I have more range of motion than I did before the problem started. If you work with it you will make a full recovery. It is very possible that bike fit is contributing to your problem.
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Old 05-22-13, 08:39 AM   #19
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FWIW, cortisone shots often include an anesthetic like lidocaine which provides instantaneous and miraculous cessation of pain and soreness, albeit temporary. For me the cortisone helped for a few days, but in the end surgery relieving an impingement did the trick. IMO, it's certainly worth trying, but I don't think it often resolves the issue, though it may kickstart the healing process with following rest.
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Old 05-22-13, 08:54 AM   #20
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Also go and seek another opinion, but this time go see a sports doctor and ask if you should get an MRI. X-rays are excellent for seeing damage to bone and will show muscle and tendons, but will not show damage damage to muscle and tendons as clearly as the MRI.
Good idea. I generally seek out doctors who are also into sports, preferably cycling. that way they understand where I am coming from.

The ortho is an avid cyclist.

My Lasik surgery doctor is also an avid cyclist (and a friend of Bill Holland).

My asthma doctor is also a cyclist and marathoner.

My diabetes doctor is "only" a horse rider though.

An MRI may be next in line.
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Old 05-22-13, 08:59 AM   #21
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I did have one cortizone shot 40 years ago and it worked great for gout in my ankle.

If you are heading down the road of frozen shoulder. I really don't know what would help. My shoulders started out just being sore and then painful. Luckily only one shoulder had a problem at a time so I was able to ride by just using one arm most of the time. I tried using as much range of motion movements as I could while I had the problem. As you know there is a point of pain that you can't continue to move the shoulder.

Try googling all that you can about frozen shoulders and maybe you can find something that will help.

If there is nothing torn or bone spurs, then run if anyone suggest cutting on anything.

As soon as my shoulders started recovering I started a yoga program and now I have more range of motion than I did before the problem started. If you work with it you will make a full recovery. It is very possible that bike fit is contributing to your problem.
I Googled "frozen shoulder" or "50s shoulder."

Dang it, it sucks to get old.

I found out that with frozen shoulder syndrome people over fifty are at risk, people with diabetes are at risk and people with over-active immune systems are also at risk.

That is three strikes against me.

I have an appointment with the PT for this Thursday and a f/u appointment with the ortho for Friday.

I will keep you all posted.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions.
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Old 05-22-13, 09:41 AM   #22
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Tramadol is a great non-addictive Rx-only pain killer for muscle pain (tears, sprains, serious bruises, etc.).

Most Docs want to write you a Rx for some variant of Oxy or Perc or Codeine, all of which are dangerously additive, so you have to push the Doc to consider writing the Rx for something less dangerous like Tramadol. They must make more off the scary stuff or just never learned about Tramadol or never had to deal with addicted patients.

Tramalol is howver, pretty useless for bones, joint, cartilage, or tendon injury. If it did little to no good for you, then there is a good chance you have an injury that has not be diagnosed correctly yet.

On the other hand, Cortizone is a great help for damaged or worn out joints, etc. It is really good at reducing fluid accumulation in old knees, hips, etc. It can help put off surgery for a few years or maybe decades when IBuprofen just won't do the job.

There is however no drug without some side-effects or risks so it is best to get real problem diagnosed correctly and then get it repaired or healed.

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Old 05-22-13, 04:03 PM   #23
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. . . . I have not gone to PT because of time issues . . . .
In my limited experience the shot provided some relief but it was PT that gradually put everything right.
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Old 05-22-13, 04:23 PM   #24
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In my limited experience the shot provided some relief but it was PT that gradually put everything right.
The fact that the OP fell on his shoulder tells me that there might be tissue damage as opposed to strain. I'm no doctor, but I had PT for my second shoulder problem for months with no success, then a MRI showed a tear. Get a proper diagnosis before wasting money on PT.
p.s. the ortho could not tell him what what is wrong. That sounds like a second opinion is in order.

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Old 05-22-13, 09:18 PM   #25
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My right rotator cuff has been very painful for over the past two years and I tried Celebrex and physio with poor results.
I decided to try acupuncture and I've had 6 treatments and I'm pain free and sleeping well at night.
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