Tear in shoulder tendon

Hi everyone, I have my own pain probs. but write this on behalf of my husband, he has had a tear in his shoulder tendon for nearly 2 years, he is taking naproxen 250mg twice a day and co-codamol 30/500 which he can only take when not working, as his job on the railway is safety critical and can't take these meds whilst working, even though they don't help with the pain. He is on the waiting list for an op., but the waiting list is approx. 8/10 months.

I have made an appointment for him to see our GP, (who he does not have much faith in), in the hope that he can give him an injection, he is now suffering with the right shoulder too and his neck. He is not one to go to the doctor or take time off work, but this is now getting him down as there is no let up with his pain.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as to what we can do.


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20 Replies

  • Hello

    discuss his problems with your GP, who will possibly make an appointment with a Specialist, who will suggest ways of treating your problem. Please understand that pain medications will only suppress pain and not cure it The operation will assist him getting some relief.although pain medication will need to be taken for a unspecified time.

    Many people take pain medications at work as the body gets used to them, you could ask if a TENS machine would be beneficial although its use can be a problem if you are up and about. and I cannot see His employer allowing its use at work if pain medications are not allowed. These machines are now recommended to use for three hours at a time so I suppose he could have it on when not at work.

    Again a Pain Clinic would give advice on pacing and relaxation, this would help, although initially your husband cannot have time of to take part in courses that would be recommended to him. Under those conditions periods of time off will need to be taken.

    That is all I can suggest, some pain control will need to be taken at sometime, Steriod injection can be undertaken at a clinic although their effectiveness can sometimes be questionable, all I can suggest is see how they suppress the pain and hope they work. Many patients swear by them and they can last for an extended period.

    Good Luck


  • Hi Bob, thanks for your reply, he is under Trauma/Orthopaedic Surgeon, and he is the one who has suggested an injection. His Secretary told me on a Friday that he has no available appointments for approx. 3 months. She suggested he sees the GP and if he won't give him an injection to ask him to write to the consultant for emergency appointment, this she says can't be ignored. The only other option is to go privately to see him.

    His hands are tied with regard to certain drugs and work, as they get drug tested randomly. He has tried my TENS machine, but said it didn't do anything for him. I am just hoping the GP will give him an injection on Thursday or at least send him back to consultant ASAP.

    Thank you very much for your comments greatly appreciated.

    Jan (& Chris, husband)

  • I really wouldn't advise GPs for this kind of thing as it is out of their skill area. Also to be very careful about the idea of having injections into it. Steroid injections into tendons have now been shown to actually dramatically increase the risk of tendon tears, so most specialists won't do that any more, though the message doesn't seem to have filtered down to GPs yet, and I've heard of quite a few that still give steroid injections into tendons. There are other things that can be injected besides steroids, but I would doubt if a GP would have access to them, and it would be a specialist job. It would be good to be referred to an orthopaedic specialist, but realistically that isn't going to happen any quicker than the operation. The only thing I could suggest in the meantime would be a sports physio (for ultrasound therapy or something like that) or sports medicine clinic - they are experts in this kind of injury and see them all the time. If you can afford to get a private therapy session from a clinic like that it would probably be well worth it as a temporary measure, and with a private clinic its likely to require less time off work than sitting around waiting at a public hospital outpatient department. Other than that, the old standbys of ice and heat, alternating, do give quite a lot of relief. You can even get "instant" packs that he could take to work and use during his lunch break.

  • Thank you Earthwitch, I will suggest the sports physio to him and the heat and ice packs. Didn't know about the injections causing more tears, glad you mentioned this.


  • I know nothing about tears to ligaments but I'm wondering, shouldn't the area be supported or something? A tear can presumably get bigger if it continues to have pressure put upon it?

  • The only thing that you can get for the shoulder its called a body sling . It is a padded normal sling but with a diffrence it is strapped over the shoulder then around your waist it is a great little invention you can even wear it to bed . To keep your arm and shoulder safe i have been using one now for ove 18 years (i have hypermobility syndrome ) so i know it does work my ligements and tendons are treble the size they should be . So they dislocate all the time. Hope this helps

  • Thank you fizzy,

  • Your very much welcome .

    regards tony

  • Sorry should have been fitzzy, it this iPad spell thingy off again .


  • Its ok I know what you ment haha regards tony

  • Yes I agree, but all they are saying at the moment is that they need to operate, but there doesn't seem to be much urgency.


  • Ask your doctor to refer him to wrightington hospital in wigan it is the leading specialist hospital. Plus there is no waiting time . Try it and find out for yourself

  • Thanks for that, we are in South Wales, I don't think the NHS would stretch their funding to send him there, but it's worth a try.


  • Will let you all know how he gets on with the GP on Thursday.


  • Get an MRI scan. What is the shoulder joint like. Pain killers will not help if you need something which will take the inflammation down.

    Find a yoga teacher who can help with the stressed muscles in the forearm, hands and upper arm. If you have over-contracted muscles which need to be un-contracted then all that is happening is you are continually irritating the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is a very complex joint. It depends on many muscles functioning right for its smooth operation.

    Operating on the shoulder joint is fraught with difficulties and has a high failure rate.

    Is the tendon totally torn or is it a partial tear. Many people approaching there 60's have partial tears without pain symptoms. It is a problem of age.

    Try McTimony chiropractors and Alexander Teachers for help with the muscular symptoms. They may not be able to cure the problem however they will be able to help manage the problem better.

    Hope this helps.

  • I have the same problem to both of my shoulders & I take the same pain meds, I've tried the steroid injections & found them to be useless :-(

    Be very careful with slinging or strapping the shoulder as that can lead to frozen shoulder which is more painful than the injury itself.

    I try to do daily stretches within my limits to keep the shoulder mobile & I use voltarol as & when needed & I'm waiting for my surgery, I have my pre-op assessment this week for my left shoulder as they are doing that one first as that has a lot worse damage than the right shoulder & I just pray that the surgery will give me some level of relief as my shoulders are progressively getting worse & I'm really struggling to cope with it now :-( xx

  • Well, he saw doc today and he has said there's not much he can do, just needs to wait for the op. He has given him Amitriptyline 10mg one or two at night to help with pain and sleep. He can only take these when not in work as his job is safety critical and they have strict rules about drug taking that can impair their ability to function safely.

    Just a waiting game now.

    Thanks for all your advice, will keep you up to date as to the out come.

    Jan & Chris

  • Titchy please be very very careful eith the amitriptyline they are antidepressants as well. And very addictive . Regarding you living in southh wales it should not make a diffrence I have been to see doctors in liverpool lancaster and wigan also medical board (it is where the rarer cases go and the doctors show you to other doctors around the country) that was in newcastle that was because of the winging of my sholder blades (scapula) . And the way my arms dislocated and iwo6ld just put them back in. (But that is how it has been all my life ) . Now I have been diagnosed with fshd and hypermobility syndrome . It is horrible.from being fiscally fit with a 10 pack . Down to not being abpe to walk on crutches 24/7 365 days a year I am 43 now and I have been waiting for operations since I was 25 and I still cannot have them . All the medication I am on has put 6.5 stone on my body. I was onlt 11.5 stone . But I hope thimgs work out for you and your husband good luck regards Tony

    P.s sorry for going on haha

  • Hi all had a long overdue surgery Thursday 9th on my left shoulder.Question, is I been told for awhile now my shoulder has bad arthritis in need of replacement but too young still the horrible pain lack of ability to move the arm or lift it very much was told in MRI just arthritis they went in to clean it up said it would help. found out I had a bicep tendon complete tear and rotator cuff tear how can this be missed. How common is this? I was made to feel bad about myself and pain tolerance cause this. Anyone else have this ?


  • It's been 3 years since my husband had his rotator cuff tear op, he still suffers with stiffness and pain occasionally, he's also got Arthritis in both shoulders, husband right shoulder has a tear too, but has to wait until he can't stick the pain before they'll operate. Hope you are recovering well good luck.


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