I just returned from seeing an orthopedic sports medicine doctor up at Dartmouth about my ailing shoulder. What she said has me feeling better about my pain/problem and gave some insights that might be useful.
After questions, pushing, pulling, and poking … she said it does NOT appear to be a torn rotator cuff (primarily because where the pain is located and because of the over head range of pain free motion I have). She said that it does appear to be the same bicep tendonitis that I had two years ago, which kept me out of Newk’s camp.
She believes it is in the long head of the bicep muscle, which, while functionary, is not critical to arm movements. In fact, the extreme “solution” to my problem is to have an operation to DETACH the tendon permanently from the shoulder!
Here are answers to some of my questions:
• If it were bicep (or any) tendonitis, wouldn’t it hurt all the time? She doesn’t know why; but surmises that it may take “a certain number of the wrong strokes” to inflame the area.
• What would be the downside of continuing to play tennis and taking meds? None. In fact, the “worst case” scenario is that I rupture the tendon and detach it from the bone, which would “solve my problem.”
• Which meds do you recommend and why? Between Ibuprofen and “Aleve,” she said it is usually a personal preference as to which a body tolerates better. But all other things equal, she would take the Aleve because it is longer lasting.
• What is the maximum dosage I can take? Two pills, three times a day, with each meal.
• What are the pros and cons of another “cortisone” shot? Cortisone is in quotes because they do not use that anymore; but that is what we the public call it. But she would be comfortable with my having a shot every year or two, if that gives me relief from the inflammation. But would not give anyone two or more within the same calendar year.
• What are the long term cures for this problem? Like any tendonitis… rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories.
My next steps?
• Take three doses of Aleve
• Play doubles tonight (!); but lighten up till it feels better
• Ice after each match
• If the pain gets to be too much, get a shot in early October.
• GO TO CAMP!