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Am not currently happy with this latest old age malady. I've made more time for shooting this year than I have been able to in recent years, but now have been derailed, hopefully temporarily.

Among the other things that I can't now do, I cannot shoot normally at present!!! Rifle or handgun. Cannot hold a rifle off hand for shooting. Cannot lift a handgun to a two-handed shooting stance. The only shooting I can accomplish is a dab of bench rest rifle shooting. I may entertain some chronographing sessions with sand bag rest as well. Don't wish to be so limited in shooting ability in future though. I gotta lick this!

Would like to hear if any of y'all have suffered similar issues.


My right shoulder has developed an issue that causes quite intense pain, sometimes with obvious motion and strain and sometimes rearing its ugly head over the most trivial of movements.

I am fearing a torn rotator cuff. A friend has already suggested "frozen shoulder" perhaps. Are there other possibilities?


Some 25 years ago I got to playing the accordion like a fiend. I have never given up the instrument, played since childhood. I quip that the year the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan was the year I began accordion lessons. I have blamed them for robbing me of my chance to be a highly successful pop star for guitars were "in" and accordions were "out."

Now accordions and accordionists are the butt of jokes, and with some justification, for the instrument is a bit funny to watch being played and its reedy tone can be grating to some (most?) ears. It's actually kind of a difficult instrument to do right though. There's a lot going on when playing an accordion. There are a lot of sloppy accordionists who murder technique and the tunes played are frequently a bit trite. I'm not really into accordion accompaniment as exhibited in most Eastern European, Zydeco, or "Musica Tejana." For years I was given polka recordings as gifts because I played the accordion. Never really liked listening to polka music though I love to play polkas for the challenges that some of them feature.

Anyway, I was stressed in my banking career and played a lot as a diversion. I had heard about the Texas Accordion Association and found out they were hosting an Association gathering at a German restaurant in the town of Granbury near where we lived. This dinner included an accordion playing contest with judging. Normally extremely shy about being before groups in any capacity, I'm doubly so about playing in front of people. None the less, I thought I'd expand my horizons and compel myself to attend and to compete though expecting to place at the bottom of the contestants' performance efforts. So, I practiced even more in the weeks leading up to the event.

Went on to win the contest against about 30 other accordionists who competed, much to my surprise. Won a $50 gift certificate to the German restaurant. Drove back to Cleburne that night castigating myself over what I viewed as a poor performance. Accordion playing requires fluidity and one simply cannot be fluid when one is frozen with a case of nerves. Mrs. BMc put my triumph into a proper perspective when she, with laconic directness pointed out that: "Everyone there was at least 30 years older than we were."

We later took my parents out to eat German food on the gift certificate for the years' of lessons they paid for all those years before


But, this was about my right shoulder and not accordion playing. The accordion illustration is important because it was during that time of intense playing that my right shoulder first began to hurt. Not long after the contest I was at the point where 15 minutes of playing left my right shoulder on fire. You see, one can't properly attack the accordion keyboard with drooping arm and slumping posture. Also, the full sized concert accordion weighs some 28 lbs and the bellows require conditioning to gain the technique to use to best advantage.

I had to lay off so much playing, but was able to take it back up with my normal infrequent practice later and have played for years since.

Beginning about 10 years ago the right shoulder started rearing its ugly head again. It started up with loading the car with suitcases, boxes o'stuff Mrs. BMc had packed for kids and grandkids, the case of bottled water and food snacks for the car and made our road trips a constant source of pain. The long hours of driving itself amplified the pain and my right shoulder hurt for the duration of our trips to see kids, up and back, and while there. I just lived with it. Within a few weeks afterward though the pain would again subside.

Air travel with luggage and going through airports treats the shoulder much the same.

Bypass surgery came along and there was no accordion playing after that for a couple years. Accordions sawing on tender sternums are not conducive to playing comfort. It's been well over two years now and I still haven't picked up the instrument for, though the sternum is not so tender, now my shoulder is bedeviling me.

This year the shoulder has gradually become worse. By May it began to annoy. We went to Nashville the end of June and over the week of the 4th of July and it was tough.

The Monday morning after we had returned from Nashville late that previous Saturday night is when I really did the shoulder in. Finished it off. Mrs. BMc was leaving for work and I followed her out the door. She cheerily asked if I'd take out the sunflower sometime later that week that she had left growing in the flower bed beside the front door in the spring. I replied that I'd just set the "wheelie bin" out at the curb for trash pick up and I'd pull up the sunflower right then and stuff it into the bin. So, with a manner most "manly" I bent over and grasp the sunflower by its stalk with both hands.

Now this sunflower was large and the ground dry from lack of rain and watering attention because we'd been gone. I thought to myself that the root ball will be firmly lodged so will require a jerking yank of most healthy proportions and I was just the man to do it. So, rather than starting a steady pull at the stalk or even better, going and fetching the digging fork, I yanked it.

I thought I'd yanked my right arm off at the shoulder. The pain almost drove me to my knees and I knew right then that I had messed up bad. At least the "mother of all sunflowers" came up with one yank.

Shoulder has not been the same since. It may ease with a day or two of no activity, ice on it, and regular attention given to the aspirin bottle, but the oddest and most seemingly insignificant things will recreate that intense pain with accompanying swelling. The pain is just an extension of the pain I've been having for 25 years or so only worse.

I had received a shot of cortisone back the end of January which eased (masked?) the pain tremendously until about the end of May. The doctor gave me another cortisone injection then, but it didn't hold me through June and I was again hurting before our July 4th trip to see granddaughters.

Another trip to the doctor last week finds him saying, after administering a short but excruciatingly painful test, that I likely have a torn rotator cuff.

This doctor's bedside manner is very much realist. When asked about options, he said: "Well, you can continue to receive injections every four to six months. Their therapeutic effects will diminish over time. Then there's therapy. It doesn't usually help long term. Or you could go the surgery route." When ask if that would fix it best he replied: "Nope. I can recommend an orthopedic surgeon, but recovery's a bear and it's not generally very effective either, but hey it's all your choice."

Have any of you experienced this? Have you had therapy or surgery on a shoulder? Do you know any folks who had torn rotator cuffs who benefited from treatment? Sure would like to hear about it.

Did I mention that I cannot shoot at present?
 

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So sorry to hear about the bum shoulder, sir. I do have some anecdotal evidence of successful rotator surgeries. A colleague of mine had a bum shoulder from a football injury in college, and aggravated it will working on a punching bag. He had rotator cuff surgery, and while recuperation was an annoyance, he came out the other side much improved. He was in his late 20's, though. You know how those youngers are when it comes to recovery.

Another person I know in her late 50's finally had rotator cuff surgery after years of an aching shoulder. She injured her shoulder playing tennis years ago, and her shoulder got progressively worse over time. Again, the post-op recovery was difficult, but now that it is behind her she is also thankful she had it done.

Once properly diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon, he or she should be able to give you realistic expectations regarding recover.
 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles.

I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder almost 20 years ago. You should be aware there are two kinds of surgeries, open and arthroscopic. The latter means they do not cut you open, they insert large needles and do all the work while watching with a live X-ray or ultrasonic. The healing time is shorter, but I think there are some injuries that cannot be repaired without opening the shoulder up. They had to open my shoulder up.

After the surgery, you'll have to stay in the hospital for a few days to begin the healing period, which had an exciting beginning as they put you on a morphine pump with a little "joy button" that you push when it starts hurting. That system won't let you overdose, but makes for some fun times in the hospital room! Morphine is like buying 10 new guns every time you push the little button!

It took a while and some physical therapy to recover. I ended up with some permanent loss of mobility in the shoulder - mostly like when you want to scratch the back of your neck. But mostly I just noticed that shoulder was just a little weaker than it was prior to the procedure. The Dr. said that was because they had to slice through the muscles to get to the joint and hang a BIG nurse on my arm to pull everything apart so he could work.

Today I am pain free and only notice it when I put my right hand behind my head. There is no pain then, only a bit of "tightness" feeling in the shoulder.

After I woke up from the surgery, they brought me a nice chicken fried steak for lunch. Unfortunately, my left arm was immobile with an IV, and attachments for the monitors. My right arm was completely immobile. I stared at that chicken fry and thought of ways to eat it for a half hour. I finally worked the tray around with my legs and bent forward enough to gnaw on it in the plate. Mrs OldChap came in while I was doing that and nearly had a fit! She said I looked like the little boy in the movie "A Christmas Story" slurping up mashed potatoes like a piggy. 😄
 

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Did the less invasive rotator cuff surgery about 20 years ago. In and out in a day and about a month of PT. I am good to go.
I try to go to the gym daily, at least before all this covid shutdown crap. to keep my arm and upper body strength going. Also exercise my core muscles.
Since doing this I have become a much better shooter as I can hold my firearms steady.
My only real old age malady is my eyes. I would like to do something about them in the near future.
If you have rotator problems don't put it off, get if fixed ASAP.
 

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I've had shoulder problems off and on with both sides for years. MRIs suggest "slight" cuff tears. I had arthroscopic for impingement and "cleaning up" on the right. It helped some. The shots over the years have proved to be mostly temporary. Sometimes it very short term, other times it lasts for months. Because I sleep on my sides, I often wake with really sore, stiff shoulders. Reaching behind me is a bear.

My understanding of a "frozen" shoulder, or any joint, is it's the result of scar tissue forming. Worst cases they knock you out, manually force the shoulder through its range--tearing the scar tissue--and then you begin the recovery process all over. Lack of PT is generally a cause of frozen joints after surgery.
 

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Do you know the definition of "perfect pitch?" A perfect pitch is throwing an accordion in a dumpster without hitting the rim, and it lands on a banjo. Yours is another example of the evils of accordion playing! - Just kidding!

BTW, for music you might try the harmonium. It is a wonderful instrument that an accordion player should be able to play instantly and it does not require any shoulder action. The most beautiful harmonium sound I have heard is from a JAS K105 played by Scottish singer Julie Fowlis. Although if you want one with more punch, more like an accordion, there may be better models.

As for shooting, I don't know for sure, but I would think a lighter weapon with less recoil, two handed techniques and low-hold point shooting. As for the medical issues, just find a great orthopedist and do what he says, which I imagine you already have done.
 

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Nearly thirty years ago, an orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with a rotator cuff tear and bone spur in my right shoulder. He was anxious to schedule surgery, which would have laid me up for between eight and twelve weeks. The pain had rendered my right shoulder and arm pretty much useless. I asked for other options, which resulted in a one-time injection of cortisone directly into the site. The relief was instant, and I've not been troubled by it since then.
 

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Thanks for the responses y'all. It is good to hear of some successes with various shoulder surgeries.

Started cardio therapy just after bypass surgery and have been at it for over 2 1/2 years since. Heart's fine, but do it now mostly to combat a propensity to high blood pressure, an inherited trait from my mother's side of the family. Like really high, 160+ over 100+! The cardio therapy contributes to keeping it down to more sane levels such as 138 over 85. Ever once in a while it will read more normal like a regular ol' person's is supposed to be.

I have the run of the local hospital's therapy department with a range of gym equipment and make use of it three times a week. So, am in reasonable shape. Can't really do well right now with exercises relating to arms though.

Back in May I was out at our old family place on the lake. Thought to hike for a portion of the day, patrolling the place and looking for hogs to take out. We could do with fewer hogs for sure. Toted a Winchester Model 94 Carbine. Returned to the old lake cabin late that afternoon after several hours hiking and took out a .22 rifle and pistol for some plinking fun. Shoulder had become too sore from cradling the Winchester or else carrying it by my side in just my right hand as I low crouched through the underbrush. Had to give up attempts to enjoy shooting both rifle and handgun and just go home. Was exasperated.

Two days later was a scheduled high-power rifle match down at Waco. I'd planned to go, first one of the season I could attend. Didn't even try to attend though for my shoulder was yet sore and miserable from the "hiking for hogs." That's when I went for the second cortisone shot of the year.

Hunting season's coming up. I gotta be better in order to tote rifles, shotguns, bags of duck decoys, and other hunting regalia as well as all this game I'm envisioning shooting.
 

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Nearly thirty years ago, an orthopedic surgeon diagnosed me with a rotator cuff tear and bone spur in my right shoulder. He was anxious to schedule surgery, which would have laid me up for between eight and twelve weeks. The pain had rendered my right shoulder and arm pretty much useless. I asked for other options, which resulted in a one-time injection of cortisone directly into the site. The relief was instant, and I've not been troubled by it since then.
Mike, I am really glad cortisone worked for you. I have had it multiple times for severe knee and back pain, and it has done nothing. My wife has had it for shoulder pain and it only helps a little and only for a few weeks. I guess everyone reacts differently. My best relief has come from surgery, physical therapy, as well as ice and heat therapy. My wife is still looking for what will help her.
 

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Do you know the definition of "perfect pitch?" A perfect pitch is throwing an accordion in a dumpster without hitting the rim, and it lands on a banjo. Yours is another example of the evils of accordion playing! - Just kidding!

BTW, for music you might try the harmonium. It is a wonderful instrument that an accordion player should be able to play instantly and it does not require any shoulder action. The most beautiful harmonium sound I have heard is from a JAS K105 played by Scottish singer Julie Fowlis. Although if you want one with more punch, more like an accordion, there may be better models.

As for shooting, I don't know for sure, but I would think a lighter weapon with less recoil, two handed techniques and low-hold point shooting. As for the medical issues, just find a great orthopedist and do what he says, which I imagine you already have done.
Yeah, I've heard that one.

Do you know the definition of a really good accordion player? It's a person who knows how to play the accordion ... but won't. Or the ol Far Side cartoon showing the devil and his demons welcoming the damned: "Welcome to hell. Here's your accordion."


Hmmm ... Buy Harmonium online | Affordable Harmonium | Small Harmonium | Scale Changer | Delhi Changer | Harmonium Repair | Coupler Harmonium | Harmonium bags & Cases

I do love to play Scottish tunes, jigs, and reels on the accordion. We have a piano which I can also play but the shoulder precludes even that at present. The action of moving the right hand on the piano keyboard is painful.

Recoil isn't what hurts my shoulder. It's the shooting positions. Perhaps I ought to just head to the range with the 10 gauge magnum shotgun, .405 WCF and .375 H&H Magnum rifles and .44 Magnum revolver and "work the soreness out of it."

Maybe LimaCharlie would lend me his .500 S&W Magnum for a session.
 

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BTW, are we really getting pathetic on this site? Sometimes it seems we have more medical threads that gun threads. LOL!

Hah! I thought of that when I posted this one. Hey, at some of our ages, guns and medicine are intertwined of necessity.


I'm on a small private firearms forum and posted a thread there voicing similar concerns for shooting. Received a suggestion that I might try some limited shooting with my Smith & Wessons Models 14 and 17, the K-38 and K-22. I had to reply that I would need Airweight K-38 and K-22 (non-existant Smith & Wesson fantasies) for it's handgun weight that is the issue. I can't even hold my right are out as if I was grasping a handgun.
 
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Yeah, I've heard that one.

Do you know the definition of a really good accordion player? It's a person who knows how to play the accordion ... but won't. Or the ol Far Side cartoon showing the devil and his demons welcoming the damned: "Welcome to hell. Here's your accordion."


Hmmm ... Buy Harmonium online | Affordable Harmonium | Small Harmonium | Scale Changer | Delhi Changer | Harmonium Repair | Coupler Harmonium | Harmonium bags & Cases

I do love to play Scottish tunes, jigs, and reels on the accordion. We have a piano which I can also play but the shoulder precludes even that at present. The action of moving the right hand on the piano keyboard is painful.

Recoil isn't what hurts my shoulder. It's the shooting positions. Perhaps I ought to just head to the range with the 10 gauge magnum shotgun, .405 WCF and .375 H&H Magnum rifles and .44 Magnum revolver and "work the soreness out of it."

Maybe LimaCharlie would lend me his .500 S&W Magnum for a session.
Beautiful song, Thanks for sharing it. Stirred my Scot Blood.
 

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I always sort of marveled watching accordion players play.
17,000 little buttons on one side and piano keys on the flip side and coordinating that with the bellows pumping.
A multitasking marvel of a complicated instrument.
And they are heavy. My only experience with one was lifting one up at an estate sale.

Regarding your shoulder...physical therapy really helped me.
You might also want to try getting a "TENS" machine.
The one I have is by Roscoe Medical & is the TENS 7000.
It's very good.
I did the moist heat first and then the TENS & that gave me some good relief at home after doing the exercise regimen.

The shoulder is such a complicated area. There is a lot going on there for it to operate smoothly.
Inflammation just aggravates it all and movement can get incredibly painful.

I think back then I got a prescription for TRAMADOL HCL 100 MG.
I would take one of those along with two Tylenol Extra Strength.
That helped and the Tramadol did not make me feel like I was drugged up like some other pain meds.
 

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Hmmm ... Sometimes I wonder if it isn't muscular, but that may be just wishful thinking on my part. This could be a boon help QK.

A Tale of Tramadol

Was given Tramadol in the days immediately after the bypass surgery. Was a hoot when taken with the morphine pump they had me on. I had the most interesting hallucinations one could wish for. First I told Mrs. BMc that I was seeing fox faces over in the corner of the hospital room there in intensive care. Then they turned into cat faces, then demon faces. Wasn't alarming, just entertaining and I knew it was the medications.

Few days later I was allowed up to go to the restroom on my own. I returned to bed and told Mrs. BMc that the restroom appeared to be papered with a motif of endless broccoli spears, even though I knew it was some sort of drab beige vinyl wall paper, installed for sanitary purposes instead of broccoli. Some hours later (days?) I was in there and the entire wall appeared to be papered in a motif of endless pairs of 1966 Dodge Monaco tail lights. Don't know when I had ever had '66 Dodge Monaco tail lights on my mind. Even did an internet search for images of '66 Dodge Monaco tail lights and sure 'nuff, '66 Dodge Monaco tail lights they were.


After a few days on the Tramadol, the morphine was withheld. Fine. Except for the nights. Sleep was troubled by very dark foreboding yet unfocused dreams. It was coming on the Christmas season and Christmas music was being played most places, was being played in the background in the operating room when they put me under for the surgery. So, I had dark foreboding dreams with Christmas tunes rolling through my head in a constant loop of whichever song was the brain's feature selection for that night. Each night got worse. After the second night back at home I stopped taking the Tramadol, but the dark dreaming continued for a week.

Called the doctor and said that I hadn't intended to try to recover from open heart surgery with nothing more than extra strength Tylenol which is what I was attempting to do. He said that for stronger stuff we offered you the choice of Tramadol or hydrocodone in a high dose. I'd nixed the hydrocodone. Have had it before. Makes me love everybody and everything and everything is wonderful for about 24 hours then mood switches to suicidally depressed. I can see how people get hooked so didn't want that.

Didn't want any more Tramadol either so toughed out the recovery from the surgery on nothing more than Tylenol. The glass of water I used to swallow the Tylenol was as effective as was the Tylenol. Couldn't even have my favorite ol' stand by, good ol' aspirin.
 

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I had a rotator cuff injury about 15 years ago. I got to the point where I could not lift my right arm above shoulder level (frozen shoulder) and could not get into my self-donning dry suit for diving by myself. I don't think the muscle was actually torn however.

My doctor suggested trying physical therapy before opting for surgery, which was fine with me. I found an incredible physical therapist and managed to get back to normal without the need for an operation. I do stretching and strengthening exercises almost every day. Every once in awhile, I will have some discomfort, so I am very careful with it and pretty religious about the exercises. Every doctor I have seen subsequent to this has been amazed I managed to bypass the need for surgery.
 

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I think you need to listen to your Physical Therapist, your Doctor, and the Surgeon. Mrs. BMc too. No one else can make the decisions for you.

Having said that, Nancy had her surgery 18 months ago and it has relieved her of chronic debilitating pain. It was outpatient. She had a 3.5 hour surgery with a lot of carving, drilling, buffing, polishing and waxing. Even some bone removal and a clavicle reduction.

She now has full strength, great range of motion, and pretty much unlimited use. The offset is occasional pain.

Yes, it is a tough surgery with a tough recovery, but what is the alternative?

Nancy would do it again, and just said she would not have waited so many years first. Sooner rather than later.

I have more for you later, dependent on your choices.
 

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I am sorry to hear of your troubles, bmcgilvray. I had a frozen left shoulder in my early thirties. I could not even put on a shirt. My wife knew a doctor who was the ex Dodger team doctor, and got me in to see him. He almost killed me with his exam, huge meaty fingers, and it felt like he did surgery on me with them, without breaking the skin. It HURT! He gave me some little yellow pills with dosage instructions, and sent me on my way. A month later I had full mobility. Unfortunately, he passed on shortly after my visit, and I never knew what he had given me, but here 40 years later his work is still good. I hope that you find the most effective solution for your issue. There are always alternatives.
 
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I'm not a licensed physician, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express once. See an orthopedist and post to us in the morning the diagnosis.
 
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