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  1. #961
    Registered User asavi4's Avatar
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    7 weeks post op and things continue to get stronger and more stable. I can practically do a full gym routine minus bench etc. Did lat pulldowns yesterday w/ 100 lbs on the cables for the first time. I have started doing military press with 20 lb dumbbells and PT has me doing push-ups narrow range and not all the way down 3 sets of 15 (I weigh 205). 2 more PT sessions - one tomorrow and one in a week (was doing 2 a week for 6 weeks. now just 1 a week). I believe she will have me doing fast motion speed drills tomorrow.

    the only pain I have is when I try to sleep on my stomach with my right arm (right clavicle was shaved) positioned across and under my body (this hurts in the ac joint) and also when I try to throw a ball overhead . That pain is slowly going away for both of them . Ortho is a doctor for the Nationals and he said he wouldn't have his pitchers throwing yet so I'll get there slowly. Still the only concern with snowboarding is falling and setting back the recovery and the healing of the shoulder capsule though both PT and Dr say I can't do any damage.

    So almost there. So glad I got this surgery and the PT has helped me get into better shape as well. As the poster above said, it is important to strengthen the supporting back and shoulder muscles. I've been doing a lot with the TRX ropes at PT. Again - keep up with PT and go to a good therapist and don't push it. good luck all
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  2. #962
    Registered User Kippy2012's Avatar
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    New chick on the block

    I'm brand new here and I'm not a lifter, I hope that's ok.. It seems I have a knack for crazy injuries. Lol.
    This one I did by moving heavy boxes of Tupperware around in my office, moving boxes of our stuff around while we renno our house and traveling a lot with heavy luggage, one of which is a backpack I load down and carry on my back like normal.

    I was diagnosed with DCO a couple weeks ago. I've been in pain since about June 2018 & finally couldn't handle it anymore. I allowed the doc to try cortisone and he put me in a sling for 3 weeks but it did absolutely nothing.

    I have weakened strength, my arm shakes at full extension, lifting just my cup of water will send a shockwave of pain through my arm.

    I also have this weird what feels like something is rolling over something else in my bicep and its painful when that happens. Have any of you had that happen with DCO? If so, what is it and how do I make it stop?

    I've read through a lot on this thread and I'm so thankful to hear the surgery and the recovery isn't as terrifying as I thought. How much should the doc be taking if when he does this? I've seen numbers all over the board.

    I hope to hear from you guys. I wasn't prepared for this diagnosis & quite frankly, although I've been through 17 surgeries, this one has me nervous. (I'm not a sickly person, I was pinned in a car years ago and well...I'm clumsy. Lol).

    My surgery is scheduled for March 7th.

    P.s. I'm 36 and female not what my profile says...the dumb thing won't let me change it
    Last edited by Kippy2012; 02-07-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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  3. #963
    Registered User asavi4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kippy2012 View Post
    I'm brand new here and I'm not a lifter, I hope that's ok.. It seems I have a knack for crazy injuries. Lol.
    This one I did by moving heavy boxes of Tupperware around in my office, moving boxes of our stuff around while we renno our house and traveling a lot with heavy luggage, one of which is a backpack I load down and carry on my back like normal.

    I was diagnosed with DCO a couple weeks ago. I've been in pain since about June 2018 & finally couldn't handle it anymore. I allowed the doc to try cortisone and he put me in a sling for 3 weeks but it did absolutely nothing.

    I have weakened strength, my arm shakes at full extension, lifting just my cup of water will send a shockwave of pain through my arm.

    I also have this weird what feels like something is rolling over something else in my bicep and its painful when that happens. Have any of you had that happen with DCO? If so, what is it and how do I make it stop?

    I've read through a lot on this thread and I'm so thankful to hear the surgery and the recovery isn't as terrifying as I thought. How much should the doc be taking if when he does this? I've seen numbers all over the board.

    I hope to hear from you guys. I wasn't prepared for this diagnosis & quite frankly, although I've been through 17 surgeries, this one has me nervous. (I'm not a sickly person, I was pinned in a car years ago and well...I'm clumsy. Lol).

    My surgery is scheduled for March 7th.

    P.s. I'm 36 and female not what my profile says...the dumb thing won't let me change it
    good morning! don't be scared all will be well! as for shoulder surgeries it is relative minor but again rehab and PT is very important!

    You may have a torn/frayed bicep tendon re your shockwave pain? I had some fraying that the ortho didn't see on the mri because it was so small so when he was in there trimming the collar bone, he cleaned it up a bit - says it could give me problems 10-15 years down the line. it's what's called bicep tendonesis

    not sure the cost as insurance covered mine but i've seen around $7500-$10,000 depending on where you live

    stay strong and remember the silver lining in this - getting in better shape while rehabing! the pt for this focuses on a lot of core strength
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  4. #964
    Registered User Goldengoal's Avatar
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    I've been debating this procedure for 2 years now. I was just about to get a 3rd opinion from another ortho and possibly surgery when I saw this:

    Google "reddit BMJ strong recommendation against subacromial decompression" (I don't have enough posts to provide a link).

    TLDR, BMJ (British Medical Journal) published an article in November 2017 entitled "No benefit of arthroscopy in subacromial shoulder pain", It finds no significant statistical benefit between surgery and placebo for subacromial decompression. And there are a number of orthos in the reddit page claiming that shoulder scoping is way way overdone. They claim this for a number of reasons for example, 1) scoping is an easy cash cow (which I don't find too hard to believe) but also 2) people are very lazy with physio and don't want to spend a year correcting physical imbalances / structural issues. So they often opt for surgery quite quickly.

    How many of you guys have actually had true pain free body building after an ac resection. By pain free, I mean 0 discomfort the next day after a workout.

    A bit down now because I don't really want to stop weight lifting but I'm tired of being in minor discomfort the next day... the other issue in my case is if I don't weight lift I have 0 pain. And I'd hate to get a procedure, with a possiblity of making the pain worse (in the long term)

    Thanks,
    GG
    Last edited by Goldengoal; 08-20-2019 at 04:13 AM.
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  5. #965
    Registered User asavi4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Goldengoal View Post

    How many of you guys have actually had true pain free body building after an ac resection. By pain free, I mean 0 discomfort the next day after a workout.


    GG
    about 10 months post op. above pre-surgery strength. zero pain or discomfort both during a workout and the next day after a workout. as mentioned many times over, the key to recovery is to be diligent with rehab and to go to a licensed professional.
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  6. #966
    Registered User therealbcd's Avatar
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    3 weeks post op

    I've read this entire thread which has been really helpful. I've learned things to consider, things to do, and things not to do.

    -My situation-
    I'm early-mid 30s and stay in very good condition year-round, diet and exercise is an obsession. Trained through distal calvicle osteolysis for about 6 months, jit jitsu and weightlifting with a little basketball. The pain varied from 2/10 to 10/10, I was too scared to do overhead press or bench but did a lot of push ups. Never wanted to have surgery in my life but ultimately bit the bullet for this one.

    -Timeline-
    April 3rd 2019: Initial injury, kettlebell front squats into overhead press

    Late April 2019: Aggravation during bjj tournament, subsequent primary care visit with original diagnosis of AC joint sprain

    May 20th 2019: Sports medicine visit, cortisone shot, complete relief

    July 4th 2019: Symptoms return, though pain is less severe

    Late July 2019: Doc appointment, diagnosis of DCO

    Early August: MRI confirms DCO

    October 4th 2019: Arthroscopic distal clavicle excision, 8mm removed, imaging shows severe arthritis/bone damage. Sling for two weeks, very little pain aside from muscle aches due to the sling. Sleeping was miserable if it even happened at all.

    October 18th 2019: Sling removed, stitches out

    October 21st 2019: Begin PT

    October 24th 2019 (today): wrapped up 4th day of PT. Mobility/ROM = ~75%, Pain = ~4.5/10.

    -Supplementation-
    Fulvic acid, calcium, cissus, a bone health complex, vitamin c, vitamin d, collagen (occasionally)

    Each day is better than the one before it, there is virtually no pain on the surrounding tissue. The AC joint aches intermittently throughout the day, though each day this decreases slightly and mobility improves. PT consists of isometrics, band work, and scapular activation. I had my procedure done at a nationally ranked academic medical center by a surgeon with a specialty in shoulders and who provides care for the local top 25 D1 NCAA football team. PT is in the same facility. I have zero doubt that I will return to weights within the 8-10 weeks specified post-op, and return to bjj 3-4 weeks after. Stick with the protocol but, more importantly listen to your body and communicate to your care team.
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  7. #967
    Registered User therealbcd's Avatar
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    3 months 11 days postop

    3 months and 11 days post-op, I've been back to 100% for a few days now. Wanted to come post again as this thread was important during my recovery. Surgery was the best decision I could have made.
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  8. #968
    Registered User cromarin's Avatar
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    Hi Guys,

    I want to thank all of you for sharing your story here on the forum. I have been living with shoulder pain/discomfort for years now and so far this forum is the best piece of information that I've found for AC joint issues.

    My story:
    35y, male, living with painful shoulder for over 15y and it is getting worse.
    I have Level II (or III) AC joint separation as clavicle “bump” appears when arm is loaded with heavier weight while left side stays normal.


    Timeline:
    2003: hard fall on the tip of the right shoulder during judo session.
    GP sent me for x-ray, got a sling and was told it will be ok.
    It took me months to gain full ROM, I started training judo again after 1 year with a lot of pain but I pushed through.
    Over the years I have built good shoulder strength but with some movement limitations. I was never able to throw objects with full power or do some movements like putting on dive suit with injured shoulder going second.
    I slowly shifted to be left arm dominant in judo and was able to live with it although the pain was always there.

    2012: after some 1-2 years of not exercising regularly (work), started with gym and felt sharp pain and strange shift in r. shoulder while doing bench press. Shoulder cam back to usual position but since then I have noticed increase in neck pain and stiffness occurring more frequently. (did neck X-ray, apparently no damage there)

    Injured shoulder was always clicking since that initial injury but it somehow worsened after bench session.
    This comes and goes, depending on the type of exercise I do and hours at work (desk job). But it is triggered even after 10-15min of swimming (freestyle).
    Went for first MRI in 2012, the results were chronically damaged AC joint, bone spurs under distal clavicle, potential labrum tear.
    When specialist did physical examination he told me it is better not to do any intervention as I have full ROM and good strength in the shoulder as he didn't think any of the findings are problematic.

    2019: while doing muscle-up I felt sharp pain and tearing sound in the shoulder (I was told by some coaches that my scapula movement is visibly asymmetrical, so I think this trigged the injury as I wasn't lading properly both shoulders due to initial injury - learned to move scapula so it hurts less) and wasn't able to lift my arm to shoulder level. Went for the second MRI and the check - condition same as before with additional partial rotator cuff tears (subscapularis and supraspinatus).
    I went to new specialist, but he just recommended surgery to repair rotator cuff without evaluating MRI.
    That was not convincing to me so I went for second opinion.
    So another new specialist but this time was focusing on wider picture and suggested to give shoulder some time.
    So I did a lot of physio but pain was still there.
    Finally, I have decided to go for surgery, doctor suggested to inspect rotator cuff and labrum and clean bone spurs under clavicle.
    Surgery went well, rotator cuff healed on its own, some damage to labrum but not large enough to do repair so the only thing doctor did was removing the bone spurs under distal clavicle but he didn't inspect AC joint form other angles (if I understood correctly).
    I followed physio, felt I have some more "room" when doing some stretches but the pain and clicking was still there...

    So I went to another doctor... (1y after the surgery)
    This time he was the first to point out to AC joint, gave me steroid shot in the joint, it reduced slightly the pain but not much.
    He said that this is common if inflammation is constant and he diagnosed DCO.
    Suggested surgery - distal clavicle excision.

    Now I'm thinking about it. I would say I'm 90% ready but just need to understand better if I can return to full activity without pain...

    I have already been thorough several surgeries (ACL, foot, etc.) so I understand the importance of physio sessions, and time required to heal.
    From my past surgeries, I am 100% happy with ex. ACL and I did recover to degree that I almost don't know which knee was operated.
    I'm not expecting the same whit the shoulder but would like to ask people that had same surgery if they managed to get to expected levels and what are limitations you are living with?

    Thank you!
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  9. #969
    Registered User cromarin's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by therealbcd View Post
    3 months and 11 days post-op, I've been back to 100% for a few days now. Wanted to come post again as this thread was important during my recovery. Surgery was the best decision I could have made.
    Hi therealbcd,

    Hope your recovery is going well!

    As bjj is so close to judo, think my situation is very similar to yours only with some extra years of living with the pain.

    Are you still happy with the decision to do the surgery and the outcome?
    How is your bjj going? Any restrictions there?

    Thanks!
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  10. #970
    Registered User achaber's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info and question regarding early stages

    Hello all,

    I've got to say this thread is the best thing that I have found regarding my condition. I guess you could say I'm in the very early stages of going through this issue as I've been feeling pain in my left shoulder for a little over 3 months now. Originally, my family doc told me to take NSAIDs for a couple weeks and then let him know if I'm still experiencing the pain, which of course, I was. He then scheduled me for an MRI which prior to, I had to get the customary X-rays. X-rays came back ok and the MRI came back showing the AC joint issues. Yesterday (10/20) I went into my Ortho and he told me about this "weightlifters shoulder". He explained the distal clavicle resection to me; however, first tried a cortisone injection, as I had never received one in the past. My question is, has anyone started with cortisone injections and did it help/or how long afterwards did you realize you needed the surgery? As this is my first injection, I have yet to get to the gym to see how my shoulder feels. I can say that the immediate pain I had experienced had went away and now I am only feeling discomfort when I raise my arm or reach across my body.

    For reference, I am 42 years old and have weight trained for approximately 20 years, just to stay fit. With my schedule, I generally lift 3 days a week. The majority of the pain that I have been feeling the past 3 months stems from me bench pressing.

    Thanks again for all of the information, based on what I've read, the majority of people who have had this procedure are very happy with the results.
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  11. #971
    Registered User pizdetsblya's Avatar
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    Amazing thread here guys. Thanks for sharing all of your stories. I developed DCO earlier this year, but I have been barely lifting this year, so its strange that I developed it. I'm 38 and it just happened on its own somehow. I struggled for a few months with the pain on and off, but the pain wasn't too severe, more like annoying. I got the MRI done and was diagnosed with DCO. Went to see 2 ortho doctors to confirm. At one point the pain got pretty annoying so I decided to do a cortisone shot about 1.5 months ago and the pain was alleviated immediately. I could still feel some very slight discomfort here and there sometimes, but for the most part it was gone and I could freely move my shoulder. I never went crazy and started a strict workout regimen or anything, just some moderate lifting here and there with light weights.

    Last week the pain started to make a comeback very mildly in certain situations and I can feel the clavicle bone at the joint being tender to the touch again. I feel like the cortisone is wearing off and it might come back again. I'm going to the doc tomorrow and hopefully he'll give me and MRI to do once more to see if the shoulder got any better or not. I think my case is pretty mild compared to a lot of you guys that posted here. I don't really want to do the surgery, but I don't want to wait 2 years for it to hopefully heal and waste my time either. I really do want to get back into lifting, I've been mostly doing legs and arms (biceps/triceps), but do miss doing everything else.

    Has anyone here had a mild or beginner stage DCO like me and got surgery done? I realize that surgery most likely will go smooth, but then reading some horror stories of complications after I don't know if I should go through with it. I don't want to ruin my shoulder. Any advice? Does physical therapy help DCO at all instead of surgery or is that just putting more stress on the bone?
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  12. #972
    Registered User hajdugabor's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pizdetsblya View Post
    Amazing thread here guys. Thanks for sharing all of your stories. I developed DCO earlier this year, but I have been barely lifting this year, so its strange that I developed it. I'm 38 and it just happened on its own somehow. I struggled for a few months with the pain on and off, but the pain wasn't too severe, more like annoying. I got the MRI done and was diagnosed with DCO. Went to see 2 ortho doctors to confirm. At one point the pain got pretty annoying so I decided to do a cortisone shot about 1.5 months ago and the pain was alleviated immediately. I could still feel some very slight discomfort here and there sometimes, but for the most part it was gone and I could freely move my shoulder. I never went crazy and started a strict workout regimen or anything, just some moderate lifting here and there with light weights.

    Last week the pain started to make a comeback very mildly in certain situations and I can feel the clavicle bone at the joint being tender to the touch again. I feel like the cortisone is wearing off and it might come back again. I'm going to the doc tomorrow and hopefully he'll give me and MRI to do once more to see if the shoulder got any better or not. I think my case is pretty mild compared to a lot of you guys that posted here. I don't really want to do the surgery, but I don't want to wait 2 years for it to hopefully heal and waste my time either. I really do want to get back into lifting, I've been mostly doing legs and arms (biceps/triceps), but do miss doing everything else.

    Has anyone here had a mild or beginner stage DCO like me and got surgery done? I realize that surgery most likely will go smooth, but then reading some horror stories of complications after I don't know if I should go through with it. I don't want to ruin my shoulder. Any advice? Does physical therapy help DCO at all instead of surgery or is that just putting more stress on the bone?
    Hey, very similar story here, I`m 39 and after 20 years of lifting I developed DCO on my right shoulder, quite mild discomfort, I take a minimal amount of joint support which is standard anyway. It started worse about 4-5 month ago but got much better to the point where I have full pain free range of motion now. Basically, it only affects me if I try to bench press the same way I did before albeit with some modifications ( close grip instead of wide for instance) I`m still able to do it but with less volume. I also went to one of the best Orthopedic surgeon in London and after a couple of X rays he told me that he definitely doesn`t recommend keyhole surgery as he said he had seen worse cases with no symptoms before.
    I`m also in the same dilemma as I read a few cases where someone was having pain 1-2 years post op which I definitely don`t want to risk. But then I also realized most of these people had an actual injury, a major trauma to the A/C joint where they were in constant pain to begin with. So for now I`m leaning in the direction to be patient and see how it goes in the next few months although with Covid now I`m working from home so I`m in a perfect spot to recover.
    Happy to discuss it in details, perhaps we can learn from each other?
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  13. #973
    heavily caffeinated grapegorilla's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pizdetsblya View Post
    Amazing thread here guys. Thanks for sharing all of your stories. I developed DCO earlier this year, but I have been barely lifting this year, so its strange that I developed it. I'm 38 and it just happened on its own somehow. I struggled for a few months with the pain on and off, but the pain wasn't too severe, more like annoying. I got the MRI done and was diagnosed with DCO. Went to see 2 ortho doctors to confirm. At one point the pain got pretty annoying so I decided to do a cortisone shot about 1.5 months ago and the pain was alleviated immediately. I could still feel some very slight discomfort here and there sometimes, but for the most part it was gone and I could freely move my shoulder. I never went crazy and started a strict workout regimen or anything, just some moderate lifting here and there with light weights.

    Last week the pain started to make a comeback very mildly in certain situations and I can feel the clavicle bone at the joint being tender to the touch again. I feel like the cortisone is wearing off and it might come back again. I'm going to the doc tomorrow and hopefully he'll give me and MRI to do once more to see if the shoulder got any better or not. I think my case is pretty mild compared to a lot of you guys that posted here. I don't really want to do the surgery, but I don't want to wait 2 years for it to hopefully heal and waste my time either. I really do want to get back into lifting, I've been mostly doing legs and arms (biceps/triceps), but do miss doing everything else.

    Has anyone here had a mild or beginner stage DCO like me and got surgery done? I realize that surgery most likely will go smooth, but then reading some horror stories of complications after I don't know if I should go through with it. I don't want to ruin my shoulder. Any advice? Does physical therapy help DCO at all instead of surgery or is that just putting more stress on the bone?
    So I fall into the camp of actual injury. First, the cortisone shots help because they mask the pain. The problem is they don't solve the issue. I had surgery and have had a real hard time getting back to the gym. Primarily due to loss of muscle in the shoulder. For me it was 1 year physio, then 2 surgeries (~18 months), then physio. 2 surgeries because I had hardware inserted to support new-to-me ligament, then hardware removed. Part of collarbone removed to accommodate and stop the pinch. Regardless of your decision, it became apparent that some health advice is just to make you comfortable (and go away) while other advice is to get you back to active. Seek out advice to help you return to active and try to keep the muscle you have while you recover.

    PS. surgery returned my range of motion and dramatically reduced pain. I could not push open a door never mind a barbell, so for me it was worth it. Recovery advice ranges, so like I said seek out people that share your goals.
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  14. #974
    Registered User hajdugabor's Avatar
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    I thought I would post some of the reply the orthopedic surgeon gave me the other day re my questions pertaining to my DCO. Hope this helps someone in the same position. He is a very reputable surgeon with decades of experience with athletes as well so his message is definitely positive for all of us who hasn`t got DCO due to an injury that causes a lot of pain. I specifically asked him if he means this for sedentary people or for weightlifters and he said both! He also explained that as it is not arthritis, it is not going to get worse.

    I think a big part of the issue is that we lift and can not wait to get back and press heavy again and any modifications ( or some other exercises) might still cause aggravation whereas a sedentary person won`t even notice it and it is healed much quicker. From all the info I gathered, not just from him but from this and other forums so far is that unless you have had a one off injury that causes debilitating, daily pain, there is a good chance it will heal but it takes a while for the bone to regenerate, of course people who lift heavy do not want to take time off or wait. At the end of the day, it is one`s personal decision.

    "It is certainly possible that the condition will settle right down. There are plenty of people whose x-rays and MRI scans look just the same yet they have no symptoms. This suggests to me that it's possible to have a degenerate AC joint without it necessarily being symptomatic. I don't have any data on how long it might take to settle down completely. Most bone things have a “generation time” of around three months. I don't think it's an inevitability that you will need surgery."
    Last edited by hajdugabor; 11-27-2020 at 03:42 AM.
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  15. #975
    Registered User grebnehtor's Avatar
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    All Is Well

    Hi All,

    Been a long time (almost 18 years!) and I am truly happy that this communication channel has helped others as it has helped me!

    Shoulder is great, and at 100% plus. There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel with conventional, good medicine!
    Last edited by grebnehtor; 02-14-2021 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Rephrase after reading through all responses
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  16. #976
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    I am 15 weeks out from a distal clavicle excision.

    I am still experiencing pain. I have not returned to the gym this entire time, although I have been out of the gym for longer than just this recovery period due to covid. My symptoms were minor prior to surgery (although impacted me in ways beyond the gym) but are now worse than before.

    My current symptoms are tightness and mild pain when lifting my arm directly up, burning when attempting a pushup or pullup, tenderness to the touch, and significant soreness in the joint when waking up (especially if I sleep on it).

    Should I be concerned at this state in my recovery? Has anyone experienced similar symptoms at this stage but gone on to make a full recovery?
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  17. #977
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    Originally Posted by ncp237 View Post
    I am 15 weeks out from a distal clavicle excision.

    I am still experiencing pain. I have not returned to the gym this entire time, although I have been out of the gym for longer than just this recovery period due to covid. My symptoms were minor prior to surgery (although impacted me in ways beyond the gym) but are now worse than before.

    My current symptoms are tightness and mild pain when lifting my arm directly up, burning when attempting a pushup or pullup, tenderness to the touch, and significant soreness in the joint when waking up (especially if I sleep on it).

    Should I be concerned at this state in my recovery? Has anyone experienced similar symptoms at this stage but gone on to make a full recovery?
    I had a ligament replaced and in the process had to have a portion of the clavicle removed. I had all of the same symptoms well beyond 15 weeks. I am recently returning to gym and most issues have subsided. Besides being infinitely weaker now, I would say my should is feeling stronger and more normal. At 15 weeks I could not have returned to gym or done a push up due to the pain. I had mostly given up going back to lifting weights so my time to get back to the gym is probably way off. So I think you still have lots of time to make a full recovery, but (for me at least) maybe slower than wanted.
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    Originally Posted by grapegorilla View Post
    I had a ligament replaced and in the process had to have a portion of the clavicle removed. I had all of the same symptoms well beyond 15 weeks. I am recently returning to gym and most issues have subsided. Besides being infinitely weaker now, I would say my should is feeling stronger and more normal. At 15 weeks I could not have returned to gym or done a push up due to the pain. I had mostly given up going back to lifting weights so my time to get back to the gym is probably way off. So I think you still have lots of time to make a full recovery, but (for me at least) maybe slower than wanted.
    How many weeks until you felt like you could return to the gym? Do you think your recovery was lengthened because of the ligament work? Or was the DCR your last procedure?
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    Originally Posted by ncp237 View Post
    How many weeks until you felt like you could return to the gym? Do you think your recovery was lengthened because of the ligament work? Or was the DCR your last procedure?
    I would say the ligament greatly extended my recovery. More than a year, easily two. I just figured I wouldn't get back so I gave up. It gets better so don't give up
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    I started having pain in my right shoulder about 5/6 months ago after basically just beginning weightlifting ( about 1 month in). Ended up getting an MRI and diagnosed with DCO, there's a small spur on the end of the clavicle now. First doctor suggested PT, I went through 6 weeks and it didn't really help at all. Cortisone shot helped temporarily for about a month or so but I still wasn't able to workout. I basically didn't do anything with my month for the first few months.

    Decided to get a second opinion after about 4 months, he said since it hasn't healed by now it probably won't heal at all and I should get surgery.

    Got a third opinion, he said absolutely no not do surgery and just accept that I won't be lifting weights. Unacceptable to me.

    Right now I feel like the pain is less than it was in the beginning in terms of basic daily tasks like putting on clothes and picking up light objects, but any time I move my arm up and to either direction, I feel a pain in my lower deltoid which gets way worse if I do any kind of pressing exercise using weights. I actually don't feel too much pain in the AC joint itself anymore, so I really don't know WTF this is. Why is only my deltoid hurting? I can't even do pushups or anything.

    I'm pissed because I barely even started working out, I'm 32 and really want to get a move on and stop being a weakass, and I barely got started before this stuff happened. I really don't know what to do. Any advice for me? Could there be something else going on with the deltoid unrelated to the DCO?
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    I'm now 6 months post operation and remain worse off than before the DCR.

    Flat bench, pull ups, push ups, and dips are all brutal on the joint. Some movements present surprisingly minimal pain, like incline bench. I find that the shoulder can ache throughout the day now when not taxing it, but that's because even leaning on it ever so slightly causes discomfort. Leaning on an arm rest of a chair over time will present with aches.

    One main reason I got the surgery is that I am into backpacking and wanted the discomfort that arises from pressure on the joint to be gone. Sadly that seems to be worse as well, and I also feel pain when pushing on the joint from the side of the top of the arm, also.

    At 6 months I'm not sure how much improvement I have ahead of me. I anticipate that some things will continue to slowly get better over time, but I fear I am not a perfect success and at this point it's hard not to greatly regret the surgery. I am back in the gym and refusing to let it get in the way at this point, so I'm not completely maimed or anything, but I would describe my current condition as learning to live with daily and constant pain.

    If anyone has encouraging thoughts on my situation I'd love to hear them.
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    Stopping by - motivational post

    Hi all,

    Im stopping by just to report my DCO surgery, a few years ago, on my left shoulder, was a roaring success. I forget I ever had it done. My shoulder is 100% and has been for a long time. I can also report that my suspicions I had DCO on my right shoulder turned out to be totally unfounded. I did all the checks which showed nothing and by the time that happened the pain had gone away. I think I was just paranoid I had it on the right shoulder because I had experienced it on the left one.

    I am just posting here for others who are going through the trials of DCO surgery recovery and are worried about it. As people almost never report success stories. You only see the negative stuff. I decided to do this just now as I am going through post surgery recovery for something completely different. And it is hard to avoid catastophising all the time. So success stories are very important!!

    LOOK THROUGH MY HISTORY ON HERE! You will see mine was one of the more complicated recoveries. I took a lot longer to recover than most others on here. So have a look and see. It did come right 100 percent. I cant even remember when now as it has been 100 percent for years now. So look through my old posts. Good luck!
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    Originally Posted by ncp237 View Post
    I'm now 6 months post operation and remain worse off than before the DCR.

    Flat bench, pull ups, push ups, and dips are all brutal on the joint. Some movements present surprisingly minimal pain, like incline bench. I find that the shoulder can ache throughout the day now when not taxing it, but that's because even leaning on it ever so slightly causes discomfort. Leaning on an arm rest of a chair over time will present with aches.

    One main reason I got the surgery is that I am into backpacking and wanted the discomfort that arises from pressure on the joint to be gone. Sadly that seems to be worse as well, and I also feel pain when pushing on the joint from the side of the top of the arm, also.

    At 6 months I'm not sure how much improvement I have ahead of me. I anticipate that some things will continue to slowly get better over time, but I fear I am not a perfect success and at this point it's hard not to greatly regret the surgery. I am back in the gym and refusing to let it get in the way at this point, so I'm not completely maimed or anything, but I would describe my current condition as learning to live with daily and constant pain.

    If anyone has encouraging thoughts on my situation I'd love to hear them.
    Dont regret the surgery. At this stage 6 months post op is still early days in some ways. Look at my posts 6 and 7 months in. I started to see improvements at 8 months. Look at my posts. Eventually I achieved 100% perfection post surgery. So glad I had the surgery done now. Look through my posts to watch my timeline. Not everyone recovers at the same rate.
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  24. #984
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    Originally Posted by chickenwhistle View Post
    Dont regret the surgery. At this stage 6 months post op is still early days in some ways. Look at my posts 6 and 7 months in. I started to see improvements at 8 months. Look at my posts. Eventually I achieved 100% perfection post surgery. So glad I had the surgery done now. Look through my posts to watch my timeline. Not everyone recovers at the same rate.
    Thanks for this. Your recovery log is definitely the most encouraging, given your timeline. Hoping the same for me.
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    Has anyone who had this condition recovered without surgery?

    I've been out of the gym 4 months since getting diagnosed with DCO and the pain has not improved. I don't really want to wait another 4 months, only to find out I will still need the surgery. If that's the case, I'll have it done now.
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    Originally Posted by bluehendrix View Post
    Has anyone who had this condition recovered without surgery?

    I've been out of the gym 4 months since getting diagnosed with DCO and the pain has not improved. I don't really want to wait another 4 months, only to find out I will still need the surgery. If that's the case, I'll have it done now.
    Obviously not me. But i remember trying to dig around and find examples of those who had and I am pretty sure there was very little evidence of that. It was about 13 months for me between diagnosis and surgery. So quite a long time. It didnt come right. I tried cortisone shots, some physio (this which I dont think was very helpfuL) and refraining from any chest or shoulder workouts. I think once you have a DCO diagnosis it doesnt seem that likely to resolve on its own. I remember the specialists I was seeing told me after about 9 months that it wasnt likely to resolve without at that stage given the length of time I had spent refraining from the activities and the measures I tried. But you should probably seek your own medical opinion from your specialist on this.

    It seems like a condition that is hard to resolve without surgery unless you are a very inactive person who has no temptation to do rigorous exercise which might aggravate it. Ironically not likely to be many of those who get the DCO diagnosis as it seems something that happens mostly to active people - hence the nickname weightlifters shoulder.
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    I appreciate your reply, and I agree with you. This is a problem specific to weightlifters. Sedentary people would never get this to begin with. My ortho prescribed PT, but this is a bone problem, which either needs to heal and re-generate, or have the rough fractures excised. PT does not rehab bones. I'm going to get a second opinion but I have a feeling I'll end up needing this surgery, unfortunately.
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    My DCO recovery without surgery

    I was diagnosed with DCO last October, had had the issue a few months prior, but not the kind of debilitating pain a lot of people report here. It was an achey pain that came on in waves which gave me hope I might be able to rehab it. This was the opinion of the orthopaedic doctor I went to as well. Happy to report I'm now fully recovered without surgery and have been able to bench press etc for a while now. A lot of trials & errors in the past year. Happy to discuss in details.
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    Finally, a report of someone who recovered from DCO without surgery. I'm in the same boat. Pain is achey. It's annoying but not debilitating. How long did it take for you to recover?
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    Originally Posted by bluehendrix View Post
    Finally, a report of someone who recovered from DCO without surgery. I'm in the same boat. Pain is achey. It's annoying but not debilitating. How long did it take for you to recover?
    Very happy to share my experience especially as there is ZERO info out there of people who recovered without surgery. There is little info of DCO as it is which is very strange given the name 'weightlifter's shoulder' given to it. My issues started Jan-Feb 2020 due to overuse not because of an injury. I think this is key here. A lot of people here report of a full joint separation which I certainly didn't have. However, my xrays showed DCO clearly. I'd say achey feeling lasted a few months but it was on & off and I really think upping my joint support helped a lot. I had full range of motion except the top where you extend your arm above your head & arm across the body, those hurt. So I could still work out but with modification, no bench press, even push ups or some pulling movements aggravated the joint. Then very slowly...I got to the stage(around september 2020)when it stopped being achey altogether and had zero discomfort in my daily life. By the time I visited the orthopaedic surgeon in October I had pain free, full range of motion back which he checked in his office. I had x-ray done and he diagnosed me with DCO but said he'd seen plenty of x-rays like mine and the patients were asymptomatic. This alone gave me hope and decided not to get the surgery which I would still have to recover from ( 6 months +). I was right.
    Fast forward 1 year ( March 2021), I was back where I had been before my DCO strength wise and was able to bench press with zero pain. The only thing I will NEVER do again though is grindy maxes. I'd rather use 3,5,10 reps with impeccable form. There are 1-2 (funnily enough pulling) exercises that I feel could still aggravate the joint if I did them with very heavy weights & form break down but those can be easily addressed and substituted if necessary.
    I suppose the moral of the story is that if DCO is due to overuse and the pain not debilitating - provided you are also intelligent enough to stop, think and assess your situation - it's absolutely possible for it to settle and for you to come back. Will you be a champion bench presser though? I don't know. But at 39, I really don't care as long as I can continue making gains and I'm pain free! Hope my story helps you and others.
    PS. Ensure you meticulously monitor and discontinue exercises and movements that aggravate the joint & cause achiness. The more time you go without feeling any pain the better and eventually you can reintroduce those movements. It's important to say that once you have DCO you'll always have it unless fixed by surgery. But clearly & evidently there are ways to manage it and it can settle with time!
    Last edited by hajdugabor; 05-23-2021 at 12:52 AM.
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