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Been a long while since I picked up the guitar. Last March I wiped out on ice and came down on my left shoulder. Without getting technical, I tore the two main ligaments that operate the shoulder, complete tears which means they can never heal on their own. The process of diagnosis through our incredible health system has been painfully slow. I waited almost 3 months for an MRI, now waiting almost 3 months to get into see an orthopedic surgeon. Chances are 50/50 at this point as to whether any repairs can be made.

To get an idea of what this condition feels like, put your arm straight out and have someone push down on it hard as you try to raise it. That feeling you get through those muscles and ligaments gives you an idea. You cannot lift your arm no matter how hard you try. In terms of trying to play, the arm wont go passed say the 9th fret downward towards the headstock. Tuning is impossible unless you put the guitar down. So essentially about all I can do is noodle around from the 9th fret upwards.

The pain can be outrageous if you try to do certain things, like putting on pants or a shirt. I refuse to take pain meds as I don't need that in my life. Best case scenario is surgery and about 8 months of physio. Worst case, I never lift my left arm again. Depressing.
 
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Sorry to hear that Scott. That sucks. Especially the waiting to get it taken care of.
As for playing, pick up a lap steel?
 

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I wouldn't worry about it man. I haven't had as serious of injuries as you, but I have had my strumming arm crushed in a conveyor belt. I also had a glass kitchen table peel the top of my strumming hand through the finger area. I could see the bone and ligaments on that one as it was a 2" x 1.5" wound. The way I went in the hospital with my hand wrapped made the nurses say "Oh, we have a another lost finger." under their breath. I replied "Not quite."

What I am trying to say is that it can take time and seem helpless. Hell, the way you described it, it may be helpless. But you never know. It took my hand 4 months to heal and it took my arm 3 weeks of healing before I could even keep it below my heart. I can't even remember how long that one took before I could strum again. Plus, its like riding a bike. You might try 2 years down the road and see that you can start playing again.
 

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I've dislocated my left shoulder three times and have torn the rotator cuff four times and I can still play (if you call what I do 'playing'). It will take a while, but once your shoulder has been dealt with you will eventually regain movement.
 

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I've dislocated my left shoulder three times and have torn the rotator cuff four times and I can still play (if you call what I do 'playing'). It will take a while, but once your shoulder has been dealt with you will eventually regain movement.
I had a partial tear many years ago. That came back after about 8 months. The only difference with this one is the full tears. Apparently, according to the doctors, physio would do nothing because they can never reattach themselves. So surgery is the only option. Will see what happens when I finally get into see the surgeon. Such is life, you take whatever you are handed and work with it.
 

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Hope you can get that fixed. All the best.
 
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I have no love of the Ontario medical system and have had very good and very bad service. If you are willing to travel and can get a cooperative doctor to write the referral, you can get MRIs done fairly quickly. Ontario Wait Times

Living in Ottawa, we have the option of using a private clinic in Gatineau (at one's own expense). 2 days for an appointment, 6 days for the report $650 for a knee and surprisingly 3rd party insurance covered it, which we believe was a mistake but not going to question it.

Orthopedic surgeon, not so much. Best experience, wife's achilles tendon tore during a v-ball match. Fixed next day via emergency. My two knee surgeries took many months each time.

Internationally, my son had two visits in Switzerland, 2-3 days from first doctor's visit to MRI. All tolled bills (first doctor, X-rays, MRI, report) each about $1200, again covered by 3rd party insurance. Had to get the report translated from German however.
 

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Sorry to hear that Scott. That sucks. Especially the waiting to get it taken care of.
As for playing, pick up a lap steel?
Lap steel was my first thought.

As a teen I spent a summer in northern Ontario planting trees and such like, came home at the end of the summer with raging infected pilonidal cysts which required 2 surgeries 3 months apart, a week each time in the hospital and weeks at home recuperating. Spent weeks on my stomach, which meant playing Jeff Healey style (he was unknown then) and lap steel over the end of my bed. I was one determined and extremely OCD kid.

Sometimes we have to fit the guitar and sometimes the guitar has to fit us. Adapt.

Sorry to hear about your shoulder, I've been having rotator cuff issues for years.

Just in case it helps, here's what I do. Swing the electric solid-body guitar further to my right, kind of side-saddle, so that my shoulder doesn't bend and my arm can hang straight down. My left hand is closer to my body, the headstock too, and the neck tilted up a few degrees. Some experimentation with the strap length is required. Doesn't work very well with a flattop however. I also play a lot of mandolin, which is way easier while injured.
 

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Sorry to hear it, GC.

It's been maybe 14 months for me since my wrist situation (there's a DON'T TURN thread I started somewhere around here on it) and I've just started getting back at it with any sense of purpose (10 minutes a couple times a week).

You need somebody to wallow in self pity with, you know where to find me.

I went the lap steel for a little while, but ultimately it wasn't the replacement I was hoping for. Just traded it in on a couple pedals for my youngest or I would let you check it out for a while, although by the sounds of it the tone bar would probably be too heavy to comfortably use.

Tough call on the meds.

You need some shows to pass the time or just chew the fat, I don't check in too often anymore - but you know how to get a hold of me.

Good luck with it. Hope you find some baby steps along the way that remind you what it was like when you started. I will be absolutely thrilled when I can fret a first position C chord again - that is my current goal whenever I pick up a guitar these days. Like I said, baby steps.
 

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It certainly changes your life.
In an instant of time!
Life is like walking on a tightrope...only the rope is actually a thread.

This is such sad news. As guitar players, we all understand how difficult this must be.

After so many years of being a physio, my first reaction is to recognize your extreme pain and loss of function and to desperately want to help you to try and reduce either of these.

We have met in the past and communicated through this forum on many,many occasions. The GuitarsCanada forum that you put so much time and energy into has been an extremely important part of my life and has led to making many lasting friendships and acquaintances. I feel so very appreciative and indebted to you.

All of my the very best wishes. My thoughts are with you.
 

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Lap steel was my first thought.

As a teen I spent a summer in northern Ontario planting trees and such like, came home at the end of the summer with raging infected pilonidal cysts which required 2 surgeries 3 months apart, a week each time in the hospital and weeks at home recuperating. Spent weeks on my stomach, which meant playing Jeff Healey style (he was unknown then) and lap steel over the end of my bed. I was one determined and extremely OCD kid.

Sometimes we have to fit the guitar and sometimes the guitar has to fit us. Adapt.

Sorry to hear about your shoulder, I've been having rotator cuff issues for years.

Just in case it helps, here's what I do. Swing the electric solid-body guitar further to my right, kind of side-saddle, so that my shoulder doesn't bend and my arm can hang straight down. My left hand is closer to my body, the headstock too, and the neck tilted up a few degrees. Some experimentation with the strap length is required. Doesn't work very well with a flattop however. I also play a lot of mandolin, which is way easier while injured.
Mandolin is a good idea too!
 

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Sorry to hear Scott. Hopefully you'll get some good news when you finally get to see the surgeon.
 

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Sounds like the same injury a guy I know had. He was a motocross racer, took a bad spill. It took about 2 years from start to finish thanks to our wonderful medical system, but he's as good as new today. Don't give up hope just yet.
 

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I had issue with my left shoulder, and now having it with right. Bad inflammation - so not at all series as your condition, but I know the pain and feeling you are describing. Physio helped me a lot as well it will to you, once when muscles get reattached.
So sorry to hear about it. Wish you good recovery.
 
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