Tuesday, September 16, 2008 Shirley Wiley, Community Member, asks

Q: What can I take for torn tendon and bone spur shoulder pain?

My left shoulder has been hurting since last May, so I went to a Bone and Joint specialist.  He took X-rays, and I had a MRI; his conclusion was that I had bone spur with a torn tendon. He suggested surgery, but I don't want surgery.  Are there any other alternatives?  I had a cortisone shot once, and it has not helped. Thanks for any advice.

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Answers (2)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
9/17/08 12:18pm

I've had bone spurs in my shoulders for years, as well. Apparently, they are the cause of the mad creaking and cracking I have when I move my shoulders. It is my impression that surgery is the best answer to this problem. According to information given to me by my doctor when we discussed surgery, the surgeon would basically whittle down the bone spur, and after a period of rehabilitation, you should be back to normal (or relatively normal, if your shoulders are damaged by RA).


Although I understand your reluctance to take that route, without surgery, your options are probably mostly limited to treatments geared towards symptomatic relief. This includes anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and steroid shots; although if the steroid shot you received didn't help at all, there is probably a limit to the relief you'd be able to get from these. Steroid shots don't heal, but many can make things a little better. I referred to mine as getting "greased up," much like getting a shot of WD-40. It calms down the pain and the creaking for about six weeks.


When I was poking around in Google finding out more about bone spurs, I did find a website saying that bone spurs happen when you are calcium deficient and your body essentially leaches calcium from the bones. The website goes on to say that many people who have bone spurs find relief when they take a "good" calcium supplement. They define "good calcium" as being a form of calcium that can be easily digested. The pills available at the supermarket vitamin aisle can be hard to digest, but if you can get tablets to dissolve in water or juice or the chewable chocolate flavored calcium, that may be easier to digest. As well, health food stores have different forms of calcium, some liquid that are easier to digest. I should mention, though that I don't know if this claim is true, but plan to try it myself, getting calcium is good, right? However, the website did not claim that calcium will make the bone spur go away, just that it was possible to find "relief" this way


In terms of the torn tendon, some can heal by using anti-inflammatories, ice, rest when it hurts and flexibility and strengthening exercises to increase the support given by the surrounding muscle. However, depending on how much you use your arms, surgery may be necessary to repair it to point where you're functional again. Keep in mind that I'm not a doctor, so it'd probably be a good idea for you to go back and discuss your concerns and options with your physician.


Here are some links that might be helpful as you explore your options for dealing with this:


Yoga May Soothe Many Types of Chronic Pain

Non-Opioid Pain Medications

A Closer Look at Topical Anti-Inflammatory Medications


Best of luck to you!


Lisa Wad, Community Member
7/ 8/14 5:53pm

I know first hand that if you leave bone spurs and they get large enough they can cause wear and tear and pain if it presses or rubs on other bones or soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, or nerves. Remember, once a tendon is tore completely it has to be repaired by surgery, it will not heal itself, a partial one will heal in time and great care.

I am so glad I opted for surgery and I am on my way to recovery. I recommend that you put ice or a cold pack on your shoulder in the meantime to get the inflammation and swelling down.

Please discuss your concerns and options with your physician or surgeon and see if you do have an option. Good luck

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By Shirley Wiley, Community Member— Last Modified: 08/08/14, First Published: 09/16/08