Shoulder Surgery - and the Aftermath - Chronic Pain Relief

Shoulder Surgery – and the Aftermath

trigger point

This story comes from an interview I did a little while ago with the licensed massage therapist Adrian Pakvis, from Sweden. Adrians’ story illustrates the powerful effect trigger point therapy can have on post surgery pain – especially in mobile joints like the shoulder.

It’s a crucial part of rehab – and recovery to get all the muscles trigger point free and functioning smoothly. And trigger points untreated can cause a lot of pain – especially in post surgery areas. Click the icon below to listen.


Jonathan: Have you any stories of some people you have helped – things which have stood out in your mind?

Adrian: Yes, definitely. I had one young fellow, he was Austrian. He had had surgery on both his shoulders. He was a very active young man, doing a lot of training and running – he ran a marathon, went climbing mountains and so on.

But he didn’t realise that he was training too hard. There were ligaments in his shoulder which broke. So he had surgery on both shoulders. And then he did not get back his full mobility after the surgery – he only got about 40% of his mobility.

This influenced his whole life. It was not only his shoulder. He could not lift a telephone, he had pain when he was lifting a cup of coffee. Eventually his back was influenced, his legs were influenced. He could not walk for more than 10-15 minutes before he was totally finished, he had to go back home and rest.

So everything was influenced because of this. Of course, he had gone to different doctors (he was not even 30 years old) and [the doctors] said: ‘Well, you have to live with this, we cannot do anything more, we don’t know what to do.”

Even in Sweden, the doctors said: “No, we can do nothing.” And he refused to accept this. I like these people who refuse to be more sick than doctors say they are.

So he tried to find ways to get help and tried different methods but they didn’t work. And then he came to me and I started treating trigger points. I started to treat his shoulders.

After two times he was already much better in mobility in his shoulders and in his arms. He could raise his arms and he had no pain there. He said “Please help me – can you help my back?”

I worked on his back and he got better in his back. He said “What about my legs…” so I stared on his legs, especially the iliotibial band, and then of course the vastus lateralis. It was really really tough for him because I was not very kind to these muscles because they were so hard.

There was a whole school or class of trigger points in the vastus lateralis, but he said “Please, give more” so I helped him several times and then one time he came to me and said:

“I went for a walk with my wife. We went around the lake and when I looked at my watch we had been walking for four hours and I did not have pain.”

So I think this is fantastic.

Jonathan: That is. And that’s a very fascinating story because the progression of pain and dysfunction that started from poor surgery and then spread over his whole system. That’s very very fascinating.

Adrian: Yes.

Jonathan: That’s literally life changing and may sometimes be life saving when you do that kind of work. That’s well done!

Adrian: So I was very happy. Now he is running, he can do anything again. He can lift heavy boxes. He has come several times for just some more massage but I have not seen him for quite some time. We have some correspondence still and he has written some of his stories so I can mail that to you if you want.

Jonathan: Well, look that would be lovely.

Adrian: Of course I have these trigger point maps on the wall everywhere where I have my room here at home and at the institution – just to see right away – and let people see also – where the pain can be checked.

Where there’s a trigger point – and it’s so easy with trigger points because if it’s not a trigger point the pain will not go away. Then it’s an infection probably or an inflammation.

So I feel so strongly for the whole medical world – it seems to be quite unaware still.

Jonathan: Yes.

Adrian: Even when a doctor [Janet Travell] has produced and given her life totally to localise all these points over many thousands of people.

Jonathan: How strange is that?

Adrian: Yes. And of course I got your material I was very happy to get the advice. Of course I have learnt a lot from that also.

> Find out more about treating triggers here

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(2) comments

Paul Sauerberg March 24, 2013

Dear Dr. Kuttner,
I have learned so much from you and have had my back “repaired” by your methods several times by a finish doctor, Penntii Rasta, here in Fuengirola in Spain where I live (I am originaly from Denmark). And I am very greatfull to you for your eye openers via your very valuable mails.
My interest was immedeately drawn when I read the headline of this article though it seems, my case is not identical to this patient.
I have had one shoulder operated recently (the left) and the next is due this fall. But even with loads of hours of rehabilitation sessions I only seems to get so slowly better (more moveability in the arm) that it seems like it will not be in this life I will be fully back to my good old self. Some lime between to bones was removed and even a bit from one of the bones.
But I am obviously not quite compareable with the mentioned patient as my back is fine (right now), and I can walk for hours. But my good old passion golf is quite impossible to perform at all. I can putt and perform short game but nothing more unfortunately.
I get very tired every afternoon and need a nap. I am born 8th July 1945.
Should I simply be patient and hope for if not a miracle then for time to do its work or do you have a trick more to teach me?
Your devoted friend

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