James's doctor is concerned that James has destroyed cartilage, a condition that causes severe pain and reduced range of motion. He suspects that James may have postarthroscopic glenohumeral chondrolysis (PAGCL), which is far more serious than his original injury; James dislocated his shoulder several years ago and used a shoulder pain pump for a few days after surgery.
In late 2008, James received a certified letter from his doctor, informing him that patients who had shoulder surgery and still experiencing pain should have a follow-up exam. James figures his doctor was seeing a pattern of PAGCL in his patients. "I wasn't having any pain at that time and had good range of motion—I was playing basketball and everything was fine, but the following year I noticed a limited range of motion and discomfort," James says. "My doctor told me there was a chance that I will develop PAGCL; he also said there was a chance the pain pump could cause this—he has a 17-year-old patient worse than me…
"It wasn't until last year when I noticed limitations: I had some tightness and arthritis and noticed that my range of motion was diminishing. I couldn't raise my arms straight up above my head—not good for a basketball player. To give you an idea of how bad my range of motion is now, if I was arrested and put into handcuffs, the police would be wondering why I'm yelling and crying, because I can't put my arms behind my back," James says, laughing.
Next up, James was referred to a specialist, who said his condition could be devastating—no laughing matter. "I started doing some therapy and tried to loosen my shoulder but that didn't help," he explains. "The specialist said there wasn't much he could do other than have arthroscopic surgery and get the scar tissue cleaned out. I had the surgery two months ago—no way did I have a shoulder pain pump this time!
"I had all kinds of tests, including a before and after MRI and you can see the damage done by this pain pump. It shows a shoulder of a 75-year-old.
"I'm not filing a shoulder pain pump claim to get any money but at the same time my livelihood could be affected. I could possibly have a career playing basketball overseas but right now I might not pass a physical because I am so limited in my shoulder's range of motion. I'm still working as a substitute teacher but I had the opportunity to go to basketball camp. I played in many leagues but that may have come to an end.
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"I have been talking to some lawyers and I don't think they understand what is going on with these pain pumps, so I filed a complaint last week with an experienced pain pump attorney at LawyersandSettlements. I'm not a 'down person' but when my passion and sports has been taken away…this has even affected my everyday life: I don't sleep well because I move around so much trying to get comfortable. I can't lie on my stomach with my hands over my head; even putting on my t-shirt is an effort.
"I am positive that if I didn't have this shoulder pain pump, my shoulder would be fine today."