We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I had the same experience as Insty did. I refused an MRI because I had zero interest in shoulder surgery and there is no point in paying for a medical test if you have no intention of doing anything about it. (Yes, I pay for my medical care.)
I did not bother with physical therapy, rested it from tennis and weights for a year, and it's pretty good now except that I have had to replace my fast serve with a spin serve - which is probably more effective anyway. It gets sore after four hours juggling a chain saw, but that's ok with me.
I'm right there with you BD - same thing here - I've been living with both shoulders in this condition for many years and while there are some things I can't do, I can do just about what I want with little or no problems that a couple of Advil can't cure.
I believe the critical matter is the amount of damage, damage to specific structures, presence of bone spur(s), etc. I would have preferred to avoid the surgery, but the damage was too great. Pain kept me awake at night, and I was incapable of drawing my bow (and doing plenty of other physical tasks).
Conservative intervention, if possible/successful is always best before resorting to surgery. Thing is, all rotator cuff damage is not the same. The result for me was arthroscopic surgery to both shoulders, and brutal but successful physical therapy. Now I do what I like without the pain. However, if you can do as well without the surgery, you have my best wishes. Keep moving and having fun!
I'm with Westoakland on this....tried living with mine for 2 years before even going to the Doc, then another 6 mos of PT. Pain got to be unbearable at work, with any type of pain meds, and there was no sleeping. Between the pain and the lack of sleep, it was a no brainer to have the surgery. I was a bear to live with, unproductive, and not much fun. Found out from the MRI that the extent of the injury and the cause would have never healed on its own and that my very active and preferred lifestyle of activity would be over or radically changed without a repair. Surgery was tough, rehab brutal, but if you follow the instructions you will have great success. The best advice, find a PT group that knows Rotator Cuff injuries and surgery, they will make or break your recovery. Also, age matters, one of mine tore in my late 30s and the other in my early 40s....might have been very different response if i was 60.