Help Shoulder injury -- any good clinics/doctors?

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#1
Hello fellow TCCers

During a cyclocross race in February, I slipped on a grassy off-camber turn and fell on my right shoulder. It seemed innocuous at the time, and I recovered quickly and went on to finish the race, missing the podium by a handful of seconds (about the amount of time it took me to get back on my bike and regain my momentum. Dang).

Anyway, what started out as a slightly stiff shoulder has developed into a very painful injury, indeed. It feels like a rotator-cuff tear. When I hold my arm at certain angles the pain is intense and very specific to one area. While hanging out near the river the other day with my 7-year-old daughter, I tried to show her how to skip rocks. I hucked a perfect stone disc toward the calm waters and found myself immediately doubled over in pain, fighting back tears of agony. I fear that I’ve exacerbated it greatly by sleeping on it daily and contorting the affecting area while I dream about standing on the podium.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I would appreciate any advice you may have on good hospitals, doctors or physical therapists that I should visit. I’d love to get this thing sorted soon, ’cause I’ve got a date with a podium in September. #crossiscoming

Thank you!

Deej
 
Aug 20, 2010
76
25
38
Minato-ku
#2
Hi Deej - sorry to hear that. In my experience, sports clinics in Japan have an approach of "take NSAIDS or use 湿布 (shippu= adhesive strips)", which are essentially topical NSAIDs. I would suggest Tokyo Physio, located close to Hiroo. They have been recommended here before and have a team of English-speaking trained physiotherapists who will take 60 minutes to give you a full check/treatment/massage and prescribe a course of exercises. I believe you can't use Japanese Health Insurance but it's worth the cost, in my opinion.
 
Likes: Deej

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
498
114
63
Fukushima
#3
I had second-degree burns one time and they tried to give me NSAIDS.... I had to ask to get an injection of something stronger.

Shippu are a giant waste of time IMO. I'd just assume use a cream.
 
Likes: Deej

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,617
1,195
143
Setagaya
#4
There is a sports clinic in Shibuya I was referred to for physiotherapy by the surgeon who operated on my shoulder.
http://www.dk-sc.com/#1524927600
https://healthytokyo.com/medical/dr-kakuko-sports-clinic-in-daikanyama/
I met another English speaking patient there (a triathlete) receiving physiotherapy so it seems they are used to seeing a mix of people. They take national insurance, but there is a separate reservation fee for the first consultation (seems to be standard at clinics). It's not a big place with just an X-ray machine, so for CT or MRI you would be sent somewhere off-site, but the people are nice and they have a physiotherapy area.
Hope to see you on the podium again soon!
 
Likes: Deej

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,617
1,195
143
Setagaya
#5
You might want to go to a proper hospital first though, from the sounds of it.
For my shoulder I first went to the Orthopedics department at Tokyo Medical University Hospital in Shinjuku.
I also considered going to Juntendo University Hospital first as it has a pretty big sports focus: https://www.juntendo.ac.jp/hospital/clinic/seikei/about/
My surgery was done at Funabashi Orthopedic Clinic, which I chose because the surgeon seemed to have a good reputation. It's a bit far away for a first visit though.
 
Likes: Deej

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
309
121
63
41
#6
You first need a proper diagnosis, and the longer you wait, the worse it gets. I'm not living in Tokyo, so I defer to the others for specific recommendations.

I've had two shoulder injuries (torn and distended ligaments) that resulted from bike accidents, both which took a few months to heal (6 to 9 months). And I was lucky to have good physiotherapy, which is essential if you want to lose as little in terms of range of motion as necessary. (Basically my physiotherapist moved the arm and the shoulder for me in ways that would have been painful or even damaging if I tried on my own.) Even if you have to pay for parts of physiotherapy yourself, it really is worth it.

In any case, keep us posted!
 
Likes: Deej
Mar 10, 2014
468
144
73
Funabashi, Chiba
#7
Sorry to hear about that, hope you can get it sorted out soon and quick.

I think I do know a pretty good physio in Chiba but I'm assuming that's out of range for you?

I had second-degree burns one time and they tried to give me NSAIDS.... I had to ask to get an injection of something stronger.

Shippu are a giant waste of time IMO. I'd just assume use a cream.
This is actually pretty true. I think you need to keep going back and complain about pain a few times before they will actually go to something that actually takes the pain down a bit.

Wish I knew this before.
 
Likes: Deej

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#8
Excellent advice, everyone. I do appreciate it. Yes, no more dithering -- this thing clearly won't heal itself.

Tokyo Physio -- I've heard of them before and have even considered visiting on occasion for various niggling issues (tight left hip, etc.). Maybe I'll finally pop in for a visit. Cheers, @Nizhniynovgorod.

@GrantT -- Many, many thanks. Superb information. I'd forgotten about your shoulder. It's certainly not holding you back now! *whoosh*

@OreoCookie -- Indeed, I have to get on this quick. I just couldn't quite accept that it was anything more than a "sore shoulder."

@baribari -- Yeah, a shippu won't cut it. Though I kind of like the way they smell.

@armmewitharmony Sorry, I’m adding this in an edit, as I somehow missed this part of your comment when I first read it. I’m in Setegaya, so Chiba’s a bit far for what I need. But if the other options don’t pan out, I’ll be in touch. Thank you!
 
Last edited:

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
309
121
63
41
#9
I waited too long once, too, where a knee injury initially did not seem serious and I waited until I couldn't properly extend my leg anymore. So I needed to learn this lesson the hard way as well. ;)
 
Likes: Deej
#10
You also should consider getting more than one oppinion on the diagnosis and also the treatment. I don't want to sound sceptical, just to be on the safe side. Actually most doctors understand, if people consult with another doctor.
I kind of ruined my knees for good in my teens trusting the diagnosis and treatment of our family orthopedist and physiotherapist.
I later went to two more hospitals for a check up on my knees and both said that the frist diagnosis was wrong and the treatment actually worsened it. Unfortunately by then demage was already done and ended my soccer and baskeball careers before they actually picked up. It brought me cycling, though. So the story took a good turn somehow.

Anyway, good luck and a quick recovery.
 
Likes: Deej

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,681
1,316
133
Niigata
#11
You also should consider getting more than one oppinion on the diagnosis and also the treatment. I don't want to sound sceptical, just to be on the safe side. Actually most doctors understand, if people consult with another doctor.
I kind of ruined my knees for good in my teens trusting the diagnosis and treatment of our family orthopedist and physiotherapist.
I later went to two more hospitals for a check up on my knees and both said that the frist diagnosis was wrong and the treatment actually worsened it. Unfortunately by then demage was already done and ended my soccer and baskeball careers before they actually picked up. It brought me cycling, though. So the story took a good turn somehow.

Anyway, good luck and a quick recovery.
I too would definitely recommend a second opinion.

You are entitled to the data of any x-rays, ct scans and mri scans. So be sure to get any data on a disc.

Even if you don't seek a second opinion, it will be useful to have this data should the problem resurface in the future.

Andy

https://www.facebook.com/biketrainingandracinginjapan/
 
Mar 10, 2014
468
144
73
Funabashi, Chiba
#12
I too would definitely recommend a second opinion.

You are entitled to the data of any x-rays, ct scans and mri scans. So be sure to get any data on a disc.

Even if you don't seek a second opinion, it will be useful to have this data should the problem resurface in the future.

Andy

https://www.facebook.com/biketrainingandracinginjapan/
Yup - they’ve been handing the data to me on checkout, this is standard now maybe? Anyways yeah good advice to ask for it if they don’t volunteer it
 
Likes: Deej

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#13
Thanks again for the excellent input, guys.

So I’ve got the ball rolling. I found an orthopedic clinic near my office and popped by this morning for a preliminary exam. The three doctors on staff there have heavy sports-medicine backgrounds, according to their online bios. That fact, plus the clinic’s proximity to my office, helped me decide. One is a team doctor for the Seibu Lions, another is a doctor for a J-League team, and another is on the medical staff of the (currently embattled) Nichidai American football team, so that’s kind of reassuring. While I was in the waiting room, a big ol’ sumo wrestler clad in a colorful yukata walked in, which was another encouraging sign for some reason.

The doctor asked me about my injury – how it happened, my body position at the time of my fall – then moved my arm about at various angles and positions. “Does it hurt when I do this? How about this?” I then got an x-ray, which revealed nothing except that I apparently do indeed have a skeleton lurking inside my body. Until this morning, the only bones that I’d seen of my own were my teeth.

He said an MRI was in order, and because they don’t have one at the clinic, I was pointed to a clinic down the street that has the equipment. I was told that once I get scanned, I should bring the CD of the MRI back to his clinic for analysis. I paid the fee, about 2,400 yen, then walked five minutes the MRI clinic. Luckily, they had an opening right then, so I got scanned after filling out some paperwork. It was my first MRI, and I was surprised at how extremely loud those machines are, like flatulence-of-the-cybergods/devil R2D2 screeches and buzzes and shudders and clicks. It lasted about 20 minutes, which seemed like a long time for just a shoulder. But I managed to not claw my face off, so it’s all good. It cost about 7,400 yen – apparently a lot less than they cost in the U.S., my home country.

I walked back to the first clinic and made an appointment for my follow-up exam. The receptionist appeared slightly surprised when I walked back in, triumphantly brandishing the CD of my MRI, my slightly giddy expression saying, “Oh, didn’t you know? Deej works fast, y’all.”

So, next Monday at 10:10 a.m. is when the next phase begins.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
309
121
63
41
#15
Great to hear.
And yes, MRIs are loud, I can still clearly remember the knocking sound when I got shoved into the tube for a knee MRI. Staying still was the hardest part, as soon as you start thinking “Don't move! Don't move!” half of your body starts to want to move ;)
 
Likes: Deej

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,516
640
133
Kanazawa
#17
...and because they don’t have one at the clinic, I was pointed to a clinic down the street that has the equipment. I was told that once I get scanned, I should bring the CD of the MRI back to his clinic for analysis. I paid the fee, about 2,400 yen, then walked five minutes the MRI clinic. Luckily, they had an opening right then, ...
My experience is the nurse with the referring doc calls the offsite MRI place and gets an appointment. I my case that was just after lunch (same day), but at least I knew I'd be getting one when I got there.

**

From what I've heard, besides costing a fortune in the US, you might have to wait weeks.
 
Likes: Deej

ryanm

Speeding Up
May 28, 2016
38
9
28
38
#19
It sounds like Deej is getting great treatment and this advice probably doesn't apply to his case, but I've received good treatment at seikotsuin (整骨院). While physical therapy is not covered by national health insurance, seikotsuin are. For any kinds of less serious rehab or physical therapy (heating or electrostimulation, light massage, some stretching and strengthening exercises), I've found seikotsuin to be helpful and cheap. I've been to a few and wouldn't necessarily recommend any one over the other, but they are very common and you will most likely find one if you walk more than a few blocks in any direction in the Tokyo area. In my experience, they generally cost 500-1500 yen per session, which is much cheaper than the 1 man+ that PT will cost. A seikotsuin helped my wife once when she broke her arm when a car in the US hit her. We were moving to Japan shortly after and while, due to various insurance issues we had a hard time getting her treatment in the US (even when we were willing to pay out of pocket, if I remember correctly), we signed her up for National Health insurance her first day in Japan, and a seikotsuin started treating her a few days after. The treatment helped her regain most of the mobility in her arm and was a great value at 500 yen per session.
 
Likes: Deej

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,617
1,195
143
Setagaya
#20
Just to be clear, if you have had surgery and need physical therapy after surgery, it will almost absolutely be covered by national health insurance. It cost me around 1,000-2,000 each time. Meanwhile, a seikotsuin is an osteopathy clinic, Osteopathy is an alternative medicine like chiropractic and homeopathy. I would recommend it is probably be a good idea for anyone to try mainstream medicine before trying alternative medicine.