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Let’s Move Quad Cities: Musician is back to bell ringing after shoulder surgery

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- A Quad City musician is back in the choir this Christmas after being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

In fact, Don Wood has spent more than 30 years ringing in the holiday season.

"It's so enjoyable to work as a team, and it's very enjoyable to get out and make music. I think that's what it's all about," said Wood.

Wood plays in four different handbell choirs, including River Bend Bronze and First Presbyterian Church in Davenport. Last year, though, shoulder pain put a stop to much of his activity -- musical and athletic.

"I could get it about here," Wood explained, lifting his arm below shoulder level, "That was about it. I couldn't raise it any higher than that."

After an MRI, Dr. Shawn Wynn at ORA Orthopedics discovered the problem was a torn rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that surrounds the shoulder joint and helps with lifting the arm over the head and doing various rotational activities.

Dr. Wynn says it's a common injury, especially in adults.

"Mostly it's people as they get into their 50's and 60's and older that are more prone to having rotator cuff issues," said Wynn.

Dr. Wynn was able to perform an outpatient, arthroscopic surgery to fix the tear on Wood's right shoulder, sending him home the same day as his procedure.

"That's the idea, to get people back to what they were doing before without the pain and discomfort that they were having when they had their tear," said Wynn.

After about five months of physical therapy, Wood is back to participating in the activities he loves -- most importantly, playing the handbells.

"It feels great. It feels real good. There's times when I think I have more strength in my right shoulder, right arm, than I do in my left one," said Wood.

Despite his initial nerves, Wood says he would recommend the surgery to other people experiencing shoulder pain.

Dr. Wynn says he expects to see more rotator cuff injuries, especially as the population ages.