SC Joint Pain Side-Lined Rosetta’s Life

Rosetta Byler, SC Joint Stabilization

When she was 20 years old, Rosetta caught a falling box that weighed about 50 pounds with her right arm. She felt an immediate and intense pain in her chest, where her collar bone met her sternum. She knew immediately she had strained the joint and did what we all would do, took some ibuprofen and tried to rest. The problem was the pain didn’t go away; it only intensified.

Later she would discover the joint she had injured is called the SC joint, or the sternoclavicular joint. The sternoclavicular joint supports the shoulders and is the main connection between the shoulder and arms, as well as the primary attachment to the main skeleton for the upper torso. Unfortunately for Rosetta, she would become very familiar with how an injury to her SC joint could affect her entire life.

“The pain was relentless,” she explained as she listed the affect the injury had on her life. “I was young and active, I was enrolled in midwifery classes and enjoying life when suddenly, this injury sidelined everything for me.”

PRP, Stem Cell Injections and Prolotherapy didn’t help

Time didn’t help Rosetta and the pain continued. Over the next three years she saw specialist after specialist. She tried physical therapy, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), Stem Cell injections and Prolotherapy. Eventually she was unable to drive or even work. “The doctors kept telling me my joint was stable, they didn’t say it, but it was like they were telling me it was in my head and there was nothing they could do.”  Rosetta’s pain devolved into a new complication called thoracic outlet syndrome that causes nerve dysfunction. She found it difficult to swallow and her hand went numb. Rosetta even ended up in the ER several times yet found no relief.

Her SC Joint Injury made her feel hopeless.

“I wasn’t suicidal,” she explained, “But I remember sitting in my recliner in pain and wondering, “Why bother?”  Nothing mattered anymore and 5 surgeons had given her the brush off. She’d spent over $20,000 trying to get better and still, nothing worked. “I decided in that moment that I was the only one that was going to help me, that I had to be my own advocate.”  She explains that she got online and googled her symptoms and doctors who had experience dealing with SC Joint Injuries.  “I found Dr. Peter Millett’s site and felt the first ray of hope I’d had in years,” she says. “I sent an email to him at his clinic in Colorado, The Steadman Clinic.” The next day she got a phone call. “He called me himself,” she explained, still amazed, “Dr. Millett called me and actually listened to my symptoms and what I had been through. He gave me hope.”

Dr. Millett and his caring team were different than anyone she had met in her effort to get help for her SC Joint Injury.

Rosetta, a Pennsylvania resident had already traveled to Chicago where a doctor there had given her a 50-50 chance of getting better. She wanted more and thought “What do I have to lose?” She went to see Dr. Millett in Colorado. “Everything was different,” Rosetta explained. “His entire team actually cared. They listened to me and understood what I had gone through. I felt hopeful and excited that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.”

SC Joint Stabilization Surgery made her feel immediately better.

Eventually Dr. Millett performed SC Joint Stabilization surgery on Rosetta’s right side. “I knew immediately, even in the recovery room that it was better,” Rosetta says. “I actually felt better in the recovery room!”

Rosetta needed another SC Joint Stabilization for her other side

After surgery, Rosetta went back home to Pennsylvania and followed Dr. Millett’s physical therapy regimen religiously. She improved every week.

Since it’s not unusual to have lasting effects from a long-standing injury, Rosetta’s left SC joint began to have issues from its long over-compensation for the injured joint. This time however, she knew exactly who to go to. Dr. Millett performed her second SC Joint stabilization surgery in 2019, nine months after her first surgery.

Rosetta and Dr. Millet, After SC Joint Stabilization

Rosetta and Dr. Millett after SC Joint Stabilization Surgery

Today she is pain-free after her bilateral SC Joint Stabilization surgeries

Rosetta "V" is for Victory

Rosetta’s tiny scars: “V is for Victory”

Today Rosetta is back on track, fulfilling her dreams from 4 years ago. She’s working in home health for seniors and plans to eventually go back to school and become an RN. Today, she has a whole new outlook on life. “I’m so very grateful,” she explains, “to have my life back again. To be pain-free and doing the things I love. It’s a gift.” She can once again go to the gym, workout, and go to school without limitations. She explained her gratitude for Dr. Millett and his team: “The whole team is compassionate, and they clearly have a passion for what they do. They listen to their patients and believe them. They saved my life!”

Rosetta encourages other patients to advocate for themselves

Rosetta will be the first to tell you she put in the work and physical therapy needed to make sure her surgeries were successful. She also believes in being an advocate for herself and in never giving up. “I have two small scars on my neck” she says, “They almost connect in a “V”.”  Dr. Millett told me it was a V for victory…and it really is! Every single day I feel like I’m living a miracle.”

Contact Dr. Millett for your SC Joint Pain

Our special thanks to Rosetta for sharing her story! If you or someone you know is suffering from SC Joint pain and have not found a solution, or if you would like to seek a second opinion for your shoulder, elbow or knee pain, please contact the offices of Dr. Peter Millett, orthopedic shoulder specialist at The Steadman Clinic. 

Rosetta – What a damaged SC Joint looks like