November 10, 2022
If your shoulder is feeling more than a little worse for the wear, it’s time to see a specialist. Shoulder injuries are common, and that includes the rotator cuff, which consists of muscles and tendons that work together to hold the shoulder in place. As one of the most important parts of the shoulder, it allows you to lift and reach with your arm.
3 Ways a Rotator Cuff is Injured
- Acute injuries, such as tears, that happen suddenly — often from a fall
- Develop over time due to repetitive activities
- Aging can cause rotator cuff degeneration and tears
Recurrent pain, limited ability to move the arm and muscle weakness are the most common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury.
Reversing Rotator Cuff Injury & Pain
Surgery for a rotator cuff injury is a matter of last resort. Your specialist will initially explore non-surgically, minimally invasive treatments that can span the spectrum — from resting it to the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
- Strengthening and stretching exercises
- Steroid injections
If surgery is ultimately required, it can include shaving off bone spurs pinching the shoulder and/or repairing torn tendons or muscles in the shoulder. Surgical techniques could include arthroscopy, open surgery, or a combination of both procedures. The ultimate goal will be to help restore function and flexibility of the shoulder and to relieve pain that can’t be controlled by other treatments.
Prepare for Repair
Take solace in knowing that rotator cuff repair is a common surgery. Your specialist will explain the procedure to you and offer you the chance to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure. In advance, you’ll undergo a thorough exam to ensure you’re a candidate for this surgery. It is typically outpatient, so you’ll need someone who can drive you home.
Your arm will be in an immobilizer and/or sling for the next six weeks. From pain management to physical therapy and rehabilitation, recovery could take some time. Your provider will ultimately be the one to release you to drive and any other activity restrictions you might have. Full recovery from the surgery may take several months — and up to one to two years. That’s why it is so important to continue your rehab exercises for at least a year after your rotator cuff repair.
Finding an Orthopaedic Specialist
If you’re experiencing shoulder pain, our specialists at Beacon can evaluate your condition and work with you to find the treatment option that best suits your needs and lifestyle. In most cases, non-surgical treatments and moderate physical therapy can get you back to your baseline. If surgery is the prescribed approach, our experts are here to help you make a full recovery. Schedule an online appointment today.