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Home > Torn Rotator Cuff Treatment for People Suffering from Shoulder Pain

Torn Rotator Cuff Treatment for People Suffering from Shoulder Pain

23rd Dec 2021 | 0 comments

What is a torn rotator cuff?

A torn rotator cuff is a common injury and often occur with age, especially in people whose job require repeated overhead motions like painters and carpenters. When your rotator cuff is torn, it can affect your ability to lift and rotate your affected arm.

This is because the rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that help stabilise your shoulder. They also aid in movement. Every time you move your shoulder, you are using the rotator cuff to stabilise and help move the joint.

Should there be a partial or complete tear in your rotator cuff, you may experience a dull ache in your shoulder, which typically worsens with continuous use of your arm away from the body.

There are two kinds of rotator cuff tears – partial and complete. The former is when one of the muscles that form your rotator cuff is frayed or damaged, while the latter indicates a complete tear that goes all the way through the tendon or pulls the tendon off the bone.

What causes a rotator cuff injury?

The causes of a torn rotator cuff tend to fall in one of two categories – an acute injury or chronic degeneration.

Acute injury

You can sustain a tear in your rotator cuff by performing a range of activities that may lead to shoulder injuries such as breaking your collarbone or dislocating your shoulder, falling onto an outstretched arm, lifting something in a sudden, jerking motion, or lifting something too heavy.

Chronic degeneration

A person’s tendons naturally wear down with age, especially for a person’s dominant arm. If you’re right- or left-handed, chronic degeneration can affect the blood supply to the tendons. Repetitive movements using your dominant arm can also cause rotator cuff injuries to occur.

Torn Rotator Cuff Treatment & Recovery Time

A torn rotator cuff treatment varies depending on the severity of the tear. It can range from non-surgical treatments to surgery. In most cases, non-surgical treatments are generally recommended to help relieve pain and improve function in the shoulder.

These treatments may include:

● Using the RICE method

● Modifying your activities

● Taking anti-inflammatory medications

● Opting for steroid injections

● Going for physical therapy

Should these treatments fail to relieve your symptoms of a torn rotator cuff, surgery is generally recommended as most rotator cuff tears cannot heal on their own. By opting for a torn rotator cuff surgery, you’re increasing your chances of regaining full range of shoulder motion while relieving the pain and swelling caused by the tear.

After the surgery, you will be required to undergo physical therapy and practise the subsequent exercises to restore motion to your shoulder. Full recovery typically takes up to six months. If you’re an athlete or active sportsperson, recovery may take longer as the rotator cuff surgery involves restitching your torn tissue to the bone.

After the surgery, your doctor will instruct you to keep your arm in a sling for four to six weeks. You may need to wear a shoulder immobiliser to protect your shoulder by holding it  in place. Once your shoulder starts to heal, you will begin a course of physical therapy to help restore muscle strength and range of motion.

How to relieve rotator cuff injury?

If surgery isn’t something you want to go through at the moment, your doctor may suggest non-surgical treatments to relieve your shoulder pain. However, you need to bear in mind that these treatments won’t help to heal the tear.

The RICE method

When you experience sudden flare-ups of symptoms, it may be helpful to use the RICE nmethod to relieve the inflammation. Avoid immobilising your shoulder as this can lead to a frozen shoulder.

Activity modification

The way you lift your arm, carry objects, and sleep at night can all place a strain on your rotator cuff. Learning proper ways to use your shoulder will reduce the strain on the rotator cuff muscles.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Taking anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve some of your torn rotator cuff symptoms such as pain and swelling. Make sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine the efficacy of your medications.

Steroid injections

Opting for steroid injections can help limit the acute inflammation of your torn rotator cuff, especially if the pain is interfering with your sleep and daily activities. However, steroid injections should be used judiciously as they can weaken the tendon and affect the success of your surgery if needed in the future.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is the most important step in treating your torn rotator cuff. Strengthening exercises can help restore shoulder function and strengthen your shoulder. Depending on your therapist, your exercise programme may include stretches to improve muscle flexibility and increase your shoulder’s range of motion.

At Spire Orthopaedic Centre, we believe that everyone should be cared for and healed holistically in comfort without having to travel to different locations to seek medical and surgical help and rehabilitation support.

With a combined facility for collaboration between physicians, physiotherapists, and surgeons, you will experience a seamless service from diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, that’s tailored just for you at our clinic.