The pain caused by a rotator cuff injury is usually felt as a dull ache deep within or on the side of the shoulder. It can disrupt your sleep and prevent you from performing routine activities of daily living, particularly activities that require overhead reaching. You may also experience muscle weakness along with the shoulder pain. Relieving the pain and restoring shoulder strength will depend on the extent of the rotator cuff tear.
According to research statistics, nearly 500,000 rotator cuff surgeries and 50,000 total shoulder replacements are performed in the US alone every year. As the likelihood of shoulder injury increases with age, these numbers are expected to keep increasing in the foreseeable future.
Any type of surgical incision will result in the formation of a scar. It is a natural part of the healing process which includes inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling of tissue. In general, the larger the incision, the greater the amount of scarring you can expect to occur.
A research study conducted on professional female tennis players who underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery found 100% of the participants were able to return to professional play after the procedure. Another study on middle-aged tennis players averaging around 51 years of age showed that almost 80% were able to return to tennis after rotator cuff surgery.
Research studies indicate that recovery from a sports injury in a 40-year-old is about 15% to 18% slower when compared to a 30-year-old. If you belong to Generation X - those born in the mid-1960s to early 1980s - you may be able to personally testify to this fact. This isn’t to say participation in sports is out of the picture. You just have to play smarter, not harder.
Opioids (e.g. Vicodin, Percocet, and Oxycodone) are often used to treat pain after orthopedic
surgery. However, they can have substantial side effects including nausea, constipation, itching,
and unfortunately addiction or even overdose. More and more efforts are being made to limit the
need for opioids after shoulder surgery.
Most men achieve peak bone mass in their 30s after which there is gradual decline in bone density, although at a slower rate as compared to women. However, by age 60 both men & women experience the same rate of bone loss. The problem of osteoporosis (weak bones) in men is becoming more significant as advances in healthcare are enabling men and women to live longer and more active lives.
Most movements that involve the upper body such as lifting, carrying, pulling, and bending require the use of shoulder and back muscles. If these muscles are weak, you are at a higher risk of developing rotator cuff tears, shoulder injuries, neck & back pain.
When is the right time to do something is a question we face throughout our lives. With shoulder replacement for treatment of arthritis, one of the most common questions I am asked is “When is the right age?” The fact is, there is no one single answer for this question. I believe the answer to this question is case specific and should be made in an informed manner using 4 additional questions/points.