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.
For minor injuries, conservative therapy may be all that you need. This would entail resting, application of ice, use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen or naproxen). After a few days of rest, you should begin range of motion exercises and progressive resistance training to regain shoulder function. However, be careful not try to do too much too soon as you are at a higher risk of inflaming your rotator cuff. The key is to be consistent with your rotator cuff exercises focusing on making slow and steady progress. Your doctor or a physical therapist will be able to provide you with specific exercises designed to improve your condition. You can also check out our exercises at: www.oregonshoulder.com/rehab.
For full thickness rotator cuff tears, surgery may be the right option. Most rotator cuff surgeries can be performed minimally invasively using arthroscopy. The recovery can be long (6 months), but the procedure is low risk and overall the studies show improved outcomes for repair compared to therapy alone for appropriately selected rotator cuff tears.
If you suspect you have a rotator cuff problem, consult Dr Patrick Denard for an in-depth evaluation and personalized treatment plan.
Dr. Patrick Denard has been voted one of the top 20 Shoulder Surgeons in North America and is the most widely published shoulder specialist in Oregon. Dr. Denard is committed to providing the highest level of Orthopedic care to his patients. Dr. Denard has advanced arthroscopy training and is able to perform the vast majority of shoulder procedures in a minimally invasive fashion, including all types of rotator cuff repairs and instability repair. These techniques allow him to repair tears that some consider “irreparable.” Providing every patient with advanced medicine and compassionate care each and every time.