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Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tear

Updated on August 3, 2017

Rotator cuff injury is the most common shoulder joint injury. There are a host of causative factors. Fortunately there is a simple treatment regimen that can help control the symptoms of the condition and treat it promptly. Surgery may be required in severe cases.

What is Rotator Cuff Tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a medical condition in which the tendons of the muscles (rotator cuff muscles) that support the shoulder joint get damaged or inflamed.

One or more of the 4 tendons of the muscles may be affected. The four key muscles which are a part of the rotator cuff include Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor and Subscapularis. In addition the cuff comprises of other seven subscapularis muscles.

Rotator Cuff Injury is one of the commonest afflicting the shoulder joint. Medications and rotator cuff tear exercises are the most vital part of the treatment regimen.

Rotator Cuff Tear Causes

The common causes for a rotator cuff tear are:

  • Age: with advancing age, there is an increased risk of having a tear in the rotator cuff
  • Strenous Activities: such as weight lifting, baseball, tennis, swimming, etc.; and recurring overhead movements are known to cause rotator cuff tear.
  • Trauma or a blow or a sudden heavy impact to the rotator cuff muscles results in a tear.
  • Smoking can increase the risk and predispose a person to tendon tears
  • Diabetes is another chronic endocrinal condition which raises the likelihood of a tear.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tear

The symptoms and manifestations of a rotator cuff tear are:

  • Discomfort and pain in the shoulder; the pain is usually of a throbbing kind
  • Pain worsens when the hand is raised overhead, moved backwards, or when you sleep on the affected side.
  • You may hear a clicking sound occasionally which is indicative of edema within the joint.
  • Stiffness is very commonly seen which results in rigidity with limited range of movement.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment: Rotator Cuff Exercises

Here are some simple Rotator Cuff treatment therapies that have been found to be beneficial.

  • Generally, recovery is quite quick through physiotherapy.
  • Rest is very crucial; you must restrict the movement of the affected shoulder and this will help ease the pain to great extent.
  • Ice compress alleviates tenderness and pain significantly. Ice will also help decrease the inflammation and swelling appreciably.
  • Your doctor may prescribe analgesics in case the pain is agonizing. However there are a host of homeopathic medicines like Bryonia and Rhus tox which help alleviate the pain and protect you from the harmful side effects of analgesics and other over the counter medications
  • Certain physical exercises help improve the flexibility of the rotator cuff muscles, and also give stability and strength to the joint. Regular sessions with your physiotherapist are important to rapid healing. After about 10 days of rest, you are recommended to start off with the physiotherapy. A passive and gentle range-of-motion program is commenced in order to prevent stiffness and rigidity; and maintain a normal range of movement. Exercises ought to be done for the anterior, inferior, and posterior aspect of the shoulder.
  • Rarely, in some cases, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid injections to get rid of the pain, discomfort, stiffness and swelling.

Physical Therapy and Exercises Provide Immense Relief

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery Recovery

Surgery becomes necessary in very severe cases which do not respond to physiotherapy and medicines. An open surgery or a keyhole procedure may be conducted to manage the case successfully.

The prognosis for a rotator cuff tear is fairly good; both with non-operative as well as operative procedures. However, one is more likely to develop recurrences.


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