Whether it’s combing your hair, scratching your back, getting dressed, or only reaching for a snack in the fridge, many daily activities involve raising your hand. But people with a torn rotator cuff on their shoulder cannot perform these regular movements without pain and weakness.
Shoulder injuries are common, especially among athletes who perform repetitive movements in their sport. Athletes who are affected are swimmers, tennis players, ball pitchers, and weight lifters. Injuries can also occur during everyday activities. Many people live with shoulder pain every day. If you are one of those people with weakness or difficulty in lifting your shoulders, you should consult our surgeon, Dr Chanda Sekhar. Read below to learn more about shoulder pain and when to see a doctor.
What is a Rotator Cuff?
Have you ever wondered where and what is a rotator cuff? You may be surprised to learn that your rotator cuff is not one muscle, but rather a group of muscles and tendons that work together to stabilize your shoulder as you move.
This is why there are so many types of rotator cuff tears. Some or many tendons and muscles can be injured. Therefore, it may be difficult to identify symptoms that are specifically associated with rotator cuff breaks.
Some doctors recommend immediate surgery for rotator cuff injuries, although skipping surgery isn’t always the most comfortable or most effective solution. There are many reasons doctors think this way. The good news is surgery isn’t still necessary. Being aware of your injury is the best way to defend yourself.
Let’s take a step by step approach to this problem so that you can make the right decisions about your health.
What is a rotator cuff tear?
The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder. They also aid movement. Each time you move your shoulder, use a cuff to stabilize the joint and help it progress. The rotator cuff is often the area that is damaged. The most common injuries are tear, tendonitis, and bursitis.
If one or more of the rotator cuff tendons are torn, the tendons are no longer fully attached to the humeral head. Most rotator cuff ruptures involve a tendon detached from the bone. Most of the tear occurs in the supraspinatus tendon, but other parts of the rotator cuff can also be affected.
In most cases, a torn tendon begins with an abrasion. As the injury continues, the tendon can tear completely, sometimes by lifting heavy objects.
There are two types of tears:
- Partial tear: This is also known as an incomplete tear. This damages the tendon but does not tear it completely.
- Complete or full tear: This is also known as a full tear. This separates the entire tendon from the bone.
To know causes of rotator cuff injury visit https://www.hyderabadshoulderclinic.com/different-types-of-rotator-cuff-injuries/
Signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff:
- Cracking sensation when moving the shoulder.
- Severe pain and a feeling of popping sensation
- Trouble lifting your arm
- Weakness on the shoulder
Diagnosis and tests:
To diagnose shoulder problems, your doctor may:
- Talk to you about your medical history, including how you fell on your shoulder and when the problem started.
- Doctors take a look at your shoulders and ask them to move in a certain way.
- Imaging tests, such as X-ray or MRI, may be done. This way, the doctor can see what’s going on in your shoulder. Your doctor will likely take an x-ray first, and then try an MRI if your shoulder doesn’t improve. An MRI can provide doctors with more information about soft tissue damage in the shoulder.
What happens after you are diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury?
Non-surgical Rotator Cuff tear Treatment:
Most people with a rotator cuff tear can heal, regain strength and function, and relieve pain through non-surgical treatment.
The best treatment for a rotator cuff injury will depend on what your doctor determined during your assessment. This can include rest, medication, physical therapy, joint injections, and surgery. Rotator cuff injuries can last from several weeks to several months, depending on the injury. Most rotator cuff tears don’t heal on their own, but often you can relieve pain and restore shoulder function without surgery.
Rotator cuff repair depends on the type of tear, its size, and its location. Non-surgical and conservative treatments are useful for many people and are often tried first. Typical rotator cuff repair procedures are:
- Physiotherapy / Strengthening Exercises: Physical therapy is an excellent first step your doctor may recommend after diagnosis, depending on the severity of your tear. Several exercises can help restore movement and strengthen the shoulders. Your doctor or physical therapist can provide you with a stretching program to improve flexibility and strengthen exercises to build supportive shoulder muscles, relieve pain, and prevent further injury.
Your physical therapist will perform specific exercises to help you heal the injury, increase the flexibility of the rotator cuff and shoulder muscles, and provide balanced strength to the shoulder muscles. This may be enough for you, but most patients want a full rotator cuff repair to ensure that no new damage occurs. If physical therapy doesn’t improve the situation at all, your doctor may recommend for surgery.
They may also recommend using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or ice / hot compresses to control inflammation. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need physical therapy for several weeks to several months.
- Taking rest and changing activities: Temporarily avoiding overhead or other causes of shoulder pain can help relieve symptoms. The doctor may also prescribe a sling or brace to keep the shoulder in a resting position.
- NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be prescribed with a prescription to relieve pain and swelling.
- Steroid Injections: While resting, medication and physical therapy don’t control the pain, injecting a local anaesthetic and cortisone can help some people.
Surgical rotator cuff repair:
If non-surgical treatment does not relieve pain, surgical repair of the rotator cuff tear may be considered. Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff usually reattaches the tendon to the humeral head. Surgery may be the best option if symptoms last more than six months, the tear is large, but the surrounding tissue is healthy, the person has significant weakness and loss of function, or the injury is acute and severe. Surgical options include:
- Arthroscopy: A small camera is inserted into a small incision in the shoulder for visualization, and a small instrument is used to repair the tears. Recovery time is likely to be shorter than for other types of surgery.
- Open surgery: The surgeon makes a larger incision, and a larger instrument is used to repair the tear.
- Mini-Open: Both arthroscopic and open methods are used. The surgeon first uses the arthroscope for visualization and then corrects the tear with a larger instrument.
- Shoulder replacement: If necessary, shoulder replacement surgery may be recommended. Shoulder replacement surgery includes a full shoulder replacement or a reverse shoulder replacement.
If you experience shoulder pain, make an appointment with Dr Chandra Sekhar shoulder surgeon today. Our experienced team treats all types of rotator cuff pain and can help you find the best treatment option for you. From diagnosis and testing to treatment, therapy and clinical follow-up. Our team will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that allows you to return to your daily activities as quickly as possible. When surgery is needed, we will be with you every step of the way to guide you to a successful recovery.
Some people with rotator cuff tear may find relief from the non-surgical treatment provided they consult early. Patients who are notified that they need rotator cuff surgery should understand the reason for surgery. For more information and best shoulder surgery, contact Dr Chandra Sekhar.B.