The rotator cuff is the special group of muscles and tendons that work with the shoulder capsule, which comprises the ligaments that hold the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. The rotator cuff can suffer many tiny tears or one large tear, and treatment for this includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy. If you have relatively minor damage to your rotator cuff, you may only need physical therapy rather than surgery.
In a study published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, about 90% of the patients with rotator cuff tears who underwent physical therapy instead of surgery reported only minimal pain in the shoulder 13 years later. This strongly indicates that physical therapy is an effective treatment option for rotator cuff tears.
Let’s talk about how physical therapy may be able to help you avoid shoulder surgery altogether, and where you can go for an evaluation and therapeutic treatment.
Can Physical Therapy Fix My Rotator Cuff?
If you have a torn rotator cuff, physical therapy can help you avoid surgery by performing easy shoulder exercises that will improve the strength and flexibility of your shoulder muscles. This strength will then ease the pressure on the torn tendon, thereby stabilizing the shoulder joint.
Physical therapy includes stretching, strengthening, range-of-motion, and stabilization exercises for the affected joint. You can expect noticeable results within a month or so.
Physical therapy may be an effective treatment for rotator cuff tears, but not everyone may be suited for this option alone – especially if the pain is severe and if you rely heavily on your shoulders for work or sport. Your doctor can evaluate your shoulder and determine the extent of the damage, and the physician can then give you good advice insofar as next steps.
How Do I Know if Shoulder Surgery Is Necessary?
The doctor will know whether or not surgery is necessary or if physical therapy is all that is needed to get your shoulder back to good working order again. If rotator cuff repair surgery is indeed warranted, you will receive thorough physical therapy after the operation to strengthen your shoulder as it heals.
Post-op physical therapy of the shoulder will also help you to prevent developing frozen shoulder, which can happen to people who do not move and exercise their shoulder enough. This essentially causes temporary disability of the shoulder.
Physical Therapy serving Austin, Round Rock, Manor, Pflugerville, Cedar Park, Bee Caves, and Hutto
Our caring and dedicated physical therapists here at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness regularly help patients with rotator cuff tears regain the strength and motion of their shoulder joint. If your doctor does recommend surgery, we are here for you to help you fully recover from shoulder surgery.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our outstanding physical therapists, contact us today by calling our friendly staff at (512) 284-7192 or by filling out our convenient online request form now. We look forward to helping you get your shoulder back again!