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Rotator Cuff Repair

Almost everyone has a shoulder problem at some time in their life. While many people think it either won’t happen to them or they can just “play through the pain,” hoping it’ll just go away, the reality is that shoulder injuries are more common than most think. Whether it’s recovering from a rotator cuff repair or dealing with a new injury, thankfully, physical therapy can help.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Oftentimes, the onset of a shoulder problem manifests progressively over time and gets neglected until the individual’s pain is unbearable or range of motion becomes severely limited. Injuries often are a result of misuse, overuse, falls or other accidents. And they’re not just limited to athletes; they can affect anyone from a professional who works on the computer for hours a day, a new mom nursing her child, or even a weekend warrior. While rotator cuff injuries are common with individuals between the ages of 45-65, today, we actually see a lot of youth complaining of shoulder pain which is often attributed to poor posture while playing on electronics, strain from heavy backpacks or overtraining in sports.

Common symptoms include pain with overhead motions such as reaching for something on a kitchen shelf, pain during sleep or pain with reaching behind, such as scratching your back.

Rotator Cuff Repair Treatment

Studies have demonstrated that when an individual moves an arm, as many as 26 muscles are engaged throughout the movement, functioning to stabilize as the shoulder as well as allow motion through multiple phases of shoulder movement. Too often, people put the focus on strengthening superficial muscles, forgetting about the crucial, supportive muscles that provide stabilization to the joint. These muscles are collectively called the rotator cuff that is made up of the Subscapularis, Infraspinatus, Teres minor and Supraspinatus (SITS is an acronym to remember these critical muscles for shoulder function).

Treatment for rotator cuff repair is usually a conservative non-surgical approach of physical therapy assessment and treatment designed to reduce inflammation  along with pain and gain function of the shoulder.  Depending on the patient’s unique situation and severity of the condition, the therapist will design an appropriate treatment plan that may include ultrasound (gentle sound-wave vibrations), electrical stimulation as adjunctive to the primary interventions of manual therapy and a progressive exercises program.

Rotator Cuff Repair Timeline

It’s important to keep in mind that each individual has his or her own timetable for recovery, but can greatly improve their chances of a full and quick recovery by working with a physical therapist upon feeling pain. Any delay, especially if the pain is accompanied by numbness in the hands or fingers can result in further dysfunction or trauma. It’s also key to note that the absence of pain is not necessarily a green-light to return back to normal activity, full recovery should also include complete (pain-free) range of motion, flexibility, equal strength on both sides as well as normal body mechanics.

Preventing Rotator Cuff (re)Injury

Whether you’ve never injured your shoulder before or you’ve already gone through treatment for rotator cuff repair, staying proactive provides the best defense against future problems. Ask a therapist at one of our NJ physical therapy clinics about functional exercises and simple stretches you can do on your own, assess your posture and stay mindful of proper movements. Giving your shoulders a daily dose of TLC will prevent injury in the long run.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

~Benjamin Franklin

Why Choose Twin Boro Physical Therapy

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey in 2013, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 38 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques is incorporated into effective evidence-based practice, we deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.

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