What is the Best Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injury?
Millions of people suffer from debilitating shoulder problems every year. Rotator cuff injuries commonly occur in individuals performing repetitive overhead motions in their job or sport. Suffering from this shoulder injury impacts quality of life, comfort during sleep, ability to work and time lost from activities. Finding the right treatment for rotator cuff injury is very important.
Rotator Cuff Injury Can Affect Anyone – Not Just Athletes
A rotator cuff injury can affect anyone, but is most common in occupations such as painters and construction workers, as well as athletes who participate in throwing sports.
Whether you play sports casually or in a league, injuries are bound to happen. In fact, as children begin sports at earlier ages, physical therapists have started seeing overuse injuries in kids as young as eight years old. Rotator cuff injuries, a notorious overuse injury, are commonly seen in athletes playing baseball, softball, tennis, swimming and volleyball. Traumatic injury, such as a direct blow, falling onto the arm, or lifting overhead can also cause shoulder pain and instability from rotator cuff tearing.
Non-athletes aren’t safe from rotator cuff problems. Advanced age is associated with a higher incidence of rotator cuff injuries, with the risk of injury naturally increasing with age. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 80% of those over age 80 suffer from a rotator cuff tear.
Find Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injury
Treatment for rotator cuff injuries is based on individual evaluation and goals. The initial treatment for a rotator cuff injury focuses on helping reduce pain and inflammation, while restoring function to the muscles that surround the shoulder. Taking the proper steps to strengthen these muscles will help to support the damaged tendons and improve shoulder joint mechanics.
While individual rotator cuff injury treatment plans vary, the main goal of physical therapy is to ease the return to activity, whether a job or sport. The initial treatment will help manage pain symptoms and inflammation, as well as address range of motion, flexibility, strengthening, and advanced strengthening/proprioception. At the same time, assessments to correct any identifiable issues along the kinematic chain are also important to optimize overall progress.
As with any joint trauma, treatment for rotator cuff injury will be progressive, functional and customized, in an effort to prepare the individual to return to their activity or job safely. This can be accomplished using local modalities, such as electrical stimulation and ice. However, a combination of manual therapy and exercise is foundational to reaching desired functional activities.
Addressing a Common Shoulder Condition: Preventing Rotator Cuff Injuries
If your job or activity present risk factors for rotator cuff injuries, awareness and preventative measures can help stave off injury.
At-risk individuals perform a lot of repetitive movements in their job or sport. Make sure to take plenty of rest breaks. Learn and practice proper body mechanics for improper performance of activities may lead to rotator cuff injury. Talk with a physical therapist about a stretching and strengthening program you can do at home. Proactive physical therapy visits can reveal any muscle imbalances, inefficient movement patterns, extreme tightness, etc. that could lead to rotator cuff injury. While something might not be a problem now, an evaluation might reveal signs of a future problem, before it becomes a bigger issue.
Read More: Rotator Cuff Tear Physical Therapy: Is It As Effective As Surgery? >>
Whether you’re looking for geriatric rehab or sports rehab, if you need treatment for a rotator cuff injury, we’re here to help! Give us a call at1-732-444-3578 to schedule your no-obligation appointment at one of our 23 convenient New Jersey clinics.
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