Are you having difficulties lifting your arm or carrying heavy objects? Has your shoulder been bothering you with pain, even while you’re trying to fall asleep? One possible cause for this is a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder.
A rotator cuff tear is a common reason for shoulder pain. The “cuff” is where the shoulder muscles and tendons meet to cover the upper end of the arm bone, allowing your shoulder to rotate and provide the widest range of motion of any joint in the human body.
The rotator cuff can tear partially or fully due to age or overuse. Sudden or repetitive shoulder movements can cause small or large tears in the shoulder capsule. Shoulder pain, stiffness, and weakness are some symptoms of a torn rotator cuff.
Treating a Torn Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Pain
A partially torn rotator cuff will eventually heal on its own; a full rotator cuff tear may require surgery to repair. There are various treatment options to speed up your recovery of a partial tear, including the following:
When you start to feel chronic or intermittent pain in your shoulder, let your shoulder rest. This means not continuing the arm movements that are causing the pain, especially heavy lifting, until the pain subsides. Be patient, because it can take quite a few months for a rotator cuff tear to heal.
Hot and Cold Compress
You can reduce pain and inflammation in your shoulder with a cold compress (not too cold) for 15 to 20 minutes every three hours or so. When the pain improves, use heat therapy to help relax the sore muscles.
You may take over-the-counter pain relievers to help alleviate the pain. Ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen are some good options.
Physical therapy exercises will help restore flexibility and strength in your shoulder. It can also help to improve function, alleviate pain, and reduce swelling. Physical therapy will also be part of your recovery process should you need surgery for the injury.
If the pain is interfering with your daily activities, your doctor may give you a corticosteroid injection in your shoulder. This treatment can help relieve the pain for several weeks or more.
If these treatment options do not help heal your rotator cuff tear, or if your rotator cuff is fully torn, then you may need surgery. Some of these surgical options include the following:
Arthroscopic Tendon Repair. Your surgeon will first insert an arthroscope via a small incision in your shoulder in order to locate the injury. Then, the physician will reattach the torn tendon to your shoulder bone.
Open Tendon Repair. In this procedure, your doctor will repair the damaged tendon in the shoulder. This surgery is performed if arthroscopy is not an option.
Shoulder Replacement. If your rotator cuff is completely torn and cannot be repaired, you may require shoulder replacement surgery. In this procedure, an artificial joint (prosthetic) will replace your current shoulder, and it will be as good as new once you’re fully recovered.
Shoulder Doctor in Sarasota, Florida
If your shoulder pain is affecting your daily activities or your ability to sleep, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced doctors here at Intercoastal Medical Group.
Schedule an appointment at one of our orthopedic offices: at the Beneva Professional Center in Sarasota, call (941) 955-6748, or at our Lakewood Ranch I Medical Office building, call (941) 362-8662.
You can also schedule an appointment online now via our appointment request form. We look forward to helping you restore your arm into full swing!