Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment
ROTATOR CUFF TEAR
DID YOU KNOW THAT AS WE GET OLDER IT’S FAIRLY NORMAL TO HAVE RTC TEARS WITHOUT ANY PAIN?
Did you know that rotator cuff tears (RTC) can be treated without surgery, even if it’s a full-thickness tear? Did you also know that many people who have rotator cuff tear don’t have shoulder pain and aren’t even aware they have a tear? This also doesn’t mean that someone who has a tear will have symptoms in the future.
According to a 2013 study, 22.1% of people (out of 664) of people had a full thickness rotator cuff tear but had no symptoms. We see a similar statistic for disc herniations, disc bulges, and meniscal tears of the knee. It’s important to perform a thorough examination and it’s equally important to understand that there are plenty of non-surgical options available.
In a study by Boorman et al. done in 2018 over a 5 year time period with 63 subjects they found that if patients with a full thickness rotator cuff tear don’t have their cuff repaired after 5 years, their outcomes are nearly identical to people who did have their RTC repaired. This seems surprising but it highlights our body’s incredible capacity to heal.
A lot of people come to physical therapy for shoulder pain and immediately attribute it to an aggravated or torn rotator cuff or some other form of tendinopathy. While it’s important to narrow down which structures could be impacted, it’s more important to determine which movements you aren’t able to do and what activities you are trying to get back to.
Thankfully, physical therapy, including exercise, manual therapy, and other modalities can be very helpful in diminishing pain, improving shoulder function, and getting you back to your favorite activities.
We’ve helped dozens of people who thought they were going to need surgery and ended up finishing physical therapy without needing surgery and without pain. We’d love for you to be next!
1. Minagawa H, Yamamoto N, Abe H, et al. Prevalence of symptomatic and asymptomatic rotator cuff tears in the general population: From mass-screening in one village. J Orthop. 2013;10(1):8-12.
2. Boorman RS, More KD, Hollinshead RM, et al. What happens to patients when we do not repair their cuff tears? Five-year rotator cuff quality-of-life index outcomes following nonoperative treatment of patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2018;27(3):444-448.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, reaching overhead, lifting weights, or simply just have shoulder pain that doesn’t seem to go away, give us a call to see how we can help you!