Benefits of Physical Therapy Before Rotator Cuff Surgery

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Benefits of Physical Therapy Before Rotator Cuff Surgery

Shoulder pain is the 3rd most common cause of musculoskeletal disorders, behind only lower back pain and cervical (neck) pain.  Per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, in 2006 approximately 7.5 million people visited their doctor for a shoulder related problem.  They report that 4.1 million of those visits (>50%) were due to injury or dysfunction with the rotator cuff, which is a group of 4 muscles that surround the shoulder joint and provide stability and help us lift our arm overhead.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

When someone tears or injures their rotator cuff, it’s usually due to either repetitive strain (wear and tear) or an acute trauma (like a fall as an example).  In the case of a repetitive strain, symptoms can start very mildly such as dull pain throughout the shoulder.  Usually with rest and ice symptoms will subside within a short time (<2 weeks) and without proper education people will return to the activities that caused the symptoms to begin with. 

If I Tear My Rotator Cuff, Will I Need Surgery?

If you injure your shoulder and have pain it is very important to be properly evaluated by an orthopedist or physical therapist.  Without a comprehensive evaluation and proper diagnosis further injury can occur and lead to a much more difficult recovery.  Recently, there has been a study that has shown that early access to quality physical therapy care for non-traumatic rotator cuff injuries (wear and tear) leads to a similar outcome as surgery!  Per the study published in Bone and Joint Journal, patients who received physical therapy alone for rotator cuff tears showed similar improvement and overall patient satisfaction than rotator cuff surgery and post-operative physical therapy combined.

If you know of someone who is suffering from shoulder pain, please have them give us a call at 339-987-4856.

Cray Physical Therapy offers treatments, management and general information for several types of pain related to work, sports or everyday living injuries. Give us a call at 339-987-4856 so we can help you get on the road to recovery! You can also fill out our contact form by clicking here and we will be back in touch.

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