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Getting Started With Rotator Cuff Surgery

Getting Started With Rotator Cuff Surgery

If you’ve experienced a rotator cuff injury, you know how painful it can be. In some cases, the discomfort may be so intense that you cannot sleep on that side and cannot lift your arm up to your shoulder without risk of it catching on something. If this sounds familiar to you, take note: don’t ignore that pain!

The good news is that physical therapy can help alleviate your rotator cuff pain and get you back to living life. If surgery is an option for your injury, physical therapy will prepare you for it and ensure a smooth recovery afterward.

A rotator cuff tear is an injury to the tendons connecting your shoulder blade. It can be caused by lifting heavy items or throwing a ball, as well as falling directly onto your shoulder.

Once diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, your doctor is likely to order additional tests to detect other issues in your shoulder. These may include an X-ray to check for bone spurs or loss of joint space as well as calcium deposits inside the tendon (calcific tendonitis).

Your doctor may suggest performing an arthrogram, which involves injecting dye into your shoulder joint and taking several X-rays to detect if there’s a tear in its rotator cuff. If the dye leaks out of the joint, there is likely evidence of damage to this ligament.

Once a rotator cuff tear has been diagnosed, your surgeon will suggest treatment. They are likely to suggest physical therapy as part of the rehabilitation process.

Physical therapy will assist you in strengthening and increasing the range of motion in your shoulder, enabling you to move it in various positions while strengthening its muscles and tendons.

Your therapist will teach you specific exercises that allow you to use your shoulder in different ways and prevent future injuries. These drills aim to build strength and mobility, so that you can return to daily activities with less discomfort.

Once your rotator cuff muscles and tendons have healed sufficiently, a physical therapist can introduce you to exercises that use light weights or resistance bands along with gentle stretching in order to build back up those muscles and tendons. Doing so will increase overall strength while relieving some pain.

While in this phase of recovery, you should continue exercising regularly. Your physical therapist can assist with increasing both the duration and intensity of your workouts in order to prevent re-tearing of the injured rotator cuff tendons.

Your physical therapy treatment plan should be to help you return to daily activities quickly and safely. Doing so will reduce further rotator cuff damage and keep your shoulder healthy for years to come.

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