Rotator Cuff tears are a common injury especially in people over the age of 45. They can occur from athletic activities, on the job especially working with your arms overhead and just from normal wear and tear of daily activities.
Tears are described as either partial or complete. Patients will usually complain of inability to sleep on the affected side and pain when trying to raise their arm overhead. In most cases Physical Therapy is the treatment of choice.
When patients are initially seen in the office we almost always try conservative treatment. The goal of therapy is not to heal the torn tendon, but to decrease the pain, increase range of motion and strengthen the shoulder.
Physical Therapy will improve the function of the surrounding shoulder muscles. This is done with specific exercises that target the smaller muscles around the shoulder that are often missed. By strengthening these muscles the shoulder will compensate for the injured muscle and improve the overall health of the shoulder. Many of these exercises can be done at home after proper instruction by a Licensed Physical Therapist. It may take months to improve your range of motion and decrease the pain, but it may help you avoid surgery.