Shoulder Pain FAQs
Rotator cuff tears are generally characterised by pain and limited movement of the shoulder, that was initiated by an injury event. The pain of a rotator cuff tear can be very sharp and have a ‘catchy’ quality with certain movements and in certain positions.
It is impossible to know for sure whether you have a rotator cuff tear, diagnosing rotator cuff tears involves a combination of specific orthopaedic tests and imaging techniques like ultrasound.
There are many cases of rotator cuffs settling down and functioning quite happily despite having a tear in one of the tendons. This is most likely because there are multiple tendons, in the instance of a tear in one tendon stability can still be enforced by the remaining intact tendons. It is not advisable to decline surgery without at least pursuing an extended and professionally prescribed rehab program to strengthen your rotator cuff. It may also be inadvisable to decline survey if you have a major tear that is not improving with attempts at treatment and rehab.
The best treatment for rotator cuff injury depends on many factors. The severity and location of the injury, your lifestyle and even your genetics play a role in what will work best for you treatment wise. The smartest way to treat rotator cuff injury is with a ‘flexible’ and ‘conservative’ approach. Flexible in this context means using a variety of treatments and tools to see what works for you (eg. acupuncture, stretching, deep tissue release). Conservative in this context means starting with the least invasive options possible (eg. consider acupuncture and rehab exercises before considering surgery).