Determining the best type of rotator cuff injury treatment first depends on the cause of the injury in the first place. The vast majority of injuries to the rotator cuff are degenerative in nature, meaning that over time, the tendons found in the shoulder area begin to deteriorate and weaken and eventually small rips or tears form that can lead to weakness, loss of movement and sore joints and muscles. These types of injuries are often quite different from acute forms that affect the rotator cuff that are often a result of sudden injury, sports injuries or other traumas. The extent of the damage to the tendons found in the rotator cuff region is also important when planning appropriate treatment options.
Tears fall into two categories, partial tears and full thickness tears which are also sometimes called complete tears. When a partial tear is present, it means that a part of the tendon has been damaged but has not been severed completely, unlike in the case of a complete tear which leads to either a hole in the tendon or further damage.
What is perhaps shocking to most people is that initial rotator cuff injury treatment actually varies little between the two types of injury, and starts with home care and other available therapies. Surgery is almost always reserved for situations where home care and therapy have failed, chronic pain management appears imminent, symptoms are persisting or a resumption in normal activity is not possible. In fact, there is little evidence to suggest that having surgery immediately as a form of rotator cuff injury treatment provides any further benefit than delaying surgery in favor of non-invasive techniques, and therefore with some exceptions, it’s typically not considered immediately as a treatment tool.
Home care in fact is almost always the initial type of rotator cuff injury treatment. The most important part of this is simply, rest. Overusing the injured shoulder can actually make damage worse and can also lead to a worsening in symptoms. Over the counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are also useful, but their use should be only as prescribed and should be monitored by a healthcare provider, especially if they will be used longer than in the short term. We’ve compiled a list of 14 at-home actions you can take to promote your injury healing.
12 At-Home Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment Options
- One effective rotator cuff injury treatment at home is rest, which can help reduce inflammation and allow the injured shoulder to heal.
- Ice is a simple yet effective treatment that can help reduce pain and swelling when applied to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Heat therapy can be another useful rotator cuff injury treatment option, which can help increase blood flow and promote healing in the injured shoulder.
- Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with rotator cuff injuries and can be used as a part of the overall treatment plan.
- Gentle stretching exercises, such as pendulum swings, can help improve range of motion in the affected shoulder as part of rotator cuff treatment.
- Rotator cuff strengthening exercises, such as external and internal rotation exercises, can help improve the strength and stability of the injured shoulder as part of treatment.
- Using a shoulder brace or sling can help support the injured shoulder and reduce movement to promote healing, making it an effective injury treatment option.
- Applying compression to the affected area with a wrap or bandage can help reduce swelling and promote healing to your rotator cuff injury.
- Taking breaks from activities that aggravate the injury can also be a beneficial healing method.
- Getting adequate rest and sleep is an essential part of rotator cuff injury treatment, as it helps promote healing and recovery of the affected shoulder.
- Maintaining proper posture and using proper lifting techniques can help reduce strain on the injured shoulder and prevent further damage.
- Modifying activities to reduce strain on the affected shoulder, such as switching to lighter weights or avoiding overhead movements, can also be a part of acute injury treatment.
What Is the Problem With At-Home Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment?
The problem with home care unfortunately is that it’s not always hugely effective at relieving symptoms or encouraging a prompt return to regular physical activity. It’s in these situations where therapy can be incredibly important. When most people think of therapy, they think of sports physiotherapy exclusively. But today’s definition of therapy has been exponentially expanded to include a wide array of therapeutic support and services. In many cases, therapy has crossed over from a supplemental resource to a medical tool that is integral in the treatment and rehabilitation of numerous types of injury and illnesses.
Is Cryosauna a Beneficial Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment Option?
One example of this becoming more evident is in the case of cryotherapy in physiotherapy, where cold technology popularized by athletes heading for ice baths following a performance has been enhanced to be more powerful, more comfortable and more accessible. The benefits of cryotherapy as used today in cryo saunas or cryo chambers include recovery from performance but also injury recovery and benefits to certain types of illnesses, too.
Although popular today for athletes who are looking to speed recovery time, cryotherapy may be useful in the case of a rotator cuff injury treatment as well. The procedure is thought to work to reduce inflammation, stimulate physiological responses that can reduce healing time and also prompt the release of pain relieving chemicals as well as processes that reduce inflammation.
Combining new types of therapy like those utilizing cryo saunas with traditional forms of physiotherapy may lead to even greater success in treating injuries without the need for surgery. Check out the Cryotherapy Toronto basic package or select from our variety of pricing options.
6 Acute Rotator Cuff Injury Therapy Options
- Massage therapy can help promote blood flow to the injured area, reduce muscle tension and pain, and promote healing in the rotator cuff.
- Acupuncture can be another alternative treatment that can help reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing in the affected shoulder.
- Physical therapy can be helpful, providing specific exercises and techniques to help strengthen the shoulder and promote healing.
- Ultrasound therapy, which uses sound waves to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation, can also be an effective post-injury therapy option.
- Electrical stimulation therapy, which uses low-level electrical currents to promote healing and reduce pain, can be used as a part of the overall rotator cuff injury treatment plan.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which uses the patient’s blood to promote healing in the affected shoulder, can also be an effective therapy option.
Some types of therapy such as physical therapy are almost always considered appropriate as a form of rotator cuff injury treatment, and others may not always be necessary. What is worth understanding however is that there are a great many types of additional treatment available to people with injuries to the rotator cuff in the event that traditional home care techniques have been unsuccessful or only partially successful.
These options are ideal for people who aren’t ready for steroid injections or other invasive types of rotator cuff injury treatment and people who do not want to have surgery. What type of treatment is right depends on the person, their overall level of physical health, the location and extent of the injury and the desire of the individual to return fully to extreme physical activity, if applicable. Home care is always appropriate, but when it fails to produce desired results, various forms of therapy are available – and some of them are so effective, the need for surgery may be delayed or averted entirely.