Will Physical Therapy Help a Torn Rotator Cuff?

movement training pain relief physical therapy for athletes sports physical therapist sports physical therapy Jul 26, 2022
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Rotator cuff injuries are extremely common in the United States. According to research, between two to four million individuals are impacted by rotator cuff problems each year. However, the good news is that most people with a rotator cuff tear recover with physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments.

At Backcountry Physical Therapy, a sports physical therapist in Colorado Springs, we help outdoor enthusiasts recover from and prevent injuries. We understand that a torn rotator cuff can seriously impact your ability to enjoy the outdoors. At Backcountry Physical Therapy, we will work with you to understand the type of rotator cuff injury you have so we can expand your range of motion and reduce pain. When you work with the experts at Backcountry Physical Therapy, we will create a long-term plan with a number of treatment options so you can get back to enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado. 

If you have a torn rotator cuff, physical therapy is one of the best options to restrengthen your rotator cuff muscles and tendons to get you back to living life as normal.

What is a Rotator Cuff?

A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint. These muscles are near your shoulder blade and wrap around your upper arm. When you move your arm, these muscles and tendons keep your shoulder stable inside the socket.

What Causes Rotator Cuff Problems?

There are several different reasons why someone has rotator cuff problems. The most common reason for rotator cuff tears is the wear and tear on those muscles and tendons. 

For example, older people often have partial tears or complete tears in a rotator cuff. Athletes also can suffer from rotator cuff problems because of how often they use those muscles and tendons.

Rotator cuff tears can also be caused by an acute injury, such as a car accident or other accidental injury to the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Injury Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms that accompany a rotator cuff tear. When you have a tear, the muscles in your shoulder do not work properly. This can cause several symptoms including:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Trouble lifting your arm
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Lack of stability when lifting your arm
  • Decreased shoulder strength and mobility

You may have trouble completing everyday tasks with a rotator cuff injury. For example, reaching behind your back or lifting your arm may cause pain or instability in your arm. You may also notice inflammation and tenderness in your shoulder. Loss of strength and range of motion is also common with rotator cuff injuries.

It is also important to note that not everyone with a rotator cuff injury has pain, loss of motion, or reduced strength. This is why it is crucial to work with your physical therapist to determine a treatment plan. They will be able to give you an idea of how your shoulder is moving and if you require surgical or nonsurgical treatments.

Will Physical Therapy Help a Torn Rotator Cuff?

The goal of treating a rotator cuff tear is not to necessarily heal the tear. Physical therapy will not heal a torn rotator cuff, but it will help to reduce pain and inflammation as well as improve your strength and range of motion. 

Physical therapy will work to strengthen the muscles that surround your shoulder. This will help improve the function of your shoulder, too. Strengthening the shoulder muscles will help combat symptoms from the torn tendon so you can live your life normally.

When you visit a physical therapist for a rotator cuff injury, you can expect a number of exercises and movement training options including:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Shoulder exercises
  • Isometric exercises
  • Resistance exercises

Your physical therapist may also do a variety of treatments to reduce pain and improve your shoulder’s functionality such as:

  • Heat or ice treatments
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Kinesiology taping
  • Dry needling 

Both active and passive treatments for rotator cuff tears will work to restrengthen your muscles and tendons so you can get back to how your shoulder was before the injury.

Get the Best Physical Therapy for Rotator Cuff Injuries With Backcountry Physical Therapy

Rotator cuff injuries are extremely common among athletes and older individuals in the United States. These injuries can also happen in an instant during a fall or car accident. If you have a rotator cuff tear that is causing you pain, loss of strength, and loss of range of motion in your shoulder, physical therapy is one of the best nonsurgical ways to combat the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear. Active and passive physical therapy treatments can be used to restore your shoulder to its function and ability before the tear.

At Backcountry Physical Therapy, we work with individuals with rotator cuff injuries to reduce their pain and restore their shoulder to its pre-injury functionality. Our goal is to create a long-term solution that is going to target your symptoms. We understand that pain and impaired performance can stop you from doing what you love. That is why at Backcountry Physical Therapy, we work to restore your body and optimize your performance so you can get back to exploring the outdoors. If you have any questions about our physical therapy services, or if you have a rotator cuff injury and are ready to book an appointment, contact Backcountry Physical Therapy!

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