Surgical Rotator Cuff Treatments
Surgical rotator cuff repair may be required depending on several factors; location and severity of the tear, age and activity level of the patient. With proper treatment tools and a dedication to your healing, it is often possible to achieve satisfactory shoulder function without an operation. If you continue to suffer from persistent pain, weakness or recurring inflammation after trying non-operative treatments, surgery may be your only option.
The type of surgery you require will depend on the size, shape and location of your injury. Your orthopedic surgeon can determine which surgery is most suited to your condition. A number of these procedures can be completed through day surgery; however most will require extensive rehabilitation utilizing post-surgical therapies. Your surgeon should provide a treatment plan to help you regain normal use as soon as possible.
Arthroscopic surgery involves making tiny incisions around your shoulder joint and inserting a pencil-thin, fiber optic camera with a small lens and lighting system. The surgeon will take a look inside your joint to investigate all the soft tissues and bones. These images will then be transmitted to a TV monitor, which allow the doctor to make a diagnosis and/or perform the repair under video control. At the end of surgery, your incisions are closed, and a dressing is applied.
Impingement syndrome or a partial rotator cuff tear are best treated by this type of surgical repair. They may require a debridement (removal of dead, damaged, or infected tissue) and/or shaving or removal of bone spurs and fragments that can catch when your arm is rotated.
Traditional Open Repair surgery is often preferred if you have a complex or full thickness Rotator Cuff tear. Your surgeon will use sutures (stitches and/or anchors that hold the tissue together after they have been severed) to help attach the tendon back to the tissue or bone. These are made of metal or plastic, and do not need to be removed.
Open repair surgery is also used when additional reconstruction is required, such as a tendon transfer and/or shoulder replacement.
There are always some risks associated with any surgery, which include but are not limited to possible infection, allergic reaction to medications, and damage to surrounding nerves or blood vessels. However, modern techniques have significantly minimized the occurrence of these problems. Tenderness, pain, stiffness and weakness are very common after surgery, but with proper rehabilitation these should diminish.
Surgery is often recommended for younger individuals, people who continuously use their shoulder for work, athletes, or when non-surgical treatments are not effective. Although surgery is often successful at repairing any damage and/or relieving pain, it does not necessarily return strength to your shoulder. That's why a strong commitment to rehabilitation is essential. Healing and recovery time is generally dependent on the extent of your injury, your age, pre-injury level of function, and your commitment to rehabilitation.
Rotator Cuff Treatments
Your initial treatment should involve decreasing any swelling, relieving any pain and stress on the rotator cuff, correcting any biomechanical dysfunction, and then restoring strength and mobility to your injured shoulder. It's also very important to follow any instructions you receive from your physician.
Allowing your shoulder to rest is recommended following injury, however, some careful shoulder movement is required to prevent the joint from freezing and losing range of motion. See your doctor or physical therapist for stretches that will not cause further injury to your rotator cuff. Avoid activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible.
The trick to healing your rotator cuff injury and getting your shoulder back in the best possible condition you can is getting it to heal quickly so there is minimal scar tissue. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in previously injured rotator cuff tendons, muscles and ligaments. However, if you heal your tissue properly, your chance of re-injury or chronic shoulder conditions later on is much lower than average.
There are healing tools that can help treat your rotator cuff tendon, bursa, or other soft tissue and speed up the healing process so you can get back to a life without pain and risk of further injury. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) will promote blood flow to heal your tendons faster and more completely than any other methods available.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of rotator cuff tendinitis, bursitis, and other injury they should
generally be avoided as they weaken the tendon and may lead to a rupture. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.
Freezie Wrap® ColdCure Technology®
To decrease inflammation and relieve pain for a chronic or diagnosed rotator cuff injury doctor's recommend cold compression therapy. For an acute trauma, cold compression therapy within the first 48 - 72 hours and after any strain or re-injury is important to limit the amount of damage done to your tissue. For chronic pain, cold compression therapy will relieve pain and swelling as needed and will reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs.
The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need treat your supraspinatus tendon, subacromial bursa, and other shoulder tissue in an effective and convenient way.
Cold Compression Therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through your tendon and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to healyour injured tendon, bursa, muscle, labrum, or ligaments faster and with less pain!
The deep cooling effect provided by the Shoulder Freezie Wrap® slows cell metabolism thereby reducing cellular break-down and tissue damage. Furthermore, because the cold wraps gently numb the nerves, the wraps also reduce pain! The Shoulder Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack, that chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs, giving you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn. The medical-grade wrap keeps the cold directly off your skin preventing cryoburn while delivering cold right where you need it.
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
After severe inflammation and swelling is reduced you can begin to treat your rotator cuff tendon, bursa, labrum and other soft tissue with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®). BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your shoulder to nourish your tendons, ligaments and muscles to speed healing.
The rotator cuff naturally receives a limited blood supply and when you stop moving your shoulder because it hurts the blood flow is reduced even further, limiting your body's natural ability to heal itself.
By treating your rotator cuff with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the shoulder and increase your body's natural healing power.
An Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your sore shoulder because it speeds healing and relaxes the surrounding muscles. With BFST®, tissues are safely and gently stimulated. Your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to injured cells to promote healing. Our Shoulder Inferno Wrap® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
In addition, the improved blood flow whisks away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the injury. When you stop moving your arm and shoulder due to shoulder pain, your muscles and other tissue can become weaker and dead cells and toxins in the area can cause further tissue deterioration - this can lead to atrophy. By clearing the area of toxins and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your muscle and other tissue, the risk of atrophy (muscle weakness and/or deterioration) is greatly reduced. Keeping your upper arm, shoulder and rotator cuff tissue as healthy as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to improve shoulder strength again once your pain has gone and your injury has healed.
Click here to learn more about how BFST® and Inferno Wraps® work.
With these easy-to-use, home therapies, cold compression and BFST®, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your rotator cuff range of motion.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your rotator cuff area until your pain and inflammation settle, and you gain more mobility and strength in your shoulder. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Remember: We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
Physical therapy is a beneficial way to help decrease pain in the soft tissues, restore atrophied muscles and improve shoulder strength and mobility. The type of physical therapy and the duration will be dependent on your injury.
Once your pain starts to diminish, a physiotherapist can set up an individualized rotator cuff strengthening and stretching exercise program for you to perform at home or in the gym. This will be based on your needs and abilities, and will help you return to performing your normal routines.
Individuals will often lift weights on their own, to try and build up their shoulder strength. However, in doing so, they can do more damage to their shoulder. It is extremely important to strengthen your muscles properly, as they may have weakened during the period of non-use. A trained therapist will help to ensure your rehabilitation process is effective. For fast and effective results, use BFST® in conjunction with physical therapy and an exercise program.
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be used if required to help manage your pain and inflammation. However, these aren't recommended for long term use, as they can cause gastrointestinal difficulties. Some health professionals have also recommended natural supplements such as glucosamine, MSM or hyaluronic acid to help strengthen the injured tissue.
The use of a Shoulder Freezie Wrap® can greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need for NSAIDs. Cold compression therapy is a natural, less harmful way to reduce your pain and inflammation.
Once the initial swelling has decreased, you can provide pain relief and improve your arm function by using an Inferno Wrap® to increase the blood flow to the area. Gentle massage around the injured area or small shoulder movements (if not painful) will also help increase blood flow, oxygen and nutrients and will prevent stiffness. To increase your comfort and prevent further damage, you may want to stabilize your arm by using a shoulder sling or brace to avoid unpredictable movements.
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.