All photography provided by Jared Chambers

Rotator cuff and shoulder pain can get better.

 

What is Rotator cuff injury?

Your rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that help control your shoulder movement. They work with your deltoids, biceps, rhomboids and other muscles to coordinate the movement of your arm with your shoulder blade.

What does rotator cuff injury feel like?

A rotator cuff injury can provoke a sharp or dull lingering pain in your shoulder. This ache typically gets worse when sleeping on the affected side. When the rotator cuff is injured, inflammation will result as a form of protection. Inflammation can result in pain as well as decrease in mobility. If you have a shoulder injury, you may notice that you suddenly experience pain when lifting your arm and participating in daily activities.

Why does it happen?

Moving our arm is a very coordinated action involving a lot of muscle control. Consider how much flexible our arms are compared to the forelegs of a dog or cat. When we raise our arm, muscles act to raise your humerus (arm) over your shoulder blade, and at the same time rotate and raise your shoulder blade up from your torso. In addition, muscle that typically hold your shoulder and shoulder blade down have to relax. If this coordination is off, your muscles might rub against your bones along the path just like a swerving driver may hit the curb as they go. If done repetitively, this causes inflammation in your shoulder, which is your body’s way of telling you to “STOP DOING THIS”. But sometimes we don’t, or can’t stop, due to work or sport demands. Or perhaps there was a sudden accident. This leads to rotator cuff injury.

Does it get better?

It does! First step is to protect your shoulder while it recovers. Taking a break from the provoking activity, wearing a supportive brace or splint will stop the progression of the injury. The shoulder tendons are living tissue that can heal. But they do so somewhat slower, because there are fewer blood vessels going into them than other parts of our body. Nonetheless many people get back to their life and their sport with time, exercise, and treatment.

Your doctor may also help you with medication to facilitate the protection and recovery. Stretches, strengthening, and movement control exercises can help you regain the strength and control that allows you to return to your usual activities without aggravating your shoulder. Surgeries are other options as well, and you should speak with your physician about all your options.

What can we do to help?

We use a combination of physical therapy and holistic techniques to provide a natural, non-invasive way to improve frozen shoulder very quickly.

  • Yu Family Acupressure - A traditional technique to reduce pain and promote healing

  • Motor Control training - Key to a healthy shoulder involves all of the muscles working in harmony. Pain, exhaustion, tension can throw off your body’s control and a skilled physical therapist will help you retrain your neuromuscular system.

  • Mobilization & Stretching - Tension of your muscles and joint can make it difficult to move your arm comfortably, much like how car alignment issues make it difficult to drive straight. Hands on soft tissue and joint releases restore your shoulder’s optimal movement.

  • Exercises - Biases in your shoulder muscle strength (for instance, chest is often stronger than back), leads to direction bias and stiffness. Stretching and strengthening exercises helps you to protect and improve your shoulder between and beyond your physical therapy sessions.

  • There are many other methods and tools that are helpful, but the list would be exhausting. During your evaluation we will explain the the approach best for you in consideration with your needs and preferences.

How long will it take?

Each visit lasts 45 mints to an hour. Adherence to your doctor and physical therapist’s advice on protecting your shoulder should prevent and alleviate your pain quickly. And you should start feeling better. Many people return to their activities after a few weeks or months of working on their shoulder.

How much does it cost?

We are in network with most PPO insurances and medicare. We also accept worker's compensation claims and automotive injury claims. You will be responsible for your insurance deductible and copay. We can contact your insurer to find out details for you but it is always recommended that you speak your your insurance company to verify as sometimes their database can be out of date.

Do you take insurance?

We are in network with most PPO insurances and medicare. We also accept worker's compensation claims and automotive injury claims. You will be responsible for your insurance deductible and copay. We can contact your insurer to find out details for you but it is always recommended that you speak your your insurance company to verify as sometimes their database can be out of date.

DOES the treatment hurt?

The treatment can cause mild discomfort comparable to a strong massage or a good workout. We aim to help you be and move comfortably again so we minimize discomfort whenever we can!

Are you sure this will work?

Most of our patients are able to return to living the life they wish without having to have surgery. Every person is different and we really need to get to know you and your condition to answer that question. If we feel that your condition would benefit from additional medical intervention beyond PT, we will happily refer you to a doctor who is right for you.

 

Movement is life.
— Moshe Feldenkrais