Your shoulders are able to power your arms through a wide range of motions thanks to the rotator cuffs. Each shoulder joint is held together and powered by a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments that make up the rotator cuff. When one of the muscles or tendons in the rotator cuff tears in an injury, you will not only be in significant pain, but it will be difficult to use your arm for many normal activities.
Treatment for a rotator cuff tear varies on the type of tear you have. A total tear — when the muscle rips completely or mostly in half — you will likely need surgery to repair it and physical therapy afterward to help you recover. However, if you only have a partial tear — less than half of the muscle is torn — then you should be able to recover just fine with physical therapy alone.
Treating a partial rotator cuff tear with physical therapy
To begin, your physical therapist will examine your shoulder to determine the severity of your tear and identify how it’s affecting the use of your arm. Additionally, they will review your medical history and personal factors like age and weight. Using what they learn in their initial examination and review, your physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment routine designed to help you recover at a pace that works for you.
Physical therapy treatments for partial rotator cuff tears vary from person to person depending on their needs, but generally, you can expect:
- Therapeutic exercises and stretches — Physical therapists can guide you through gentle, targeted stretches and exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the other muscles and soft tissue in your shoulder. This helps to support the injured rotator cuff and prevent atrophy that can make recovery more difficult.
- Hands-on therapy — Hands-on techniques may be used to help reduce pain and break up scar tissue that tries to form as you recover.
- Posture guidance — Poor posture can add more stress to your shoulder, which increases pain and stiffness. Your physical therapist can examine your posture and help you make improvements that can reduce stress on your shoulder.
Visit Continuum Wellness for partial rotator cuff tear treatment
Do you have sudden, significant shoulder pain that limits the use of your arm? Our physical therapists at Continuum Wellness can examine your shoulder and determine if you’re a good candidate for physical therapy. Contact our team today about partial rotator cuff tear treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.