Rotator Cuff Pain Relief

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Rotator cuff pain affects many people. It is a pain typically brought on by injury. The rotator cuff is the combination of muscles and four tendons that surround the shoulder joint. The tendons connect the rotator cuff muscles to the bone. They allow you to move your shoulder in many directions. When there is an injury of the rotator cuff, it is actually the tendons hurt.

Medication

  • When there is an injury to the rotator cuff, swelling and inflammation can play a role in the pain. One form of treatment your doctor may prescribe is anti-inflammatory and pain medication. Anti-inflammatories relieve swelling and inflammation, which can contribute to pain.

    If over-the-counter pain medications do not work, your doctor may prescribe a prescription-strength pain medicine, which is stronger.

Physical Therapy

  • Exercises can help alleviate pain for a rotator cuff injury. The first exercise requires you to lie on your right side. Use a rolled-up towel under your right armpit and stretch your right arm up past your head. Keeping your left arm down by your side and your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, rest your left hand against your chest. Gently roll your left shoulder out while raising the left forearm until it becomes level with your shoulder. Lower your arm slowly, then repeat this exercise until your arm becomes tired. Roll over, and do the exercise with your right arm.

    A second exercise requires you to lie on your right side. Use a rolled-up towel under your right armpit. Stretch your right arm up past your head. Keep your left arm at your side and bent to a 90-degree angle while your forearm rests against your chest with the palm of your hand facing down. Gently roll your left shoulder out while raising your left forearm until it is level with your shoulder. Lower your arm slowly and repeat the exercise until your arm becomes tired. When you are finished, repeat the exercise with your right arm.

Surgery

  • Arthroscopic surgery to repair the rotator cuff is sometimes an option to help control the pain. Surgery is performed to repair torn tendons. Most patients will not be required to stay the night in the hospital. It is a procedure performed under general anesthesia.

    The most common procedure is to suture the tendon back to the bone. However, according to orthopedist Dr. Gary Gartsman, about 5 percent of the time, this procedure will not work and a metal anchor must be used to hold the tendon to the bone. He also says that in almost all the cases to repair a torn rotator cuff, the surgery is successful.

    After surgery, your doctor will probably prescribe exercises or physical therapy to help the shoulder regain strength as well as pain medications and anti-inflammatories.

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