Physical Therapy for Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and associated tendons that assist in rotation and elevation of the arm. Injuries to this muscle group are the leading cause of shoulder pain for all age groups. They can occur as a result of repetitive activities such as throwing, raking, or washing cars, or they may be a result of direct trauma to the shoulder. The most typical symptom is a deep, aching shoulder pain that can sometimes radiate to a few inches below the shoulder. Pain is typically aggravated with activities requiring reaching overhead or behind the back. You may experience arm weakness and difficulty sleeping, especially on the involved side. You should seek medical care if your pain remains unchanged for more than a few days.
Physical therapy can be effective for treating rotator cuff injuries instead of/prior to surgical intervention. Your physical therapist will use manual therapy, modalities, and exercise to address your symptoms, stretch tight muscles, and strengthen weak muscles to reduce your pain and improve function. Through a customized program you will be educated on body mechanics and exercises to specifically address your impairments. You can expect to be seen on average 2-3x/week for 1-2 months depending on the severity of your symptoms.
Physical therapy is required after surgical intervention to regain strength, range of motion and function of your arm and shoulder. Your physical therapist will follow a specific protocol as outlined by your doctor to ensure that you are achieving range of motion and strength while protecting the surgical repair. You can expect to be seen on average 2-3x/week for at least 2 months to maximize function of your shoulder.