Rotator cuff tears are a common injury among Americans, especially those who regularly play sports or are involved in manual labor. With the potential to cause shoulder pain, muscle weakness, and restriction of basic movements, rotator cuff issues can be quite serious and should be handled by an expert such as your Bergen County shoulder doctor, Roger G. Pollock. Read on to learn Dr. Pollock can help heal your injury.
What causes a rotator cuff tear?
Your rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles and tendons that enable arm movement by keeping your shoulder joint stable. A tear to your rotator cuff can happen either over time (often due to strain from sports, labor, or repetitive arm motions) or from a single incident, such as lifting an overly heavy object or experiencing a rough fall. Whether the tear is partial or complete, your Bergen County doctor can help you properly treat and care for your injury.
Your doctor will first check your range of motion and arm strength, noting if and where pain occurs during the process. They may also take x-rays, ultrasounds or MRI's for a closer look at your tendons, muscles, and bones.
Depending on the extent of your rotator cuff tear, you may be able to treat your injury through physical therapy and medication. Exercises might include a cross over arm stretch, which entails extending the affected arm across your chest with the help of your uninjured arm. Other stretches that may help include moving the injured arm in small circles and back-and-forth, as well as using an elasticized band hooked on a doorknob or chair rung and performing a rowing motion. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve your pain and swelling.
If the exercises don't result in improvement or if the injury is especially extensive, your Bergen County doctor may recommend surgery:
- Open surgery requires your doctor to enter the shoulder muscle to repair the tear with a large instrument
- Arthroscopic surgery uses an arthroscope (a device that contains a tiny camera and instruments) to enter a small incision in your shoulder for repair
- The mini-open method is a combination of the two procedures
Recovery from surgery will likely take one to two months, during which time you will be required to wear a sling for support.
Need relief? Give us a call!
If you are suffering from a rotator cuff tear, contact Bergen County doctor Roger G. Pollock, M.D., at (201) 612-9774.