Shoulder pain involving the rotator cuff is a common occurrence and can be painful and debilitating. There are often many questions and concerns that come along with it. We would like to help answer some of those questions today and give those of you that may be experiencing shoulder pain hope and direction.

Q: I have been told that I have a rotator cuff tear. Will I need surgery?
A: Not likely. Research shows us that often the outcome between surgery and conservative rehab is the same! The majority of the time, rotator cuff tears can be managed well without surgery; allowing people to get back to the activities they love. And rotator cuff tears do not always cause any pain or dysfunction (WHAT?) so do not panic if you are told you have a tear. Between 25-50% of people in there 60s have a pain-free rotator cuff tear and that number increases the older we get.

Q: Will the tear ever heal?
A: The tear can heal although not the same as it was before. However, we like to say "treat the donut not the hole!" meaning that we have lots of good data to show that improving your strength and mobility can get you and your shoulder back to 100%.

Q: Won't using it and strengthening it make it worse?
A: Muscles and tendons respond really well to appropriate loading or work. Having a the right exercise program along with temporarily decreasing the things that aggravate your shoulder are what will make it better!

Rotator-cuff related pain is one of the most common life-disruptors we see. If you are struggling with shoulder pain and have questions related to what your next steps should be please set up an appointment with our team.

Edwards, P., Ebert, J., Joss, B., Bhabra, G., Ackland, T., & Wang, A. (2016). EXERCISE REHABILITATION IN THE NON-OPERATIVE MANAGEMENT OF ROTATOR CUFF TEARS: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE. International journal of sports physical therapy, 11(2), 279301.