Many patients who suffer a rotator cuff tear want to know if they need surgery to correct the injury, or if they can get by with conservative methods. A recent study published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery set out to determine the effectiveness of physical therapy vs. surgery for rotator cuff patients.
For this particular study, researchers recruited five patients with rotator cuff tears. These patients went through a thorough stereoradiography analysis before and after a 12 week physical therapy routine. The goal of the study was to examine these patients before and after a three month physical therapy exercise program to see if there were any kinematic changes. Researchers examined rotator cuff strength and patient evaluations throughout the course of the study.
Outcomes and Results
After undergoing the three month physical therapy program, all five research subjects were able to avoid surgery. Patients reported significant improvements in shoulder strength. This emphasizes the importance of physical therapy in joint stability and muscle strength improvement among rotator cuff injury patients. It also underlines the fact that surgery should not always be the go-to option for rotator cuff tears. Often, a structured physical therapy routine can help patients avoid surgery.
Edina Shoulder Physical Therapy
The vast majority of adults over 60 years of age have a rotator cuff tear; most are functioning well and pain free. This study shows that there is a high incidence of symptom resolution with a return to greater function via a conservative physical therapy program and not surgery for those who become symptomatic. For the small number that ultimately require surgery, a pre-surgery strengthening and mobility program will expedite the rehabilitation process following the procedure by a significant amount as well as make the patient more comfortable with the process that is ahead of them post surgically.
OrthoRehab Specialists offers strategic physical therapy solutions for rotator cuff patients. Our Minnesota physical therapists offer direct access to rehabilitation, so you don’t have to get a prescription before making an appointment. Contact us at our Edina or Minneapolis physical therapy clinics today to set up your appointment and see how physical therapy can help address your rotator cuff injury.