Rotator Cuff Treatment
To avoid long-term pain and limited use of your shoulder, you should treat any rotator cuff injury right away. Even a minor tear can worsen over time if not given the chance to properly heal.
The goals of treatment are to:
- Prevent further tearing
- Stabilize the shoulder joint
- Manage pain
- Allow you to return to activity
Recovery time can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, and varies depending on the severity of the tear. In cases where surgery is needed, your doctor will discuss your recovery time and plan with you in detail.
Types of Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment
Non-surgical Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment
For minor tears, you need to give your shoulder a break and let the muscles heal on their own. Your doctor may recommend:
- Immobilizing the shoulder
- Applying ice packs for 15 minutes a few times a day
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
After your symptoms have subsided, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to strengthen your rotator cuff and the surrounding muscles.
Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery
For a major tear, or if your symptoms don't get better after nonsurgical treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are a couple options ranging from open surgery to less-invasive surgery. You and your surgeon will discuss the best way to treat your specific injury.
To properly recover from surgery, you may need to wear a sling for about four to six weeks afterward to limit motion in your shoulder. That is followed by physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion.
The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of stopping the tears from worsening and safely returning to activity.