Shoulder pain: Avoiding surgery

Myo Fit Clinic 12 With Patient
A doctor of physical therapy may help you avoid shoulder surgery by implementing rotator cuff therapy treatment, focusing on regulating the symptoms. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Dr. Adam Cramer, PT, DPT; MyoFit Clinic

When people injure their shoulder, they may fear the worst. Rotator cuff injuries are some of the most common and most painful injuries you can experience.

It’s a misconception that rotator cuffs can only be fixed through surgery. If you don’t want surgery then don’t see a surgeon first, see a doctor of physical therapy for immediate same-day treatment.

What is the Rotator Cuff?
As the name implies, the rotator cuff is made up of muscle, tendons and ligaments that control rotation in the shoulder.

Age can slow healing of any injury. As we get older, the tendons and ligaments that hold our body together get weaker and more prone to injury. The constant wear and tear on our shoulders over the years can weaken these structures and put them at a higher risk for injury.

Our bodies are experts in adapting and overcoming difficult circumstances. If there is an injured muscle, our body will figure out a way to perform the necessary motion another way. If an arm is not as functional as it should be, we will use the other to make up for it. This added strain can easily lead to subsequent injury as the body will take a pathway of least resistance to stay functional.

Rotator Cuff Therapy
The first step to treatment is focus on regulating the symptoms. We do this by providing one-on-one, 60-minute treatment sessions with a doctor of physical therapy.

The treatment includes heating the involved area to promote blood flow/oxygenation to accelerate healing. We then perform hands-on muscle and tendon massage work to further accelerate the healing process. Once the muscle has healed enough, other treatments might include a therapeutic exercise to strengthen the muscles and prevent further damage, neuromuscular reeducation to teach the body to decompensate and move normally again, dry needling to enhance muscle activation and range of motion activities to achieve full movement.

This effective, evidence-based treatment helps patients manage and control symptoms independently while not missing a step in any of their daily activities.

Dr. Adam M. Cramer, PT, DPT, is a licensed physical therapist and the owner of MyoFit Clinics. For more information, visit Clinics are located in Middlefield, 440-632-1007; Chardon, 440-286-1007; and one opening in Ashtabula November 2019.