Before going into the particulars of rotor cuff pain, it is important to note that there are different classifications of rotator cuff injury that must be properly understood before an effective treatment can actually take place.
There are two different kinds of rotor cuff injury, ‘acute’ tears and ‘chronic’ tears. An acute tear results from the result a sudden movement, which can involve throwing a ball at high speed. A chronic tear is a tear that develops over a sufficient period of time.
As the levels of a rotor cuff injury can vary depending on the exact amount of damage that the fibers within the muscle complex of the scapula and humerus head, diagnosing a rotor cuff tear must also include identifying exactly what class of rotor cuff tear that one may be experiencing at the time of discomfort.
Grade 1 strain of the rotor cuff occurs when the fibers of the muscles and tendons have been stretched beyond their natural limit, creating the lowest degree of pain in the classification of rotor cuff tear sprain. A Grade 2 strain of the rotor cuff is identified when the muscles and tendons have been stretched far enough beyond their limits to begin to partially tear. A Grade 3 strain of the rotor cuff is the most concern-worthy classification of the injury, and this is occurs when the extension of the rotor cuff muscles is so extreme that the tendons have completely torn away and leave no remaining connection to speak of.
The initial response to a rotator cuff injury, as prescribed by most physical trainers, is non-operative. If the tendons are torn less than 50%, then generally, they will respond very well to being treated with a non-aggressive series of approaches. The non-operative approaches can include physical therapy, oral or injected medicines, ultrasound therapy, dry needling, and other modes of non-invasive treatment. The typical amount of time needed to recover with non-operative treatment is about three months. Patients are also sometimes encouraged to heed to a system coined R.I.C.E (rest, icing, compression, and elevation.)
Conservative care for the rotator cuff is typically able to produce very effective results, but many patients still experience discomfort and distress in spite of their effectiveness. However, if these treatments do not provide a sufficient amount of relief after a significant amount of time, then surgery may be the next resort to fully alleviate the injury.
Genesis Orthopedics (http://genesisortho.com/) prescribes rest and ice as being the first ideal response treatments for a strain or sprain, and physical therapy for grade 1, 2, or 3 sprains and tears. Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine may also use Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy to accelerate the healing process through injected platelet rich plasma into the damaged or inflamed areas of the shoulder.
A common remedy to the inflammation that is encountered in injuries that affect the rotator cuff is the injection of cortisone, a steroid hormone that is effective in reducing the attendant pain and swelling at the site of an injury. Cortisone can be administered intravenously, orally, intraarticularly or transcutaneously. When administered, the blood pressure of the body is raised because of adrenal gland stimulation and can provide short-term pain relief.