fracture recovery time
a common question that we get in the clinicis can i heal my rotator cuff injury? before we answer that question, let's take a lookat what the rotator cuff is and then see what we can do about it. first of all, the rotatorcuff consists of 4 muscles that attach to the shoulder blade and that attach to the arm.the shoulder blade is the bone in back of the shoulder. so if you are looking at myright shoulder, this would be the shoulder blade. this is the arm bone or the humerus.this is the collarbone or the clavicle going across. and this is a little bone called theacromion. what the acromion is is a little extension that is right here off of the shoulderblade. the rotator cuff is 4 muscles. one muscle is in the front. three muscles areon the back side of the shoulder blade. why
is that important? one of those muscle goesthrough a small space right here. the big fancy term for that is subacromial space.what happens is as we age or because of an injury of because we sleep like this, overa period of time, that space can close down. what that does is that pinches on the tendon.over time that can cause a rotator cuff tear or with most people that we see in theclinic, what happens is they get a condition called rotator cuff impingement. what theperson will say is either i have pain right here or perhaps out a little bit and especiallyit will be aggravated with reaching behind the back, raising the arm up to the side, reachingoverhead or sleeping on my stomach or on my side with my arm like this. some peoplewill also note if they are driving that the
affected side their hand is on the wheel,that they will experience some pain with that as well. now, can we heal that? well let me ask youthis question or let's take a look at it like this: is there anything that we can do toopen up that space and relieve pressure on the rotator cuff? the answer is yes. just lookingat it from the issue right here, what is the first thing that we can do? well there aremanual, hands-on physical therapy techniques from a good physical therapistthat can pull the arm down and open up this space. it is very gentle. it is not rough.there is no popping or cracking or anything like that. there is a series of movements thata trained physical therapist can do to increase the space here. what does that do?it decreases inflammation. it decreases
pain. it allows the tendon to heal. in mostcases, the person gets their full range of motion back and they get full strength back.now as the listener, you are probably not interested in any of those things outsideof decreased pain. well what that means is you can get back to the activities that youwant to do. perhaps it is getting dressed. perhaps it is reaching behind your back ordoing another activity without that pain and discomfort. you can get your life back. wedo hands-on techniques to open that up. then we retrain the muscles that control thatjoint, that control that area to keep it that way. so the answer to the question, can i healmy rotator cuff injury is yes, for most people. if there is a full thickness rotator cufftear, can that be healed? that is a tough one.
some people who are relatively healthy andwork hard in physical therapy, what can happen is with all of the other muscles thatsurround that joint, they can make that area strong enough that it compensates for thetear that they have. occasionally surgery is needed. occasionally when good physical therapyfails, a surgeon will go in and open up that space. what they do is literally theycut away the bone here an open up that space where that tendon slides through. theycan also do a repair and a few other things. for most people, 90% of the time,with a normal rotator cuff injury or a rotator cuff impingement, good physical therapy withhands-on training and the right exercise, we can open up that space, keep it that wayand heal.