Can I See A Physio for a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Yes! Physiotherapists are first contact practitioners meaning you don’t need a doctor’s referral for an appointment with us. You also don’t need an ultrasound or any other scan because our physiotherapists have extensive experience in shoulder assessment so that we can determine whether your shoulder pain is originating from your rotator cuff or from somewhere else. In addition to obtaining a clear clinical diagnosis, a thorough assessment will inform you on what you can be doing to hasten your recovery.
What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff are the 4 muscles that are position on your shoulder blade and through their tendons connect to your arm, forming a cuff at your shoulder joint. By taking the shape of a cuff, these muscles are able to assist in maintaining shoulder joint stability during movement. They also work to rotate your arm out; as if you are reaching to your side and rotate your arm in; as if you are placing your hand behind your back, hence the name “rotator cuff”.
How do rotator cuff injuries occur?
The rotator cuff is the leading cause of shoulder pain & shoulder disability. Injuries can occur with normal age-related muscle deterioration, excessive repetitive motion or traumatic causes like falling onto your arm or a sudden unexpected for when pushing. There are many other factors that contribute to rotator cuff becoming painful and targeting these factors is how physiotherapy leads to a successful recovery.
What treatment can I expect from physiotherapy?
Every shoulder is different and depending on how your injury developed and the contributing factors identified in assessment our treatment will vary greatly. Some commonly used treatment techniques & a brief rationale for their use are described below:
- Facilitate healing tissue by offloading with strapping, sling or brace and advice around what movements to avoid/ modify and whether heat or ice is applicable in your case.
- Restore pain free movement with massage (and other soft tissue techniques) to shortened muscles and joint mobilisation to stretch stiffened joints of the shoulder & surrounds.
- Achieve optimal shoulder motion with hands on techniques to loosen opposing structures and guidance on which exercises to focus on (and how to do them properly) to facilitate supportive structures.
What can I do to help my recovery?
Self-management is an important part of rehabilitation that maintains & builds on the improvements you receive from physiotherapist treatment. These are simple, easy to implement strategies & exercises that give you the power to accelerate your recovery.
How long will it take for my shoulder to get better?
As we’ve discussed before every shoulder is different and depending on the severity & duration of your injury treatment durations can range from several days to several months. You will know the treatment is working within the first 2-3 treatment sessions as you become a lot more comfortable and your mobility increases.