Common Myths vs. Facts About the Rotator Cuff

Table of Contents

Common Rotator Cuff Myths:

“I tore my rotator cuff, I need surgery to fix it.”

False: Conservative treatment including rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, gradual return to activity, stretching/strengthening can improve function and decrease pain in people who have sustained rotator cuff injuries or tears

“I need an MRI to figure out what is really going on.”

False: An MRI really won’t tell you much that we don’t already know or suspect and can be misleading. This can lead to a lot of wasted health care dollars and time.

 “Won’t exercise just make my condition worse?”

False: The WRONG kind of exercise could make your condition worse. Which is why it is important to see someone who is trained and qualified to prescribe the correct exercises for YOU. Many people will try to look stuff up online or are given “general” shoulder exercises by other healthcare providers. Give those a short leash, if it is not working within 1-2 weeks come on in!

Rotator Cuff Facts You Should Know:

  • It is a group of 4 muscles that surrounds the “ball and socket” shoulder joint
  • The four muscles are: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis
  • Its primary role is to stabilize your shoulder while you move your arm
  • In many cases rotator cuff injuries happen because of over-use or simply, over time
  • One in three people over the age of 30 have abnormal findings on scans of their rotator cuff
  • Two in three people over the age of 70 have abnormal findings on scans of their rotator cuff
  • Even after surgery, more than 2 out of 3 people have abnormal findings on scans

BOTTOM LINE: If you have shoulder pain, not caused by a trauma, seek conservative care first. This could mean calling your local physical therapist to be seen for a thorough evaluation, screening and treatment. One great place to start could be scheduling a FREE phone consult with one of our Physical Therapists!

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