Skip to content

    Rotator Cuff Disorders

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Other Treatment

    Physical therapy and rehabilitation

    A physical therapy and rehabilitation (rehab) program usually involves exercises to stretch and gradually strengthen the shoulder. Some physical therapists may use other techniques, such as massage or ultrasound, to relieve pain and reduce muscle spasms.

    This program of treatment may be used without surgery or as part of recovery after surgery. It can reduce pain in the soft tissues (such as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons), improve function, and build muscle strength.

    Common difficulties with rehab programs include:

    • Impatience during the long periods of rest needed to let your shoulder heal. Athletes and people whose jobs depend upon the use of their arms may find it hard to be patient with this stage of treatment.
    • Not doing exercises as often as prescribed.
    • Using incorrect technique when doing exercises.

    Although completing a rehab program may be hard, a successful outcome after surgery depends on your commitment to treatment. If you follow your physical therapy plan closely and get help when you need it, you are more likely to restore shoulder strength and movement.

    Exercises for rotator cuff disorders include:

    • Gentle stretching exercises. These are often the most important part of physical therapy for rotator cuff disorders, especially when stiffness is a major symptom. Stretching includes range-of-motion exercises.
    • Strengthening exercises. In general, you won't start these exercises until your rotator cuff has healed and is able to perform the stretching and range-of-motion exercises comfortably. Strengthening exercises can help you build and keep shoulder function and stability.
    actionset.gif Rotator Cuff Problems: Exercises You Can Do at Home (with your doctor's approval)

    Treatments being studied

    Experts are studying a new treatment for chronic calcifying tendinitis of the rotator cuff. The treatment uses sound waves to create shock waves that destroy calcium deposits in the rotator cuff tendons. This is called extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Some studies show pain relief and increased range of motion. But more studies are needed to see whether these results can be duplicated and to measure long-term results.1

    Other treatments being studied include:

    • Acupuncture.
    • Hyaluronan, which is injected into a joint to help supplement the natural synovial fluid in the joint.
    1

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    handful of vegetables and vitamins
    Diet tips and mistakes.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    Trainer demonstrating exercise for RA
    Exercises for your joints.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    woman having a good day
    Revitalize your life.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.