Rotator Cuff full tear and retraction of supraspinatus tendon
General consensus for a senior non-athlete seems to be to give physical therapy a good hard try before jumping into surgery. Thoughts & experiences? Jim
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Yes, my mother was going to have rotator cuff surgery which was recommended by medical professional. My uncle told her to try physical therapy, that was 10 ago she is 85 years old and hasn't complained
About it since. Try therapy first.
I would definitely give PT a try before having any surgery. I have had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders after a car accident. I tried PT for quite awhile before it became apparent the injuries were too much. It’s a long recovery and I am glad I have functional shoulders now, but they will never be quite the same as your own. My 47 year old daughter had a partial tear and has had great success with PT only. I would recommend trying PT first – the surgery option will always be there.
You may want to check out the work Dr. Loren Fishman has done with a yoga posture (modified headstand) to manage rotator cuff syndromw: Here's the link;
You can also Google Dr. Loren Fishman rotator cuff tears to access more articles.
@jerseyjames, I see you got a number of helpful tips from fellow members. I thought I might also add these resources from Mayo Clinic
– Mayo Clinic Q and A: How are rotator cuff tears treated? https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-how-are-rotator-cuff-tears-treated/
– Mayo Clinic Q and A: Rotator cuff injuries and surgery https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-rotator-cuff-injuries-and-surgery/
I have to agree with the tips you got that giving PT a try first is a wise option. You mention that you are non-athletic. That's important to take into consideration. Physical therapy takes commitment, so you may wish to share your physical abilities with the therapist to accommodate with exercises that you can commit to. Also keep in mind that PT is usually a part of surgery recovery success too. So you'll have PT either way.
I suspect I could have been clearer about the non-athletic description. It was based on my observation that my surgical practice, and many others I suspect, see two types of patients: The HS and college athletes who need a repair so they can get back to baseball/football practice, and the others (many of a certain age) who fell or slipped…even though we all have been warned.
Generalizing, I know…..but I suspect directionally correct.
I just wanted to convey that I am in the latter group having lost my fast ball in the 80's. As far as putting in the work, I've got a basement full of ceiling pulleys, counter-weights, stretch bands, etc. And unlike the other exercise stuff down there, I religiously use them every other day and go to a PT center weekly to ensure that I am making progress. I'm told the progress is good, if a bit slower than I would like. But, like so many, I probably could use some therapy on improved patience. Generalizing again.
Thanks again to you and all the others for the input.
That's a good clarification, Jim. That's fabulous that you are physically active and have the space and gear to do it. I've left my cartwheels in the 80s or 90s along side your fastball. 🙂
PT is slow and the reward is not immediate, which can be frustrating. But the result can be longer lasting. It sounds like your dedication is paying off. As things get better, I think your patience will too.
What tips do you have for others who find it hard to commit to daily or every other day of those boring PT exercises? For me, it was putting in my calendar and making it a non-negotiable.
I'd suggest taking a longer view and picturing oneself a month – 6 months – a year from now. Just the knowing that if you do not do the work now, you may be in the same or worse shape after those time intervals. That deduction, plus all the alarms and reminders in my mobile phone, keep me on a fairly tight schedule.
I got a recent MRI which showed a full width/ thickness supraspinatus tendon tear. Did a previous year of PT to strengthen rotator cuff muscles with increase to full range of motion. At age 74, not sure whether to endure surgery with hard rehab and recovery or continue with PT . Pain is moderate. Any suggestions?
I just had the surgery for that, the labrum tear and biceps tear along with decompressing the AC joint. I’m 65. Honestly, it has been a fairly easy recovery albeit slow. A full six weeks in the sling with the abductor pillow. During my visit in week 7, he gave me two weeks to wean off the sling which is where I am now. I’ve started PT with very slow range of motion and stretching. It is a long recovery but not having that awful pain makes it worth it.
I didn’t mention a few things: I also had the full thickness tear of the supraspinitus tendon, did “pre-PT” which made me stronger but did not help the continuing pain, sleep problems and inability to manage normal grab, reach and lift chores without pain. The pre-PT made the surgery recovery easier and placed me ahead of the game physically during recovery. I think anyone you talk to will tell you it is a very long recovery. Patience is a test we all struggle with when it comes to getting back to normal. However, my angel PT told me that I had to reconcile a very long recovery with not feeling the bad pain anymore and having better function. So I have had to ask for help, ask for rides, depend on my husband to do the grocery shopping and some cooking, etc. Each week I see improvement with my range of motion and strength but they estimate 3-6 months of recovery. A friend of mine was not a very good patient, took the sling off early, stopped PT and is now back in PT with a re-tear. Seeing that I knew I had better follow the rules.