The rotator cuff includes several muscles and tendons that operate the shoulders, allowing for a wide range of movement. Due to its complexity, the rotator cuff is vulnerable to injury from gradual overuse or traumatic events. Fortunately, there are multiple treatments available to address a rotator cuff tear. Rotator cuff tear treatment includes the recovery phase, and what you do during recovery can influence the outcome of the treatment you receive. Follow these general guidelines to achieve a quick and effective recovery.
Explore Your Options With Your Doctor
Mild injuries might not warrant surgery. Talk to your doctor and see if nonsurgical approaches are appropriate for your case. In many cases, medications and physical therapy might be enough to enable healing while avoiding the need for a lengthy recovery.
Even if surgery is the only feasible option, you should still make recovery plans with your physician. What medications will you take after the operation? Do you need to stay in the hospital for some time, or can you go home shortly after the procedure? What exercises will you do during each phase of recovery? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make better plans for postoperative recovery.
Take Medications as Directed
In cases that do not call for surgery, your doctor may recommend oral medications. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen. If you had surgery for your rotator cuff tear, you will also have to take painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain you will feel as the anesthetic wears off. You may also be given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
It’s essential to take your medication plan seriously, as forgetting a dose can increase discomfort and pain. If you feel any side effects, immediately inform your doctor so that they can prescribe you alternative medications that can relieve your pain.
Don’t take other medications that your doctor doesn’t know about, even if you were already taking them before the operation. Drug interactions can cause some of your medications to fail or result in dangerous side effects. Clear all medications with your doctor first before taking them.
Watch Out for Warning Signs
Be on alert if you suddenly feel an increase in pain or inflammation. If you have a fever or notice a discharge from your wound, tell your doctor immediately. These signs point to a wound infection. Without immediate treatment, bacteria from the wound can spread around your body, causing a systemic and dangerous infection.
Follow the Rehabilitation Plan
Regardless of the treatment you receive, your rehabilitation plan will include physical therapy. Your doctor will give you exercise instructions for the first few weeks. They can also refer you to a physical therapist who will construct a rehabilitation program for you. Remember to exercise your shoulder throughout the day. Practice the prescribed movements in the rehabilitation center so that you can do them at home independently.
Exercising early on is suitable for your shoulder as it promotes circulation, strengthens your rotator cuff, and prevents the formation of a frozen shoulder. However, rushing your exercise program can be detrimental to your shoulder. Too much activity can lead to an increase in pain and inflammation. In the worst-case scenario, you can damage the repair, injuring the affected joint even further. Always proceed with your exercise program at the prescribed pace, even if you feel ready for the next recovery phase. Likewise, you should follow your doctor’s instructions regarding activity restrictions.
Practice Good Posture
Even after your shoulder has healed, it’s recommended to practice proper shoulder biomechanics. For instance, when carrying a heavy load, always keep it near your body. When sitting or standing, keep your back straight and pull your shoulders backward. When sleeping, avoid lying on the affected joint for long periods.
Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment in Michigan
Recovery from a rotator cuff tear can be confusing and lengthy without the support of an orthopedic doctor. However, heeding your doctor’s advice, looking out for warning signs, and following the treatment plan accurately should help you get the best results. Make sure to coordinate with an experienced healthcare facility that will help you with your recovery.
Our facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Tri County Orthopedics, has been providing team-based orthopedic care for more than 50 years. We aim to build strong working relationships with our patients to give them comprehensive health care. For any inquiries, call us at (248) 474-5575 or use our online form to schedule an appointment.