Updated: Jun 8
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) and tendons that help to stabilize the shoulder. Designed to hold two of the shoulder bones in place, the rotator cuff allows for a large range of motion while stabilizing and powering the shoulder. These musicals are what allow patients to lift their arms above their head and reach for objects. Additionally, a fluid-filled sac called a bursa lubricates the joint when an arm is raised or rotated. The rotator cuff is what holds the ball of the humerus bone firmly in the shoulder socket.
In the US, millions of people each year suffer a rotator cuff injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, rotator cuff injuries were responsible for nearly two million doctor visits in 2013 and they are the most common cause of shoulder pain in people over 30 years of age. However, ‘rotator cuff injury’ is a broad term. The most common injuries are strains, tendinitis, and bursitis.
Rotator cuff tendinitis – also known as tendinopathy or impingement syndrome – is an irritation of the tendons whereby inflammation of the tendons is caused by overuse. A common cause of shoulder pain, this can be caused by the tendons rubbing or catching against the bones of the shoulder. The condition causes persistent pain as the tendons are injured and swell. It’s usually caused by repetitive motion (on the job or playing sports) and/or age-related degeneration.
Rotator cuff bursitis is an inflammation or irritation of the bursa – the fluid-filled sac between the shoulder joint and tendons.
A rotator cuff strain (or tear) is when one or more of the tendons detach either partially or completely from the humerus bone during an abrupt injury such as falling, as a result of repetitive motion or general wear and tear over time. Untreated tendonitis may also lead to a rotator cuff tear. This type of injury causes pain, weakness and the inability to move the arm in full range of motion – including overheard. Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common orthopaedic problems in the US. Patients often have to avoid certain activities because they cause pain and this leads to poorer quality of life and an inability to enjoy daily activities.
Rotator cuff injuries can take several weeks to several months to heal and about half the time, a patient may heal with physical therapy. However, most rotator cuff tears will not heal on their own and in worst case scenarios, surgery is needed to repair the injury. There are various treatment options available depending on the age of the patient and the nature of the tear.
South Florida’s Best Spine Doctors at Spine and Wellness Centers of America are proud to offer minimally invasive and regenerative options to treat rotator cuff injuries in order to stave off surgery.
After a physical examination of the shoulder and imaging studies such as an x-ray or MRI, the team at SWCA will offer a plan to manage pain and restore function back to the shoulder without surgery.
Treatment options include injecting the affected area with steroids to help to reduce inflammation. PRP, plasma and stem cell treatments have also become an effective choice to avoid surgery – especially for partial rotator cuff tears. Regenerative therapy is minimally invasive, reducing recovery time and encouraging the body to heal itself.
A recent study showed that a Stem Cell-based regenerative approach for rotator cuff tear repair was more successful than mere home exercise therapy.
The team at SWCA and their state of the art facilities are prepared to guide each patient to the best decision for their individual needs and treatment for their rotator cuff injury. Serving South Florida as a reliable and trusted resource, SWCA continues their mission to help each patient to make the right choices about their individual conditions guiding them back to a pain free life.