The most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendinitis — inflammation of key tendons in the shoulder.
Swinging a tennis racket, digging in the garden, placing a book on a high shelf, and reaching back to insert your arm into a sleeve could have caused a tear or dislocation in your shoulder.
Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports and the risk also increases with age.
When do I see the doctor?
It takes a wrong movement or some degree of overuse to cause a rotator cuff tear. The most common symptoms will be pain and as below:
- Dull ache around the outside tip of the shoulder or deep inside that gets worse when you push, pull, reach overhead, or lift your arm up to the side.
- Lying on the affected shoulder also hurts, and the pain may wake you at night, especially if you roll onto that shoulder. The pain may become more severe and extend over the entire shoulder.
- Make it difficult to comb your hair or reach behind your back
- Be accompanied by arm weakness
- A clicking sound when raising your arm
- Stiffness, loss of mobility and strength in the affected arm
Extensive rotator cuff tears may require surgical repair, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement. Tendinitis can lead to the fraying or tearing of tendon tissue. Fortunately, rotator cuff tendinitis and even tears can usually be treated with non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques.
What are the treatment options?
Upon examining your condition with a series of tests like X-rays, MRI, CT scan and/or ultrasound, our orthopedic consultant may proceed with surgical treatments.
PRP, Stem cell therapy and CGF are the most common therapies for healing cuff tears.
Physical therapy can be advised in case the shoulder tear is recent and will initially consist of stretching and other passive exercises to help restore range of motion and ease pain.
Once the pain is under control, our physical therapist will guide you with exercises to help regain strength in your arm and shoulder. Steroid injections may be required to reduce inflammation and ease pain.
Hyaluronic acid injections are another great treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis. They act like a lubricant and give nutrition to the fluid in the shoulder and reduce both friction and pain. As a result, bones are able to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads.
These injections along with anti-inflammatory medications can help ease the pain and increase mobility and strength of shoulder and joints.
Minimally invasive therapies
If the condition presents itself with complications, our expert orthopedic surgeon might advise some minimally invasive procedures.
Replacement of damaged tears or tendons can be done via arthroscopy. It involves two or three small cuts around the shoulder, through which an arthroscope will be inserted. The surgeon can view the damaged tissue through the small incisions.
Open shoulder surgery might be required if there is a case of large tendon tear, wherein a larger incision will be done to reattach the damaged tendon to the bone.
Tendon transfer is done if the torn tendon is too damaged to be reattached to the arm bone and the surgeon will have to use a nearby tendon as a replacement.
Shoulder replacement is the go to procedure for massive rotator cuff injuries. To improve the artificial joint’s stability, an innovative procedure (reverse shoulder arthroplasty) installs the ball part of the artificial joint onto the shoulder blade and the socket part onto the arm bone.
Recovery generally takes time post these operations along with rehab procedures.
How long does the procedure take?
With advancement in technology, minimally invasive procedures have the benefit of less time under anesthesia, reduced pain, a shorter hospital stay, minimal recovery time and fewer complications.
This will be followed by rehabilitation therapies and assisted procedures, which will minimize the time to resume daily schedules and also help in getting back to normal work routines at the earliest.
The end goal of surgery is to deliver relief while maintaining or improving your range of motion, stability and strength. The majority of today’s orthopedic surgeries can be performed in an outpatient setting, which means you can go home the same day.
Medstar’s team of orthopedic surgeons is committed to taking the least invasive approach to surgery whenever possible. They often choose regenerative and noninvasive techniques over conventional open surgery.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book your appointment today with experienced orthopedic surgeons at Medstar Dubai. It is our endeavor to support you with our commitment of best in class service, cutting edge technology and complete assistance during recovery.