Tom Willemann Health Tips

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How to treat a rotator cuff tear without surgery

Today, most of the patients who suffer from a rotator cuff tear often wonder if this issue could be resolved without surgery.
First, let’s discuss what a rotator cuff tear actually is. A human body’s upper arm is connected to the shoulder blade with a group of muscles and tendons which are found in the upper back and shoulder area. The rotator cuff muscles enable the shoulder to rotate while the tendons hold the shoulder stable. A human shoulder is comprised of three main bones: the humerus, also known as the upper arm bone, the scapula, commonly known as the scapula and the clavicle, known as the collarbone.  The shoulder is categorized as a ball-and-socket joint where the top of the upper arm fits into the socket-like area in the shoulder blade. The muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff play a major role in keeping the arm firmly in the socket. Moreover the human ability of lifting and rotating the arms is due to rotator cuff.  If you have pain in this area, it could be quite frustrating and unbearable as it limits the free movement of shoulder, arm and hand.  
There are several reasons that cause a tear of the rotator cuff, initially starts with an injury or localized pain. For example, falling on the shoulder, being accidentally hit playing football or any other excessive for on the shoulder which causes pain leading to tear. If a person carries out activities like swimming, lifting, swinging a golf club, a baseball bat or a tennis racket where the muscles and tendons wear out are other common causes of rotator cuff tear. It may start with pain and lead to disability in adults. Here are some effective ways to reduce the pain and cure the problem without undergoing a surgery.
Physical therapy is the most effective and shows positive result for long term. A person suffering from this health problem can be restored to his or her normal routine faster than injections and surgery. Physical therapy along with proper prescribed exercises can help heal the issue effectively. Physical therapy comprises different exercises that improve movements and strengthen muscles and tendons of rotator cuff. Other ways to heal this health problem are:

  • Ice pack: As soon as there is an injury in this area, you must apply ice pack to reduce swelling and pain. Ice pack should be applied for at least 15 minutes for several times in a day till you feel relaxed. You may do this after the physical therapy as well.   
  • Limit your regular activities and rest: The perfect solution for any kind of pain is to take some rest. And since it is an injury on your shoulder, it is necessary to limit your physical activities and sleep for some more time than usual. Support your arm with a sling so that there is no extra pressure on your shoulder blade. Increasing pain causes more damage, so rest is extremely important to overcome pain.
  • Heating pad: Heat improves healing and reduces pain. Your physical therapist will use moist heating pad on your shoulder for around 15 to 20 minutes before you start with your physical therapy
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound increases the speed of the blood to the torn tissue which helps faster healing and repairing thereby reducing inflammation and pain.
  • Applying Essential oils: Peppermint essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the pain as well. Apply the oil twice a day on your shoulder and rub gently, do not massage as it may further harm the muscles.
  • Painkillers and Anti-inflammatory food: Painkillers like ibuprofen though harmful, help reduce pain. Anti-inflammatory food also reduces pain and helps in faster healing.

If you are local to Wyckoff and looking for a specialized physical therapy center, please consider Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation.

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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