Most often affecting women between the ages of 35 and 65, rotator cuff calcific tendonitis is a common cause of shoulder pain. It happens when calcium phosphate is deposited in the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder, and it can be very painful.
Calcific deposits can form in the rotator cuff, a group of four muscles that stabilize your shoulder joint. Early on, these deposits resemble chalk, and may or may not be painful. After a while, they tend to soften to a toothpaste-like consistency, and very painful symptoms may occur. To decrease or eliminate calcific deposits, your physician may insert a needle and attempt to suck out or break up as much of the deposit as possible.
Because calcific deposits can be re-absorbed into the body, physical therapy can be effective, especially early in the progression of the condition. While undergoing physical therapy, analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications might be recommended for pain relief. Shoulder supports can also protect and stabilize the shoulder if you want to stay active, particularly if you play sports. Initial treatments include iontophoresis and ultrasound treatments to reduce the size of the calcific deposit; moist heat or ice to decrease pain and inflammation; and massage to reduce pain and related inflammation.
Once pain and inflammation are reduced, we can design a series of exercises that will help you regain range of motion, strength and flexibility in your shoulder. These include:
- rehabilitation exercises to alleviate stiffness
- isometric strengthening exercises towork the muscles without straining the injured or painful tissues
- manual exercises where the therapist moves bones to stretch restraints
- dynamic exercises to simulate daily tasks or, if you are an athlete, sport activities
- full-body cardiovascular exercises to maintain overall fitness
While your calcific tendonitis may eventually resolve without treatment, we can help you alleviate pain, improve compromised functioning and avoid lasting damage. Under our guidance, early physical therapy can ensure that your shoulder is healthy, pain-free and working properly for years to come.
Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Wyckoff, NJ provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy services for the greater Wyckoff, Ridgewood, and Bergen County region. This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. The views expressed here are the author’s views and should be taken as suggestions. Always consult your physician before engaging in a physical therapy or rehabilitative regimen.