This Old Rotator Cuff

Rotator cuff problems are all around us. More than two million patients are treated each year for these injuries, a significant percentage of which are gradual rather than traumatic in origin.

The simple fact is that the human shoulder can give way on its own, without a lot of help.

When the four muscles that comprise the rotator cuff start to tear, the pain and mobility issues can become chronic. This injury can be caused by repetitive movements, poor conditioning, even sleeping in the wrong position. But it is uncommon among young people, and more common in their older counterparts:

The blood flow to the rotator cuff diminishes as people age, leaving it susceptible to injury and tearing. . . .Studies show that as a patient’s age increases into the late 60s and 70s, the reliability of a tendon healing declines.

It’s something to watch for, even if it’s not something that you can reliably prevent. Exercise and stretching certainly help, and trying a varied and healthful diet never hurts either. But if you want to hit the slopes or the gym on a daily basis, and you are over 50, be aware that cool-down time and plenty of rest are more important than ever as you age.

For the best rotator cuff surgery and treatment in San Diego, contact Dr. William Holland today.

Managing Pain in Shoulder Surgery

Rotator cuff surgery is often necessary to relieve the pain of a tear, but that doesn’t mean the surgery itself ends the pain right away. Recovering from surgery like this can be slow and difficult, especially given the many moving parts required to make this joint work.

Now some researchers are treating rotator cuff surgery as a laboratory for new pain management techniques, testing whether non-opioid medical care could be just as effective as some of the tried and true – and habit-forming – alternatives:

The techniques might include injecting a nonaddictive anesthetic at the base of the neck to block pain signals, or sending a patient home with a catheter implanted under the skin to deliver doses of anesthetics for several days. Wearable icing devices and mechanical stimulation of the surgical site can reduce pain and swelling during physical therapy. And drug regimens seek to steer patients within a few days toward common medications such as Tylenol.

It is an intriguing avenue and an overdue science-based approach to pain – one which many orthopedic surgeons would like to see analyzed and formalized across the board.

If you want the very best rotator cuff treatment and aftercare in the San Diego area, please contact my offices today.