How are physical therapy and pain management used in the acute phase of rotator cuff treatment?

Updated: Oct 25, 2018
  • Author: Gerard A Malanga, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Answer

Pain control and inflammation reduction are initially required to allow progression of healing and initiation of an active rehabilitation program in patients with a rotator cuff injury. This can be accomplished with a combination of relative rest, icing (20 min, 3-4 times per d), and acetaminophen or an NSAID. Have the patient sleep with a pillow between the trunk and arm to decrease tension on the supraspinatus tendon and to prevent blood flow compromise in its watershed region.

Patients are instructed to continue the pain control techniques at home, work, or vacation as part of their exercise program. The home exercise program builds on itself through each phase of the rehabilitation process, and carry-over should be monitored.


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