When you have a rotator cuff injury, you’ll likely have a severe limitation in your shoulder movement. This can have a debilitating effect on your life and getting treatment right away is vital.
But should sports massage be part of that treatment? We’ll look at why it can help and what other treatment options are available for a rotator cuff injury. By the end, you’ll have all the info you need to start your road to recovery.
Table of Contents
What Are Rotator Cuff Injuries?
Rotator cuff injuries, also known as RCIs, are a common type of shoulder injury. They arise from overuse or repetitive activities that strain the soft tissue and muscles around the shoulder joint.
Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries can range from minor soreness and tenderness to intense pain and stiffness. Some people also experience decreased range of motion with RCIs which may require physio and specific exercises in order to repair full function.
With proper rest, stretching, and exercise therapy, rotator cuff injuries can be managed successfully but if left untreated they can lead to severe impairments such as a limited ability to lift or perform everyday tasks. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical care if you think you may have a rotator cuff injury.
Can Sports Massage Help Rotator Cuff Injury?
Sports massage is a type of therapeutic massage designed specifically for athletes and can be incredibly helpful in treating rotator cuff injuries.
By targeting specific areas and using techniques such as soft tissue release, myofascial release, and neuromuscular therapy, sports massage can help to relieve tension in the shoulder area and reduce pain associated with a rotator cuff injury.
It can even improve joint mobility and range of motion around the affected area while providing a relaxing feeling during and after each session. As with any form of therapy or even medication, it is important to always consult your doctor first prior to undergoing sports massage treatment.
While sports massage can usually help, it does depend on the extent of the injury. For example, if you have a severe tear in your rotator cuff then you may need surgery. Sports massage can then be an effective addition to your post-op recovery.
Best Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff injuries, if not managed properly, can be painful and lead to decreased mobility. The best approach to treating rotator cuff injuries is to first focus on rest and rehabilitation.
Resting the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain while giving the damaged tissue time to heal. After resting the injury, a series of exercises designed specifically for the rotator cuff can help rebuild strength and flexibility in the injured area.
Additionally working with a physio can ensure that these exercises are done with proper form and technique, as improper form may further aggravate the injury or delay healing time.
All of these steps combined, along with a proper diet and lifestyle modifications, are paramount when dealing with rotator cuff injuries.
As mentioned, in severe cases, surgery may be required. The extent of this surgery will depend on the severity of the damage. Many times, minimally invasive surgery can be performed with a small camera and recovery time is quite quick.
In the worst cases, open repair surgery may be required. This would be when you need a large and difficult repair that would require a lot of stitching. If you need this surgery, you’ll currently be in severe pain with very limited movement.
How Do You Speed Up Rotator Cuff Healing?
Healing a rotator cuff injury requires taking a multidimensional approach. To speed up healing, start with reducing and avoiding activities that cause further discomfort.
Try alternating ice and heat to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the area. Supplementing your diet with anti-inflammatory foods like omega-3 fatty acids and ginger can also help reduce swelling and support overall healing.
Regularly stretching muscles throughout the arm can improve circulation, thereby decreasing stiffness at the rotator cuff joint.
Lastly, seek out treatments such as physiotherapy or massage to increase flexibility and ultimately aid in healing of the rotator cuff. By tackling the healing process from multiple angles, you can ensure you speed up recovery for a rotator cuff injury.
When Is Surgery Considered?
Surgery for a rotator cuff injury is often recommended in cases where physiotherapy and other treatments have failed.
Although surgery may involve some significant recovery time, it can lead to long-term relief from the painful symptoms caused by the initial injury. Furthermore, surgery offers more precise ways to address the source of the problem than non-surgical treatments do.
The outcome of a successful surgical procedure is improved shoulder range of motion, strength, and stability. Patients should discuss the many facets of this treatment option with their doctor before making their decision.
What Aggravates a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Rotator cuff injuries can be painful and debilitating, making it difficult to engage in normal day-to-day activities. Aggravating a rotator cuff injury is easy to do if the appropriate precautions are not taken when engaging in physical activity.
Common causes of aggravating a rotator cuff injury include trying to lift too much weight, sudden changes or jerky movements, and overuse or repetitive motion.
Additionally, wearing improper or ill-fitting clothing, using incorrect techniques during exercise, and poor posture can all irritate an existing rotator cuff injury.
Taking the necessary precautions to keep from worsening a rotator cuff injury can make a tremendous difference in preventing further damage and allowing one to have a full recovery.
Does A Torn Rotator Cuff Ever Fully Heal?
It is possible for a torn rotator cuff to heal, but the success of treatment depends largely on how severely the injury has occurred.
After any treatment necessary is completed, a physiotherapy should be consulted in order to develop a rehabilitation plan that focuses on gradually restoring strength and mobility back to the injured area.
Ultimately, with conservative treatments or surgical intervention followed by systematic rehabilitation, most people will be able to make a full recovery from their torn rotator cuff.
There is no doubt that sports massage can help with a rotator cuff injury. However, it’s important to first speak to a doctor as further treatment options may be required such as physiotherapy, and possibly surgery. A multi-faceted approach is usually the best way to go and sports massage can play a vital role in your recovery.