Imagine being unable to reach your favorite book, which sits on a high shelf, without pain. What if it hurt to reach for a jug of milk in the back of the refrigerator? That friendly game of volleyball is out of the question.
Your rotator cuff connects your upper arm and your shoulder blade. When injured, it’s painful and limits your shoulder’s normal range of motion and your ability to perform some of your daily tasks.
In Part 1 of our look into rotator cuff injuries, “Rotator Cuff Injury Part 1: What Are the Main Rotator Cuff Injury Types?,” we summarized three rotator cuff injury types—tendinitis, bursitis, and a rotator cuff tear. Here, in Part 2 of the series, we will summarize how these injuries are treated.
The ideal place to receive rotator cuff injury treatments is a chiropractic care center, such as Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, where we specialize in treating the musculoskeletal system.
Rotator Cuff Injury
Before we discuss treatments, here is a reminder of the three types of rotator cuff injuries:
- Tendinitis: inflammation or irritation of the rotator cuff tendons due to overuse. A common repetitive motion injury.
- Bursitis: inflammation or irritation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac protecting the rotator cuff. The sac expands, leaving little room for muscles and tendons to move.
- Rotator Cuff Tear: tears as a result of daily use. This is more common in some older people and professions and activities requiring repetitive motion.
The injuries come with pain in the back and shoulder, difficulty reaching above your head or to the side, and a limited range of motion.
Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments
At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, we treat rotator cuff injuries with a variety of techniques. Depending on the patient’s condition, we choose the technique(s) that relieve pain as quickly as possible, stabilize the area, and promote healing.
FAKTR, or Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation, Provocation, and Motion, is a treatment developed by Dr. Thomas Hyde and Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center’s own Dr. Gregory Doerr. It uses several soft tissue techniques, resistance training, functional activities, and balance and coordination exercises. As a result, FAKTR reduces pain and restores function faster than conventional treatments.
FAKTR treatment involves three applications and five concepts to provide rapid, effective healing:
- Neurosensory: reconnecting tissues to the central nervous system by bombarding the system with stimulation. This essentially reboots the system and normalizes the injured tissue.
- Pro-Inflammation (structural): creating a local inflammation on the injured tissue to remodel the tissue and reestablish proper connections.
- Anti-Inflammatory: pushing out swelling and chemical irritants. This improves blood flow to the injured area.
The concepts are position, motion, resistance, functional positioning, and proprioception (kinesthesia, your body’s ability to sense movement, action, and location).
The Graston Technique is a type of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) used to reduce scar tissue. It employs stainless steel instruments in various shapes and sizes to identify and treat areas of scarring and chronic inflammation. Like a stethoscope, the instruments augment the doctor’s ability to find these areas. The Graston Technique produces faster and more complete healing.
The Active Release Technique uses a movement-based protocol system. The doctor uses their hands to determine the condition of soft tissue—texture, tone, tightness, and restrictions. The injured area—muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves—is treated with a combination of directionally specific soft tissue contacts with several tissue-selective movement patterns.
Several taping techniques help heal musculoskeletal injuries, including a rotator cuff injury:
- Kinesio Taping: taping over and around the injured area. It reduces pain, improves muscular function, decreases swelling and bruising, assists in proper joint alignment, and allows full range of motion of the injured tissues.
- Spider Tech Tape: integrates with the body’s natural sensory nervous system. There are three types of application: neurosensory (stimulates skin receptors and decreases the perception of pain), structural (prevent an injurious range of motion, supports good posture, reduces strain), and microcirculatory (creates pressure to sweep away chemical irritants, swelling, and bruising; improves blood flow).
- Specific Proprioceptive Response Taping (SPRT) – offers greater relief from the injury when moving. It supports the healing injury while allowing a proper range of motion.
- Functional Taping: Dr. Doerr’s signature method. Pre-testing is conducted to ensure the correct taping technique is used and that the outcome will be successful. Dr. Doerr has evolved many concepts into his unique taping applications.
Shock Wave Therapy
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) applies a shock wave to injured tissue for pain reduction and faster healing. This is a non-invasive procedure. Results of clinical trials suggest that this technique is safe and effective. It is used after simpler methods have not produced results and is a less invasive alternative to surgery. Treatments may last up to three weeks.
Cold Laser therapy is also a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Treatment can be in addition to other chiropractic treatments. The aim is to promote the regeneration of healthy tissue. The device does not use heat or radiation. Rather, it uses light, so it does not have the side effects of heat or radiation. In one study, patients receiving physiotherapy and cole laser therapy had better results than patients receiving physiotherapy alone.
Physical rehabilitation consists of procedures and exercises that improve the function and stability of injured areas. In addition, it remodels soft tissues and promotes collagen synthesis. Exercise rehabilitation improves the injured area’s flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. Exercise rehabilitation is continued after discharge to prevent re-injury.
Which Treatment Is Best?
The proper treatment depends on the extent and circumstance of the injury. Rotator cuff injury recovery time can take as little as two to four weeks and as long as several months.
We’re Looking Forward to Helping You at Our Chiropractic Offices in NJ!
A rotator cuff injury interrupts athletic endeavors and jobs that require repetitive motion. It also affects your daily life, as it can be difficult to do routine things, such as reaching for something on a high shelf. Fortunately, there are several options for treatment. Surgery is only required in the most extreme cases.
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services! Our chiropractic offices in Cliffside Park, NJ, and Hackensack, NJ, are ready to welcome you!