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Rotator Cuff Tear – Diagnosis and Treatment

Rotator cuff pain can give you pain in your shoulder and upper back.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

If you’re experiencing pain or weakness in your shoulder when you lift your arm above your head or are experiencing night pain when you try to sleep on the affected side, it’s possible that you may have a rotator cuff tear.

The rotator cuff is a collection of four muscles, connecting your humerus and shoulder blade, which helps you to move your shoulder and keep the joint in place. Common causes for problems include:

  • Sports injuries due to repetitive use, such as in swimmers, baseball players, and quarterbacks.
  • Trauma due to falls or high-impact sports.
  • Wear and tear as you age.

Depending on the cause, the pain and loss of function can occur suddenly, or creep up on you over time. For athletes in particular a rotator cuff injury can be devastating, potentially halting their career.

Thankfully with the right diagnosis, in the hands of a skilled shoulder surgeon, you can relieve the pain and get your shoulder moving like it used to.

Rotator cuff pain can give you pain in your shoulder and upper back.

Do I Have a Rotator Cuff Tear?

To diagnose a rotator cuff tear you may need careful examination by an orthopedic surgeon, as well as further diagnostic tests such as x-ray and MRI. Other conditions such as rotator cuff tendonitis and shoulder impingement can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important that you obtain the right diagnosis.

You might have a rotator cuff tear if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in your shoulder, particularly on overhead movement.
  • Difficulty sleeping due to night pain while lying on your shoulder.
  • Weakness resulting in difficulty raising your arm.
  • A popping or clicking noise in your shoulder.

Rotator cuff injuries can happen suddenly, or creep up on you over time, so you might have learned to live with the pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms you should book a consultation before it gets any worse.

rotator cuff tear can be diagnosed with an MRI scan.

How is a Rotator Cuff Tear Treated?

The focus of treating a rotator cuff tear is to ease your pain and help you regain movement in your shoulder.

All treatment strategies can include a tailored mix of physical therapy and medications. Treatments can include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Exercises for you to do at home
  • Cortisone injections into your shoulder joint
  • Shoulder surgery

For minor tears and degenerative causes, medications and exercise might be enough to meet your treatment goals. Dr. Pamela Mehta in San Jose, CA can help you determine what treatment method is best suited for your shoulder. 

For larger or more painful tears, surgery could be life-changing and give you back the function you have lost. Minimally invasive surgical techniques can often be used to reduce the recovery time and leave you with a much smaller scar.

The right treatment choice will change from person to person, depending on the cause, type of injury, and what symptoms bother you most. That’s why it’s vital to find an orthopedic surgeon who listens to you and can create a tailored treatment plan to suit your priorities.

Testimonials

Ariel V.
Ariel V.
San Jose, CA
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I am a physical therapist who has worked with many of Dr Mehta's patients. Her patients love her, and feel she takes time to listen to their concerns. She is professional , honest and authentic with her colleagues and patients. She will not suggest surgery unless it is ultimately required for her patient to improve. She performs alternative therapies such as PRP which have helped all of her patients that I treat. I refer my patients to Dr Mehta and highly recommend her.
amy thia
amy thia
Google Review
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This review is long overdue from a very happy and ever so grateful patient! I was having major shoulder pain to the point where I couldn't raise my left shoulder. I decided to go to Dr. Mehta after a friend recommended me to her. Dr. Mehta was very attentive during our initial apt. She was quickly able to diagnose the root cause of my shoulder issue and explained the how and why I ended up with this pain. Her treatment plan involved me doing various mobility exercises and after two weeks I can honestly say I am at least 50% better. Dr Mehta truly cares about her patients and it was very apparent from how she followed up with my recovery.
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How Resilience Orthopedics Can Help

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Dr. Pamela Mehta, MD – Orthopedic Surgeon in San Jose, California

Dr. Pamela Mehta is an orthopedic surgeon and a specialist in sports injuries including rotator cuff tear. Dr. Mehta is a leading shoulder surgeon and performs arthroscopic shoulder surgery to help her patients recover faster with fewer scars. She is a compassionate and caring surgeon and will help you recover as soon as possible.

Resilience Orthopedics is based San Jose, California. To make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment the first time, get in touch to begin your journey to recovery.