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Ryan Atkins
12-30-2004, 03:34 PM
My dad recently had his shoulder MRIed and has found out he has a 2 to 2.5 cm tear in his supraspinatus (at least that's my guess - he only remembered that the muscle started with an 's' and that his pain occurs near the top of his shoulder). The doctor's reccomending surgery, but I'm suggesting that he views surgery as a last resort. Combing through the archives gave me some alternatives I plan to have him try (not necessarily all at once):

-Cryotherapy 3x/day, at least 20 minutes per time
-Windmills
-7 Minute Rotator Cuff Solution (paying attention to updates available via internet)
-Ken O' Neill's article from dolfzine
-Active Release Therapy

I know others have had some success with the methods listed above. What I was wondering was if my father can expect any improvement with the tear already present?

Thanks for any help,

Ryan

William Hunter
12-30-2004, 04:33 PM
Ryan- Your dad more than likely has what's called a "partial thickness tear" of the supraspinatus. The only other "S" rotator cuff muscle is the subscapularis, which is under the shoulder blade, and almost never torn. The supraspinatus is the most often torn.

Surgery may be necessary eventually, but he should be in no rush. Some tears can heal effectively. A lot depends on his age and overall physical condition.

I own the book, 7 Minute RC Solution, and it is excellent, but before active rehab can take place he should focus on pain free range of motion. Active Release Technique is awesome stuff, and can stimulate healing and proper collagen fiber alignment. Another great soft tissue therapy is called Graston Technique, which makes use of hand held stainless steel instruments that mobilize scar tissue, and stimulate white blood cell activity at the injury site.

I am a Chiropractor and happen to specialize in soft tissue injuries and chronic pain. I am familiar with both techniques, but Graston is incredible. I work in a large medical clinic of about 130 MDs. I consult with several of the Orthopedists, who refer these types of cases to me to see if they can recover w/o surgery. I use the Graston Instruments almost exclusively. Unlike surgery, there really is very little risk with these conservative modalities; they either work, or they don't. I can always "bump the patients back up the ladder" to the orthopods.

If your father has good use of his shoulder right now, a combo of rehab and soft tissue work, followed by cryotherapy, would be very powerful. If he has trouble getting his arm over his head, or reaching behind to his low back area, I would hold off until passive treatments have been administered.

Hope that helps,

Will