Painful shoulder

Rotator cuff tendinitis is a fairly common problem. I have had this problem as well due to tennis. The traditional model of care includes short term physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injection if not improving, then surgery if none of the above are helping. This approach leaves a lot to be desired. Here is a better way to proceed.

Start by correcting any biomechanical issues that may be causing your pain. For example, if you’re a tennis player and your serve is causing you pain, having a tennis pro correct any problems with your serve motion may help take stress off your shoulder. Next it’s important to understand that strengthening the muscles in your upper back will help to lessen the strain on your rotator cuff tendons surrounding the shoulder. Interestingly, if your core or legs are weak, you may be relying on your shoulder during physical activty to make up for those other areas of weakness. A good physical therapist should be able to help you in this regard.

If the above are not helping, the next step is to see if available minimally invasive injectable options can help support your shoulder. Tightening any loose ligaments supporting the shoulder by prolotherapy style injections with platelet lysate, an advanced form of platelet rich plasma where we extract the growth factor from your platelets and inject them into the shoulder ligaments, can help strengthen your overall shoulder stability. In addition, using highly specialized imaging guided platelet rich plasma or stem cell treatments to help heal tendon tears, labral tears, and treat arthritis can make a big difference as well.

A commonsense approach to treating shoulder pain from rotator cuff tendinitis should start with treatments meant to support and strengthen the shoulder. The focus should be on long term improvement rather than short term gains.

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