Whenever people come to the office and we diagnose rotator cuff tendonitus they want to know what their chance of getting better without surgery. We certainly hear alot about surgery. It’s frequently mentioned as a possibility. Of course it depends on the severity of the rotator cuff tendonitus, but let’s just take all comers and if you consider the numbers that reliable on the research will show that 30 million people in this country will have shoulder pain over the course of the year, and we also know that 90% of shoulder pain is caused by rotator cuff tendonitis leaving that about 27 million people by conservative measures will have rotator cuff symptoms over the course of the year in the United States. We also know there are less than 400,000 rotator cuff repairs performed in the United States each year, we can say that these people have at least a 95% chance of getting better without surgery. Most people find this encouraging.
Patients also need to understand that this is something they are going to need to manage on an ongoing basis. It’s not to say they’re gonna have pain, but like most problems that require physical therapy, they will need to continue therapy, basically exercising, keeping the muscles strong, mobile, and flexible in order to keep the problem under control. Also, let’s not lose sight that some anti-inflammatory medicines can help out a little bit and are certainly a reasonable addition to the therapy.