If your shoulder is painful or you have limited range of motion and you've recently been injured in a car accident or fell on your arm, then you might have a rotator cuff tear. Even if your pain doesn't seem severe, you should have it checked out by a doctor. Mild damage to the rotator cuff in your shoulder can lead to chronic damage when scar tissue builds as the injury recovers. Besides pain, a rotator cuff injury can cause arm weakness and limited mobility of your arm. This can interfere with your ability to work and do your usual activities. Proper medical care is essential, and seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your injury is important. Here's a look at what to expect when healing from this type of injury.
When your rotator cuff is torn in an injury, the pain is usually instant and intense. However, it's also possible to have a mild tear that only causes pain when your arm is in a certain position, such as over your head. If your pain is mild, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers along with applying ice to your shoulder. If the pain is intense, your doctor may inject an anesthetic or anti-inflammatory medication directly into your shoulder. You may need to take anti-inflammatory or pain medication for a short period while your shoulder heals from the injury and after surgery if surgery is indicated.
Your doctor will probably send you to a physical therapist to ensure your shoulder heals properly. If you don't need surgery, you may go to the therapist right away. Physical therapy is important because it strengthens your injured shoulder and it helps you maintain normal range of motion. While your doctor might have you to rest initially, you don't want to keep your shoulder immobile for too long because scar tissue will form that limits your ability to move your shoulder normally. Your physical therapist teaches exercises you can do at home to keep your shoulder flexible and strong so it heals quicker and you have no lasting effects from the injury.
A rotator cuff tear can be minor or severe. A more severe tear could require surgery right away. In some cases, your doctor might try physical therapy first to see if your shoulder heals, and if not, then recommend surgery. Rotator cuff surgery involves repairing the torn tendon and reattaching it to the bone if needed. You may need to keep your arm immobilized for several weeks after the surgery and then undergo rehabilitation to recover normal use of your shoulder and arm. This could result in months of missed work if you have a job that requires heavy physical labor.
Recovery from a rotator cuff tear could take several weeks or several months depending on the severity of the injury and if you need surgery. The first step is to obtain quick medical care so you aren't left with a stiff shoulder or nerve irritation that results in chronic shoulder pain. Then, contact a law firm, like John V. Boshardy & Associates, P.C., to address coverage for your injury.