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Jane's Blog Rotator Cuff Injuries

Posted by Jane Jansen on

A Rotator Cuff injury can be so painful people flock to their doctors for pain killers, steroid injections and surgery. Repeated cortisone injections can cause weakening of the tendon tissue, and destroy the joints faster doing more harm than good. Although surgical repair is utilized to decrease pain and increase function, studies have shown significant failure rates at 2 years follow-up.

I have seen numerous patients who have had all those treatments and were still having problems, including frozen shoulder. After utilizing a natural treatment program within a few months (sometimes sooner) they were totally amazed at how well they recovered.

Injury and inflammation of the rotator cuff is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain including rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, cuff impingement syndrome and cuff tear.

There is typically pain in the shoulder and arm of varying degrees and often difficulty moving the shoulder, especially when trying to lift your arm above your head. You may also experience weakness and tenderness, as well as snapping or crackling sounds when moving the shoulder.

In younger people, a rotator cuff injury or tear normally happens as a result of trauma due to a fall or accident or repeated overhead motion of the arm due to a particular sport. Although rotator cuff injuries are more common in people over 40, due to aging tendons, which become stiff and inflamed and damaged easier.

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the socket of the shoulder. Too much stress can cause partial tears and swelling in the tendons of the rotator cuff. Abrupt motion can cause a tendon to pull away from the bone or tear in the middle.

Rotator cuff impingement syndrome can occur because of long term usage and wear. It occurs as a result of a tendon getting trapped in the sub-acromial space and is repeatedly scraped against the shoulder blade or sometimes a bone spur, deteriorating the tendon. This makes it more likely to tear. Impingement syndrome pain tends to be more chronic and worse at night-time.

Sports Medicine Surgeon Dr. Scott A. Rodeo says, “The ‘holy grail’ of connective tissue healing is to regenerate the structure, composition, and function of normal tissues.”

So what can you do?

1. First of all get a proper diagnosis from your physician.

2. Physical therapy, Massage therapy and Acupuncture can be very helpful. Don't forget daily gentle stretching exercises suggested by a physical therapist or massage therapist is important!

3. Then give the body the tools to help connective tissue repair.

Two supplements we have found essential for both prevention and treatment are:

  1. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) (Natural Factors): is a biosulfur which helps connective tissue (ligaments, tendons and muscles) have more flexibility, alleviates stiffness and allows quicker repair. Start with 1000 mg 2x day and work up to 6,000 mg per day if you can. This is a supplement you want to stay on indefinitely!
  2. Type 2 Collagen Complex (Jarrow Formulas): Tendons are composed of collagen which is the building block of connective tissues and is arranged into fiber bundles much like a rope. When tendons heal, new collagen must be formed through a repair process. Take 1 cap 3 x day.

4. Next decrease inflammation &/or pain:

Curcumin w/ Meriva: is the active ingredient in the herb turmeric and has similar anti-inflammatory action as NSAIDS, but without side effects. Unlike aspirin and other classical COX-inhibitors, curcumin selectively inhibits synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandin thromboxane. Take 500mg -1000mg before meals 2- 3 x day.

Bromelain: is a natural enzyme found in the stem and fruit of the pineapple and reduces the swelling and inflammation of soft-tissue injuries. Athletes are increasingly turning to bromelain to help manage sports injuries, and those undergoing surgery are using it to speed their recovery time. Take 500 mg 2 x day and keep at least 2 hours from food.

Topically:

Arnica gel or cream is a homeopathic remedy which reduces swelling, bruising, inflammation and pain.

Plus CBD Oil Balm 100mg (CV Sciences) helps to alleviate nerve pain. Apply topically 2-3 x day.

Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner

Tree of Life Wellness Center Seekonk MA 508-336-4242

Host of Holistic Healthline Radio


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