Some of the nonsurgical treatments for rotator cuff tears are things like resting the shoulder, avoiding vigorous activities that are known to aggravate the shoulder. These are typically over the head activities. Some of the other things such as oral anti-inflammatories will help decrease the pain and inflammation in the shoulder. Typically, these work in a scheduled fashion. When I say that, I mean, patients that take Ibuprofen typically have to take it four times a day in order to really maximize the effect. Other anti-inflammatory medications like the Naproxen can be taken twice a day and have the same effect. One of the most effective treatments is to have a corticosteroid injection such as cortisone into the shoulder to allow for maximum relief. Cortisone is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory medications we have available and it usually works in about 24 hours and gets rid of the inflammation around the area. Unfortunately, none of these things help the rotator cuff muscle heal. Tears that are in the rotator cuff muscle will in general not heal back to where they came from with conservative treatment such as those mentioned.
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