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ROTATOR CUFF Injuries

What do you do if you have continued pain after ROTATOR CUFF SURGERY

Continued shoulder pain even after a surgery for tears does happen. When complaints persist and have become an unresolved shoulder pain, I am called upon to help patients make decisions what to do next. Helping patients learn about the available treatment options and understand their choices is a discussion that needs to take place. When I discuss Rotator cuff surgery I refer to Lädermann A, et al. from the University Hospitals of Geneva. They state that “Tear recurrence can be related to various factors such as:

(1) Inadequate strength of the initial repair construct

(2) Biological failure to heal despite strong initial fixation (hardware and suture) and

(3) inappropriate postoperative rehabilitation causing structural failure of the repair” (1).

We always hope for good outcomes after a surgery but “The results of (rotator cuff) treatment are not as predictable as the patient (family, trainer, coach and doctor) would like to think” says Nickolas G et al. in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America journal.

I talk to patients about the concept of cellular communication and how there could be a breakdown in the local tissue area and even the brain to stimulate proper healing. We have learned that certain therapies such as stem cell injections, shockwave, and laser can seem to jump start a non-healing area within a damaged shoulder or knee joint. The current thinking is that these therapies change the joint environment from non-healing (diseased) to healing by signaling the local native resident healing cells to get ready to rebuild.

How, can I as a Chiropractor change the joint environment from not healing to healing and working better?

  • By inducing gentle non-painful motion into a poorly functioning joint.
  • By re-awakening stem cells to change (plasticity) and activate (multipotency – the ability to change/morph into other cell types and multiply). I use shockwave to do this.
  • Get the surrounding healthy cells to send signals to suppress inflammatory T–cell proliferation (inflammation) and provide an anti-inflammatory effect. I use laser to do this.

Maybe the above 3 points help activate stem cells to express various growth factors – it takes a lot of reawakening of molecules to stimulate local tissue repair. I like the concept of getting cells to communicate directly cell to cell (even to the resident remaining cartilage cells) in the joint. Seol et al did a study to show that stem cell activation regenerated cartilage in knees, why not the shoulders! (3)

  1. Lädermann A, Denard PJ, Burkhart SS. Management of failed rotator cuff repair: a systematic review. Journal of Isakos. 2016;1(1):32-37. doi:10.1136/jisakos-2015-000027.
  2. Nickolas G. Garbis, Edward G. McFarland. Understanding and Evaluating Shoulder Pain in the Throwing Athlete. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 2014; 25 (4): 735 DOI:10.1016/j.pmr.2014.06.009
  3. Seol D, Zhou C, et al. Characteristics of meniscus progenitor cells migrated from injured meniscus. J Orthop Res. 2016 Nov 3. doi: 10.1002/jor.23472.

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