Can topical treatments help rotator's cuff injury?

It all depends on the severity of the rotator cuff injury since there are all different degrees of damage that can occur from simple inflammation or a complete tear. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and helps to keep the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) in the shoulder socket.

Rotator cuff injuries occur most often in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions in their jobs or sports. Examples include painters, carpenters, and people who play baseball or tennis. The risk of rotator cuff injury also increases with age.

Many people recover from rotator cuff disease with physical therapy exercises that improve flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. What topical application of a cannabis ointment can do is to decrease some of the local inflammation that may be in the muscles and tendons there. This could decrease the amount of pain that you have in the joint and allow you to do physical therapy more easily. The physical therapy could then strengthen the muscles and help the cuff tear heal.

If you have a extensive or complete tear you may need a surgical repair. Cannabis post-operatively can help with the pain afterwards however, instead of using narcotics. A nerve block at the time of surgery will also help with post op pain for 24-48 hours.

Perry Solomon, MD

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