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RiderJen 01-24-2011 01:35 PM

Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
Has anyone successfully used trigger point therapy to treat your pain with a diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear?

After several weeks in PT (doing gentle exercises/stretches without weights), my pain has steadily worsened to the point that I now have mild-to-moderate pain almost all the time. Small items are getting more difficult to lift. The only time I'm without pain is in the morning after sleep (i.e. doing nothing with my arm) or after taking 2-3 days off from the exercises.

While researching other options, I happened upon a book about treating frozen shoulder with trigger point therapy. The book's preface (and consumer reviews) are very convincing, and let me to wonder if it might be effective for my situation.

I hate to buy another book, and potentially waste another few weeks of time, if it doesn't work. I'm not the type to try just anything, but I often wonder if traditional medicine has the answer I am seeking. What if the pain is due to trigger points, and not from the RC tear itself? Lots of people have RC tears but don't have any related pain.

janewhite1 01-24-2011 02:04 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
If the book is by Claire Davies, buy it. You can check for yourself if you have trigger points around your shoulder, and then you can address them using manual therapy or the right stretches.

In any chronic joint pain situation, trigger points often come to play a role, even if the original cause was something else entirely. I have chronic problems with many joints, and my mother went through a phase where she bought me every book and device she heard of, including, God help me, a bra with magnets in it! I have thrown away or lost every product except my two books on trigger points, which I refer to all the time. They've made such a difference in how I feel.

Beware of one thing: There is a group of new-agey energy healers who go around scamming people under the title of "trigger point therapy." Their work has no value and they should not be supported or enriched in any way.

RiderJen 01-24-2011 02:17 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
Yes, it is a book by Clair Davies, called The Frozen Shoulder Workbook. I haven't been told that I have a frozen shoulder (and don't believe I do) but I read enough to be intriged by the practice, and wonder if it could relieve my symptoms fairly soon, without surgery. There may be problems it cannot fix, however.

Thanks for the warning -- I'm very leery of the new-agey energy healer thing, and wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole! :)

RiderJen 01-24-2011 09:49 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
Thank you.

Do either of you think trigger point therapy could be the "cure" for RC pain due to a tear or bone spurs? Or, is it considered more of an adjunct therapy for some conditions, or to alleviate the secondary symptoms?

MountainReader 01-24-2011 10:08 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
I didn't have a tear but I was on my way to one. I had a wicked impingement which I eventually had a subacromial decompression for. I have a hypermobile shoulder though which causes my rotator cuff to sublux, or slightly come out of socket, when I move it. I sometimes end up with nasty trigger point issues. I'm working through some now.

The PT i receive is actually from a PT who works on the trigger points and my neck, which gets as tight as my shoulder. I also received some trigger point injections recently in my shoulder as well.

Have you seen an orothopedic doctor yet?

RiderJen 01-24-2011 10:18 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
Yes, and had an MRI. I'll return to the ortho doc (a sports ortho doc) in late February and discuss other options. PT thinks I'll need to have the acromion scraped because the space is very narrow, and the pain has only worsened (daily and weekly) during PT.

MountainReader 01-24-2011 10:41 PM

Re: Trigger point therapy for rotator cuff diagnosis
I did PT for a few months before going to my ortho. The pain got worse and I gradually kept losing ROM until I couldn't reach behind my back at all.

I had a subacromial decompression. It was my very first surgery and I found recovery fairly easy in general. I realized after surgery that I had been in pain for so long that it was really a relief and the pain was much less after a few days post-surgery. After a few months and PT, I had regained my ROM that had been lost and much of my pain was gone. WIthin 6 months, I was pretty much back to normal... at least as normal as my shoulder will ever be with the hyperflexibility.

Prior to surgery, the ortho gave me a cortisone injection. Because the injection gave me some relief, it was a good diagnostic to confirm the decompression would help.

BTW, I had 2 tiny scars that you can barely see. Just a couple stitches each.

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