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When is shoulder surgery the right option from a therapist’s perspective?

When is shoulder surgery the right option from a therapist’s perspective

If you are considering shoulder surgery and want to feel certain that you are making the right decision, here are my top 3 things to consider.

Elective surgery

Elective surgery is the type of surgery you CHOOSE. These types of injuries are from wear and tear, chronic types of issues, and are not emergency types of cases.

This gives you time to try conservative methods first which is the gold standard because surgery is always a risk.  This allows you to do your due diligence in researching what is best for you and where you are in your stage of life.  Elective surgeries also allow you to pick the best time for you to have the surgery and recover.

People who come here to Hands-on Therapy have usually tried other services, and clinics, and not getting the answers or the results that they want.

Patient’s story

Recently, one of my patients who has been coming for several months for a complex hand injury has been telling me that he’s having shoulder pain.

The opposite side from his hand injury. He’s had issues on and off for years. Actually has a great therapist that he goes to for his shoulder.  

Recently, he’s gotten better, than gotten worse…and now wants to know “What do I do?”

Even though he’s going somewhere else, we’ve talked about it on and off for the past few months, and he decided to have an MRI to discuss the need for surgery. Of course, the surgeon is ready to have him booked for the following week. But my patient wants a few more questions answered.

So the question that I often get is “Do I REALLY need the surgery?”

Deciding on having surgery is a personal decision and here are the questions I would encourage you to ask yourself to feel more confident that you are making the right decision for you.

  1. Is the pain constant and keeping you up at night?  Meaning you can’t sleep.
  2. Is the pain stopping or getting in the way of you doing some of the most simple things to stay independent and active? 
  3. Can you keep living like this for the rest of your life ( as long as that may be)?

These are the main questions that I ask and discuss with my patients.  We also go over the MRI results and I break it down into simple terms to help you make a decision.

In the shoulder, the tears of the tendons and ligaments can only be repaired by surgery.  So having surgery or not having surgery is dependent on how large these tears are.   

This is why I always recommend NOT having an MRI right away because MRIs only tell you that you should have surgery. It doesn’t explain why you have pain. 

What therapy HELPS with is to help 

  • Restore motion when motion is lost and even if you don’t think it’s lost, there’s a tightness somewhere in your joint which is what can cause most of the pain that you are experiencing.
  • Restore the pattern of movement and rhythm of movement of the shoulder so that you DON’T continue to cause more wear and tear and fully tear the tendons or ligaments. 
  • Restore strength so that your shoulder can move more effectively and you can keep your motion and get rid of your pain. It’s not that you are “weak”, it’s that certain muscles as compared to others are weaker than they should be.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain or know someone who is, and you are looking for someone to give you the time and attention to go over these types of questions, request a Discovery Visit. 

Based on a few easy questions, we’ll know whether therapy can help you or not.  

That way you don’t waste more time and energy working in the wrong direction to get the best sleep and be able to live more actively. 

By the way, this patient…is now coming here for his shoulder.  And we are going to get him ready for his surgery.

If you know someone suffering with shoulder pain and wants to avoid surgery,  share this free guide with them. Click for the free Shoulder Pain Guide.

Written by Hoang Tran

About the author – Hoang Tran 

Hoang Tran is a Miami certified hand therapist , the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems, because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).  

The aim of her occupational therapy practice in the Miami area is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery. Occupational and Physical Therapy are both offered at Hands-On Therapy by our experienced therapists who provide a comprehensive approach to your care. 

If you are struggling with shoulder, neck pain or hand pain, including 

or any other hand, shoulder or neck injuries, speak with one of our specialists for FREE by signing up for a 30-minute Discovery Visit.

Even if you have tried other forms of treatment and are still NOT sure what’s going wrong and need better clarification on what can actually work to avoid the shoulder pain and impingement from becoming worse, there’s no risk in giving us a call at 786-615-9879 or requesting a Free Discovery Visit. 

A Discovery Visit is for someone who is not sure therapy with us can help them, wants to speak with the specialist to feel confident that therapy is the right choice for them, and is SURE they don’t want to live in pain, worry, and feeling like they can’t do certain things just because of the pain. 

occupational therapy for rotator cuff

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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